In a previous post, I mentioned that even though I had got my Permanent Residency (see here). I now wanted to know what Citizenship and Immigration Canada/Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (CIC/IRCC) had written about my application during the processing.
My notes arrived by email earlier this week and these are known as Global Case Management System (GCMS) notes and at any point you can order these, even if your application is in progress. The notes give applicants an idea of where their application is at especially if someone has been waiting over 6 months or has not had any contact with CIC for awhile.
The notes can be difficult to decipher and I have to admit I have had to google, search and ask on other immigration forums about what certain areas mean.
ORDERING GCMS NOTES
In order to get your GCMS notes, you need to make an Access to Information and Privacy online request (AIPT).
**This link is to the website via The Canadian Government. If you google ‘GCMS notes’ then many third party organizations come up but they can charge you $20-$30 for the request. However this is perhaps a better option for those living outside of Canada and/or do not know anyone living in Canada to make the request on their behalf (more on that below).
As I am currently living in Canada, I could make the request under AIPT. The online form asks questions and you work through inputting your personal details.
A couple of points/tips:
1. The request will be made under the department: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
2. If you are living in Canada, you select An individual/corporation currently present in Canada
After filling the first page this information is displayed:
‘Personal information is usually requested under the Privacy Act. There are no fees charged for requests made under the Privacy Act. The purpose of the Privacy Act is to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves where it is held by a government institution and to provide individuals with the right to access such information.
Note: Personal information which belongs to an individual who is not a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or currently living in Canada must be requested under the Access to Information Act.
All government records (which include corporate documents and personal information) may be requested under the Access to Information Act. The application fee for request made under that Access to Information Act is $5.00 and processing fees may also be charged under some circumstances. The purpose of the Access to Information Act is to provide a right of access to records under the control of a government institution to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or any individual or corporation present in Canada.’
I selected under the Privacy Act as people on other immigration forums had advised the information you receive is the same even if you pay the $5 under Access to Information Act. If you are not living in Canada then you have to select Access to Information Act.
When it asks:
What type of records do you wish to request? Select Case Files
What type of record would you like to request? Select Permanent Residence – You can also do an AIPT request for any other applications you make (Temporary Residence, PR card, citizenship, medical information etc. – good to know for the future).
Which specific information are you looking for? Select The electronic notes of the Immigration or Citizenship Officer(s)
You will also need your Client ID/ Unique Client Identifier (UCI) number from your application but if this is your first application with CIC then you wont have one. You also need your file number (would usually be on Acknowledgement of Receipt – AOR).
The next page allows you to upload any additional information and/or documents that you feel would assist in your request. I just uploaded my current work permit as proof I was legally working in Canada.
You can review everything beforehand and then click send. You will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your request and to let you know the current wait time to receive the notes (around 30 days)
INFORMATION CONTAINED IN GCMS NOTES
You will receive your notes at the email address you provided. When I opened mine, the document was 80 pages long!
As I had said before, it has taken a little a bit of time for me to decipher what each part means but the main information that I have determined (sort of) is as follows:
ASSESSMENTS – Eligibility, Security, Criminality, Medical and Final Decision – these are similar to what you will see on your myCIC account. Mine all show as passed but on applications still in process they may say ‘not started’ or ‘in progress’
SECONDARY OFFICES – Which offices your application has been processed at, maybe at different stages of the application. Mine included Vancouver Immigration, Centralized Intake Office and Operations Support Centre.
ASSESSMENT ACTIVITIES – The bulk of the pages were to do with the assessments and meeting the criteria. My notes contained information that I had written in my electronic application (eAPR) and whether or not I had met the minimum entry criteria (MEC – this acronym appeared a lot in my notes).
Most of the sections were regarding the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). This included: education, language test results, work experience, whether I met the requirements for Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) etc.
Information from my medical was also included and criminal checks including Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) screening and information sharing with the USA (CIC appear to check with the US of any criminal activity).
ACTIVITY – These are smaller sections which updates by CIC. Depending on the section (Eligibility, Security, Criminality, Medical). The old status would be there and a new status as the update. This is when many officers and agents are working on an application.
