The waiting game is still going on. We didn’t get our visas yet, and more than 8 months have passed since we submitted the application. However, we didn’t get refused and that was a good sign, but the waiting is getting difficult when you don’t have a deadline in your sight. Let’s start the story from the beginning.
As soon as we submitted our application, we have received a confirmation e-mail. We were curious about the processing time, and CIC website didn’t help at all. We searched the Internet to find some kind of estimation, and in our case, it was 108 days (which should come around 14/08/2017). My wife and I agreed to leave as soon as we get our visas, which should be by the end of August. The prices of airplane tickets usually significantly drop after the 1st of September (after the summer season), thus we chose the month of September for our departure. We were so happy and excited, I started applying for jobs on various Internet sites and we started planning our last summer vacation in Europe.
I have a 7-year-old daughter from my previous (the first) marriage, Nadja. She lives with her mother (my ex-wife). When we decided to immigrate to Canada, I have spoken to my ex-wife, and she didn’t give her consent to put our daughter in the application. Our lawyers suggested that we should try to convince her to allow the child to go with us, just to activate PR visa, and she could return home immediately (that way she could easily gain Canadian citizenship without even having to live in Canada, which would bring her many opportunities later: lower college fees in Canada, no visas when she comes to visit us, etc.), but – no progress. So, the application contains just the three of us: me, my wife, and our son.
In June, our application changed status to “Medical passed”. We made plans to go to Greece in July, celebrate our son’s first birthday (and my 37th, 5 days later) in August, and start packing in September. That was the plan, in short. And we added details to it on daily basis. We should sell our car, sell our home library, eventually sell the apartment… And also, buy suitcases, buy plane tickets, book a place to stay in Toronto…
The plan after we arrive in Toronto is to rent some Airbnb apartment for a few days until we choose a furnished apartment to rent for a month or two (and even three, if necessary) until I get employed. And after I land a job, we will move as close to my job as possible, to avoid long commuting and spend more time together. My wife will not search a job for a few months until we find kindergarten and sort things out.
We spent a beautiful summer vacation in Greece in July. On 18/07/2017 (two days prior to our departure home), we received 2 e-mails from CIC. The Internet connection was terrible (actually, we were lucky to even have any), and we struggled to download the PDF attachments, trembling over them: we knew that it was too early to approve our application, so it could only be a refusal or some request for additional documents. Luckily, they were both request letters. The first e-mail requested for my Schedule A Background Declaration form (IMM 5669) within 7 days, and the second informed us that my daughter was added to the application by CIC (with status NON-ACCOMPANYING DEPENDENT), and requested us to provide following documents (I had to hide some sensitive information) :
It was pure luck (and good timing) my daughter was with us on the vacation at the time (and her passport also, which was required for the medical examination), so we were able to schedule and finish the medical as soon as we returned from Greece. Otherwise, I doubt her mother would have allowed us to do this (actually, she was very pissed off when she heard from our daughter that I took her to some kind of medical examination).
And on 26/07/2017 another request e-mail came from CIC. This time they required my “Details of Military Service” (complete military history; including reserve service, volunteer service, participation in militias and/or paramilitary groups). Since I chose to serve civilian service, I didn’t have much to put into this form.
Our application changed status to “Medical passed” once again, on 28/07/2017. After that, “Background check status” changed to “IP1” on 03/08/2017. We could track (and predict, to some extent) our application changes, using the Internet site My Immigration Tracker. We didn’t think that these requests for additional documents would delay our application too much, we stuck to our plans and purchased one-way plane tickets for 27/09/2017. We also sold our car on 20/09/2017 and did a lot of preparation from our ToDo list by then (closed unnecessary bank accounts, bought suitcases, sold our laundry dryer, converted our savings into Canadian dollars…). When we realized that we would not be able to leave because we still didn’t get our visas, I canceled the flight and got a partial refund. I didn’t reschedule it because we didn’t have any info on our visa status.
On 18/10/2017 we submitted an enquiry to CIC:
I have applied for permanent residence in Canada via Express Entry on April 28, 2017. I have submitted all required documents and complied with your requests in prescribed time and manner. It has been almost six months since we have applied and I still have no information on the status of my application. Please be so kind and inform me what is happening with my application and if you require any additional document or information, feel free to contact me.
This is the reply we got by e-mail on 20/10/2017 :
Your file is currently under review and requires additional verifications. As a result, the assessment period will be outside of our posted processing times. Unfortunately, at this time we are not able to determine when your application will be finalized, but our office will contact you as soon as all verifications are completed, or if any additional information or documents are required.
Your patience is very much appreciated.
As the 6-month milestone passed by on 28/10/2017, we decided to request official GCMS/ATIP notes through my friend in Toronto. He submitted a request on 14/11/2017 and on 13/12/2017 we received this e-mail:
Conclusion: we are in the dark! We don’t know the status of our application (and we cannot get the consent of the other biological parent), we don’t know when it is going to be completed, we can only wait and hope for the best! The next milestone is 20/04/2018, a year from our medicals. If we don’t get the visas by then, we will have to do the medical examination (and pay for it) again.
Financial breakdown of Phase 4 (not complete)
In this phase we have spent:
~ CAD. $161 for medical exam (110€ for the child)
~ CAD. $55 for various documents and translations
~ TOTAL: CAD. $216