What Are GCMS Notes?
The Global Case Management System (GCMS) is a system used by the IRCC to process immigration and citizenship applications to Canada. These notes are extremely important to the immigration process as they provide a detailed record of an applicant’s file, correspondence from and to IRCC, documents received from the applicant, detailed notes from the officers reviewing the file at each stage, thus providing valuable information on the current status and future processing of your application for Canadian visa cases such as Express Entry applications, visitor visas, as well as study and work permits.
With your entitlement to a copy of these notes, you may stay up to date on the status of your application and take any required actions to improve the chances of your application being accepted.
How Do I Apply for GCMS Notes?
Your GCMS notes are issued under the Access to Information Act, otherwise known as the Privacy Act. This Act is a law which allows any person access to information about them from the federal government (IRCC).
To apply for the notes, you must be a Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or be in Canada at the time of your request. If this is not the case, you will have to go through a representative who is a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident. This person will then apply for an Access to Information Act or Privacy Act request on your behalf.
What Do I Need In Order to Apply for GCMS Notes?
In order to apply, you MUST show your application number. This number will be created once you file your visa application with the IRCC. It is possible to have multiple application numbers depending on the number of applications you have submitted. Your application number(s) will include one letter (this letter will be based on which visa you have applied for), followed by a number of digits (usually 9). Below you can find examples of which letters specify which visa applications:
- Beginning with E (such as E012345678) are economic immigration applications, including Express Entry.
- Beginning with EP (such as EP012345678) are Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applications.
- Beginning with F (such as F012345678) for family sponsorship applications.
- Beginning with S (such as S012345678) are study permit applications.
- Beginning with W (such as W012345678) are work permit applications.
- Beginning with V (such as V012345678) are temporary resident visa (TRV), visitor record, or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTa) applications.
- Beginning with D (such as D012345678) for temporary resident permit applications.
- Beginning with C (such as C012345678) for citizenship applications.
- Beginning with H (such as H012345678) are for Humanitarian and Compassionate considerations applications.
- Beginning with L (such as L012345678) for refugee claimant applications.
- Beginning with G (such as G012345678) for refugee resettlement applications.
- Beginning with RHB (such as RHB012345678) for rehabilitation applications.
- Beginning with N (such as N012345678) for removal orders.
The UCI (Unique Client Identifier) number is also asked for more reliable processing of the request but is not mandatory. You will receive this number only after the processing of your application has started, and unlike the application numbers, you will only have one UCI number even if you file more than one application. This number usually contains 8 digits separated by one hyphen (0123-4567) or 10 digits separated by two hyphens (12-3456-7890).
When Should I Order GCMS Notes?
For Canadian permanent residence applications, you can order GCMS notes as soon as the R10 completeness checks stage. This is Regulation 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which is the phase of the processing of your application where IRCC checks that all the information and documentation is complete. This stage is usually done within 1 month of applying to IRCC. The right time to order GCMS notes for PR applications would be around on the 2nd to 3rd months after applying.
If you are applying for temporary residence or your permanent residence has been processed and a decision has been reached by IRCC, you may also order GCMS notes at this time. If your applications for temporary or permanent residence do not qualify, you will be notified of the reason(s) in your GCMS notes.
How Long Will It Take After Ordering My Notes?
Under the Canadian Access to Information and Privacy Act, the IRCC has to respond to a request for GCMS notes within 30 days. However, 40 days is the average processing time after taking into consideration the workload on different offices and the number of pending requests.
Ordering GCMS notes will not delay or have any effect on your file or visa application process.
Below, you can find an example of the AITP form you have to complete in order to obtain your GCMS notes:
Do You Need Assistance in Ordering GCMS Notes?
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