Always be honest! The dangers of fraud when applying for citizenship

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Did you know that a seemingly harmless lie can spell disaster when applying for citizenship?

In 2008, a man was denied citizenship because of lying about where he lived in Canada. The applicant said that an immigration consultant told him that by applying in Mississauga, his application would be processed quicker. So in his citizenship application, he wrote that he was from Mississauga when he actually lived in Montreal. Read the story here: When applying for Canadian Citizenship, as with all immigration applications – lying is fraud, Visa Place News.

There are two lessons from this case: 1) Always tell the truth and 2) listen only to qualified immigration consultants.

What is fraud?

Misrepresentation or document fraud can involve either false or altered documents such as:

  • Passports and other travel documents
  • Visas
  • Diplomas, degrees, and apprenticeship and trade papers
  • Certificates of birth, marriage, final divorce, annulment, separation, or death and
  • Police certificates

Aside from documents, lying to an IRCC officer during an interview can also be considered fraud (Document fraud (Misrepresentation)). This is a serious offense and is considered a crime.

What are the consequences of fraud?

If a person is found out to have lied, their application will be refused. The IRCC can also:

  • forbid them from entering Canada for at least five years
  • give them a permanent record of fraud with IRCC
  • take away their status as a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
  • charge them with a crime or
  • remove them from Canada

Even those who have received their Citizenship can still face revocation if an investigation shows that they lied on the application. In 2012, 3,100 citizenships were revoked when the government cracked down on immigration fraud. Read the story here: 3,000 citizenships revoked for immigration fraud.

Honesty is the best policy

Always read and understand instructions on application forms thoroughly. Follow what is asked to the letter. If there are items you don’t understand, go to the IRCC Help Centre and search for answers. Go to this page if you want more options: Contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Getting a representative

You don’t need to hire a representative when applying for citizenship (or for a visa, permit, and others). It will not hasten the processing of your application or receive special attention from IRCC. But if you need help, don’t have time, or just prefer having your application handled by an external agency or a representative, make sure that they are qualified and accredited.

Authorized paid representatives are:

Watch out when an immigration consultant does the following:

  • Asking for a large sum of money upfront. They may also ask you to pay for the application forms.
  • They guarantee results.
  • They go against the eligibility standards or IRCC guidelines. This is why it is important to know these guidelines, even if you will not be preparing the application yourself. Go to the IRCC site to learn about these guidelines.
  • They offer shortcuts.
  • They ask you to lie or tamper with documents.

Read this before looking for consultation services: How can I tell if an immigration website is a scam.
Article updated August 25, 2020.
Sources: Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada site (Citizenship). Retrieved April 30, 2018.

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