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CSIS clearance

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alaink View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 12:56pm
So I finally received the results of my ATIP request, my citizenship application has been on hold for the past 7 months pending the results of the CSIS clearance, whereas they got my FOSS/Immigration and RCMP clearances within less than 3 days after making the request.

While I understand the need for Canada to have a complete security check on the people who are applying to get the citizenship especially given the number of Canadians who have been involved in terrorist related inicidents recently, I find this delay of 7 months completely outrageous.

I have a feeling that this is the real reason why applicants from M-E/S-A or in clearer terms from muslim countries are experiencing longer delays in getting their citizenship.

I have absolutely nothing to fear from the CSIS inquiry but between the delays at CIC and delays at CSIS, I am not surprised that the avg processing time quoted by CIC is 25 months now!

I m not sure anyone knows the answer to the following two questions but I lose nothing by asking them

1) Does anyone know how long the CSIS clearance needs to be obtained on average?

2) is the file held at Sydney until CIC gets the security clearance?
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chipmunk_montreal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chipmunk_montreal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 1:56pm
where are "the CSIS clearance, my FOSS/Immigration and RCMP clearances" in the ATIP???

I ordered the ATIP 3.5 months ago. got it 20 days ago. Nothing, just the pages I sent out.

Please help.

Thanks.
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EasyRider View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EasyRider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 2:07pm
Yes, CIC takes its clients on a long ride through all rounds of hell. First, they do CSIS check for a PR application and then-- rinse and repeat-- the same is done for citizenship application again.

Unfortunately, there's virtually no info available on CSIS checks for citizenship applications and how they're different from the checks for PR applications. My sense based on observation of many reports is that CSIS checks for cit applications are simpler/shorter than checks for PR applications and very lengthy CSIS checks are less common. I remember, 1+ year checks for ME applicants, for instance, were fairly common for PR applications.

You can read about how CSIS clearance was done for PR cases in this thread (check posts by member TTTT): http://www.roadtocanada.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=3143

You're probably above average with you clearance already as it seems that the most CSIS checks are short and straightforward and done in a 0-3 months timeframe.
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EasyRider View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EasyRider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 2:12pm
alaink, your case may actually be interesting as it looks like you have previously withdrawn your application due to shortage in days and RQ, but you haven't got RQ with a second application yet.
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dpenabill View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dpenabill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 2:17pm

Originally posted by alaink alaink wrote:

So I finally received the results of my ATIP request, my citizenship application has been on hold for the past 7 months pending the results of the CSIS clearance, whereas they got my FOSS/Immigration and RCMP clearances within less than 3 days after making the request.

While I understand the need for Canada to have a complete security check on the people who are applying to get the citizenship especially given the number of Canadians who have been involved in terrorist related inicidents recently, I find this delay of 7 months completely outrageous.

I have a feeling that this is the real reason why applicants from M-E/S-A or in clearer terms from muslim countries are experiencing longer delays in getting their citizenship.

I have absolutely nothing to fear from the CSIS inquiry but between the delays at CIC and delays at CSIS, I am not surprised that the avg processing time quoted by CIC is 25 months now!

I m not sure anyone knows the answer to the following two questions but I lose nothing by asking them

1) Does anyone know how long the CSIS clearance needs to be obtained on average?

2) is the file held at Sydney until CIC gets the security clearance?


Generally

The security check process is the least transparent part of the whole process and there is virtually no chance this will be changing.

My sense is that even the most experienced, well-informed CIC personnel do not know very much about what CSIS does, or how, in terms of conducting the security check.

My understanding is that clearances are pending/pass/fail, and that CIC will know no more than that, that is, that the referral for a clearance is either still pending, or there is a pass or fail status.

Thus, what I offer below is not based on primary sources of information, but on secondary sources, extrapolation from previous experience in related contexts, and extrapolation from bits of information revealed in some Federal Court decisions (as much in mandamus and review of Removal Order decisions as in citizenship cases).


