Immigration representatives are people who offer immigration advice or assistance to visa applicants. Some applicants may choose to consult a representative to act on their behalf with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Immigration and Refugee Board or the Canada Border Services Agency.
There are two types of immigration representatives: paid and unpaid.
Paid immigration representatives
The only representatives who may charge a fee to represent or advise you on immigration and refugee matters with the Government of Canada are:
lawyers who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society
Immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, and
notaries who are members in good standing of theChambre des notaires du Québec
The Government of Canada will not deal with non-authorized representatives who charge a fee for their service.
Unpaid immigration representatives
A person or organization who does not charge a fee for their service may also represent you.
a family member or friend
a member of a non-governmental or religious organization
Other people who offer immigration advice or assistance
People who provide immigration-related advice or assistance for a fee before the application is filed are not obliged to be authorized representatives. However, be aware that non-authorized representatives or advisors are not regulated. This means that they may not have adequate knowledge or training. It also means that you cannot seek help from the professional bodies (that is, the law societies, CSIC, etc.) if that person provides you with the wrong advice or behaves in an unprofessional way.
Tips on choosing an immigration representative
It is your decision whether or not to use an immigration representative. No immigration representative has special access to our programs and services and no one can guarantee you a visa.
All the forms and guides you need to apply for any type of visa are available for free on this website.
Choosing a representative:
Ask for recommendations from people you trust. Talk to several potential advisers before choosing one.
Ask about their training and experience:
find out if they are an authorized representative
ask for references
find out how long they have been in business.
Discuss what services they will provide and the fee. Get this information in writing.
Ask questions. You should be wary of a representative who refuses to answer your questions.
Be careful of anything that sounds too good to be true.
If you are choosing a representative in Canada, you can also contact the Better Business Bureau before making your choice. They can tell you if any complaints have been raised against immigration representatives that operate in Canada.
Once you have chosen a representative:
Make sure you get a written contract—read it carefully before you sign it. Make sure that all the promised services are listed and the fee is clearly set out.
Do not leave original documents or photos with the representative.
Do not sign blank application forms. If the representative has forms or documents for you to sign, do not sign them unless you are able to read them. If you don’t understand them, bring someone with you to translate. Make sure to get copies of any documents that are prepared for you.
Any time you make a payment, get a signed receipt.
Make sure your representative updates you on your application on a regular basis.
If you change your mind about your representative, you do not have to continue with them. You can change your representative at any time or deal directly with the visa office or the in-Canada immigration office yourself. If you change your representative, you must notify CIC.
You must provide your representative’s name and contact information on your application form whether they are paid or not. If your representative says that this is not necessary, this is false. You should verify the accuracy of your representative’s advice.
If you appoint a paid representative who is not a member of one of the designated bodies, your application will be returned.
Note: The Government of Canada will never ask you to deposit money into a personal bank account or to transfer money through a specific private money transfer company.
Remember—you are responsible for all the information in your application It is against the law to give false or misleading information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
If the information on your application is false or misleading, this is against the law and you may be refused entry to Canada or be deported from Canada after you arrive.
Immigration representatives who tell you to provide false or misleading information are also breaking the law.
Processing fees are the same at all Canadian visa offices around the world. Fees are in Canadian currency. Check the website for the visa office you are dealing with to get details on the form of payment.
If you are in Canada, you can also contact the call centre at 1‑888‑242‑2100 for guidelines on how to apply. To protect your privacy, you must provide written consent toCIC before any personal information may be shared with your representative.