Your family members include your spouse or common-law partner, your dependent children and any children that are their dependent children.
Refers to either of the two persons (opposite or same gender) in a marriage legally recognized in the country in which it took place, as well as in Canada.
Proxy, telephone, fax, internet, and similar forms of marriage where one or both parties were not physically present are no longer considered as valid spousal relationships under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. For more information, consult Operational Bulletin 613.
Refers to a person who is living in a conjugal relationship with another person (opposite or same gender) and has done so continuously for a period of at least one year. A conjugal relationship exists when there is a significant degree of commitment between two people.
This can be shown with evidence that the couple share the same home, support each other financially and emotionally, have children together, or present themselves in public as a couple.
Common-law partners who have been in a conjugal relationship for at least one year but are unable to live together or appear in public together because of legal restrictions in their home country or who have been separated for reasons beyond their control (for example, civil war or armed conflict) may still qualify and should be included on the application.
A person outside Canada who has had a binding relationship with a sponsor for at least one year but could not live with their partner. The term refers to both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.
IRCC assess child’s eligibility as a dependent based on how old they were at a specific point in time, called the lock-in date. This is usually the date IRCCreceives an application. To see whether child qualifies as a dependent, IRCC consider the age of the child on the lock-in date, even though child’s age may change during processing.
Your child or the child of your spouse or common-law partner can be considered a dependent child if that child meets the requirements below on the lock-in date:
Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependents if they meet both of these requirements:
They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22, and
they are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.
With the exception of age, dependents must continue to meet these requirements until IRCC finish processing of the application.
Dependent child of a dependent child
Refers to children of dependent children of the applicant and those of the spouse or common-law partner, if applicable.
A post-secondary program that awards an academic degree, diploma, or professional certification. This program is often delivered at universities, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology.
Accompanying family member
A spouse, common-law partner, dependent child, or dependent child of a dependent child (grandchild), who plans to immigrate to Canada with the principal applicant. Accompanying family members are included on the application.
A process whereby a person becomes a member of another family. This process must create a genuine parent-child relationship that permanently severs the legal ties to the child’s biological parents or guardians.
A document becomes an affidavit when a person signs the document, in the presence of an authorized person, after taking an oath that what the document says is true and accurate.
An affidavit is often used in order to verify that a translation of a document accurately reflects what is stated in the original language of the document.
A person who submits an application under any of IRCC’s business lines.
Approved in principle / Approval in principle (AIP)
Your application is “approved in principle (AIP)” if:you have received a letter from IRCC stating that you meet the permanent residence eligibility requirements, but you still have to pass the medical, security and background checks for you and, if needed, your family members.
Application Support Centre (ASC)
ASCs provide biometric collection services for Canadian temporary resident visa applicants in the United States. ASCs do not accept immigrant or temporary resident applications and cannot provide information or application handling services.
There are two types of authorized representatives: Compensated and Uncompensated.
Individuals who receive some form of compensation for their services (either directly or indirectly): Compensated authorized representatives must be members in good standing with their accredited regulatory body.
Individuals who provide such services for free: Examples of these individuals include friends, family members, and volunteers or staff members at charitable or non-governmental organizations (NGOS).
Biometric Instruction Letter
If you need to give your biometrics, IRCC sends a biometric instruction letter to you either by mail or through your account when you apply. You must bring a paper copy of this letter with you to a visa application centre (VAC) or application support centre (ASC) when you go in person to give your biometrics. The letter contains bar codes that must be scanned by the VAC or ASC before you can give your biometrics.
Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)
The Canadian standard used to describe, measure, and recognize English language ability of adult immigrants and prospective immigrants who plan to live and work in Canada, or apply for citizenship. The Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) is used to assess abilities in the French language.
Case Processing Centre (CPC)
An office in Canada that handles citizenship and immigration applications. They are not open to the public.There are CPCs in: Sydney, Nova Scotia; Mississauga, Ontario; Vegreville, Alberta; and Ottawa, Ontario.
Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
A Canadian citizenship certificate is a document that proves that a person is a Canadian citizen.The citizenship certificate is an 8½ x 11 paper size certificate that contains:
Before February 1, 2012, IRCC issued plastic wallet sized citizenship cards as proof of citizenship. These cards came with commemorative certificates. The commemorative certificates cannot be used as proof of citizenship.