In particular:

Quote I have a feeling that this is the real reason why applicants from M-E/S-A or in clearer terms from muslim countries are experiencing longer delays in getting their citizenship.

Of course, with the caveat that this still only affects some such applicants, not all. The particular individual's specific background, including work history, education, places of residence, affiliations, all can be factors in to what extent CSIS will (1) conduct a security check abroad, and (2) how probing, how extensive and thorough, the abroad check is.

Reminder: the PR's pre-Canadian history does not get wiped off the charts upon landing; any immigrant who is an adult at the time of landing has already provided CIC with extensive background information and been subject to background checking. Whether or not that is revisited upon applying for citizenship is undoubtedly rooted in who the particular individual is, who the individual has been.

In other topics I cite and link a recent case in which the applicant for citizenship did not see any progress on his application (no RQ by the way) for eight years, and when action finally was taken, it was attendant a CBSA investigation based on security issues, which were almost entirely rooted in one brief period of employment, as a medical doctor working in a medical clinic for a branch of a well-known, large aid agency many years prior to the individual becoming a Canadian PR, that particular branch of this well-known agency later (after this individual was no longer in any way associated with it) had some al-Qaeda associations.

That is an extreme case (I think) but it illustrates the extent to which some individuals can be bogged down, mired in a security background quagmire based on relatively minimal threads connecting the individual to security concerns.

Overall, in one of the topics here I discuss in-depth some mandamus cases which outline some timeline factors in cases where CSIS has delayed clearances for inordinately long periods of time. I do not recall the specific time frame, but a couple Federal Court decisions give a more or less, but not definitive, time limit beyond which CIC has an obligation to request CSIS to provide a response to the clearance referral. I think it was two years, but without revisiting those posts or those cases I am not confident of my memory as to whether it was two or three years. This is relative to how long CSIS is taking to respond to the clearance referral, not to CIC's processing of the citizenship application.

In any event, yes, the individual's background situations before becoming a Canadian PR can significantly affect how long CSIS clearances take. Additionally, I believe that CSIS relies to a large extent, in cases where the referral has been made for an overseas inquiry regarding background, on responses from the respective authority in the countries where the PR has previously lived, and sometimes those authorities are notoriously slow or even non-responsive. In particular, I have the sense that some countries in particular are very, very slow to provide such information to CSIS.


Quote 1) Does anyone know how long the CSIS clearance needs to be obtained on average?

Reminder: No, no one will know this, as any such information will be way behind the non-transparency curtain.

Note: as in most such things, average timelines are uninformative. If just one in twenty applicants encounter two plus year delays, this would make the average many months longer than the actual timeline for the other ninety percent.

My sense, and this is a guess, is that for most applicants the CSIS clearance takes a fairly short time. Again, anyone who was an adult at the time of landing as a PR will have had a CSIS background security clearance already. So, for most, it is merely a matter of updating that. The actual timeline probably has a lot more to do with the routine flow of these referrals, how long they sit in a queue before the clearance is done. A few months at the most, for the majority of applicants.

But, if there is an overseas inquiry conducted, the timeline probably is much, much longer. This should only affect a small percentage of applicants, including only a minority of applicants from the M-E, North Africa, or parts of Asia, probably more dependent on the individual's own history (where from, and family associations as well, among other old country associations).



Quote 2) is the file held at Sydney until CIC gets the security clearance?

Under the pre-OB 407 process, it was for sure NOT held at Sydney until CIC got the CSIS security clearance (referral initiated in Sydney with the clearances to be sent directly to local office). I am not sure this continues. The question is to what extent is there background checking done attendant the level-one screening for RQ triage criteria. My best guess is that CIC in Sydney does record-name checks (a background check limited to formal records) attendant the level-one security and that no, the file does not get held up in Sydney pending the clearance from CSIS. That said, there are indications that something about some applicants' backgrounds are affecting how long the application gets held up in Sydney. So, I am not sure. For most I doubt the holdup takes place there but for some it might.




