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INTERVIEW: Test-Event - ID/Documents Verification

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dpenabill View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Mar 2014 at 3:05pm

Identity/Documents Verification Interview at Test-Event

I have been meaning to start a sticky topic for posting reports about the test-event interview experience. Every adult applicant for a grant of citizenship will have to attend such an interview. For those who will be taking the knowledge of Canada test, the interview takes place in conjunction with that event. For those of us who are exempt from taking the knowledge of Canada test, the interview usually (perhaps always) takes place attendant a scheduled test-event.

This topic is thus specifically here for participants to share their interview experience, including observations, and for commentary about the interview process itself. I am making it a sticky topic because it is a common experience for all adult applicants, so these reports should be of interest to almost everyone who visits this particular forum regarding applications for a grant of citizenship (PRs seeking naturalized citizenship).

I am going to make a number of posts in which I will paste posts previously made in the forum by others, in various topics. This will be far from exhaustive but should offer a good sampling of what has previously been posted about the interview experience. For many I will also link to the page where the original post was, but I do not have the links for every post (I began preparing to create this topic awhile ago, but was sporadic in compiling the information from other posts; sorry). I undoubtedly leave out some very good reports. Please feel free to link or copy here other reports about the interview experience, particularly those I have overlooked.

This is part of an effort by me to do some of the things I had intended to do here, much of which I do not expect to accomplish now that my own journey has abruptly reached its conclusion much sooner than I had been anticipating. I have long been spending way, way too much time at this site. And it will be, or perhaps already is, time for me to be moving on to other projects, other venues. So I will try to get at least a bit done, like getting this topic started.

I also apologize for some redundancy in the following posts, and some of this is fragmented. As I indicated, I had been planning to establish a topic in which more organized information about the interview itself could be shared, and I had hoped to approach this more deliberately, more organized, than I now have time to do. (Also note, in this regard, the forum has been under an escalated attack from spam the last two weeks as well, which has disrupted this effort and also consumed more time than I will have going forward.)

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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Some typical posts reporting about the interview

Originally posted by ab007 ab007 wrote:

Posted: 04 Feb 2010
My exam went well and all the questions were from the study book "A Look of Canada".

After the exam there was a small interview....the officer asked questions related to [my] application and were verifying the information is correct which i had provided in the [application] form...

after the interview the officer told me that if the judges is satisfy and you pass the test you will receive a letter for oath ceremony [within] 3 to 4 months....that was was pretty smooth process...

Originally posted by mendie mendie wrote:

Posted: 19 Feb 2010
The test was very easy..But the interview took forever..The officers were taking a looong time with each person..Asking about every detail of the past years and checking the passport in details..She even was asking me about trips before I landed.
At the end the lady told me the standard language that if everything is fine, i will get my oath in 3 to 4 months.
I really hope not to get an RQ ..This process is taking forever!

Originally posted by dadadada72 dadadada72 wrote:

Posted: 20 Feb 2010
My wife and I took the test last thursday at 8h30. The writting test was ok . the interwiew was a nightmare. the officer (lady) called me first and and asked me tons of question about my belgian citizenship, my job in montreal , my profession as doctor and so on ,she checked my 2 belgian passports and end up by saying that I must wait my spouse in the waiting room., then called my wife.
The same lady asked to my wife the same questions she asked me before in order to check if we were living together or traveling together and so on ...............,at end she gave the RQ to my wife and said that: << your husband is ok but you you do not have 1095 days based on your passport entries stamps so just file up this RQ and add some proofs of your schoolarship and your present proof of work as a nurse just that, maybe your case will be 2 or 3 months delayed , send them as soon as possible by mail and everything will be ok >> that was all she said.
My wife was devastated and I was really angry.
The officer said nothing about the judge, nothing about the oath, no conclusion speech to me except to my wife.
So I dont know what to think????????????
Can I receive citizenship before my wife or should we be delayed together ? will I receive RQ by mail ? we are really please helpppppppppppp

Originally posted by sendi-mississauga sendi-mississauga wrote:

Posted: 11 Oct 2010
My interview was only 5-10 minutes.

She checked all my papers. She was [surprised] that I only had 2 stamps. (I left Canada only twice)
She asked me how many times I went to the U.S. I said never. She was: You've been here so long and you never went? How come? I said because with my country's passport you can't just go to the States, you need a visa and I did not go, that's all. She checked that form that you have to fill out about your jobs for the past 5 years but she did not have any questions about that. I was done in a few minutes. I was one of the first ones, then we waited more than 2! hours for the rest of the group. Just before the test the male officer told us that quite a few people received RQs, where there is a suspicion that they do not live here. He also said that we can expect oath in 1-3 months from now. BTW Mississauga CIC is MOVING TO A NEW LOCATION AS OF NOVEMBER 1st to Erin Mills Pkwy and Dundas st. Most likely we all will have our oaths there.
Oh, and when I was exiting there was another group already waiting for test! They are working overtime now, to get rid of the backlog. They never had tests scheduled after 4 pm, because that's when they usually close everyday. I think things are really going to speed up now in Mississauga!

