Terms and definitions related to Identity Management

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.


Currently CIC collects the following biometric information:

  • biographical data
  • fingerprints
  • photograph

Confirmation of Permanent Residence document.  It is used as a proof of permanent resident status until clients receive a PR card.

Establishing a Name Record

The act of recording the name associated with a client


Field Operations Support System


Global Case Management System


International Civil Aviation Organization


Immigration and Refugee Protection Act


Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

Linking Document

A document that is used to link the person’s old identity to their new identity.

An example of linking document can be legal or administrative decision made by the appropriate provincial and territorial authority as evidence of a change of name.

Please see Change of name inside Canada: Permanent residents, temporary residents and Canadian citizens section for examples of linking documents.

Local naming custom(s)

The naming practices of the region or country where a passport was issued.


Machine Readable Chip embedded in a travel document


Machine Readable Zone of a travel document


Consists of the series of letters in Roman alphabet by which a client is identified. A name usually consists of two parts: primary and secondary identifiers.


Operational Management and Coordination

Primary Document (sometimes called a "breeder" or "foundation" document)

An official document that shows evidence of an identity and from which other documents are derived. It can be said to show a person’s official name at time of issuance. Please see the list of primary documents and their order of priority used for establishing and recording client names by line of business.

Primary Identifier

The family name(s) is/are normally considered the primary identifier(s)

Secondary Identifier

All remaining components of a name, normally the given name(s), is/are considered the secondary identifier(s)

Supporting Document

A document that is issued based on a primary document. It is used to verify elements of a person’s identity, such as a person’s use of a name, which could be different from the name shown on the primary document or the date of birth. Please see types of supporting documents issued by provinces and territories of Canada.

System(s) of Record

General term to refer to CIC systems of record, such as GCMS and FOSS


To change the spelling of names or letters from one alphabet into corresponding words or letters in the Roman alphabet

Transliteration is to change or transcribe the spelling of words or letters from one alphabet into corresponding words or letters in another alphabet; however, for CIC purposes, transliterations must be transcribed to the Roman alphabet.


Visual Inspection Zone(s) of a travel document

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