I wrote the test on Valentine's day in Scarborough and just got invited for the ceremony for March 12th in Mississauga. I'm very grateful.Just had my citizenship test/interview and figured I'd talk about it hoping that others might find some useful/helpful tidbits...here it goes
- I arrived late (a couple of minutes). It was totally my fault, I only planned to allow 15 minutes early, ended up catching the wrong connecting subway and spent arguably some of the most stressful 30 minutes of this year so far.
Lesson: do yourself a favour and don't be like me. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes or more earlier, you don't need any extra anxiety leading up to your test/interview.
- I was met by a security guard wh0 gave me a green sheet (prohibition) nd told me to rush t the test room. As an anecdote before the security guard stopped to check my invitation letter, he was in the process of sending a woman away (my heart broke because I though it was because she was late too). It turns out, she just decided to show up to see what is going on since her application took more than a year to process. The security guard wasn't having any of it (truth be told the thought of randomly crashing the processing office never crossed my mind, so props to the lady but I am almost certain that will not be of any help...anyways)
- I walked into the room as the test rules were being explained. The lady doing the explanation was pretty cool. She filled in my last name in the test sheet and asked me to take a seat (biggest sigh of relief of my life. On the subway I quickly googled 'late to citizenship test' and the first thing that comes up is a forum from 2010 where the person was turned away and was being blamed by everyone on the forum so I was expecting the worst tbh)
- The test was given after a few minutes (another person came in later, AFTER we began the test....reminder: please don't be like that guy or me if you can help it).
- I finished the test within a minute and a half. This sounds like I'm bragging but it's not my intention (deal with it ), just the truth. I studied super hard and for super long, my application has been processing for 'only' 15 months so I had time to kill (....err study).
- I proceeded to the interview room, I was bummed that the order of the interview wasn't the same as the finishing time ( I read about this somewhere but was hoping that I'd be an exception. It turns out, I'm not special at all (you live and you learn...please know that I'm joking).
- About half a dozen people who finished after me were called first. In that time I suppose I had time to make some observations since everything was 'open concept'. Each interviewer has a 'style' (or routine). It is very apparent that they will try to gauge your basic conversational skills (not sure what that's for but the more succinct/shy you are, the more they will probe. Random things like, so tell me about yourself, how long have you lived in the city, follow any sports? stuff about kids, there was absolutely no logic to it lol).
One of the interviewers was very particular about people having their documents ready and in order (these were listed on a whiteboard in a room so everyone had time to get their stuff out). One lady didn't, and the interviewer asked her if she needed a moment to go back to the waiting area seats to get her act together...hilarious! of course, the lady said no. One interviewer was the eager type, he wasn't particularly expressive but he made sure to say congratulations and gave tons of well wishes. The officer who liked stuff in order was chatty but wasn't letting much on about expectations (she was the 'high sprung' type but seemed really nice behind the very solemn demeanour. My interviewer was the other one...read on at your own perils.
- My interviewer was the most laid back of all. Mild-mannered. He spoke in almost a whisper and there didn't seem to be a method-to-the-madness in his approach. He was visibly the oldest person in the room and probably got this stuff down to a science. To my surprise, my interview was much like my test: lightning fast. He asked me to put my IDs and documents on the table after we said hello but did not touch a single one. Told me that I got 20/20 followed with, I guess that's kinda good (I nearly died of laughter inside...and just whispered...I guess so).
He opened a large doc which I guess is my file, looked at the first page (which has a bunch of check marks in blue ink on it) and said out loud "I don't care about that" and just closed it nonchalently. At this point I'm thinking, this guy is my hero!...but I might be screwed.
He asked me whether I was working, which he asked everyone, but instead of moving on immediately, it surprisingly ended up being pretty much the entirety of my interview. He got super interested (honestly most people just tune me out when I attempt to explain but this guy seemed genuinely curious at first and wanted to dig deeper in some finer details (his laid back demeanour legit turned into what I could have mistaken as a spark or interest). He told me again that I had gotten 20/20 followed with 'I guess that's kinda good' (I honestly don't think he remembered telling me in the first place). He then said something that actually shocked me: You applied in Ocober so I guess you should expect the oath in the next few months. He told everyone the stuff about the expected oath timeline part but he could see that I applied in OCTOBER. This shocked me because I did, in fact, apply in October (of 2017 in case anyone is wondering) but my application was returned because I missed a signature in the section that says I haven't lived anywhere in the last 5 years....yeah I know, I'm not the smartest cookie, thanks. My application was sent again and officially received in November which is what is on ECAS...so even though I keep saying I am a Nov applicant, they KNOW that I am really an October applicant...sigh.