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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Samples of more thorough reports:

Originally posted by EasyRider EasyRider wrote:

Posted: 27 Nov 2013
Ok, did my test/interview at 1025 Rue Saint-Jacques today. Took little more than 1 hour for the whole process. At the entrance you show invitation paper and attendant let you in. Everybody were gathering in a waiting room with the seats until it was the time printed on invitation. There were 70-80 people in total. Then agent came and folks over 55 were invited to a "ceremony room" to do interviews with the agents, they were called by their names. Everybody else proceeded to a test room.

Test was very easy-- I didn't have any dates at all and one question with the names I had was something about Sir John A. Macdonald, what can be simpler? The level of difficulty of question is on the same level as on training websites, i.e. nothing tricky and sophisticated. The study booklet can obviously be used to produce much more difficult questions that are in the current versions of a test.

When you complete the test, you put booklet with questions with answer sheet in a basket and proceed directly to the "ceremony room". By the time people were starting to finish their tests, agents in the "ceremony room" were finishing interviewing people over 55. There was no delay, i.e. we didn't have to wait for everybody to complete their tests to queue up for an interview.

Somebody was bringing up applicants' cases in folders with checked answer sheets to the "ceremony room" and putting them into baskets of interviewing agents. There were total of 4 agents in this room doing interviews, plus another one who was interviewing in another room, because there were not enough tables in front for 5 people in that room. Agents were taking cases from baskets and calling up the applicants. Organizers tried to sit applicants as far as possible from the interviewers, so it'd be not so easy to hear the interview dialogs.

I'm under impression that interviewing people had nothing to do with your case directly before an interview, i.e. they were not specifically designated to do your interview. One interviewer just took several cases from another one when he ran out of cases from his own basket.

I wouldn't say all interviews were especially short, at least not for everyone, some people were questioned for 10, maybe even 15 minutes. One interviewer was asking someone about different periods of time in Canada and was pretty thorough.

My interview was rather short and lasted for about 5 minutes. Agent asked for ID's (PR, health card and drivers license), copies of bio-pages of current passport and passport related to a 4-year period, also asked to show a COPR original and provide copy of a COPR. Agent had a checklist form with lots of items on that list, maybe about 15-20, each of them had a checkbox and a comment field related to a specific question. So, when doing interview an agent would tick a checkbox and/or write something in a comment field. Basically, agent is filling "Part B - Inverview" part of a File Requirements Checklist (see here) while conducting interview and resolving additional questions, if any.

The interviewer went through the passport stamps and compared them with a residence calculator printout while ticking the in and out dates that were matching stamps in passport. I had all the stamps matching trips, so there was no problem. Also, the agent refused to use my reference table with trips/stamps I had prepared for interview.

Other questions that were asked:

1. How long have you been living in Canada?
2. When was the last time you traveled out of Canada and for how long? Checked the stamps in a new passport.

3. When you got your PR? (I've got PR after living in Canada for several years).
4. What do you do and where do you work?
5. What company is doing and where it's located?
6. How long have you been working there? (a comment like "same employer" was made in a checklist and some box ticked).

7. Then I was asked about unemployment period (I also noticed that there were big questions and some handwriting in my original application form in a red ink, seemed like around a section related to employment, but I'm not sure 100%). I explained that I moved from one province to another without having a job and then found a job there.
8. What's your current address?
9. Do you rent or do you own?

10. Have you ever had problems with the police anywhere?
11. Have you marital and family status changed since application?
12. Was your new passport issued in Canada?

That's it, as far as I can remember. I didn't get and RQ or anything and was informed that if judge approves the case, oath will be in around 2-4 months after test date. While on my way out I noticed another group of people gathering in a waiting room, so probably they do tests for 2-3 groups a day.

* * *

One other thing I noticed I'd mention that may be related to interview or maybe not. Somebody was checking my LinkedIn account as anonymous user 2 hours before test and between 2-3 weeks ago, right around time when I received test notification or notification could be issued. I thought that was unusual-- 1st, I don't remember anonymous users checking my profile before, second, timing seems suspicious to me. So, maybe it's CIC "googling". Here's how it looked when I got back from the test:

LinkedIn member
This member chose to be shown as anonymous
2 hours ago

LinkedIn member
This member chose to be shown as anonymous
2 weeks ago

I didn't know that somebody could peek on your profile in LinkedIn while remaining completely anonymous (and that's actually feature of this service, as it turns out) and I don't like it. I found there's lots of discontent about this feature among users of this site-- it was supposed to be a professional network site based on openness, instead they allow groups who want to remain secretive peek on you without going for any lengths whatsoever. Seems there's no way to disable this feature for own profile either. I'm disappointed in this service.

Originally posted by eileen eileen wrote:

I had my test and interview this morning and wanted to make a quick report.

I got 20/20 on the test. No problem there.

As I was called up for the interview, I first corrected the pronunciation of my name (I get called Ellen or Hélène in french, which is not my name) and then I asked the officer what her name was. She physically startled at the question and stared at me wordlessly for 2 seconds, before giving me a first name and then staring at me a little longer.

