Entire File: How does it work

Requesting the entire file for immigration, student, visitor or work visa includes every single document related to your Canadian visa application. It will include all the documents submitted by you or your lawyer to support your visa application. It will also include a copy of your CAIPS/GCMS notes and FOSS notes if applicable.

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.

Requesting the entire file (also referred to as the physical file) does not have any impact on the processing of your visa application.

Is it right for you

Requesting the entire file may not be suitable for all applicants. If you find yourself in the following circumstances then you should consider obtaining your file;

  • You are reapplying for a visa and want to ensure consistency and accuracy with the previous application
  • You need a copy of the IELTS, CELPIP or TEF certificate that was mailed to CIC
  • You need copies of employment references that were sent to CIC
  • You need copies of documents that were submitted with your application

Document Retention Policy - Pursuant to CIC's policy regarding the retention and disposal of information, in general, Entire File related documents are disposed off 2 years after CIC's last administrative action. If it has been more than 2 years since CIC notified you of a visa refusal then do not order the Entire File, CIC may have destroyed those documents (Depending on the application, visa office and method of submission, some applications are uploaded into CIC's system and CIC therefore may have access to these records beyond the 2 years).

How to request

Requests for the entire file are similar to CAIPS/GCMS notes, we would require the details of your application, consent and the processing fee.

The following documents are included in every request;

    CAIPS/GCMS notes
    Your visa application (as submitted by you or your lawyer)
    All other documents submitted along with your visa application
Request your file