Consequences of immigration and citizenship fraud
There are serious consequences for lying on an application or in an interview, or for sending fake or altered documents.
You are responsible for all the information in your application, even if a representative completes it for you. Learn more about how to choose an authorized immigration and citizenship representative.
False documents or information in your application
It is considered fraud to submit either false or altered documents, such as
- passports and travel documents
- visas, exit and entry stamps
- language results
- proof of employment or job offers
- letters of acceptance from learning institutions, tuition receipts and transcripts
- diplomas, degrees and apprenticeship or trade papers
- proof of relationship, including certificates of birth, adoption, marriage, final divorce, annulment, separation, death or custodianship
- police certificates or court documents
- DNA testing
During your medical exam, you must answer questions about existing and previous medical conditions truthfully. Providing false medical documents, misrepresenting information or providing false information to the panel physician during your medical exam is considered fraud.
Lying about how long you or someone else been physically present in Canada while applying for a permanent residency (PR) renewal or citizenship is also considered fraud. Learn more about PR card residency obligations and physical presence.
If you, your representative or your interpreter send false documents or information
- your application will be refused
- you could be banned from Canada for at least 5 years
- you could have a permanent record of fraud with IRCC
- your temporary or permanent resident status or Canadian citizenship could be taken away
- you could be banned from applying for citizenship for 5 years
- you could be removed from Canada
IRCC is focused on identifying those who are responsible for fraud and not on punishing people affected by fraud.
Relationships of convenience
In some cases, sponsors and foreign applicants set up a “relationship of convenience.” This is a marriage, or a common-law or conjugal relationship, the goal of which is to immigrate to Canada.
Our officers are trained to recognize genuine immigration applications. They know how to detect false marriages and common-law or conjugal relationships. They have many ways to spot marriage fraud, including document checks, visits to people’s homes and interviews with both sponsors and applicants.
Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are in a marriage of convenience for immigration reasons may be charged with a crime.
A chargeback is when a credit card payment is made during the visa application process and it is reversed, either by the applicant or by a third party acting on their behalf. This is considered fraud.
If the fee paid with a credit card is reversed, your visa application could be cancelled or delayed. Your visa application could also be denied and you could potentially be banned from travelling to Canada for up to 10 years. Applications you submit in the future can also be impacted.
What IRCC is doing to stop immigration and citizenship fraud
IRCC trains officers around the world to detect fraud and protect the integrity of Canada’s citizenship and immigration system. The department also works with partners like the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), foreign police services and offices that issue identity and status documents to identify, investigate and prosecute those who violate Canada’s immigration laws.
To identify cases of fraud, IRCC
- contacts issuing authorities to confirm that documents are genuine
- implements program integrity measures to identify and deter scammers
- pursues misrepresentation on bad actors looking to exploit IRCC programs
Biometrics is the use of data, such as fingerprints and photos, to confirm a person’s identity. IRCC works with authorities in other countries to use this data to protect Canada’s immigration system and reduce identity fraud.
Top questions about fraud and scams
- What happens if I owe IRCC money? Will you call to ask for unpaid fees?
- Will you ask me for personal information over the phone?
- Do you accept prepaid credit cards, Western Union or Money Gram to pay my fees?
- If I have not paid fees, will you have me arrested or deported?
- I received threats from someone who says they are from the immigration department. Is it a scam?
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