Guidelines in administering the principles

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

General guidelines

Documented costs and established procedures exist for each item where a fee is charged. A receipt shall be issued for every paid transaction. The collection and safekeeping of fees is assigned to designated individuals.

Some fees apply to the application process leading to the end product (final decision that may or may not result in the issuance of a visa), while other fees are for a right, a privilege or a participation. Application fees are not refunded in the event of unsuccessful applications, while fees for a right, a privilege or a participation are refundable.

For ease of administration, the fee structure must be as simple as possible, with similar services being charged similar rates.

Not all processes and services have a fee. A number of services are currently offered without charge to our clients. The Department does not charge for the following:

  • information (aside from a fee for statistical data allowed under R314)
  • advice
  • referrals
  • pamphlets
  • forms and documents
  • liaison with other offices
  • private and group sponsorship of refugees including application
  • reception and monitoring of refugees
  • itinerant service to remote areas
  • community training and information sessions
  • enforcement actions

Cost recovery and the applicable fees will have no bearing on the program or operational decisions made by the officer.

Fees should have no unintended dissuasive effect on the flow of desirable immigrants and visitors to Canada.


For humanitarian reasons, refugees and members of the humanitarian-protected persons abroad classes are exempted from most processing fees prior to their arrival in Canada.

Reopening a closed file

Once a decision is made to issue a document or to refuse an application, or if the client withdraws their application, the file is closed. If a client wishes to reopen a closed file or request additional processing, new fees will apply in all cases except where Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has erred.

The renewal or updating of any client information or the redoing of existing application forms for administrative purposes is not considered to be a new application, and additional fees will not be applied.

Calculating rates for family groups

For cost recovery purposes, when determining the fees applicable for permanent resident applications,  the family rate for temporary resident visa (TRV) or biometric collection, the definitions of “family member” and “dependent child” found in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations [R1 and R2] should be used.

Who pays fees for a service?

The fee for a service is normally paid by the person who requests and benefits from the service. In the case of family class sponsorships, the fee is generally paid by the sponsor, although there is no specific regulatory requirement for the sponsor to be the payer. There are cases, such as sponsored students, where it is more practical for an organization to pay the required fee.

Visa offices abroad

For visa offices abroad, fees are set at the foreign exchange equivalent of the Canadian dollar amount. The local rate remains the same unless the exchange rate fluctuates more than 5% above or below this equivalent.

For visa offices abroad, refunds are also based on the current exchange rate equivalent to the Canadian amount of the fee.

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