If you have received a Residence Questionnaire, it is part of your application for Canadian citizenship. IRCC (formerly CIC) sends the RQ to applicants for citizenship who they suspect may not have met the residence requirement to become a Canadian citizen. There are many reasons why IRCC may have sent you the RQ.
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When you respond to the Residence Questionnaire, you must include as much supporting documentation as possible. This means that it is normal for the RQ package you submit to be thicker than a phone book. The pictures at right are of typical RQ packages before they are submitted to IRCC.
If you receive the RQ, your application for Canadian citizenship will not be processed until you respond to the Residence Questionnaire. If you do not respond, your citizenship application will be abandoned. After you submit the RQ, processing of your citizenship application will continue, but the processing time will increase by a minimum of 6 months and more frequently one year.
Cost and Processing Time for Residence Questionnaire
|Regular Service||Urgent Service|
If you received a residence questionnaire, it is part of your application for Canadian Citizenship. Citizenship and Immigration Canada may require you to complete the questionnaire in order to verify details about your ties to Canada over the last 4 years. You need to complete it in order for your application for Canadian citizenship to continue processing.
When you receive the RQ from IRCC, you have 45 business days to respond with the appropriate supporting documentation. If you do not respond within this time, IRCC will give you an additional 30 business days to answer. If you don't respond within this time, your application for Canadian citizenship will be abandoned.
If you use Immigroup to help you with your Residence Questionnaire, you will only need urgent service if you first come to us 10 business days or less before your RQ needs to be submitted to IRCC. All other clients pay the Regular Service fee. Paying the urgent service fee allows us to give your file priority so that it can be submitted before the deadline.
Residence Questionnaire Service includes:
- Examination of up to two passports including all stamps
- Examination of travel record declaration
- Examination of proof of residence including insurance, residence, and family documents
- Examination of utility accounts
- Examination of two financial accounts including chequeing, savings, credit cards, line of credit, etc
- Examination of other ties to Canada including education, employment, and other records
- Examination of original Canadian citizenship application as submitted to IRCC
- Organization of all supporting documents into standard format
- Submission letter to IRCC
Examination of additional financial accounts, excessive numbers of passport stamps, additional properties, self employment documentation, additional business documentation, photocopying of documents, additional information in the submission letter, and courier of package to IRCC incurs charges in addition to the regular or urgent service fees listed above.
Documents to include with the RQ
The purpose of the RQ is to prove to IRCC that you have met the residence requirement of 1095 days inside Canada to become a Canadian citizen by showing a history of your physical presence in Canada. This includes spending money in Canada, going to school in Canada, working in Canada, seeing a doctor in Canada, belonging to social or community organizations in Canada, etc.
When you answer the Residence Questionnaire, you provide documents that show you have done any or all of these things which proves you were physically present in Canada.
This list of documents is not comprehensive - there are many other items you can provide to prove your physical presence in Canada. We advise clients which documents to provide based on their individual circumstances.
1. Absences from Canada
When you apply for Canadian citizenship, you have to declare when you were outside Canada in the past four years and where you were. For your RQ, you will have to provide
- full colour copies of all passports you have held in the 4 years before you submitted your Canadian citizenship application
- AND translations of any stamps not in French or English
- Records of Movement
The passport is the first thing that IRCC looks at to see if you met the residence requirement. If you have lots of stamps in your passport, but you declared that you were only outside Canada for a few days on your application forms, this is exactly the kind of discrepancy that will make IRCC suspicious of your application.
2. Proof of Residence
If you have been physically present in Canada for the 1095 day minimum to apply for Canadian citizenship, then you must have lived somewhere. To prove that you lived in Canada some of the documents you can provide are
- Rental or Lease agreements
- Mortgage documents
- Property tax documents
- Insurance documents
- Home Improvement work orders
- Other residential documents
When living in Canada, you may have also made changes to your family. Some of the documents you can use for this are
- Marriage certificate
- Prenuptial agreement
- Divorce judgement
- Separation agreement
- Birth certificate for children
3. Proof of Education
If you went to school in Canada before you applied for Canadian citizenship, this is also proof of your physical presence in Canada.
- your transcripts
- your diploma
- academic awards
- your spouse's transcripts or diploma
- your children's transcripts or diploma
4. Proof of Employment
If you've worked and spent money in Canada in the four years before you applied for citizenship, this is proof that you were physically present.
- Notice of Assessment documents
- T4 documents
- T5 documents
- investment documents
- bank account statements
- credit card statements
5. Proof of Property or Business Ownership
If you've purchased property or operated a business in Canada, this is proof of your physical presence. However, if you owned property or a business outside Canada during this time, you still need to provide the same documentation to IRCC.
- Incorporation documents
- Business license
- Corporate income tax documents
- Invoices from paybles
- Invoices from receivables
6. Other proof of your presence in Canada
Additional items which can show that you were physically present in Canada include
- health records
- court documents
Again, this list of documents is not comprehensive and there are many other things you can provide to show that you were physically present in Canada. We advise clients which documents to provide based upon their individual circumstances.
Not Responding to the RQ
It's not in every applicant's best interest to respond to the RQ. Sometimes it is better not to answer IRCC's request for additional documentation.
If you're looking at the Residence Questionnaire and you don't think you have enough documents to support your case, it may be better for you not to respond.
If you don't respond to the RQ, IRCC will send you several letters asking you to respond. If you then ignore all of the letters, your application for Canadian citizenship will be deemed 'Abandoned', and the file will be closed. You will then receive a partial refund of your citizenship application fees from IRCC.
Withdrawing your Canadian citizenship application
It's not always best to respond to the RQ. If you have insufficient documents, even if you were actually present in Canada, IRCC may still determine that you did not meet the residence requirement - it is solely at their discretion to do so. It may be better for you to simply withdraw your application and then reapply.
It could also be a faster path to citizenship for you to withdraw. If it takes IRCC another 1 - 2 years to analyse your RQ documentation, you may want to consider withdrawing your current application and then filing a new application for Canadian citizenship. The next time you apply, ensure that you have met all the requirements to minimize delays in processing.
If you need help withdrawing your application, contact us.
Misrepresentation on a Residence Questionnaire
It is a serious offence to lie or make false statements on any application to IRCC. False or misleading statements made on a PR application, Canadian citizenship application, or RQ can actually lead to the revocation of your Canadian citizenship or PR status, and your eventual deportation and ban from Canada.
Don't lie on any application pertaining to PR status or Canadian citizenship!
If you don't meet the requirements, just wait until you do and then apply. It's not worth the possible loss of your status in Canada.
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