The interview went fine after that though. We talked about the neighbourhood I live in and she asked me to give a quick narrative of what I've been doing in Canada since my qualifying period started in 2007. She had looked over my RQ submission and made notes. She said that it was very thorough and well put together. This is interesting because I do not have some primary documents (no rent receipts, though I have leases and bank statements, and I do not have 4 years of pay stubs because I have periods of unemployment and am currently self-employed).

She was concerned that I had filed taxes in the USA even though I said I was a resident of Canada. I had to tell her that US citizens have to file taxes until the day they die, no matter where they live. She was surprised about that, but seemed to accept it.

She said that due to my travel I am "borderline". She used that word, but then she said that things look good. I pressed her as to whether the CIC would be recommending me for approval or a hearing. She maintained that it was up to the judge and the CIC just gathers the information. But she said that my RQ was strong and vaguely indicated that I would probably maybe go to Oath soon with no hearing but who knows?

So who knows.

When I got home I looked up her first name on GEDS. It seems like she gave me a fake. Which is pretty rich amidst all this rhetoric about integrity and coming from a person who could have learned the name of my dentist from 2007 at a glance, as well as the name of the doctor who delivered my daughter, and who could have rattled off my credit card numbers.

Integrity is for the little guys.

link to posts by Spellbound and bangloboy:

Originally posted by Spellbound Spellbound wrote:

I did the test at St. Clair today. The room was really packed. The test itself was super-easy. The interview: the lady who interviewed me had my RQ in front of her. She only checked whether my T4 forms matched the jobs I listed in the application. All travels were checked right from the passport. She said she had no concerns regarding my file, and would recommend the judge to approve it. But - it is CIC, we can always expect the unexpected from them!

Originally posted by bangloboy bangloboy wrote:

Quote I also did the test in St Clair on Jan 30! My agent was cordial. Test was easy - 20/20. Room was packed - i'd say more than 120 people. I chatted with the agent about work etc - she just ticked off from my RQ and what was on my passport. Didn't really look at T4 that much but asked what I've been doing for the past few years. Also said she was satisfied and moving to judge. The good thing she mentioned was things were moving fast and we might be hearing back sooner than the timeframe! :) In fact a friend of mine who applied in April 2013, she didn't get RQed but she had her test last saturday and had her oath on thursday! So they might be pushing things fast

Quote I was RQed and she had all the copies there. I took all my original Notice of Assessments - I saw her flip through the copies I had sent months ago. She never even bothered to ask for supporting docs from me. She only looked at my passport and that's all. We spoke about work verbally but no requests for any originals. Regardless I would take all originals that you submitted as it's better to be safe than never!

Originally posted by bangloboy bangloboy wrote:

She looked through my passport and ticked off what I had mentioned in the RQ. As she was doing this we had conversations, she asked me what I do - and I explained. I also offered if she needed any documents and she said she was fine. After she verified my exits and entries she went on to ask what work I've been doing over the past 4 years. I told her where I worked and why I changed to my current job etc. One thing interesting I noticed was I had taken vacations to the caribbean a few times and countries like Cuba do not stamp anything so I brought my invoices - she said she understood that and didn't need verification! What she ticked off were places like home country I went to twice and other countries I went to for school related stuff. I will update you all once I hear further good news. All the best

Originally posted by exempligrata exempligrata wrote:

The test was easier than I expected and some of the possible answers to many questions were so obviously and hilariously wrong that even if one hadn't read the book, they'd be sure to get some of the questions right.

The officer administering the test gave us several warnings one of which has not been mentioned, or rather, one that I haven't come across on this or any other forum: He warned us that if we left before getting the results of the test that we wouldn't get it by calling the Call Centre.

Overall, the experience was a lot less harrowing than I expected; especially the interview for which I was over-prepared bringing "irrelevant" documents such as my NOA's, and OHIP and CBSA records which were never asked for. I was surprised that the officer neither asked many questions nor engaged in the customary "chit-chat" that many forum members have experienced as a means to verify ones language proficiency; I am glad, however, for that as I was worried that I would be asked about a recent trip I made out of Canada post-application. Perhaps the lack of questions was the indirect result of using Post-it flags to point to all entries and "exits"* in my passport, and Post-it notes to briefly explain certain exit dates. At the very least, using Post-its helped to speed up the process.

The officer informed us that we should receive our Oath invitations in 1-3 months if everything checks out with the CJ... I can see the end in sight!

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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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dpenabill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2014 at 3:12pm

More sample posts

Originally posted by canadiancoops canadiancoops wrote:

Posted: 21 Feb 2014 at 3:51pm
Today I took my citizenship exam and got 20/20 in Calgary, AB. The questions are much easier than the online tests as the answers are more clear and not too many where the answers almost read the same.

I received a letter last month telling me to bring the letter and and original ID I photocopied in my application along with passport, immigration landing documents.

My time was 8am in the city so awoke at 5:30am and got there at 7:40am. There was already approx. 25 people there before me and they actually started taking people about 7:50am.

