Applying for immigration in 7 steps

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You have probably thought long and hard about immigrating, assessed yourself, your resources and chances, and have determined which immigration program you are eligible for. Whether you are applying for the Start-Up Visa Program, Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian experience class, or the Provincial Nominee Program, the following are the prescribed next steps in getting your application ready for submission.

“Hiring a representative is not a requirement. Completing the application by yourself is quite manageable with IRCC’s detailed and easy-to-follow instruction guide per program. You can also watch videos, read FAQs or ask questions online or over the phone should you need assistance.”

1.Read up

Knowing all that you can before you start filling out forms will ensure that you will be able to submit an accurate and complete application. This time, you can focus reading up on the specific immigration program you qualify for and the requirements needed to apply. Understand the requirements fully and then form a plan to tackle the application process. It will be helpful if you know some people who have undergone the process. This will help you get an idea of the waiting times (although this is indicated on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – IRCC, formerly CIC site), get tips on where to start, and be prepared about difficult requirements, if there are any.

In your research, you may read about Express Entry. Express Entry is actually not an immigration program but a system to fast-track applications of people with skilled work experience. Streams that are part of this system are economic immigration programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class, and Provincial Nomination Program. If you are interested to know more, watch this video about the system and read up on its mechanics at Canada.ca/Express Entry.

2.Should you hire a representative?

Hiring a representative is not a requirement. Completing the application by yourself is quite manageable with IRCC’s detailed and easy-to-follow instruction guide per program. You can also watch videos, read FAQs or ask questions online or over the phone should you need assistance. Doing it yourself can save you hundreds of dollars which you could use instead to finance your efforts in completing your requirements and even building your settlement fund. Also, remember that having a representative does not guarantee that your application will be fast-tracked or approved.

However, applicants under special circumstances may benefit from having a consultant. People who are unable to complete forms (because of injuries or disabilities), or those with special requirements that need legal consultations, can benefit from hiring one. If you are neither, but have money to spare, then by all means, get a representative. Make sure that the representative you hire is authorized. To learn more about using a representative, go to this guide from IRCC. The ICCRC also maintains a registry of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) and Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) to identify the professionals it regulates and to disclose their fitness to practice. You can access the Council’s Membership List here.

3. Make a to-do list

Get organized and make a to-do list. Note down all the requirements that you need, then make a schedule of all the tasks you need to accomplish, the documents you need to gather and the tests you need to take. Then review it. It will be good if you are able to put target dates on each task to help you determine which to do first (e.g. language tests or passport renewals, as these may take time). The to-do list will also prevent you from missing out on important requirements. Also, it is quite satisfying to cross out a task that you have accomplished. It signals that you’re getting closer to your Canadian dream.

4. Fill out forms

Always read the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. Most importantly, always be truthful about all the information you write to prevent any future problems. Each application package has a checklist; use it so that you can review afterwards if you have completed all the necessary documents before you send them. Sending out a complete package will save you a lot of time and expense.

These helpful videos from IRCC will assist you when filling out forms:

5. Double-check your application

Before sending your forms and documents, again, use the checklist. Don’t forget to sign all the necessary sections needing your signature and enclose all the necessary supporting documents required.

6. Keep copies of everything

Photocopy or scan your filled-out application forms, including supporting documents, and receipts. In the unlikely event that your application gets lost along the way, you will have a back-up copy and proof that you had all the documents on hand. Take note of important dates such as the date you sent your application, you received an acknowledgement, etc. to be able to keep track of processing times. Should you need to follow-up your status with the IRCC, you can state these dates to help them track and determine at what point in the process your application should be.

7. Submit and stay busy

After submitting your completed application, hope for the best but continue to be busy. While waiting for the results, you can take classes to improve your English or French. You can also study and beef up your qualifications or add more skills. Use your research on the Canadian job market to help you prepare to be job-ready once you get to Canada.

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Applying for immigration in 7 steps

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