Bureaucracy is what bureaucracy does, or When in doubt, follow the instructions. Otherwise, follow the instructions.



BTW: Not an expert, not a Can. lawyer, never worked in immigration
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dpenabill View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dpenabill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 2:23pm
Note: For an applicant who lived abroad for an appreciable period of time after landing, that too may be a significant factor in how long the CSIS clearance takes: obviously, the clearance will not be limited to an update of the PR clearance based on just Canadian experience, given the time residing abroad.

I cite this as just one particular example of individual factors which can have an impact on how long the clearance takes. This illustrates a situation in which an overseas inquiry is much more likely. If there is an overseas inquiry that will almost certainly involve a significantly longer timeline than merely updating clearances based on Canadian experience.

There are other such particular factors. This is why I so often emphasize that how long it takes any particular individual is so dependent on the particular circumstances, particular factors, for each individual.
Bureaucracy is what bureaucracy does, or When in doubt, follow the instructions. Otherwise, follow the instructions.



BTW: Not an expert, not a Can. lawyer, never worked in immigration
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akella View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 2:42pm
Originally posted by alaink alaink wrote:

So I finally received the results of my ATIP request, my citizenship application has been on hold for the past 7 months pending the results of the CSIS clearance, whereas they got my FOSS/Immigration and RCMP clearances within less than 3 days after making the request.

Do you have a note that literally says - "file on hold pending CSIS clearance" and file status is "On Hold"?

If that's not the case, how did you determine that CSIS clearance is the culprit?
Reason for my question - they white out CSIS clearance status / clearance validity date in ATIP printouts as it is exempted from release based on 16 (1) I think or some other article... so not seeing CSIS clearance result in your GCMS printout is normal and does not mean this is the clearance that is holding you back.
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alaink View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alaink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 5:42pm
Originally posted by akella akella wrote:

Originally posted by alaink alaink wrote:

So I finally received the results of my ATIP request, my citizenship application has been on hold for the past 7 months pending the results of the CSIS clearance, whereas they got my FOSS/Immigration and RCMP clearances within less than 3 days after making the request.

Do you have a note that literally says - "file on hold pending CSIS clearance" and file status is "On Hold"?

If that's not the case, how did you determine that CSIS clearance is the culprit?
Reason for my question - they white out CSIS clearance status / clearance validity date in ATIP printouts as it is exempted from release based on 16 (1) I think or some other article... so not seeing CSIS clearance result in your GCMS printout is normal and does not mean this is the clearance that is holding you back.


Sorry I don't have time to answer all the posts right now, will do this a bit later today, but as to your question above

here is what my ATIP says:

Case stage: Assess
Case status: On Hold-Security
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alaink View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alaink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 5:57pm
Originally posted by chipmunk_montreal chipmunk_montreal wrote:

where are "the CSIS clearance, my FOSS/Immigration and RCMP clearances" in the ATIP???

I ordered the ATIP 3.5 months ago. got it 20 days ago. Nothing, just the pages I sent out.

Please help.

Thanks.


I am not sure what your ATIP looks like since it depends what you requested, I requested my GCMS notes and it s 21 pages long
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alaink View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alaink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2013 at 5:59pm
Originally posted by EasyRider EasyRider wrote:



You're probably above average with you clearance already as it seems that the most CSIS checks are short and straightforward and done in a 0-3 months timeframe.

your case may actually be interesting as it looks like you have previously withdrawn your application due to shortage in days and RQ, but you haven't got RQ with a second application yet.



I m not sure how accurate the timeframe above is nowadays, maybe the volume of applications at CIC is making the backup move to other agencies that are involved in this whole process.

All I know is that I got the RCMP clearance in 3 days

btw i did receive an RQ back in early Dec 2012 and CIC got it back on Jan 4th 2013


Edited by alaink - 23 Jul 2013 at 6:01pm
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