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A Summary Letter is an underused but vital component to your application package. It is also sometimes called a Submission Letter, a Cover Letter, or a Letter of Explanation (LOE).
Why is a summary latter so important and what is it?
We’re at chapter 25 and we have more than 10 more chapters to go to lay out, step by step, how to put together a successful sponsorship application. You are likely getting a pretty good idea of the sheer volume of information – forms and supporting documents of all sorts from around the world – that a sponsorship application potentially can contain.
Now imagine you’re an IRCC official who has to review countless numbers of these applications and make a decision on each one of them. This is not an easy job to do.
Now imagine you receive a sponsorship application which has a Summary Letter right at the top of the package, and that Summary Letter tells the official:
- That this applicant indeed qualifies for permanent residency, and
- How this applicant qualifies – briefly and concisely and point by point – for permanent residency
- Precisely who the applicant is, how many people are being sponsored, and where in the application all this information satisfying IRCC’s criteria can be found.
You have just provided a clear framework for decision-making on the part of the IRCC official.
Can a good Summary Letter get a person with serious criminality accepted as a permanent resident? No, almost certainly not.
But can a well-written Summary Letter tip the balance in your favour in a complex application with some issues that might hinder your success? Absolutely.
One of the first things you have to realize is that there is no standard one-size-fits-all Summary Letter. Each letter will depend on the specifics of the applicant’s situation and address all the concerns that an IRCC official may have about the merits of their case.
It will provide a clear narrative that links together all the forms and documents involved.
In our in-depth article on summary letters, you should click on the links for sample Summary Letters and take a few minutes to read through one.
The detail that can be covered is impressive because of the orderly way it is presented. It makes it easy for an officer to read through it and check off each item of concern that they often have with any specific type of application.
If you’re a lawyer, or very good at effective and detailed written communication, then you can have a shot at writing the letter yourself.
You really should also consider getting professional help in putting one together. It really can make the difference between success and failure.
When the following is true:
- Your case is complicated – most sponsorship applications are, and
- You need your application to be processed relatively quickly – in order not to keep your spouse/partner waiting abroad or living on tenterhooks in Canada, and
- You don’t have the time to put a good letter together – writing the summary letter will inevitably involve reviewing your overall application so it will be time-consuming,
Then you should hire a professional to write your Summary Letter, or as they are sometimes called, Letter of Explanation (LOE).
Overall, between $500 and $1,500 – depending on the complexity of your case – is a reasonable range to expect for a professional to write your summary letter. (Of course, if you've hired someone to submit your application for you, the summary letter should be part of this service.
- If Immigroup handles your application from end to end, your Summary Letter is included in the overall service price. Keep that in mind.
- For a sponsorship application your Summary Letter will be written by an Immigration Consultant or Paralegal who has a lot of experience handling sponsorship applications and has done dozens of summary letters and understands the matter thoroughly.
- For some complex cases expert consultants or lawyers may be needed – the big guns in other words.
So, take a few minutes and review our article here to see just how important a Summary Letter is.
You might want to just get Immigroup to help you out with your Summary Letter, or get more involved, but that’s your call.
However, let’s say you want to give it a shot and put one together yourself. Here’s a good way to proceed.
- In Chapter 15 we brought up the Sponsorship To Do List document where you put down all the questions and uncertainties you have as you work through each form and gather your documents. You can use this document to keep a record of all the gaps in your work and personal life where you may not have the information that IRCC requests. Often it’s information you have to give in one of the many forms you have to fill out – for example:
- A company you worked for may have gone bankrupt so you can’t get a reference letter from them.
- A former partner or spouse has not communicated with you in years and they cannot sign a document or they have not signed a divorce document for example even though the court awarded you a divorce.
- A parent might not be located for similar reasons – they no longer have any contact with you.
- For each of the gaps you find as you complete your application, you will need to provide a clear and concise explanation to immigration officials. You might be able to provide alternative evidence or at least give a hopefully convincing reason why you cannot provide the required document.
- These explanations are the main body of your Summary Letter. You should also have an introduction and address the letter cordially to IRCC (something like Dear Officer is fine) and then explain you will be addressing any concerns they may have.
- Most Summary Letters are a couple of pages long at most, but if your case is complex and there are a number of gaps in required information you may need an extra page or two. Keep it as simple as possible, however. The objective is to make the official’s decision easier to take.
So, keep these points in mind as you read over some of our sample Letters of Explanation or Summary Letters and see how they deal with gaps in required information.
Then start putting together your own Summary Letter.
Overwhelmed by that long application?
Wondering how to track your sponsorship application through the bureaucratic maze?
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