The Dangers of Filing Your Own Immigration Forms

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Immigration clients often try to fill out their own forms. Any client with access to the internet can easily find the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website, find the program that they want, and submit the forms. However, it can be costly if not perilous for a client to file their own immigration forms. Here are several reasons why.

You can be deported from, and might not be able to come back to Canada.

People often file for refugee status as a way to bypass other lengthier immigration programs. This is extremely risky and not recommended.

Firstly, refugee status is not easy to prove. Only very specific criteria are considered (and those criteria in my experience are not what most people think they are).

Secondly, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada ('IRB') is an expert at determining whether a refugee claim is valid. Before granting refugee status to an applicant, the IRB will require a high degree of proof that the applicant is in fact a genuine claimant.

Thirdly, if a refugee application is rejected, then the applicant is automatically issued a deportation order. It is sometimes possible to stay a deportation order, but doing so is difficult to say the least.

Fourthly, if you are deported and want to come back to Canada, you cannot even visit Canada for a period of time (and in some cases, you won't be able to return at all).

In short, filing a refugee application is extremely risky and the decision to do so should be done on the advice of an immigration lawyer.

Your family members and children might not be able to immigrate to Canada.

Some people fail to include family members when asked on their forms. Two issues could arise from failing to include your family members on your forms:

  1. Your family members could be deemed inadmissible to Canada. If you plan to sponsor your family members to come to Canada at a later date, and those family members weren't included on your original immigration forms (or on your other immigration forms for that matter), then they are generally considered to be inadmissible to Canada;
  2. You could be deemed inadmissible to Canada (even if already in Canada) retroactively and be subsequently deported.

You will waste time and money trying to do it yourself.

People will often seek out my assistance after already receiving one or multiple rejections from the government. Here is a common scenario:

Client A files his own application and the relevant hefty government processing fee. Client A waits for application to be processed (depending on the application it can take between months and years to process). Client A receives a rejection letter from CIC. Client A tries to file either the same application or an application under a different category and pays the relevant hefty government processing fee. Client A waits for application to be processed (depending on the application it can take between months and years to process). Client A receives another rejection letter. Client A comes to me for help. In some cases, the damage is already done, and there is nothing that I can do to help. The client must leave Canada. If the client is lucky, there is something that I can do for him, but must pay my legal fees as well another hefty government processing fee.

The best way to achieve success is to seek assistance from an immigration lawyer before submitting anything. Retaining an immigration lawyer right from the start will help ensure the best/quickest/cheapest route to Canada.

You could lose your Citizenship.

Even after obtaining Canadian Citizenship you can lose it if CIC finds out that Citizenship was obtained through use of a misrepresentation. If you signed on behalf of minor children for them to get their Citizenship then they can also lose their Citizenship even if they did not know that you had made a misrepresentation on their application.

For example, see:

Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Achkar, 2015 FC 605 (CanLII)

Therefore, it is best to seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer because anything that you put on your forms can haunt you and you could face deportation even after becoming a Canadian Citizen.

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