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Frequently Asked Questions

GCMS from IRCC vs CBSA

Frequently Asked Questions about requesting GCMS and Entire File from IRCC vs CBSA

GCMS from CBSA

When and why does it make sense to request GCMS from CBSA?

Making a request for your GCMS or Entire File from IRCC or CBSA is a matter of personal preference. For most, requesting from IRCC will be sufficient. However there can be situations when requesting from CBSA may be a better choice. See when and why it can make sense to request your GCMS file from CBSA.

Government agency

IRCC IRCC

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is the department of the Government of Canada with responsibility for matters dealing with immigration to Canada, refugees, and Canadian citizenship

CBSA CBSA

The Canada Border Services Agency is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for border control, immigration enforcement, and customs services in Canada

SUMMARY

IRCC

Making a request from IRCC or CBSA is a matter of personal preference. For most, requesting from IRCC will be sufficient

CBSA

There can be situations when requesting from CBSA may be a better choice;

you have a deadline to meet and can’t take a chance with potential delays from IRCC
your application is in progress and you want more information about Security Screening
you were found inadmissible and were refused entry to, or removed from Canada
you want maximum possible information about your file and want information from IRCC and CBSA

Source of information

IRCC

The Global Case Management System

CBSA

CBSA uses the Global Case Management System as well

Content

IRCC

GCMS Notes – Includes the status update of the file, the officers electronic notes and/or the reason for refusal

Entire File – Includes the status update of the file, the officers electronic notes and/or the reason for refusal copies of all forms and supporting documents sent to/from IRCC

CBSA

Includes the same information as provided by IRCC information administered by CBSA

Delivery format

IRCC

IRCC provides information via email as a PDF document

CBSA

Prior to the pandemic CBSA provided information via postal mail only. Currently CBSA follows the same protocol as IRCC

Processing time

IRCC

There is a great degree of variability with IRCC’s performance; files from IRCC may arrive well before the due date, on the due date itself or may be delayed by an additional 60 to 90 days beyond the due date

IRCC receives the most requests of all government agencies and is being investigated by the Information Commissioner of Canada for delays

CBSA

CBSA has a better track record for on-time performance. Files from CBSA are more likely to arrive close to or on the due date

Processing delay with CBSA is less likely and if there is a delay then it’s often for a shorter duration compared to IRCC

Redaction

IRCC

IRCC and CBSA both do not disclose certain information that could be injurious to Canada’s security or economy, federal-provincial relations and international affairs

In some cases IRCC will withhold certain types of information but CBSA will disclose the exact same information. Example; Security screening details are always redacted in files from IRCC. However, in most files from CBSA security screening details are not redacted

CBSA

Due to inconsistencies in how IRCC and CBSA release the exact same information, it can beneficial in certain situations to request your file from both IRCC and CBSA. This will provide the maximum possible information about your file

Other

IRCC

  • IRCC will accept an e-sign Consent form with an audit log
  • UCI # (Client ID) is not required, but recommended, to obtain information from IRCC
  • For a minor child i.e. under the age of 16, a consent form signed by both parents is a requirement
  • Cross consent between spouses is not required

CBSA

  • CBSA will also accept an e-sign Consent form with an audit log
  • UCI # (Client ID), if applicable, is required to obtain information from CBSA
  • For a minor child, a consent form signed by both parents and a copy of the birth certificate is a requirement
  • Cross consent between spouses is required if there is information from each of the spouses in their respective files. Use the swap button to easily create a cross consent for the spouse SWAP

Step 1 – Application details

Start with the secure & easy to complete online order form. We collect the minimal amount of information required.

Step 2 – Payment

Next make the payment using an option convenient to you. We operate exclusively with PCI compliant payment processors.

Step 3 – Consent form

The last step is to complete the prefilled consent form. The form may be scanned and e-mailed to us or uploaded securely.

Thank you for reading!
Canada Visa Status - The only way to know the most detailed information of an application is by requesting GCMS Notes. GCMS is the most comprehensive and up-to-date information that can be obtained to understand the status of a visa application or to learn the details about a visa refusal.  It offers far more detail than IRCC’s online system and you can order your GCMS Notes online
Disclaimer - Material contained within this website is intended for informational purposes only and is provided as a service to the Canada visa applicant community. These materials do not, and are not, intended to constitute legal advice.