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For prospective immigrants to Canada, one of the most frustrating aspects about the process is understanding where their application currently stands. Well, one document that can help is your CAIPS file.

What is CAIPS?

CAIPS is short for ‘Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System’ It is the computer system used by Canadian visa offices to process visa applications. We can help you get a printout of your CAIPS file, which should have valuable information on the current status, and future processing of your Canadian permanent residence application.

Your CAIPS file is important because every stage of the immigration process is documented here. Every time there is movement on your file, whether a request for documents or notes being made on your medical status, immigration officials must update your file.

CAIPS notes also list important information such as how many points you have been assessed, and a visa officer's comments on your case.

The notes are especially useful if you believe your file has taken longer than normal to process, or if you have been called for an interview and you'd like to know what you are likely to be quizzed on.

What Will My CAIPS File Tell Me?

Important:CAIPS is used slightly differently in each visa office. The information here describes the typical usage in Canadian visa offices, and may not reflect the usage in your specific visa office.

Scenario 1: You have just sent your application
If you have not received your Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) then your CAIPS file will probably not have been created yet – in which case the file request will come back blank.

Some visa offices do not send out AORs as efficiently as others – and so the absence of an AOR might not mean that the CAIPS file has not been created. Obtaining your file in these circumstances is speculative, but will confirm whether the visa office has received / started processing your application or not.

Scenario 2: You have just received your Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR)
The CAIPS file will normally have at least one useful piece of information: the file’s official ‘bring forward date’ will tell you when (in theory) your application will be put on a immigration officer’s desk for formal assessment.

Scenario 3: You have been invited to interview
The CAIPS file will have the immigration officer’s notes entered when he reviewed the file and decided an interview was required, as well as your initial points assessment. The CAIPS notes will normally indicate why you need to be interviewed and may provide pointers for additional information you will need to present at the interview to argue your case.

Scenario 4: You have taken your medicals but are still waiting
The normal reasons for delays after you have taken your medicals are either waiting for the medicals to be ‘rubber stamped’, a delay in CSIS (Canadian Security and Intelligence Service) security / background checks (there are not unusual for applicants who have travelled widely or are applying from certain countries), or some missing documentation. CAIPS will indicate if security checks have been completed, and what other steps are outstanding if any. However, it will NOT show any details about the actual processing of your background checks.

We understand how frustrating and bewildering it can be, and hope that our service can help you understand a little better what is going on with your application for immigration to Canada.

We offer two services, with the cheapest way to obtain your CAIPS file costing just C$40 – an attractive proposition given the investment in both time and money you have made in applying to emigrate to Canada, and certainly a lot cheaper than the competition.


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