Certificate of nomination
A certificate issued by a province or territory that recommends a foreign national for permanent residence under the Provincial Nominee Program.
Certificate of renunciation
A document issued by the Government of Canada that confirms someone is no longer a citizen of Canada because they have willingly given up their Canadian citizenship.
The final step in becoming a Canadian citizen. During the citizenship ceremony, candidates for citizenship aged 14 and over must take the oath of citizenship. After taking the oath, new citizens receive their citizenship certificate.
Client Identification Number
A Client Identification Number (Client ID), also referred to as a Unique Client Identifier Number (UCI), can be found on any official document issued by an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office, Case Processing Centre, or a Canadian visa office outside Canada.
A Client ID consists of four numbers, a hyphen (-) and four (4) more numbers (example: 0000-0000).A person who has never dealt with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada before will not have a Client Identification Number.
An organization that sponsors refugees but has not signed a formal agreement with IRCC. A community sponsor would normally sponsor fewer refugees than a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH).
Comprehensive ranking system (CRS)
A points-based system used to assess and score a candidate’s Express Entry profile to rank them against other candidates in the pool. The CRS will assess the profile information candidates submit, including skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other factors.
Confirmation of permanent residence number (IMM 5292 or 5509)
You will find this number in top right corner of your Confirmation of Permanent Residence document issued to you by an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office or by the visa office where you submitted your application. Your Confirmation of Permanent Residence number starts with a “T” followed by nine numbers (example: T100000000).
A Government of Canada office that helps Canadian citizens abroad. They are led by a Consul General. They are not located in capital cities. Some consulates also provide immigration services.
Co-Op/Internship Work Permit
Foreign students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program in a Canadian institution must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit. To be eligible for the co-op/internship work permit program, you must meet the following conditions:
You must have a valid study permit or apply for the work permit in conjunction with a study permit.
A person or organization that partners with a private sponsor to share in the delivery of settlement assistance and support to privately sponsored refugees. Co-sponsors can be family members of the sponsored refugee living in Canada.
Credential Assessment Service
A provincially mandated organization, such as a regulatory body or a post-secondary institution, that is responsible for assessing the portability of foreign credentials.
In Canada, provincial and territorial governments are responsible for assessing and recognizing credentials.
An official letter sent by IRCC advising you of the decision on your case and what you must do next.
A removal order issued by either a Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officer or the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) an independent administrative tribunal responsible for deciding immigration and refugee matters.
Departure orders are issued against people who have violated Canada’s immigration law. The person named on a departure order must leave Canada within 30 days. If they do not, the departure order becomes a deportation order.
A removal order issued by either a CBSA officer or the IRB.It requires the person to leave Canada due to serious offences or serious violations of Canada’s immigration law. A person deported from Canada may not return without written permission from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
A school in Canada that a student must be accepted at before they can qualify for a study permit (as of June 1, 2014). Consult the designated learning institutions list (DLI) for schools at the post-secondary level.All primary and secondary schools in Canada are automatically designated. They do not appear on the list. Applicants for primary and secondary schools do not need a DLI number on their application form.
Direct Route to Citizenship
A process for a child born and adopted abroad by Canadian parents to be granted citizenship without having to immigrate to Canada first.
Dual or Multiple Citizenship
When a person is a legal citizen of two or more countries at the same time. Dual or multiple citizenship is permitted under Canada’s citizenship laws. Some other countries do not allow it.
Any diploma, degree, or trade or apprenticeship credential issued for completing a program of study or training at a recognized educational or training institution.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
eTA is a new entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. It will allow Canada to screen travellers before they arrive. The authorization is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
A Government of Canada office led by an Ambassador. They are in the capital city of a non-Commonwealth country. They usually provide the full range of consular and trade services.
In Commonwealth countries, Embassies are called High Commissions and are led by a High Commissioner.
Some Embassies and High Commissions also provide immigration services.Examples: The Embassy of Canada in France, Paris, and the High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom in London
An online tool that doctors approved by IRCC to do medical exams use to record and send Immigration Medical Exam (IME) results to IRCC. It is more accurate, convenient, and faster than paper-based processing.
Employer-Specific Work Permit
A type of work permit that indicates:
A person who holds this type of work permit can only work for the employer for the length of time specified, and if applicable, at the location shown on the permit.
A removal order issued by either a Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officer or the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).
Usually, a person removed due to an exclusion order cannot return to Canada for one year without written permission. People issued exclusion orders for misrepresentation cannot return for five years without written permission.