They had 3 desks with an immigration officer behind each one and we all stood in line and went forward when called.

We were called (joint app with my wife) and she was very pleasant. Took our passports and drivers license. My wife's had expired since the application so she took a photocopy of the new license.

She chatted with us whether we had a criminal record and then signed the form that came with the letter advising us of our exam date.

She ticked off the dates on the residency calculator in the original application and then did my wife's (some stamps missing so she didn't tick all the dates but didn't question it either)

She asked what we both did for jobs and that was the only question she asked. She talked about the weather, the drive in etc but no questions. Once she had checked the above she gave us the exam multiple choice 1 sheet answer sheet and asked us to move to the exam room. All done. 5 minutes and very nice person.

Other people who's English were not so good (we are from England) sounded like they had more questions to check their English capability I believe.

One couple didn't bring their landing documents and she told them they had to get confirmation before getting oath. Another was foreign (from Iraq) and she didn't have translations of her stamps and they allowed her to do test but said she would need that to be translated before getting oath.

We sat in the room, after the interview, at least 2 seats apart and when the other people behind us had been checked and came in the room one of the women from behind the desk came in and read us our rights - basically saying no cheating allowed, do no discuss exam questions with anybody afterwards etc.

She then handed out our exam questions and said we had 30 minutes to complete. When complete we had to hand in answers and questions at the front and she marked them, gave the answer sheet to an assistant who then took us to a private room and showed us our score, said if everything is all ok with the paperwork then the oath will be late March/early April.

The exam began at 8:50 so it only took them 1 hour to get through approx. 35 people and I was done in 5 minutes on the exam questions and out by 9am. Super quick and easy.

Any questions (except what the questions where) please let me know.

Oh and I had to pay $24 for 3 hours parking at the citizenship offices....ouch lol

Edited by canadiancoops - 21 Feb 2014 at 4:08pm
Rec'd:        June 4/2012 (e-cas updated June 7/2012)
In Process: Jan 16/2013 (e-cas updated Jan 18/2013)
Test Date: Feb 21/2014 (e-cas updated Jan 16/2014, letter issued Jan 13/2014)

Originally posted by pierrerion pierrerion wrote:

Posted: 18 Oct 2013
I just finished my test and interview. Nothing unusual. Here are the details.

I arrived at the CIC office 30 minutes early and there were already quite a few people waiting. Exam started in another room at 12:50pm, with one female agent explaining the procedure for the exam and interview. All instructions were bilingual, with French first then English. Answer sheets and exam booklets were distributed. All the booklets were bilingual, with alternatving French and English pages, French in white and English in blue. It seemed they reused the booklets as mine was quite worn out.

The agent asked us not to leak out the exam questions, not even to family members. But it was easy in my opinion. I got all questions right as i was told by an agent during my interview.

I think there were 3 agents doing the interviews today and around 50 to 60 applicants waiting. So if you finish your exam later than others, you are in for a long wait. My interview was short and brief and the agent friendly. Checked my health card, driver's license, passports and confirmation of permanent residency. Asked me about my history in Canada, educational history, how many times I had been back to my home country, where I worked, where I lived, rent or own, where my parents were, brothers and sisters etc. When talking about what I did for living, he actually asked how I went to work and what bus I took, which was interesting. I offered to show him my tax files and he said it wasn't necessary.

In the end, he said my files would be sent to a judge to decide and if everything was fine I should expect an oath invitation in 2-4 months. So I guess this is really not an indication for trouble. All in all, things went well and I found no indication to be overly concerned. But if an RQ comes, I'll be at peace with it, after all I've learned over the years not to expect too much from governments.

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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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dpenabill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2014 at 3:20pm

Some observations in reference to interview for a pre-test RQ'd applicant:

Among the notable differences in some interviews, one observes the interviewer checking T4s and comparing them to reported employment history, while the other says the interviewer "Didn't look at T4 that much" but asked general questions about what the applicant had been doing and "chatted" about work. While these may seem minor differences, the point is this illustrates that for each applicant, individually, based on that applicant's situation and history, what CIC focuses on will vary and in many respects be dependent on (relative to) the individual himself or herself.

I would further note, though, that just like at a POE, there are probably questions-for-the-day (or week or month), all staff instructed on a particular topic of query and a stock of questions to pose relative to that query, CIC (again like CBSA at a POE) being given, in effect, marching orders for the day (week, month, whatever period) to focus on certain issues and facts. These could easily, and probably are, geared to groups of applicants . . . it being quite apparent that at least some test events involve groups of applicants with somewhat similar situations.

Main thing, though, is that the actual exchanges in the interview will vary, and could vary substantially.

Another key indication: The employment history can be a big factor. bangloboy had clearly submitted both the CRA Notices of Assessment and T4s in response to the RQ. While this will not always make the difference, make the case successful, the failure to do this is almost certainly a red flag if not an outright invitation to elevated scrutiny and a longer process.

Second only to submitting copies of all relevant and potentially relevant Travel Documents, the submission of these key documents (CRA Notices of Assessment plus source of income tax documents) is probably the next most important documents to submit in responding to RQ.

