Use of representatives: Complete applications

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

All applicants who use a representative (compensated or uncompensated) must submit a Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476) which discloses the name and contact information of any representative providing representation or advice at any stage of an application under the Citizenship Act or Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Please note that this Use of a Representative form is not applicable for passport applications or any proceedings under the Canadian Passport Order.

Both the applicant and the representative (compensated or uncompensated) must sign the Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476). An unsigned Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476 (PDF, 648.31KB)) is not a duly completed form and will be returned to the applicant. Where the date on the form is more than three months old (90 calendar days) when received (stale-dated) at the IRCC office, or where the date is a date in the future (postdated), the Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476 (PDF, 648.31KB)) will be returned to the applicant.

Immigration applications

R10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) defines what constitutes a complete application. R10(2)(c.1), (c.2), (c.3) and (c.4) require that detailed information concerning representatives be provided, where applicable. This includes the representative’s name, postal address and telephone number and, if applicable, the representative’s fax number and e-mail address. Once the application provides all the necessary information required to satisfy R10 and the application is signed both by the applicant and by the representative, it is considered complete and should be processed.

If the information is incomplete, the application will be returned as per R12. Returned applications are discussed later in this section.

Solicitor – Client privilege

The regulatory amendments to paragraphs 10(2) (c.3) and (c.4) of IRPR are intended to apply only to the advice or representation that pertains to a specific application that is submitted to the Government of Canada (GC) and to be interpreted in a manner consistent with solicitor-client privilege.

This means neither the immigration applicant nor their counsel are required to inform the GC of the essence of any solicitor-client communications. Paragraphs 10(2) (c.3) and (c.4) are not applicable to situations where the applicant has sought legal advice regarding other areas of law where there is no link to immigration matters, such as criminal law, family law, wills and estates, etc.

It should be noted that solicitor-client privilege extends to persons acting as agents for the solicitor, such as legal assistants and other staff members in the solicitor’s office. Where a law office employs not only a lawyer, but also a consultant and/or a paralegal to whom Bill C-35 may apply, it will be the responsibility of the law office to determine which individual will be the responsible professional who will be named on the IMM 5476.

Citizenship applications

For citizenship applications, if the application satisfies all the conditions as outlined in the Citizenship Act and its regulations, the application should be processed as per section 13 of the Citizenship Act. As more specifically provided under the Citizenship Regulations No. 2, all applications must be made in the prescribed form and filed in a manner designated by the Minister together with all the required information and materials. As a result, if

  • the application is not made in the prescribed form or manner, or
  • any of the information required in the prescribed form is missing or not completed, or
  • the application is not accompanied by the necessary supporting evidence and fees,

then the application will not satisfy all the conditions under section 13 of the Act. The application will not be accepted for processing and will be returned to the applicant.

If a compensated representative is designated by the applicant but is not a member in good standing of a Canadian law society, the Chambre des notaires du Québec or the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC), then the application will not be accepted into processing. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has the authority to return the entire application package and fees, accompanied by the Unauthorized representative letter. The letter and the application should be sent to the applicant’s mailing address rather than the unauthorized representative’s address (unless the applicant’s personal address cannot be obtained).

Change of representative

Applicants must notify IRCC of any change of representative by completing and submitting a new IMM 5476. To cancel the appointment of a representative without appointing a new one, applicants need to complete sections A, C and D of the IMM 5476. To revoke a representative and appoint a new one, sections A, B and D need to be completed, as the new appointment will cancel the previous one. See instructions on notifying IRCC about changes.

To prevent the problem of conflicting direction or information and to ensure that the authorized representative is at all times ultimately responsible for the file, only one representative may be named per application. It is recognized that there may be a discrepancy in completing the form where the applicant has hired more than one “authorized representative” for the processing of their application. If more than one authorized representative has been identified on the submitted IMM 5476, the applicant or the representative should be contacted by phone to discuss the situation and additional name(s) should be removed if possible. This is preferable to returning the application, as it gives the applicant an opportunity to rectify the problem. The applicant or representative’s decision to delete additional names from the IMM 5476 should be documented on the IMM 5476 and signed and dated by the IRCC officer who was advised of the deletion. If the applicant/representative(s) cannot be reached, the application should be considered incomplete and returned as explained in returning an application.

For citizenship applications, if this situation arises, the application would be returned and not accepted for processing as the IMM 5476 was not properly completed.

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