He wished me a good day, literally 3 different times (and ways), and off, I went. The whole thing was under two minutes and quite frankly closer to 1 minute since he looked at absolutely nothing after I put my stuff on the table.
- Some afterthoughts: I felt a great deal of relief...probably due to the stress/anxiety of the agonizing wait. I realize it might still be a long way until the finish line but the perspective of the whole things make you appreciate the small steps.
- I've talked to other people beforehand about what the experience is like and have witnessed the variability myself. The biggest lesson is: better be overprepared than underprepared (and don't be late...have I beaten that one to death yet?). Some officers might insist on seeing everything and cross-check everything (one officer told a person that she was going to request her entry records from the border agency - personally I think this is redundant if so many resources are already spent into background checks but I digress again). Other officers will probably just go off of the impression that they have of you and might not check a single thing.
- Good luck everyone, there are great days ahead for all of us
Here you go:Anyone with interview experience at Ottawa CIC office? I would appreciate if you could share your experience regarding location, parking, staff, etc, and any do/dont as per your opinion/experience.
Hi Can I ask a question from you please.... I had my test today - I passed the test - though I signed a green paper I remember passed at the interview. I checked "NO" and I signed? is it correct because I do not have any criminal record and I thought the questions are asking If I have any criminal record so that I checked "No" - am I good?LOCATION: Scarborough IRCC Building
APPOINTMENT DATE & TIME: August-24th, 2018 / 10:15 AM
TOTAL TIME SPENT AT IRCC BUILDING: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME SPENT WITH IO: 2 minutes
WAIT TIME: 1 minute
TASK COMPLETED BY: 10:14 AM (one minute BEFORE the appointment time)
This is how it went...
Drove from Brampton at 9:00 AM, reached Scarborough Town Centre at 9:44 AM. Drive time 44 minutes, moderate traffic. There is [paid] parking available right in front of the IRCC building...
...However I chose to park at the Scarborough Town Centre Cineplex (for free) for two reasons. (A)IRCC Parking has limited space, and (B)the IRCC building is right behind the Cineplex.
WALKING DISTANCE FROM CINEPLEX TO IRCC: 500 mtrs.
TIME TAKEN TO WALK* THE DISTANCE: 1 minute
*there is a footpath crossing (between buildings) behind the Cineplex and to the IRCC parking.
Reached the IRCC building at 9:47 AM. Climbed the steps, entered thru a swivel door and there is a Building Security Reception straight in front. Enquired about the room to go, was told to take the elevators (behind the desk), hit 3rd floor and the IRCC office will be at the right side.
Since there was time to spare I exited the building, vaped outside for a while and re-entered the building at 10:04 AM.
Upon exiting the elevator at 3rd floor you notice a gateway to a room at the right side. A reception desk will be facing you, manned by an IRCC official. Approached him, handed-over copy of the "Notice to Appear for Test and/or Identification/Verification of Documents" and told him that I've come for the Interview. I'm over 55 yrs, so no 'test' for me.
The IRCC official was a very jovial fella, utmost pleasure to talk to. He verified my 'Notice to Appear...', marked two spots on it (file # and UCI #), handed me a "green" paper*, told me to "read it", fill-it up with my particulars (especially the two numbers), directed me towards a wall-stand containing clipboards and pens (located next to the waiting chairs) and took to small talks with me regarding vaping. I was holding my vaping device in one hand.
*the green paper is a non-criminality notice, basically I sign confirming that I've not indulged in any offences which make me un-suitable for Canadian citizenship.
Took a chair, noticed there were about 18-20 people seated already. Filled-up the form and went back to the same official to hand-it over. He said, "good that you brought it back to me, let me check it if you've filled it correctly". He then gave the form (and the Notice to Appear) back to me and said to be seated till I'm called ~ and that these two papers are to be handed-over to the official who calls us.
WAIT TIME: 1 minute
CALLED AT: 10:10 AM
At 10:10 AM an IRCC official entered the waiting area from an adjoining room and announced that "all over 55 yrs. to follow him". Since he was standing next to me ~ I was the first one to approach him. He checked my "Notice to Appear", took it, returned back the 'green paper' and ushered me into a 'locked room'. And did the same for others as well, who approached him (about 8-10 folks).
It was a moderately tiny room, with wall-to-wall windows at one side, and three desk arrangements right in front...
...facing those desks was the mass seating arrangements...
We were about 8-10 people in the room. Since I was the first to enter, I was called up first. Concurrently two others also were called to the other two desks.