Other notes/observations:

There is a report (don't have the quote) by chipmunk_montreal regarding an inquiry, in the interview, as to how long in the U.S., job, and so on, including since applying; this report warrants taking note of in particular. Most reports tend to indicate the focus is predominantly on applicants' activity and location during the relevant four years, but reports like this illuminate that CIC is taking note of and looking at some aspects of post-application activity and location. My best guess is that this is elevated for those given RQ, and not so much so for routine cases unless there is a particularly salient red flag waving during the interview.

It is also worth noting that the observations by bangloboy about the interviewer's lack of interest in seeing invoices reflecting travel comports with some observations by pretestRQ based on overhearing interviews with other applicants. The point about the interviewer's lack of interest in seeing what an applicant has (with him or her) to verify information (usually about dates and destinations of travel) warrants more elaboration, but for now it suffices to emphasize that beyond the verifications done in the documents check (primarily focused on identity and the presentation of all Travel Documents) the interview appears to be very much verification of identity and documents oriented, and beyond that is more or less about looking for incongruities, inconsistencies, outright discrepancies, red flags (such as indications the applicant is or has been evasive or deceptive, or has otherwise failed to disclose material information), and NOT much interested in what the applicant has to verify information the applicant already has provided. (Note distinction between verification of identity and required documents, versus assessment or verification of applicant information generally - again, relative to this, my strong sense is that it is limited to looking for red flags, not for corroborating or verifying information otherwise -- except, of course, checking travel documents to be sure stamps and such are consistent with reported travel/absences.)

Thus, it appears that the point of bringing any additional documents (beyond those requested) is not so much about the applicant affirmatively presenting a supporting case, but more about having the documents available if they are specifically relevant to an inquiry made by the interviewer, that is, if they provide a direct response to a question by the interviewer, and the interviewer is interested, then, in considering the document. This means that usually the additional documents will be no more than excess baggage, but if and when there is a chance they could be presented, it may indeed be worth having them. As I have oft said, I would stick to the more essential, key documents for this, and not be surprised if there is no opportunity at all to present them.

Reminder: what the interviewer asks, and what the interviewer is interested in seeing, is likely to vary considerably from case to case, individual to individual.

The latter is further illustrated by yet another good report of the interview by incanada. This report also warrants more extensive commentary, but for now a couple things warrant emphasis: reference to the checklist and the inquiry regarding visas (U.S. and UK). The report illuminates aspects of the process in this regard which should help others anticipate the scope of potential questions, beyond the perfunctory ones.

Another eavesdropping observation of much interest is in the report by incanada, having to do with the contrast between questions posed to an applicant who, apparently, did not provide some key documentation in response to the RQ, like CRA Notices of Assessment, and other questions directly related to the RQ, versus minimal questions directly related to the RQ response in the interview for incanada's RQ'd partner.

Back to the observations by pretestRQ, highlights include the observations about the applicant who failed to present an expired passport. Huge, huge mistake. Anyone who needs to renew or replace an older passport and is not absolutely certain the older passport will be returned, should do their best to make a complete copy and have that copy verified as complete as of a particular date. While obviously a certified copy would be best, that may be impractical or even impossible to obtain.

I made a complete, dated copy of every page of my old passport before sending it off to be replaced by a new passport. I did not go the extra step of having the copy independently verified. (I was in a rush, we had some vacation plans abroad coming up, and my home country does return the old passport.)

For those who can anticipate the likelihood their old passport will not be returned to them, more precautions are probably a good idea, some independent, dated verification that the copy is a true, correct, and complete copy as of the particular date. The equivalent of a notary, for example, should be able to compare the original and the copy and at least verify that the copy is a complete and accurate copy of the original as of that date. While obviously the impact of failing to have the older passport will vary depending on all the circumstances, including in particular the extent to which the applicant can submit reliable, objective documentation showing actual presence in Canada, failure to present an old passport can be a huge problem and is one of the issues that arises in numerous Federal Court cases as a key factor underlying a denial of approval for citizenship. In this regard, there is mention in the Federal Court decisions that a copy of the passport should make a big difference.

Another observation worth highlighting is an interviewer's comment about what to submit in response to a request for additional information and documents:
Quote Officer said provide information only for the relevant four years. He said they don’t need boxes of documents but they definitely need key documents which will help in decision.
I have often tried to make the point that key documents are crucial, and that boxes of other stuff are virtually irrelevant. If the key documents do not suffice to make one's case, boxes of documents are not likely to suffice either, but the details in those boxes are fertile sources of incongruities or inconsistencies, and thus may be as likely to hurt more than they help (subject to the omnipresent it-depends factor).

