Should You Fill Out Immigration Applications Online?

I love visiting the Canadian government’s immigration website. There is a lot of information about Canadian immigration and visas that is provided there. Lately, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has added a lot of “how-to” videos trying to guide people and encourage them to fill out their application forms right online.  They tell you that all people have to do is go to the right form, fill it out and click submit. To good to be true? Well, yes.

Beware of Applying Online

I am all for using the Internet to make our lives easier including filling out forms online. However, when it comes to immigration and visas, I often warn people “be careful what you wish for” . Remember, that in filling out information on a government form, you are disclosing personal information to them in the hopes that they will grant you a visa. Pretty high stakes if you ask me.

What are the Risks?

The risks are great when interacting with the government online. What people don’t seem to realize is that by filling out these forms you are entering into a legal relationship with a foreign government who can deny your entry or worse, charge you with misrepresentation–even if you didn’t intend to lie.  This is not to scare you but the government makes it seem like filling out immigration forms online a risk free exercise. From what I found, the only warning they give is if your application is not complete they may send to back and you will experience processing delays. That is true but it could get a lot worse. What if you filled out the wrong form? What if you didn’t include your dependents on the application or were not clear enough about who you wish to bring with you? What if have a medial or criminal issue that you disclose properly? The list goes on and on.

Is the Government on Your Side?

We have seen so many well meaning people who fill out those immigration forms trusting that the government will take care of them. Nothing can be further from the truth. The government is not your representative. They do not have your best interests at heart. They hold all the cards and have the power (and use it) to approve or deny your visa. Despite what the friendly guy on the how-to video says, the risks of applying online are much greater than just having your application be returned to you. So my point is that the easy online processing that Canada immigration now offers for many applications is too good to be true. The fact that you are applying to move or visit another country and that you are disclosing personal information to the government makes it just too risky to fill out these forms online

So What Should You Do?

It is much safer to think about having an immigration professional: a licensed lawyer or consultant advise you on your visa case. Important questions MUST be answered before you apply such as

  • what visa do you really need?
  • what application is right for you?
  • what information is important and what is not?
  • how do you properly disclose criminal or medical information?
  • what immigration office should you apply to?
  • what do you do if your case is lost?

VisaPlace Has Experience Processing Visa Applications

Preparing applications of all types for over 16 years has certainly taught VisaPlace that no case is the same. If you have immigration questions, we may have the answers you seek. We work with qualified immigration lawyers who can help. Contact us to book a consultation.

There are a lot of questions to ask and get answered before you even start filling out a form. Applying online though a government just does not serve anyone’s interest when the stakes are so high.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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