What Is 'CAIPS'?
CAIPS is short for 'Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System'. It is the computer system used by Citizenship & Immigration Canada to process overseas visa applications, and holds all the information on the current status of every immigration application.
Should I Get My File?
There are many situations where you may want to get your CAIPS file. If you have been asked to attend an interview, then you should definitely get your notes to find out why the interview was requested, so that you can be well prepared for the interview. Any reputable immigration consultant would request the CAIPS file in this circumstance.
Also, if you feel that your application is taking longer than usual, or you have not heard anything from the visa office for a surprisingly long time, then you should consider getting your CAIPS notes to check that your application is on track. You can often track unexplained delays down to missing letters or documents which become apparent as soon as the file is obtained. For example, CIC may have written to an applicant requesting additional references, educational transcripts or language tests, but the applicant may not have received such a request. Without CAIPS notes, the applicant would not have known that such a request was made.
Finally, if you have any other worry about your application status or progress, or are just generally curious as to what has happened so far, then you can get your CAIPS notes to put your mind at rest.
How Do I Get My CAIPS File?
Getting your file is fairly straight forward, but you will have to pay $ 5 if you are requesting CAIPS notes for your spouse, and they are not residing in Canada. Follow the instructions below:
Have your spouse fill out this form, http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/forms/IMM5475E.pdf
Step by step instructions follow below:
Tick the box that says "I authorize Citizenship and Immigration Canada... ... to release information from my case file to the following individual."
Then have your spouse fill out all of his particulars (his/her name, DOB, location of VISA Processing centre, i.e. Islamabad, etc.)
Then fill out your personal information under the headings titled "Designated Individual."
Have your spouse sign AND date the form at the bottom (alternatively, you could sign for your spouse; I dont think they will notice).
OR, if you have already filled out this form: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/forms/IMM5476E.PDF
then just send a photocopy of it along with 2. and 3..
You must now fill out this form: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/forms/IMM5563B.pdf
Step by step instructions follow below:
Leave the first two boxes at the top blank (Requesters Reference No. and Public Rights Administration file number). This is to be filled by the officer processing your request.
Tick the box that says "Access to Information Act ($ 5.00 fee)." Yes, you HAVE to pay $ 5, there is no way around this. Do not tick "Privacy Act" and hope they will just process it without you having to pay $ 5; this will NOT work. You must pay $ 5 since you are requesting the info on behalf of your spouse, and your spouse is not residing in Canada.
Select which language you wish to receive your notes in, English or French. (I do not know why these choices are under the "Privacy Act" sub-heading. I am assuming the choice of language is also afforded to those who are requesting their notes under the access to "Information Act," and this is just poor design. But I may be wrong (In that case, it wont make a difference).
Then tick the box which says "Receive copies of the Records."
Fill out your spouse's information under the "Client Information" box.
Under the next heading, "Request for- Required Information" box, tick the "CAIPS (information abroad)" box and write "Canadian High Commission (ISLAMABAD)" under the "Embassy" sub-heading, and write the "Visa File No." in the appropriate box. DO NOT check any other boxes in this section. Especially the "OVERSEAS VISA FILE" box. If you do this, they will pull your file aside, photocopy everything and send it to you. It will not only take you forever to get the information, but they will also take your file out of the queue to process your request and therefore it will take LONGER !!! (CAIPS is just a computer printout of all the work done on your file so far. It will not affect the speed at which your case is processed)
In the next heading, tick the box which says "This request is being made by a Canadian Citizen..." Fill out all of your information in this box, name, phone number, address, etc.
Sign and date.
Make out a cheque payable to the "Receiver General of Canada" for $ 5.
Enclose the cheque in an envelope with the other forms, and send it to the address below:
Public Rights Administration
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
360 Laurier Avenue West, 10th floor