MY IO: A middle aged lady (looks exactly like 'Sally' from Tom Cruise's Oblivion)
DEMEANOUR: Extremely polite, with a smile
TIME CALLED: 10:12 AM
IO: Good morning Mr. xxx, how was your day today?
ME: Thank you ma'am, great, and yours?
IO: Splendid, can I have your Driving Licence, PR Card, Health Card and Passports please?
ME: Handed them over, and also the "Entry/Exit Stamps Document" that I prepared with passport page numbers.
Ps: If any one wants this form, pls PM me your email ID and I'd send it to you.
IO: Awesome. Makes my life easy eh!
ME: Oh, it sure did for me while filling-out the Physical Presence Calculator, ma'am.
IO: Checks the cards, ticks against the images of them I submitted with the application, also ticks a "white form" on her desk. She then enquires, Mr. xxx what are you doing now? Working?
ME: Oh yes, working ma'am. But freelancing, not 'employed' in the classical sense. Then I explain what I do. (I have a feeling she wasn't listening ~ b'coz she was busy ticking her form and was quiet when I finished talking. For about 5-6 seconds).
IO: Nice. Then she goes-on to check my passports and tally the stamps (with my Physical Presence Calculator and the 'form' I provided today). She just checks 3-4 stamps and returns back my passports, enquiring "only two passports?".
ME: Yes ma'am.
IO: Thank you for this calculation document Mr. xxx, that was very meticulous.
ME: My pleasure ma'am, do you want to keep it?
IO: No, not required. I'm done. Everything is in place. (She takes back the 'green' form and hands me the 'white form'* she was ticking) This is your verification form, can you please sign it here (points me to a location on the form) Now do you know the next steps?
ME: Oh yes, sort of... I sign the 'white form'.
*this is a legal sized paper (longer than A4 at approx. 35cms), contains my particulars, ticked against various ID cards that I provided, with her dated signature stating that my physical presence calculations is correct. I sign stating that the documents I provided are true originals.
IO: Your process is complete, you will be required to attend a Ceremony shortly. You will receive an email, (she goes to check my file) in fact three emails, for your children as well, you have applied as a family unit of three right?
ME: Yes ma'am, me and my two minor children.
IO: Yes, all of you will get an Invitation to take Oath. Each. And you will know the date, time and place. It will come to you by October. That's when you complete one year since applying. However, it could come within a few weeks as well and you'll get a week or two head-on time.
ME: So, it could be earlier than October?
IO: Yes, could be. Likely to be. But remember, it will not be in this place. It could be anywhere else, so please be prepared for that ~ and ensure you know where you have to be for the oath ceremony.
ME: No issues ma'am, I'll drive to wherever it is.
IO: That's about it Mr. xxx, do you have any questions?
ME: No ma'am. Thanks (I shake her hand), you have a good day!
IO: Shakes hand, waves and says, "you too"!
I walk out of the room.
TIME OUT: 10:14 AM*
TOTAL TIME SPENT WITH IO: 2 minutes
*A minute before the actual appointment time
So, that was all about it. I also carried the following documents:
1. All original passports in the family (including my kids')
2. Original COPRs (of everyone)
3. Copy of the Citizenship Applications (everyone's) along with copies of all supporting documents
4. Copy of my House Ownership and the Tenancy Contract of the other
5. Copies of all Tax Returns for 5-yrs.
6. Two photocopies of everything (including the passports)
Nothing was seen by the IO except for the Driving License, PR card, Health Card and my original Passports. Everything only mine, she did not ask for the kids' documents.
MY ATTIRE FOR THE INTERVIEW: Blue jeans, white full shirt, a Navy Blue Blazer and Black leather shoes.
PERSONAL EFFECTS: Only aftershave and deodorant used. No perfumes.
DOCUMENTS CARRIED IN: A black zipped folder
End Note: Even tho it is a document check and ID verification exercise, it still is an interview. And as with all interviews we need to dress well, appropriately. And maintain a professional demeanour alongwith extreme courtesy. Your attire, preparedness and positivity makes a difference.
Pls feel free to shoot any queries and it'd be my utmost pleasure to reply you back candidly. Here's wishing everyone all the very best!
Edit: Amended typo, 50 to 55-yrs.
Edit2: eCAS states: "Decision Made" (as of 1:25 PM dt. Aug-25, 2018, Saturday)
Yes, "no" is the correct answer.Hi Can I ask a question from you please.... I had my test today - I passed the test - though I signed a green paper I remember passed at the interview. I checked "NO" and I signed? is it correct because I do not have any criminal record and I thought the questions are asking If I have any criminal record so that I checked "No" - am I good?