A facilitator is a financial institution that:
Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR)
Foreign credential recognition is the process of verifying that the education and job experience obtained in another country are equal to the standards established for Canadian professionals. Credential recognition for regulated occupations is mainly a provincial responsibility that has been delegated in legislation to regulatory bodies.
Foreign National (FN)
A person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
A temporary resident who is legally authorized to study in Canada on a temporary basis. With a few exceptions, foreign students must get a study permit if they are taking a course of studies that will last for more than six months.
Person for whom French is their first official language of usage in Canada.
Full-Time Equivalent Studies
Education completed on a part-time or accelerated basis that is equivalent to a full-time program of study.
Full-Time Job Equivalent
Defined as 1,560 hours of paid employment per year.
Study schedule with a minimum number of hours (15 hours) of instruction per week during the academic year, including any period of training in the workplace that is part of the student’s studies. Students should ask their school what the full-time requirements are.
At least 30 hours per week for which wages are paid and/or commission is earned.
A person who is outside Canada and has been determined to be a Convention refugee and who receives financial and other support from the Government of Canada or Province of Quebec for up to one year after their arrival in Canada. GARs are selected from applicants referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other referral organizations.
Group of five
A group of five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, each of whom is at least 18 years of age, who agree to work together to sponsor a refugee.
A guarantor is a person who can confirm your identity and the information you have provided. If you do not have a guarantor who has known you for at least two (2) years, you must complete a Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor.
A document that allows a person to receive public health care in a Canadian province or territory. Newcomers can apply for a health card when they arrive in Canada.
An official document issued by an IRCC or Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office, Case Processing Centre (CPC) or Canadian visa office outside Canada, such as one of the following:
An officer responsible for deciding who can enter and stay in Canada. They usually work at Ports of Entry (airports, land border crossings) or one of our offices in Canada. They may check documents and interview applicants to make sure applications are accurate.
A non-citizen’s position in a country—for example, permanent resident or visitor.
If a visitor, student, or foreign worker applies to extend their status, before that status expires, they can legally remain in Canada until a decision is made on the application. In this situation, the person has implied status.
When an application that has been sent to IRCC has been opened, checked for completeness, and an employee has begun to process it (enter the computer system, etc.).
When a person is not allowed to enter or stay in Canada. Reasons can include security concerns, criminal offences, human rights violations, health or financial reasons, and failure to comply with Canada’s immigration laws.
Indeterminate Job Offer
A permanent, full-time job offer with no end date.
International Experience Canada (IEC)
A youth exchange program allowing Canadians, 18 to 35, to live and work in other countries, generally for up to one year at a time. The reciprocity of the program allows for youth from these same countries to live and work in Canada for up to one year.
International Mobility Program
This program lets employers hire or bring in foreign workers without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Some workers are exempt from the LMIA process. This applies when there are shared benefits for Canadians and other advantages for Canada.
These people can include:
Supervised work or school-related training that may be either paid or unpaid. Internship positions can be found with some businesses, government departments and non-profit organizations. Internships can help newcomers gain Canadian work experience.
Invitation to apply (ITA)
When a candidate’s profile is pulled from International Experience Canada, PNP or Express Entry pool. They then have a limited time to fill out and submit an online application.
A process where IRCC invite candidates from a pool to apply for:
An office in Canada that supports immigration, citizenship, and settlement programs. This term does not include ports of entry or case processing centers.
An evaluation of a person’s reading, writing, listening and/or speaking abilities in English or French. This is done to see if you meet the language requirement for your application.
Some types of applications require you to have a certain level of skill in either English or French. The level of language ability required is different, depending on the type of application being submitted.
Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)
Free English language training programs for adult newcomers to Canada. They are funded by the federal government and delivered by school boards, colleges and local organizations that provide services to newcomers.
Letter of introduction
A document sent from a visa office to confirm approval of:
Applicants must present the letter when they arrive in Canada.
Letter of Invitation
A letter from a person in Canada on behalf of a friend or family member who wants to visit. This may be helpful if the visitor is from a country where visas are required to travel to and enter Canada.
The letter should explain how they plan to help the visitor and whether they have the financial means to support the person during a longer visit.
Letter of Invitation to Delegates
A letter that event organizers need to give delegates when they apply for a visa to come to Canada.The letter should include information on the event to establish:
The letter should also indicate if financial assistance is given to delegates, such as airline tickets and accommodations.