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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FRQ: Pre-interview Check and Interview

For reference:

Quote => PART B (to be completed by local office)

- All follow-ups completed on applicable CPC Sydney triage criteria
- Checked GCMS/FOSS before interview
- Applicant is prohibited
- Residence questionnaire on file
- Applicant has used a suspect residential address after application submission
- Discrepancy in absences between citizenship application and responses to questions on the RQ and/or CIC records
- Discrepancy in addresses listed on citizenship application and those on the RQ and/or CIC records
- Self-identified as a consultant, self-employed or unemployed with any travel during the relevant 4 year period

- Identification: Original of 2 IDs submitted with application have been verified (including 1 photo ID)
- Immigration documents originals verified (IMM 1000/5292/5509/5686 and PR Card)
- Signature verified
- Biopage/Renewal page of passport/Travel document provided
- Passports/Travel documents relevant to entire 4 year period
- Passport/Travel documents verified against absences declared on application or RQ (if applicable)
- Work/Education discussed
- Prohibitions declared at interview
- Residence Questionnaire given at interview with CIC official
- Language (choose one): Satisfactory, Waived, Hearing
- Special Remarks/Explanations/Concerns/or Follow-ups to items from Part A

This is a 2012 version of the FRQ, and it probably has been modified in the course of OB 407 B, OB 407 C, and OB 407 D (assuming "D" is the last so far). But the modifications are most likely in the details, not the form, not the general outline approach, and probably more detail not less.

Reminder: Part A of the FRQ is the completeness check and the Triage Criteria. Obviously there is little likelihood of "follow-up" required for items in the completeness check, so the references to follow-up in Part A are clearly to follow-up any risk indicator items identified by Sydney in the level one screening. This would obviously include examination of the RQ submission.

But how thorough the examination (review) of the entirety of what was submitted in response to RQ is not so clear. Probably has varied from local office to local office. And it may depend on what risk indicators are checked and to be followed-up on.

My sense: when a response to RQ is being given a thorough going-over, that is probably a sign that someone at CIC has some elevated concerns if not suspicions, and is looking for details damaging to the applicant's case, not details favouring the applicant. I am quite confident that if the applicant's case is not relatively made in the key information and key documents, which can be examined fairly quickly, that's when things are more likely to go off the rails and into the realm of longer delays.

Related posts regarding review of RQ submission:

Originally posted by bjones bjones wrote:

Is it true that all RQ responses are examined as part of pre-interview check? If I recall correctly, there were reports of applicants being scheduled to test in just a few weeks after submitting the RQ response. I am just wondering whether these RQs were processed in such a short period of time and whether there is any chance that these applicants will be scheduled to take the oath soon after taking the test if everything goes well during the test/interview...

I responded:
Quote Is the question about what is actually done or what the policy/practice is?

The policy/practice is clearly that the RQ response is to be reviewed in preparation for the interview.

In particular, the File Requirements Checklist not only specifically lists review of any RQ on file as part of the pre-interview check, one of the items specifically calls for a comparison of "addresses listed on citizenship application and those on the RQ and/or CIC records." Another calls for specifically comparing absences in the RQ response. While this is based on a 2012 version of the File Requirements Checklist, it is most likely still included (and to the extent the FRQ has been modified, may include more specific items to specifically compare in the RQ).

So, again, in terms of policy/practice, review of the submission in response to the pre-test RQ is clearly included as part of the pre-interview check.

How consistently, let alone thoroughly, this is done in actual practice, however, probably varies. It is always difficult to know precisely what any particular bureaucrat examines.

Part of why I doubt that there is a definitive conclusion reached about residency at that stage of pre-interview review, though, is that the more thorough, more or less line-by-line review, is probably done in the course of completing the File Preparation Template, which in the 2012 version of OB 407 was mandatory for all applicants given RQ (the File Preparation Template requires detailed observations regarding specified items related to residency, and it is not used for file review referrals for routine cases). That said, part of what may have bogged down the pre-test RQs in the GTA was that (unlike Vancouver for example), local offices in the GTA might have been actually working through the File Preparation Template before scheduling applicants for the test (and in that regard, may have left huge numbers wallowing in queue waiting for a Citizenship Officer to be assigned to do this, rather than someone more or less at the level of a case worker).

Some might attach a more determinative meaning to "review," as if to "review" necessarily includes reaching a more or less definitive conclusion. Perhaps it would be more clear to address the pre-interview check in terms of "examine" and "consider." Thus, that is, yes, all pre-test RQ responses are examined and considered prior to the test event interview, unless someone does not do their job (so-to-say).

There were, too, some very early on reports (going back to 2012) in which some participants here reported that they did not believe the person interviewing them had looked at their response to RQ. Whether that was a misinterpretation or miscommunication (meaning the RQ had been examined and the applicant's perception was wrong), or whether in the haze of transition to the new pre-test RQ process the in-fact-practice for examination of the RQ response was not fully implemented, or again someone had not done their job, who knows. But, in any event, the pre-interview check is at least supposed to include examination of the response to RQ.

I get the sense that some people think an actual person spends significantly more time actually working on the applicant's file than what I think happens. My sense is that not a lot of time is spent on individual files. I get the sense that perhaps some pre-test RQ'd applicants hurt the timeline in their case by submitting too much of a document dump in response, bumping it out of what could be quickly examined. I do not know this for sure. But even in the 2012 internal CIC memos there were references to some huge submissions received in response to RQ and how much worktime those files demanded.

