Why haven’t I heard anything about my Proof of Citizenship application?
Early March 2020 seems like a lifetime ago but it is when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The impact caused many problems for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Notably, Case Processing Centers, Visa Application Centers, and Visa Offices closed and staff had no choice but to work from home leading to reduced work capacity.
The impact of covid-19 is unprecedented, resulting in extremely negative impacts on Canadian citizenship and immigration processing times. Citizenship certificate applications have been among the hardest hit as these applications were de-prioritized in order to allow IRCC staff to focus on other types of applications that the government deemed more urgent.
Pre-COVID, processing time for Canadian Citizenship certificate replacement was approximately 6 months and was approximately 6 months to 1 year for a first-time application for proof of Canadian citizenship. When an application is submitted, you receive the Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) email from IRCC confirming receipt of your application.
In June 2021, IRCC announced processing time for applications had increased to 15 months (due to a growing backlog of applications during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020). In truth, the processing time had already gone up, and IRCC only announced this officially in June.
They also specify that there will be long delays before the acknowledgment of receipt is issued. Our office can confirm this is accurate as we have had many clients who have still not received their AOR email for applications submitted in 2020. IRCC also confirms that first proof of citizenship or renewal applicants from outside of Canada will have to wait even longer than 15 months.
When can I expect to get my acknowledgement of receipt email?
The Acknowledgement of Receipt, which will include your file number (10-digit file number beginning with PR), was generally taking between (3) to (4) months to be received before the pandemic. Now, it would be realistic to expect to receive the email approximately 14 months after you submitted your application in 2020 if you submitted later than the first week of February.
Can I call IRCC to check on my application?
Yes, you can call IRCC on the regular phone number of 1-888-242-2100. However, if you have not received the Acknowledgement of Receipt email with your 10-digit file number, then IRCC will not be able to check on your application at all as it has not yet been entered into the system. Until you receive the AOR email with the file number, there is no way to track the application. Your only means of confirming that it has been received by IRCC is the delivery confirmation from the courier company you used.
How can I speed up the processing of my citizenship certificate application?
To apply for urgent processing, you must be eligible to apply for citizenship and have reasonable grounds for the request, such as the need to;
- access benefits like:
- accepting an offer of admission to a Canadian university or college
- accepting a job offer from a Canadian employer
- joining the Canadian Forces
- apply for your pension
- access health care (renew your health card)
- obtain your Social Insurance Number
- obtain your Canadian passport to travel urgently (such as because of death or serious illness in your family)
This list is NOT comprehensive – there are lots of other reasons why a request for urgency may be approved for a citizenship certificate application. If you have already submitted an application and your personal circumstances have changed whereby you need urgent processing, a new application can be submitted which will process urgently.
Expedited Processing Times – Proof of Citizenship
For a citizenship card or certificate replacement, urgent processing will have your Acknowledgement of Receipt issued in approximately 1 – 2 weeks and will have your citizenship certificate issued in approximately 8 weeks.
For a first citizenship certificate, urgent processing times are approximately 2 – 4 weeks for the AOR and 6 – 8 weeks for the citizenship certificate.
Contact us to see if you qualify for urgent processing.
My citizenship certificate application has been returned by IRCC – What should I do?
If you submitted an application to replace your Canadian citizenship card/certificate and the application was returned to you, or you received a letter requesting additional documents or information, this means that your application was not complete. IRCC will not continue to process your application for a new proof of Canadian citizenship until you provide exactly what they have requested.
If your entire application was returned, then your application has not gone into process. You will need to submit the entire application again and include whatever documentation or information was missing.
If your application went into processing, but additional info or documents were requested, you must provide what IRCC has requested. If you don’t respond within 180 days (6 months) of their letter to you, your application will be deemed abandoned and you will not receive a replacement of your Canadian citizenship card or a refund of your IRCC processing fee.
If you’re not sure why your application was returned, Contact us for more information.