Low-Income Cut-Off (LICO)
Income levels set out by the Government of Canada where a family spends a higher percentage on necessities than other families. A family must be above the cut-off in order to
A physical examination (that could also include laboratory/radiology tests depending on age) performed by an IRCC appointed medical doctor that all immigrants and some visitors must go through before they are allowed into Canada. An applicant must be in good health and have no conditions or illnesses that:
When a person is not allowed to enter Canada for health-related reasons. For instance, the person might:
Minimum Necessary Income (MNI)
The amount of income a family must earn in order to:
When a person makes false statements, submits false information, submits false or altered documents, or withholds information relevant to their application to IRCC. This is a crime. Documents can include:
Lying on an application or in an interview with an IRCC officer is also an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act.
Misrepresentation bars a person from being granted Canadian citizenship for a period of 5 years.
If misrepresentation is found to have occurred after someone becomes a citizen, this can result in the revocation of their citizenship and this individual must wait ten years before they can be granted citizenship again.
A visa that allows someone to leave and re-enter Canada more than once during a defined period of time.
National Occupational Classification (NOC)
The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a list of all the occupations in the Canadian labor market. It describes each job according to skill type and skill level. The NOC is used to collect and organize job statistics and to provide labour market information. It is also used as a basis for certain immigration requirements.
The formal process by which a person who is not a Canadian citizen can become a Canadian citizen. The person must usually become a permanent resident first.
A profession or a trade you can work in without needing a license, certificate or registration. 80% of jobs in Canada are non-regulated.
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
An agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Under it, citizens of each country can enter the other more easily for business.NAFTA applies to four types of business people:
Oath of Citizenship
A declaration that a person will:
In order to become citizens, people aged 14 or over must take the oath. Reciting the oath is the final requirement for Canadian citizenship.
One-Year Window Provision
This allows resettled refugees in Canada to be reunited with immediate family members that are still overseas. Immediate family members are spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children. To be eligible for this provision, an application must be made within one year of the resettled refugee arriving in Canada.
Open Work Permit (OWP)
A type of work permit that allows a person to work for any employer in Canada, except for an employer:
Personal Net Worth
The fair market value of all assets of an applicant and their spouse or common-law partner, minus the fair market value of all their liabilities. Generally, this figure does not include personal assets, such as jewelry and automobiles.
An official copy of a person’s criminal record, or a declaration that they do not have a criminal record. Police authorities or government departments issue such certificates. Authorities use them to confirm whether visa applicants are criminally inadmissible.
Port of Entry (POE)
A place where a person may seek entry into Canada, such as at an airport, land or marine border crossing.
Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
A document issued by IRCC to eligible foreign students who have:
It allows the bearer to work legally in Canada after completing studies.
Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)
A thorough process that evaluates whether a person would face persecution, torture, risk to life
or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, if returned to his or her country of origin.
When a family applies together, one member must be the main or “principal” applicant. For example, a mother applying for permanent residence with her three children would be the principal applicant. When parents are included in an application, dependent children cannot be principal applicants.
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)
This is a process that is used across Canada by schools, colleges, universities, employers and governments to formally recognize a person’s skills that they have acquired outside of formal education settings. This process allows people to have these skills assessed and possibly recognized in the form of academic credits. For more information on prior learning assessment and recognition, see the Canadian Association of Prior Learning Assessment (Pan-Canadian)\
Qualifying Canadian Business
For the purposes of determining whether an entrepreneur has managed and controlled a qualifying Canadian business, a qualifying Canadian business is one in which the percentage of the business controlled by the entrepreneur meets at least 2 of the following thresholds in one year:
For the purposes of meeting business experience requirements as an entrepreneur or investor applicant, a qualifying business is one in which the percentage of the business controlled by the applicant meets at least 2 of the following thresholds in one year:
A formal event where Canadian citizens express their commitment to Canada by repeating the oath of citizenship.
Record of landing (IMM 1000)
An official document once issued to a person when they arrived in Canada as a permanent resident. Canada stopped issuing records of landing on June 28, 2002.
A record suspension (formerly a pardon) allows people who were convicted of a criminal offence but have completed their sentence and demonstrated they are law-abiding citizens for a prescribed number of years, to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records.
