Getting an ITA and permanent residence application FAQs


How long do I have to complete and submit my online visa application?

After starting an online application or online request, you have 60 days to complete it. You can see the days remaining to submit your application on your account Welcome Page. If you do not submit your application within 60 days, it will automatically be deleted.

Can I review my answers before submitting my online visa application?

Yes. You can review your answers at any time during your application where you see the “modify my answers” button in the top right corner.

You will have another opportunity to review your answers before you submit your application.

What does it mean when I electronically sign my online application?

By electronically signing your online application or online request, you are declaring that:

  • the information you have given in your application is true and
  • the supporting documents you are sending are genuine.

Which family members can come with me to Canada when I immigrate?

You can bring family members with you to Canada if they were processed for permanent residence as your dependents. This includes:

● your spouse or common-law partner

● your dependent child

● your spouse or common-law partner’s dependent child

● a dependent child of a dependent child

The family members that can’t come with you include:

● your parents

● grandparents

● brother or sister

● uncle or aunt

● nephew or niece

● other relatives

Your dependents can’t arrive in Canada before you. They must arrive with you or after you.

You may be able to sponsor them after you immigrate to Canada.

Find out more about how to sponsor your family.

What if I don’t know how to answer a question in my online application?

Some questions have help text that explains the question. To see it, click on the help (?) icon on the right side of the question.

How can I change or review my answers in my online application?

To change or review your answers, click on "Modify my answers" in the top right corner.

Click on "Modify" beside the answer you would like to update. When you're done, click the "Return to your online application link at the bottom left of the page.

If you do change an answer, you may need to update other answers or answer more questions based on your changes.

Don't use your browser's "Back" and "Forward" buttons (the arrows in the top left corner of the screen). Using these buttons may cause you to lose answers. You may need to start over.

How do I exit and save my online application?

When logged into your account:

If you are in the application for services related to visas, study or work permits, click the blue “Exit Questionnaire” button at the bottom left of the page to end your session. When you click “Exit”, your online application will automatically be saved.

If you are in an Express Entry profile or online application for permanent residence, click the grey “Save and Exit” button at the bottom left of the page.

What if I am invited to apply for Express Entry while waiting for a new work permit?

If you applied for a new work permit before your old one expired, you are under “implied status” until we make a decision on your application.

Job offer information from your current employer in your Express Entry profile will carry forward to your application if we invite you to apply for permanent residence while under implied status.

If you are not sure you answered correctly:

1. go to the “work history” screen, under the “Intended work in Canada” section

2. scroll down to the section about Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA)

3. if your employer had an LMIA for your work permit, make sure you answered “yes” to the question “Was a positive LMIA issued for the job offer in Canada?”

4. under “LMIA number,” enter the number from the expired LMIA

5. if your work permit is LMIA-exempt, for the question “Was a positive LMIA issued for the job offer in Canada?” choose the correct answer from the “No – My work permit is exempt…” options.

To prove that you are under implied status, include a copy of your new LMIA (if this applies) and work permit applications when you apply. When you get to the document checklist, select “add letter of explanation” to upload it into the “Optional documents” section.

As long as you still have implied status at the time you apply, you do not need to wait for your new work permit to be approved.

If IRCC issues you a new work permit before you submit your application, you need to update this information before you submit it.

If IRCC refuses you a new work permit before you submit your application, you may want to decline the invitation to apply, since the information in your profile is no longer up to date. You will be put back in the pool, and should update your profile to show the change in your work status.

You can recalculate your score to see if you still have enough points to be invited to apply.

If losing job offer points brings your score below the minimum score for your round of invitation, IRCC will refuse your application. If they refuse your application, they will not refund your processing fees.

I was invited to apply through Express Entry but my work permit expired. What do I do?

If you did not apply for a new work permit before your original one expired (in other words, maintain implied status), it may cause your score to drop. This could cause you to not be eligible any more.

If your score has dropped below the minimum cut off for your round of invitations, you should decline the invitation. If this happens and you submit your application anyway, IRCC will refuse it.

If they refuse your application, they will not refund your fees.

If you decline, you will be put back in the pool. You should update your Express Entry profile to show the change in your work status.

You may be able to restore your work permit status. If your status is restored and you still have an eligible Express Entry profile, you may be invited to again apply for permanent residence in the future.


My documents are too large to upload. How do I reduce the file size?

Here are some tips for reducing the size of your file:

PDF format

  • Recreate the PDF using the “lowest file size” option available.
  • If you have images, save them with a resolution of 96 DPI (dots per inch).
  • Remove all unnecessary images.

You may find file size and image options under the advanced settings section of the software you are using.

JPG format

  • Scan your document at a lower resolution (96 DPI).
  • Remove all empty space around the image.
  • Shrink the image.
  • Reduce the JPG image quality.

TIFF and PNG format

  • Scan your document at a lower resolution (96 DPI).
  • Crop the image to remove any empty space around it.
  • Shrink the image.
  • Save the file in JPG format instead.