Mostly, I think the amount of time someone at CIC is supposed to spend, usually, on a specific file, is quite likely to be a matter of how many minutes, or parts of an hour, or some other units based on less than an hour. Not how many hours. And I am talking about pre-test RQ cases here.

It is (speculating of course) probably not a triage process per se, but a more or less checklist approach with some specific things to be looking for as the (let's call the individual a case worker, though I have no idea what their formal title or position is) case worker conducts a pre-interview check in preparation for the interview. Indeed, that is the way the File Requirements Checklist is set up. There is a specific part for the pre-interview check and for the interview.

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: 14 Mar 2014 at 3:54pm

Report of additional document request given at interview:

Originally posted by tigercarpr tigercarpr wrote:

After the interview, officer handled out the form CIT 0520(10-2013E) to provide personal health claim summary and both adults's tax notice of assessment in 45 days and see judge later. What is the sign here? long-haul wait for CJ after supplementing new documents?

Part of what I responded to this post:
Quote This limited document request is a relatively new procedure, just implemented by CIC in the latter part of 2013. We have very few participants here reporting experience with this, and frankly it is way too soon to draw any inferences about what it means for most.

But it is not RQ. And that is important. It may mean some delay but probably not the huge delay incurred by those who get RQ, particularly those who get RQ after the test. Of course, if CIC is not satisfied after getting the documents, RQ could still come. But for now, the more focused request is a good sign that just a little documentation will be sufficient for the case to be referred to the Citizenship Judge in a file review, meaning the oath would be scheduled in the not too distant future.

. . .

[The applicant] should follow the instructions in the request as best [the applicant] can based on [the applicant's] best understanding of what they mean. A request someone else got may not be the same [as that given in the particular case]. Follow the instructions in the request . . . received as best [one] can.   

Another post about bringing additional documents to interview:

Originally posted by twocats twocats wrote:

RQs have been reviewed and are used as the primary reference doc at the interview. Do not bring anything they've already had.

Part of my response:
Quote First sentence I agree with. And, actually, that is largely what I elaborate on in some detail in a separate post below. But, it is worth emphasizing that the fact the RQ has been reviewed (examined and considered prior to the test event interview) does not mean that CIC has made a final determination as to whether CIC deems the applicant is qualified. See post following this one for further explanation.

However, I do not entirely agree with the second sentence: "Do not bring anything they've already had."

Even though the odds are that bringing additional documentation, beyond what the applicant is instructed to bring, will have little or no impact on how things actually go (what decision CIC makes), what to bring is a very individual decision and a decision to be made based on the particular circumstances of the individual case.

In particular, there is no harm in having some additional key documents handy, even if just for one's own reference, and even if they are never presented during the course of the interview. The CBSA travel history, for example, is something some applicants like to have with them when they go to the interview, even though now for all RQ'd applicants CIC should either have one submitted by the applicant or a report based on CIC's direct access to the CBSA travel history. (I would carry my own travel records, even though having submitted a full accounting of all travel in response to the RQ, rather than the CBSA records, but others appear to prefer to have the CBSA travel history with them. Others have spreadsheets which can illuminate their travel history in a manner organized for comparison with other information, like passport stamps.)

Other examples may be the original of a few key documents copies of which were submitted to CIC. No reason to bring a big box of documents (for most, there is no reason to submit a big box of documents in response to the RQ either). If a few documents are not going to be enough, a big box or even ten boxes of documents will not be either.

There may be no opportunity at all to present any additional documents. But it is a bit like having an air bag in the dashboard of your car: good to know it's there even if you never need it, just in case.

Additional observations:

I previously quoted the following report, but am quoting it again to give context to some other observations I have made.
Originally posted by bangloboy bangloboy wrote:

She looked through my passport and ticked off what I had mentioned in the RQ. As she was doing this we had conversations, she asked me what I do - and I explained. I also offered if she needed any documents and she said she was fine. After she verified my exits and entries she went on to ask what work I've been doing over the past 4 years. I told her where I worked and why I changed to my current job etc. One thing interesting I noticed was I had taken vacations to the caribbean a few times and countries like Cuba do not stamp anything so I brought my invoices - she said she understood that and didn't need verification! What she ticked off were places like home country I went to twice and other countries I went to for school related stuff. I will update you all once I hear further good news. All the best

I think I have previously posted the following in response to this (not sure where):

While CIC-Ccws*, including CIC staff conducting the interviews, are not robots and are not engaged in a merely mechanical exercise in working their way through the particular action they are taking on a citizenship application, including conducting an interview, what they are doing is far more formally structured and driven by defined criteria than it may appear to be in the course of what seems to be casual conversation, even chat. In particular, what appears to be casual conversation, or mere chat, is almost always a part, an integral part actually, of deliberate inquiry, specifically designed to put the applicant at ease for the purpose of obtaining candid information. Personnel in CIC, just like those in CBSA, are specifically trained for conducting interviews using a casual style of exchange. There are many reasons why bureaucratic investigatory interviews are structured this way (in contrast, say, to the more or less law enforcement style of a more formal, authoritative approach -- although, in practice, in many contexts even law enforcement personnel often employ the casual-chat approach in pursuit of obtaining candid information from individuals).