A profession that sets its own standards of practice. If you want to work in a regulated occupation and use a regulated title, you must have a license or a certificate, or be registered with the regulatory body for your occupation. Sometimes an occupation is regulated in some provinces or territories but not in others. 20% of jobs in Canada are regulated.
A person who has the permission of someone wanting to immigrate to Canada or obtain Canadian citizenship to conduct business with IRCC on their behalf. The representative can be paid or unpaid. When someone appoints a representative, they may also authorize IRCC to share information from their case file with this person. Canada’s citizenship and immigration laws cover representatives and defines the terms of their services.
Resumption of Citizenship
The process by which a former citizen may resume his or her Canadian citizenship back after one year of residence in Canada as a permanent resident preceding immediately the date of application. They must become a permanent resident first.
Revocation of Citizenship
A person’s citizenship may be revoked (taken away) for any one of these reasons:
If a person’s citizenship is revoked, they must wait 10 years before they can be granted citizenship again.
An organization that brings together representatives from business, labour, education, and professional groups within an industry or profession.
Service provider organization (SPO)
A service provider organization (SPO) is an agency that provides services for newcomers to Canada.Service provider organizations offer programs that can give newcomers resources and training to live and work in Canada. Their programs can help refugees who often have a difficult time with day-to-day tasks like finding an apartment, taking public transportation, or making a doctor’s appointment.
These organizations can also help refugees’ complete forms, get permanent resident cards, health insurance, social insurance numbers, etc. They also offer interpretation and translation services to help with such special needs as giving medical backgrounds to doctors.
Visit IRCC’s website for more information on the many services provided by SPOs.
To be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Class and Canadian Experience Class, foreign workers must have work experience at specified skill levels. Skill levels for occupations come from the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. They are classified by type of work and training required to be proficient.
Sponsorship Agreement-Holder (SAH)
An incorporated organization that signs an agreement with IRCC to sponsor refugees abroad.A SAH can authorize other groups in the community to sponsor refugees under its agreement.These groups are known as “constituent groups.”
A foreign national who is in Canada legally for a short period. Temporary residents include students, foreign workers, and visitors, such as tourists.
Temporary resident visa
An official counterfoil document issued by a visa office abroad that is placed in a person’s passport to show that he or she has met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident (a visitor, student, or worker). A counterfoil is a specially designed sticker on which missions abroad print visa information.
Informally known as a visitor or tourist visa, the TRV may be issued for single or multiple entries to Canada.
Individuals who charge a fee or receive some form of compensation (direct or not) and who are not members in good standing of an accredited regulatory body are considered to be unauthorized representatives.
Urgent Protection Program (UPP)
The Urgent Protection Program (UPP) allows Canada to respond to urgent requests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resettle refugees who face immediate threats to their life, liberty or physical safety.
Valid Job Offer
A job offer, in writing, for Express Entry candidates. The offer must be:
Verification of Status Document
A document that includes a person’s immigration information such as the date and place that you where you came to Canada.
It can be used to prove your immigration status. It cannot be used for travel and is not an identity document.
Visa Application Centre
Visa application centres (VACs) help you submit temporary residence applications to a visa office for a fee. They can serve you in your preferred language and provide services to areas without easy access to a visa office.
VACs receive applications, check that they are complete and send them to the correct visa office for processing. They do not represent the Government of Canada and do not make decisions on your application. They do not offer advice about the programs you should apply to, how to answer questions on your application or any other immigration topic.
Visiting and Exchange Students
Visiting student: Students at a foreign institution (home institution) who attend a post-secondary Canadian institution (host institution) for a determined period (not a full degree or program) with the intent of transferring the credits earned at the host institution back to their home institution. Visiting students pay fees to the host institution.
Like a visiting student as they attend a host institution in Canada. Exchange students do not pay tuition fees to their host institution as these fees are covered by an exchange agreement between the host and home institutions.
A preparation for a specific occupation in industry, agriculture, or trade. This training generally includes technical, organizational, and basic skills training. It may be offered through on-the-job programs, by unions in conjunction with businesses, by community colleges or universities in conjunction with a specific industry, and by private career colleges.
Examples of a war crime or a crime against humanity could include execution-type murders, destroying people’s property, forcing people out of their homes and/or country, genocide (the killing of a group of people based on their ethnicity, race, religion, cultural backgrounds) and human rights violations.
A document issued by IRCC that authorizes a person to work legally in Canada. It sets out conditions for the worker such as: