GCMS notes or CSIS notes can be requested through Access to Information and Privacy Acts (ATIP) requests. This is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when immigrating to Canada. There are numerous use cases for submitting an ATIP to access GCMS or CSIS Notes, especially when your application is delayed or rejected. You can order GCMS or CSIS Notes with ImmiSearch or submit a request yourself. In this guide, we will go over the following:
Laws in Canada give you the right to access general records and personal information held by government institutions. These laws are called the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (ATIP). Although there are various government institutions, what’s interesting to note is that over 50% of all ATIP requests are submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for GCMS notes. Between 2019 and 2020, over 132,000 requests were made to IRCC.
Are GCMS notes useful? Well, when used properly, you can obtain in-depth information regarding your applications which significantly increases the advantage you have in successfully immigrating to Canada.
GCMS stands for Global Case Management System. It is a system used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to process files. What’s important is that GCMS will contain your immigration and citizenship application details such as documents received, correspondence between you and IRCC, detailed immigration officer notes reviewing your file, and more. As you can imagine, having access to your GCMS Notes can be extremely helpful, especially in these circumstances:
GCMS Notes from IRCC and CBSA look very similar. However, there are a couple of differences that are worth mentioning:
If you need access to this information on top of regular GCMS notes, it may make more sense for you to submit an ATIP request for GCMS notes from the CBSA.
CSIS Notes refer specifically to information related to your immigration or citizenship application received by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). It discloses information such as when your file was received, when processing was completed, and details about the background check and security screening regarding your file. When processing times for your immigration application are delayed, it can be helpful to submit an ATIP request for CSIS Notes to check if there were any issues regarding the background check or security screening CSIS conducted on your file.
Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and any individual present or corporation in Canada can make a request. If you are neither of the above, you can ask a representative like ImmiSearch to make a request on your behalf.
The majority of GCMS notes are delivered within 30 days. Government agencies like IRCC, CBSA, and CSIS are required to respond to your ATIP request within 30 calendar days of receiving it. While the majority of requests are completed within 30 calendar days, this period may be extended for 30, 60, or 90 days if:
Submitting an ATIP request for GCMS notes is relatively simple. Here is a full example of what the ATIP Request page should look like. Here are the steps to submitting an ATIP request:
Here is a full example of what the ATIP Request page should look like.
The current cost of submitting an ATIP request is $5.00 per request. Ordering GCMS or CSIS Notes through ImmiSearch is only $10.00 per request.
ATIP requests for GCMS notes can be hundreds of pages but you don’t need to worry. The officer’s electronic notes regarding your file will be available on the last few pages of the document you receive. Understanding this should be straightforward however, it can be difficult to understand what are the necessary next steps or to understand how the officer’s notes impact your application. In these situations, it is helpful to order Notes Analysis with ImmiSearch to ensure you fully understand and can utilize the notes to increase your chances of a successful application.
Here is a sample GCMS Note with in-depth descriptions of each field so you can easily understand the content of your GCMS notes.