1. What is CAIPS/GCMS
CAIPS is an acronym for Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System. It is part of the Electronic Data Processing (EDP) system used by the Canadian Immigration offices to process visa applications. EDP systems are those used to gather or update the information needed for the operational support of immigration programs. From an applicants point of view, the two useful systems are CAIPS and FOSS as described below; Read about all the EDP sub-systems.
Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System (CAIPS) is an automated system for application processing outside Canada. Information is entered in the system from application forms and supporting documentation submitted by applicants for immigrant and visitor visas, returning residence permits and student and employment authorizations.
Field Operational Support System (FOSS) is the main operational support for Immigration operation in Canada.
Your CAIPS file will have valuable information on the processing of your Canadian visa application. CAIPS is NOT same as the "e-Client", which only provides limited information on the status of your application. To see an e-client sample, click here
Global Case Management System (GCMS) is CIC's new integrated and worldwide system used internally to process applications for citizenship and immigration services.
2. Can I obtain the CAIPS/GCMS Notes on my own
Only a qualified individual, i.e. a Canadian Citizen, a Permanent Resident or a person in Canada, with valid documents can make a request on your behalf.
3. When should I make a request to obtain my CAIPS/GCMS Notes
Recently sent your application
If you have not received your Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) then your CAIPS/GCMS Notes will probably not have been created yet - in which case the file request will come back blank. So its best to request CAIPS/GCMS Notes when you receive your AOR. However, sometimes there can be delays in sending out AOR's and obtaining your CAIPS/GCMS Notes can confirm whether the Immigration office has started processing the application or not.
Received your Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR)
The CAIPS/GCMS file will normally have, at minimum, two useful pieces of information:
The bring forward date will tell you when your application will be put on an immigration officer's desk for formal assessment. This is when you will discover if you have been granted an interview waiver. Please note that the bring forward date is not guaranteed and should only be considered as a time frame for an interview or selection decision.
The preliminary points assessment (entered by paper screeners at the visa office) will indicate whether the visa office is interpreting your application in the way you had hoped. If a problem appears here then you have the opportunity to send additional documents in before an immigration officer formally assesses the file.
Invited to an interview
The CAIPS/GCMS file will have the immigration officer's notes entered when he reviewed the file and decided an interview was required. The CAIPS/GCMS notes will normally indicate to you why you need to be interviewed.
Passed medicals, and paid the Right of Landing Fee (ROLF).
The normal reason for delays after medical/ROLF are CSIS (Canadian Security and Intelligence Service) security checks or a processing error. The CAIPS/GCMS file will indicate if security checks have been completed, and what other steps are outstanding if any.
4. What information will be contained in the CAIPS/GCMS Notes
The CAIPS/GCMS file that you receive from Ottawa, Canada will be a computer printout. The printout will have the details of the points calculations, immigration officer's notes, program assistant's notes, details of the processing stages passed, etc. See a sample.
Please note that the details in your file will depend on your individual circumstances and the stage of processing.
5. I do not have a file number, can I request my CAIPS/GCMS Notes
The CAIPS/GCMS file can be requested with just your full name, visa office, and the date of birth. If you have not received your file number or do not have it available, a CAIPS/GCMS file can still be requested. However, it is best to request your CAIPS/GCMS file with a file number. File number ensures faster processing of your request.
You will find this number, also referred to as an Application Number, on any official document issued to you from the visa office where you submitted your application. Your Immigration File Number/Application Number starts with a letter and is followed by a combination of nine (9) numbers or letters.
(Example: B-000-000-000 or E-P00-000-000)
6. Does it make a difference which visa office is processing my case
CAIPS/GCMS files can be requested for ANY visa office. All CAIPS/GCMS requests are processed through the Canada Immigration office in Ottawa, Canada, not through the local visa office where you submitted your application.
7. How long would it take to obtain the CAIPS/GCMS Notes
CAIPS/GCMS files can normally be obtained in 4-5 weeks. The Ottawa office in Canada is required to respond to CAIPS/GCMS request within 30 working days. Please note that in rare circumstances the Ottawa office may take longer to process requests.
According to CIC Ottawa the legislated timeframe for processing a CAIPS/GCMS request is 30 calendar days. CIC can extend the time limit to respond to a request beyond the 30 calendar days if:
Based on current processing time frame; if all 3 steps are completed today the approximate date by which we will receive your file is by
If the deadline falls on a weekend or on a holiday, the due date becomes the next business day. Please note that due to the volume of requests that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) processes, it is not unusual for responses to be sent late in the day of the due date.
To track the status of your order click here
The time frame provided is only an estimate to be used for reference, actual processing time may vary.
8. How long would it take to obtain the Entire File
It takes at least 30 working days to complete the request and takes longer if Citizenship and Immigration Canada has to collect information from overseas offices.
Records held at a mission abroad are forwarded to Canada for review using mail services, couriers and diplomatic bags belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Reliability of such services vary from country to country resulting in frequent and uncontrollable delays in obtaining records from missions despite the best effort of the mission staff. In such circumstances CIC may require more than 30 working days required to process requests.
9. Will requesting the CAIPS/GCMS file delay the processing of my visa application
No, requesting the CAIPS/GCMS notes does not affect the processing of your visa application. In turn, resolving any discrepancies found in the CAIPS notes can help the processing of your application.
10. I have hired a lawyer/consultant for my visa application, can I still use your service
Yes, you can use our service for obtaining the CAIPS/GCMS Notes, Entire File or Additional Services even if you have retained an Immigration lawyer/consultant. The above requests have very specific Consent forms, are handled by a separate office and processed independently of your visa application.
11. What is CaipsNotes.com refund policy
CaipsNotes.com has a very simple and straight forward refund policy. Once we receive the application details, payment and consent form your request is submitted to CIC. If you decide to cancel your order within 45 days from the payment date and your request has not been submitted to CIC, we will refund the processing fee according to the Terms and Conditions of the payment method used. However once we submit your request to CIC, a refund can not be issued.
Refunds can not be issued in case of processing delays caused by circumstances and factors beyond CaipsNotes.com's control, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from natural disaster(s), strikes, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations and Act(s) of God.
If you have any questions or concerns about our refund policy, please feel free to contact us.