SUBMITTING THROUGH THE
Submitting the application: the online portal
As of January 2024, you have to submit your application through an online portal. Each of the sponsors has to create a profile on that portal, and the 'main sponsor' (you choose who that is) has to log in and start the application, and then invite the other sponsors to the file. Once they receive the invitation, they have to create their own profiles, though with lesser access to the entire application and to the other sponsors' accounts.
Here's an explanation on how the new online portal works:
Step 1: The primary sponsor logs in
One member of the group of 5 has to be the 'primary sponsor' on the portal. This should be someone with good attention to detail and who can use computers, since there's a LOT of information and files to go into the portal. Once you've chosen that person, they should log in here and create a profile:
They will ask for an email address and password. Definitely save this somewhere, so you can access the application now and in the future.
The first thing you'll see is this screen. DANGER DANGER - if you make a mistake here, you can never correct it.
So make sure you're typing in the PRIMARY SPONSOR'S name, and not the refugee's name. And make sure you get the family name and given name in the right order. And your names should be the same as on your PR card or passport, or whatever ID you're using in the application. The screen looks like this:
Step 2: Fill out the rest of the application
Next you'll find the application in the following stages:
1. Principal Applicant Profile
Fill Online (PS)
Name (use name as written on UN ID)
Birthdate (use date on UN ID)
Address (include post code and district)
2. Group Members Tab
Invite Principal Applicant to fill forms below via email (PS)
Add additional sponsors using full name + email (PS). The sponsors will then get an email telling them they are part of the application, but they don't actually have to do anything. The principal sponsor can do it all for them, assuming all the necessary documents are ready and available.
These sponsor documents include:
Sponsor assessment - but you can just type in the name, rather than add a signature
Proof of status (passport, birth Certificate or PR card)
Police report (less than 6 mo. old)
As an extra:
You can also add a representative here, by typing in that person's name and email. But note that immigration doesn't take that kind of representative as seriously as one that has a Use of Representative form and passport loaded into the system, so you should add those to the 'extra documents' section of the refugee docs.
What's a representative? This person can view the application, once invited, and later on, make enquiries with immigration if needed. The other advantage of assigning a representative is it means the refugee doesn't need to go onto the portal, which might be a technical challenge.
Once invited to be representative on the online portal, this person can see and update any part of the application - except the sponsor docs, which can only be seen by the sponsors themselves and by the primary sponsor.
Files to type directly into the portal for the refugee:
IMM 5669: This used to be known as Schedule A. It's best to fill out the old Schedule A PDF first, so you can work out the details, and also because you'll need this in about 1.5 years, when the refugee is asked to submit and resubmit documents prior or in place of an embassy interview.
IMM 0008: This used to be called Generic. You might want to fill out the generic first, to get all the facts straight, and also to have a copy of what you put into the portal, since that information is not viewable once you hit 'submit'. Also note there's a glitch in the portal where the 'dependents' section might show as incomplete, even when it's complete. You may need to go through a few times and resave all the paes to get it to show as 'ready to submit'.
Files to upload for the refugee
Proof of refugee status (UNHCR card, typically, and confirmation letter)
Travel documents - like passports
Identification - like birth certificates or national IDs
Refugee picture, front and back - upload these as separate files. This is now called a 'Passport Photo' and should be named as "LAST NAME - Firstname - Passport Photo 1" (for the front) and "LAST NAME - Firstname - Passport Photo 2" for the back
Proof of funds - a combined file that includes the funds explanation letter, bank letter, and account statements. Here's more information on the banking documents.
Country conditions letter, if you have one.
Consent form for the refugee, downloadable right from the portal. This form only appears as an option if you say the refugee cannot view the files and upload their signature. It's better to choose "no" to this option if the person you're sponsoring is not so technically savvy. But the consent form tends to disappear each time you make changes to the application, so upload it as a next step.
Another thing to remember: the ID files (passport, national ID) should be flat, clear scans, in colour, cropped to edge. You can check this Google doc for more information on the formatting of these files or just open the checklist below.
Step 3: Review and submit
Once you've completed all the steps, and the system tells you they are complete, go over the entire application one more time. You may find you messed something up.
Really done? Take a deep breath and hit "submit".
After this, your fellow sponsors should receive an automatic response indicating that your file has been received.
Step 4: What's next?
If you made a mistake or want to correct a form, there's an immigration website where you can do that. The website also lets you check the status of a file. There's also a phone number where you can make enquiries: 613-321-4243. But try not to abuse it with questions you can find through an online search.
As for the next steps in the process, that is fodder for another post. Let's just say this much now:
G number - these take anywhere from a day to a year to arrive. They're a tracking number that allows you to check the progress of your application.
Bonus tip: Remember to select 'Application number/case number' in the dropdown menu, and have the applicants' date and country of birth handy as well.
You can overuse this website - some people drive themselves crazy by checking their online status daily. No need! All the important updates will be sent by Immigration via email - both to the refugee and their sponsors.
Milestones you can expect to find in this tracking website:
We received your application for permanent residence on x date.
We started processing your application on x date.
Your application has been sent to the overseas embassy.
Medical results have been received.
Check here for more details on typical timelines.
For now, let's just take a break, and appreciate all the hard work we've done this far.
We've come a long way!