The last 5-7 pages of my notes were the all important notes from each of the Visa Agents and Officers. I had 21 notes although only 10 of these were related to the opinions and recommendations of the Agents:
Note 10: 19 January 2016 – Support Service Agent
– First note since AOR stating that my application has been sent for R10 review (checking all my required documents have been included)
– That I had an existing UCI number from my previous International Experience Canada (IEC) applications
– No representative
– Medical attached
– RCMP check initiated
– Education Credential Assessment (ECA) and IELTS certificates attached – met the language threshold for FSW)
– Application fee paid ($550)
– Police certificates and education diplomas sent for review
Note 9: 22 January 2016 – Agent Review
– ECA report verified by World Education Services (WES) as a 4 year Bachelors Degree
Note 8: 26 January 2016 – Agent Review
– R10 review of police certificates: UK and RCMP check – No Reportable Trace (NRT – another acronym).
– The agent asks for the officer to review my Letter of Explanation (LOE) regarding not being able to get a police certificate from another country.
– Age is verified as no change between Invitation to Apply (ITA) and eAPR
All the above appeared to be located at the Centralized Intake Office and then my file was transferred to the Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Ottawa.
Note 7: 27 April 2016 – Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) email sent
Note 6: 29 April 2016 – Analyst Recommendation
– This was a very very long and detailed note with the analyst recommending a pass
– The analyst looks at my personal details, the fact I am on a work permit, I have met the minimum requirements for FSW (A11.2)
– Information on my work experience documents and proof and showing I have 2 years foreign experience and over 1 year Canadian experience in the same National Occupational Classification (NOC) and that they demonstrate that I performed the job duties of that NOC
– Settlement fund confirmed as meeting the minimum needed. The Analyst only looks at my Canadian bank statements and does not mention my UK financial proof letters as I am guessng I met the minimum funds with my Canadian bank accounts.
Note 5: 18 June 2016 – Officer Review
– Field Operations Support System (FOSS) check complete. FOSS is a database used by CIC that contains information on immigrants entering Canada.
– The officer reviews my employment letters, ECA, work experience proof, proof of funds and FOSS history
– Criminality is passed: UK and RCMP – NRT. It does mention ‘India’ in this section and I believe that is a typo as I have never visited the country. Some of the information is blanked out in this note as it may pertain to security information, which CIC will not release under the Privacy/Access to Information Acts.
– Final approval
Note 4: 21 June 2016 – Passport and Photos Request (PPR) email sent
Note 3: 25 June 2016 – Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) sent along with tracking number
Note 2: 30 June 2016 – When I contacted the CIC call centre in Montreal to arrange and inland interview in Vancouver
Note 1: 30 June 2016 – Scheduled appointment at the Vancouver office with my COPR to formally land as a PR
So when should you or can you order your GCMS notes?
There is no right or wrong answer to this, you can order them as soon as you have your AOR but it is best to wait about 2-3 months first. Some people will order their notes a few times within the processing stage to see what stage their application is currently at. Remember the GCMS notes can take around 30 days to come through from submitting the request. In that time, there could have been updates to the application.
After the 3 month mark, an application has usually passed the R10 review and A11.2 stages but if the notes hint that an agent or analyst is unsure about a document/information then you can rectify this before a possible rejection by submitting a Case Specific Enquiry (CSE). A CSE may take up to and over 30 days to read and process so rejections have still happened during this time.
My personal advice is not to order the notes unless your application processing time has gone over the 6 month period OR you are concerned about a document/information that you submitted (forgot to upload it, forgot an important piece of information etc.) and you feel there is a reasonable chance of a rejection.
It took a lot of willpower to refrain from ordering my GCMS notes around the 3-4 month mark and I found it especially stressful between the time of RPRF request and PPR with no updates.
I am glad that I didn’t order them during the processing stage otherwise I would have been confused as to what some of the notes meant and that would have worried me even more.
If your application looks like it is on track and is still within the 6 month processing time then try not to worry. As the old saying goes – no news is good news (generally).
GCMS notes explained from Canadian Visa Forum – This is collection of posters from the forum from their written notes.
CIC processing strategy from Canadian Visa Forum – A poster from the forum has analyzed the general step by step procedure for a PR application through Express Entry (EE) – please be aware that this was not the original post and there is link to this further down the thread.