If you’ve applied for a visit visa, study visa, or permanent residency in Canada, you may have come across the term “GCMS notes.” GCMS notes are simply a way for the Canadian government to keep track of information related to your visa application.
You can think of them as a kind of digital file folder, where officials can store everything from your application forms to correspondence with you, and even notes from interviews.
In most cases, you won’t need to worry about GCMS notes. But in some cases, they can be important – for example, if your visa application is taking a long time to process, or if it’s been refused.
In this article, we’ll explain what GCMS notes are, how you can access them, and what you can do if you think there’s a mistake in your file.
What Are GCMS Notes?
GCMS stands for Global Case Management System. It’s the online system that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) uses to manage applications. When you submit an application to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) department, your file is entered into the Global Case Management System or GCMS.
This online system helps to track and manage applications, and it provides a way for IRCC staff to communicate with each other about your case. As an applicant, you can also use GCMS to check on the status of your application and to get updates about any changes or new requirements.
Gain insight into your application process
In some cases, you may even be able to see notes that IRCC staff have made about your file. They can often provide valuable insight into the decision-making process, which is especially useful for understanding why an application was refused or rejected.
GCMS notes can also help check the accuracy of an application decision and ensure that all of the required documents are in place. For applicants who are preparing for interviews, GCMS notes can provide valuable information about what to expect.
How can I access GCMS notes?
If you want to access your GCMS notes, you’ll need to request an appeal based on the Access to Information Act (also known as the Privacy Act). This act allows Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and visa applicants to request information about themselves that is held by the government.
However, to apply for GCMS notes, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. If you are a visa applicant, you’ll need to find a representative (Canadian citizen or PR holder) in Canada who can request the notes on your behalf.
To submit a request under the Access to Information Act, you’ll need to:
- Pay a $5 fee (this can be paid online directly to the IRCC)
- Fill out an Access to Information Request form
- Include your application number
The application number is created when you file your visa application with the IRCC. If you have submitted multiple applications, you may have more than one application number.
Your application number(s) will include one or more letters followed by eight or nine digits (for example, A12345678 or ABC1234567). The letters at the beginning of the application number will tell you what type of application it is. For example:
- C for citizenship application
- S for study permit
- RHB for rehabilitation application
- EP for Provential Nominee Programs
When you order your GCMS notes, you’ll also need to provide your Unique Client Identifier (UCI) number for a more reliable request process, but it is optional. The UCI number is different from your application number and is assigned to you when your visa application begins processing.
If you’ve submitted multiple applications, they will be represented under a single UCI number.
When should I order my GCMS notes and when will I receive them?
After you submit your application for permanent residency to IRCC, they will go through an R10 completeness check to make sure that all the information and documentation are in order.
This is typically done within one month of applying. Once the completeness check is complete, your application will move on to the next stage of processing. The best time to order your GCMS notes is around 1-2 months after submitting your initial application.
It usually takes around 30 days to receive the notes once you have submitted your request. It’s important to note that ordering GCMS notes does not affect the status of your application in any way.
However, GCMS notes can be requested at any time during the application process, but ordering them too early may mean that they won’t include all of the information that you’re interested in.
For example, if you order GCMS notes before your application has been through the R10 stage, they may not include any information about whether or not your application is complete.
Waiting 1-2 months after you submit your application should give you enough time to receive your GCMS notes and get a holistic overview of your application and any notes made during progressing.
What can I do with my GCMS notes?
Once you’ve received your GCMS notes, you can use them to gain a better understanding of why your application was refused and what you need to do differently next time.
If your application was refused, you can use GCMS notes to reapply for a Canadian visa and prepare for your interview.
Reapply for a Canadian visa
If you have been refused a Canadian visa, you have the right to reapply. The first step is to figure out why your application was refused. Take some time to read through your GCMS notes carefully. Once you have a good understanding of the reasons for the refusal, you can begin to prepare your new application.
- One of the most common reasons for visa refusal is incomplete paperwork. The best way to make sure you have all the required paperwork is to use the document checklist that was provided when you submitted your application.
- If proof of financial resources was an issue, you can make sure to include more detailed information about your financial resources such as bank statements and pay stubs in your next application.
- You can also apply to get a job offer from a Canadian company to improve your chances of success. It will show that you have the means to support yourself financially.
- Another option is to consider a sponsorship program. There are many programs available that can help you with the cost of your visa application and provide you with other support.
Prepare for your interview
Your GCMS notes can also help you prepare for your interview with a visa officer, which is the final stage of the permanent residency application process. This is your chance to show that you meet all of the requirements for permanent residency and that you are committed to living in Canada.
When you arrive to Canada, you will be interviewed by two immigration officers. This is to make sure that you’re eligible to enter the country.
In the first interview, the officers will ask you questions about your application and your background. They will also ask you to provide proof of your identity and other requested documents.
In the second interview, the officers will ask you questions about personal goods that you’re bringing into the country such as alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. Some of these goods may be taxed, and it’s important you answer these questions truthfully.
It’s important to be prepared for your interview so that you can answer all of the questions accurately and provide all of the required documentation. You should review your application and supporting documents before your interview so that you’re familiar with the information that you provided.
If all goes well, you’ll be granted entry into Canada and will be able to begin your new life!
Use reliable resources and tools to get through your application process!
There are a lot of resources available to help you with your permanent residency application. Use them!
The Government of Canada’s website is a great place to start. They have a lot of information about the different types of permanent residency, how to apply, and what the requirements are.
At Express Entry PR we can help you assess your eligibility, help you gather the required documentation, and provide guidance throughout the entire application process.
Express Entry PR is your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about moving to Canada. Visit our website today and let us help you make your dream of living in Canada a reality!