I've seen many times on this forum that one of the biggest issues for applicants is linking an application to an online account. I've decided to create this post, trying to answer as many questions as I could think of.
How to link an application
Questions and Answers
How to link an application
- Go to this page https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/account.html
- If you already have an account, just log into it and go to step 3. If you don't have an account, choose either "Continue to Sign-In Partner" or "Continue to GCKey". Attention! To find out the difference between these two, please see "Questions and Answers" section below in this post.
If you've chosen "Sign-In Partner", create an account with one of them. If you've chosen "GCKey", on the next page click "Sign Up" and create an account. The process of creating an account is similar to signing up on any other regular website, so it shouldn't be complicated.
- After logging in or signing up on the previous step, you will see your account page. Click "Add (link) your application to your account".
- In the Category select Permanent Residence (here and below I will imply you've applied to sponsor your family member and will suggest options based on that. If your case is different, choose whatever option applies to you).
- In the Sub-category select the class of your application. For example "Family Class (Common-law partner)" or "Family Class (Spouses)".
- In "Application details: Please select one" select one of the four options. If you know an application number (if you've received AOR previously and it contains application number), you can select "Application Number and Family Name" option. If you don't know either application number or UCI, then select "Family Name, Given Name and Date of Birth".
- Enter the required information.
Attention! You need to use Primary Applicant's information, i.e. PA's name, PA's date of birth, PA's UCI, etc.
Attention! Enter the information exactly as you did in your application form IMM0008.
Attention! A sponsor and a Primary Applicant have different UCI numbers. If you have received AOR1, it has sponsor's UCI. Do not use it! For more details about UCI number please see "Questions and Answers" section below in this post.
- In the "Applicant's personal information" section select either "Passport" or "Place of Birth".
- Enter the required information exactly as you did in your application form IMM0008.
- In the "Other Application Information" select the province and the city you are going to live in as you did in the form IMM0008.
- In the "Current marital status" select the status that applies to you. If you are a common-law, you will most probably need to select "Single" (as reported by members on this forum).
- In the "Number of family members, including the primary applicant, that are part of this application" enter 2 if you are sponsoring a partner with no dependents, and enter 2+number_of_dependents if you are also sponsoring any dependents (your or your partner's kids).
Attention! Even though in the form IMM0008 you entered 1 as a number of family members including in the application (or 1 + number_of_dependents), you need to enter 2 when linking an application. I believe this is the most major issue people struggle with. Please make sure you entered 2 (and +1 per dependent if you have any).
Questions and Answers
- What is GCKey and what is Sign-In partner? Is there any difference in these two types of accounts?
These are just two different ways to sign in to your account. GCKey stand for Government Canada Key, and this is simply a username and a password. This is the most common way of creating an account. Sign-In Partner is one of the major banks in Canada. If you have online banking with any of them, you can use your credentials to create this account. It's a bit easier than GCKey because you won't need to create a username, password and recovery questions.
But whether you've created an account with GCKey or Sign-In Partner, it will be the same account. There is no difference in the functionality and no difference in the process of linking an application.
- I am a Primary Applicant. I previously applied for visitor visa in Canada and I have my UCI number since that time. Can I use it to link my application?
Yes, you can. UCI number has been created once and for all. It won't change whether you are applying for a visa, a permanent residence or a citizenship.
- Can I link an application to sponsor's account or should I only link it to Primary Applicant's account?
You can link it to any account, whether it's PA's or sponsor's. There is no difference. Just remember, after you've linked an application, you will receive all the communication with CIC through this account. And if you've linked an application to sponsor's account, all notifications will come to sponsor's email.
Please also remember that you can just share credentials (a username and a password) with your partner and you both can check the same account.
- Can I link an application to both sponsor's and PA's account at the same time?
No, you can't. It can only be linked to one account at a time. But if you've linked an application to one account and now you want to link it to another one, you still can do that. Just remember that once you link it to a new account, in the old account you will see a message that an application has been now linked to another account and you won't have access to it in the old account. In other words, after linking an application to a new account, an old account will lose a connection with it.
- My application was received by CIC two days ago. Why can't I link my application?
You will only be able to link an application after CIC actually started working on it, i.e. when the information is entered in their system. It can take days, weeks or months. Please check the respective threads on this forum to find out the current average time of linking an application to an account after submitting it.
- I have an old CIC account from my previous PR application (eg. I used it for Express Entry). Can I link my spousal sponsorship application to it or do I need to create a new account?
You can use an old account. You don't need to create a new account with every new application.
- Can I link an application if I am unpaid representative of my spouse?
Even though the guide says "no", members of this forum report the opposite. I don't know every case of every person, but a general answer would be "Yes, you can".
- Can I link an application if I hired a lawyer to represent me?
No, you can't. If you have a paid representative, only they can link an application to their account.
- I can't link an application. Will I miss all important notifications from CIC?
No. This is important: please, don't worry if you can't link an application to an account for a long time because technically you don't even need it. Until you link an application to an account, all the communication with CIC will go to your (PA's or sponsor's) email. You will not miss anything. Biometric requests, medical requests, passport requests - everything will come to your email if you don't have an account or just unable to link an application.
- My application has been received by CIC long ago, I have received AOR, and I still can't link an application even though I know I'm entering all the info correctly. I've made dozens of attempts and I'm still unsuccessful. What should I do?
If you are sure you're doing everything right and still no success, you can contact CIC. On the page where you see "Can't find an application" message there is a button "Report a problem". You can report your case, provide them all the required information and they will probably reply to you and tell you what you should do.