DOC and DOCX format

  • Remove unnecessary images, formatting and macros.
  • Save the file as a recent Word version.
  • Reduce the file size of the images before they are added to the document.
  • If it is still too large, save the file as a PDF.

What is a personal document checklist?

A personal document checklist is a list of forms and documents you need to complete and send in with your application.

If you are applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit, this checklist is based on the answers you gave in the online immigration eligibility questionnaire.

If you are applying for permanent residence online, the checklist is based on the answers you gave while completing your application.

Use this page to upload the supporting documents you need to include when you submit your application.

I need to add multiple files to my online application, but there is only one field to upload documents. What can I do?

To upload multiple documents to one field, you will need to combine multiple documents into one file.

How to combine documents:

Text documents: Copy the text from all files into a single document. If you are including photos, use the “Insert picture” function instead of “Copy/Paste”.

PDF files: Combine PDFs to make a multi-page PDF.
If you are using Acrobat DC, follow the instructions on Adobe’s website.
If you don’t have Acrobat DC, there are websites that offer PDF merging

Images: Combine multiple images of your documents into a text document or PDF. When you save a PDF file, use a low resolution (96 dpi) to keep the document under 4MB.

You can only upload one 4MB file per field. If you try to upload multiple files in the same field, only one will be saved.

Do I need to include medical exams and police certificates for an Express Entry application to be complete?

Yes, you must include all medical exam confirmation letters and police certificates for your application for permanent residence to be complete.

The online system will not let you submit an application before you upload these documents.

If you upload something else instead (for example, a blank document), IRCC will reject the application after reviewing it and they will refund your fees.

Exceptional cases

In rare cases, you may not be able to get a police certificate despite your best efforts. (For example, you applied in the first week after IRCC invited you to apply, but it did not arrive within the 90-day timeframe).

If this happens, you need to upload, with your complete application:

  • proof that you applied for a police certificate, and
  • a letter of explanation.

Proof includes things like receipts that prove you submitted paperwork and any fees related to your request.

You must show that you made your best efforts to get all the documents you needed.

If you need a police certificate from a country where IRCC must request it from them, upload a letter of explanation that explains this.

There is no guarantee IRCC will accept a letter of explanation in place of any required document, including a police certificate. They consider each application under Express Entry on its own merits.

If you did not submit a police certificate with your application, only proof that you applied for one, please do not send the police certificate when you get it. Only send it to IRCC once they ask you to through your account.

IRCC will send you new instructions on how to submit them.

What happens if a country has special procedures for getting police certificates?

IRCC is aware that for some countries there are special procedures in place to get police certificates.

You can find country-specific information about police certificates on their website.


If I’m asked to give my biometrics, does that mean my application is approved?

No. Giving your biometrics is one of the steps you need to do before IRCC can process your application. Once you give them your biometrics, they will use them to assess your application.

Why do I have to give my biometrics (fingerprints and photo) when I apply?

Most people have to give biometrics when they apply for a visitor visa, a study or work permit or permanent residence.

Canadian visa officers use biometrics to confirm your identity. Biometrics also helps to:

  • make it more difficult for someone to forge, steal or use your identity,
  • resolve problems or errors that may happen if your name, date of birth and/or place of birth are similar to those of someone else, and
  • confirm your identity the next time you apply, so it is easier for you to re-enter Canada.

I need to give biometrics. What if there’s no visa application center (VAC) in the country or territory I’m applying from?

If there’s nowhere to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics) where you live, you’ll have to find the location closest to you. There are now 160 VACs in 108 countries around the world where you can give your biometrics.

As of December 3, 2019, you can also give your biometrics at designated Service Canada offices.

If you’re in the United States or a U.S. territory, you can give your biometrics at any of the 133 Application Support Centers (ASCs). Don’t travel to the U.S. if you’re going only to give biometrics. U.S. border officials may not let you enter the country. You can only give biometrics at an ASC if you’re already legally in the U.S.

If I get my photo taken for biometrics, do I still need to submit a paper photograph as part of my application?

No. IRCC will use the digital photograph taken when you give your biometrics.

I cover my head or face for religious or cultural reasons. What will happen when I go to have my photo taken for biometrics?

When you have your photograph taken, your whole face must be clearly visible.

You may request to have your photo taken by an operator of the same gender and you may ask for a privacy curtain.

What will happen to my fingerprints and photo after they are collected for biometrics?

After you give your biometrics, your fingerprints and photo will be encrypted and sent electronically to a secure Government of Canada database. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will check your fingerprints against the fingerprint records of:

  • criminals,
  • refugee claimants,
  • deportees, and
  • temporary resident applicants.

Any matches to existing RCMP records will be analyzed by the visa officer, who will use the information to make a final decision on your application.

When you arrive in Canada, a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) border services officer will use your biometrics to verify that you are the same person the visa was given to.