New Years Canadian Immigration Lawyer Top 10 Tips for Immigration Applications

The year is coming to a close and what a year it has been!

Below are what I think are THE Immigration Lawyer Top 10 tips for people interested in immigration to Canada. Now our “top 10” isn’t going to be what you think. I am not going to waste your time feeding you a list of application forms, Embassy addresses, or websites to visit. No, these tips will be more practical (I hope) than that. So here it goes.

Immigration Tip #1: Figure out what immigration category you fall under.

If you want to immigrate to Canada, you better know where you stand before getting on board the train. Are you a member of the Family Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Category, or a Business Immigrant? Knowing who you are as a potential immigrant to Canada will provide the proper road map for where you are going and how to get there. Choose the wrong category and end up in legal-limbo.

 Immigration Tip #2: Figure out if you qualify

Ok now that you have done your homework and figured out what immigration category best suits you, you now have to figure out whether you in fact “make the grade”. That is, do you qualify for your immigration category? Finding this out isn’t that easy. There are now online tools that you can use to get an idea of your eligibility for immigration to Canada but that is only the first step. You can consult a lawyer or immigration consultant to perform an immigration assessment as to whether you qualify. However you better make sure you find a good one. One of the biggest mistakes people make is choosing a lawyer who really doesn’t do a proper job at assessing your case.

But on the other hand, there is no substitute for a good immigration lawyer who is able to give you a clear idea of whether it is worth submitting the application.

So Assuming you do qualify, then the next step in your journey is:

Immigration Tip #3: Determining what is involved in the immigration process

So congratulations. You qualify. Great news. Well, maybe. It is one thing to know that you can apply for immigration to Canada; it’s an entirely another thing to know how to apply. Knowing how to fill out the forms, where to file, what information is required, how to reach the government if something goes wrong, whether you will have an interview or not, what fees to pay etc., is what the immigration process is all about it and it ain’t always pretty!

Sorry to rain on your parade but that is the reality. Most applicants fail not because they don’t qualify but they just get it wrong in the “how to” part, that is, during the actual immigration process. So knowing how to apply is as much or more important than knowing if you can apply.

Immigration Tip #4: How to get Help with your Canadian Immigration Application

This is a biggie. I have alluded to it time and time again. First of all, get help. DONT go it alone. Would you buy a house without hiring a lawyer? No. I didn’t think so. Well, moving to another country is as life-changing if not more so.  Get professional assistance for your immigration application. I say this despite what they tell you on the government websites about not needing a lawyer to do you paperwork. If you follow the guide, they say, you can “do it yourself”. If it were only that easy. If about half of our cases didn’t come from failed, albeit well-meaning, attempts to go it alone.

Immigration Tip #5: Keep yourself informed.

While it is true that you should seek professional help with your immigration application, it is equally true that you should not be passive. You should ask questions, make sure you understand what you are in for, when certain events in the application process will take place etc. Being well informed will keep your lawyer on his or her toes.

Immigration Tip #6: Be Patient

Immigration cases take a long time generally. No lawyer nor immigration consultant can wave a magic wand and make your case go faster. If they tell you this, that is a red flag and seek help elsewhere. We can certainly reduce errors and make sure your application is processed properly which will save time. However, once your file is in the system, it is a waiting game and sometimes it’s a long one

Immigration Tip #7: Report any Changes to your lawyer

Since the immigration process does take time, it is important that you keep your lawyer up to date on any changes in your life that may impact on the outcome of your case. Changes include marriage, kids, divorce, change of employment etc. Life happens and does not stand still once your application is filed.

Immigration Tip #8: Be realistic

While you may have a good case and a good lawyer, there are no guarantees…ever. The reality is that your application, however well prepared, can get refused. If this happens, you still have options such as appealing the decision.  Like in life, when it comes to immigration, you hope for the best but prepare for the worst

Immigration Tip #9: Learn about your new home before you arrive

This seems obvious but you would be surprised how many clients tell me that once they land in Canada, they have no idea where to go for housing, banking, food, schools etc. Do not be left holding your new immigrant visa with no place to go. Do your home work well in advance before you come. This way you will be prepared to handle the transition of moving to Canada.

Immigration Tip #10: Expect the Unexpected

Get excited about the choice you made in relocating to Canada. Just know that whatever the plan, it will have to change somewhat in terms of the immigration process and settlement. There just are too many variables involved that are out of all our control to perfectly plan out what will happen when. The best advice I can give is to be flexible and adapt to whatever comes your way. Whether your lawyer tells you new forms are needed, new documents are required, there has been a delay at the Embassy etc., just try to roll with it the best you can. This approach will save you a lot of stress and even money in the end.

I hope my tips will make your journey all the more pleasant. Happy New Year!!

Michael Niren




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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