*Note: "Ccws" is my acronym for citizenship case workers, meaning anyone at CIC working on a citizenship case regardless of title or position.

But it is also worth remembering the more formal criteria aspect of their task. Interviewers may wander off the checklist path, so-to-say, if and when they see an opportunity to obtain the kind of information they are looking for. But mostly they stay focused on specified criteria, the checklist items. If their checklist (probably in practice significantly more extensive than the File Requirements Checklist itself), the list of criteria and tasks they are instructed to be using on that occasion (again, like at a POE, these probably are mostly standardized but in some detail may vary from day-to-day), calls for a comparison of specific information in two particular sources (say the residency calculator declarations and the reported absences in the response to RQ), that is what the interviewer will focus on.

REMINDER: Beyond the formal verification of identity and required documents, in many respects (but not entirely) the interviewer is looking for incongruities, inconsistencies, red flags, indications the applicant is or has been evasive or deceptive.

Thus, beyond the formal verification of identity and required documents, the interview is NOT so much about confirming the applicant's information as it is looking for holes in the applicant's information, looking for indications of something awry. Thus, there is no convincing the interviewer as such; there is either verification or the identification of a concern. To what extent a concern that is noted or which arises may be addressed by the applicant's responses, or perhaps even by the presentation of some documentation, is an unknown. Most indications suggest minimal opportunity to address concerns, often no opportunity to present additional documents. On a personal note, I brought and offered a photocopy of my new passport, issued since I had applied, and that was accepted. Even though the interviewer did not ask for this, the instructions were to bring such copies.

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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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dpenabill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2014 at 4:17pm

That's plenty. There is a lot of information in the previous posts. I have offered some observations. Much of this has been discussed elsewhere, and my observations have been elaborated on some in other topics. Not everyone agrees with anything I post let alone all of it, and I am no expert, so remember to consider any information here cautiously, always using one's critical thinking skills, and always verifying to the extent one can through other sources.

I had also intended to post a more thorough accounting of my own interview experience, but in going over my notes I do not see much that is not already well covered in the reports by others above; so I have selected just a few additional observations based on my own interview:
-- Interviewer had me sign my signature in her presence; obviously to compare to signatures on documents (passport, drivers license, and such) and in the application
-- Interviewer flipped through every page of both passports
-- Interviewer returned most originals as she completed examining them, comparing each of my originals to the photocopy I had submitted with the application; exception was the PR card, she held that to the very end of the interview, and handing me my PR card was the last thing she did, in conjunction with reminding me that I had to bring that to the oath
-- Questions about my work were awkward. Reminder, I am a freelance author and I sell all my work to a publisher abroad, and I must admit to stuttering a bit about where the company I did work for is located. And while she asked some clarifying questions, she did not seem concerned. I worried a little about this until the next day passed and I did not get a phone call, which meant that my oath was still scheduled to take place.
-- My interview took place inside a private office; no overhearing others being interviewed.
-- I was done, out the door, across the street and sitting in my car telephoning my wife at exactly eleven minutes after the time my interview was scheduled for . . . not sure how long the interview itself was. I had arrived fifteen minutes early and probably waited most of that before the interview. In any event, the interview went very quickly.

** * **   ** * **   ** * **   ** * **   ** * **   ** * **   ** * **

Again, all the reporting about personal experience has been much appreciated. I hope this information, and future posts about the interview experience, will be helpful, both to those with applications pending, and for those who are in the process of planning and preparing to make an application for citizenship.

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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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote montrealia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2014 at 12:01pm
My husband and I had our exam and interview in Montreal today. We first did the exam which was very easy. Then we had to wait for the interview. They first called all the people with individual files. When they called groups, they would call one member at the time and consecutively (meaning that the same officer would interview the members of the same group, but one at the time).

In our case, my husband was called first. His interview was very quick. He got the pre-test RQ and the officer had spent time reading his RQ and was on top of things and she said that everything was very complete and there weren't much to check. I was called after and most of the interview went well, but then she had to check the passport stamps and that took forever (I travel a lot for work). She happily accepted some index that I made to help keep track of each stamp and trip.

In the end the officer said everything was OK, that the judge was almost certainly approve the case without any further inquiry, and that we should be called for the oath in 2-4 month.

I left with an uneasy feeling, though, because she wasn't very exhaustive at checking the passport stamps and they are just too many, I'm very afraid of getting an RQ myself...
Office: Guess!!!
Received: 25 May 2011
In Process: 26 Jun 2012
pre-test RQ submitted: 03 Aug 2012
PR card renewed: June-Sept 2013, no issues
Test: 26 March 2014
Oath: 7 August 2014
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote rnvb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2014 at 11:10am
I think this is more of educational thread not a regular thread to post one's experiences..I suggest that we keep it simple for other members looking for info on test event interview process.
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