Modified Administrative Procedures for Syrian & Iraqi Refugee Applications

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has temporarily modified administrative procedures for all sponsoring groups for SYRIAN AND IRAQI REFUGEE APPLICATIONS ONLY.

These procedures are in place at the Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg (CPO-W) as well as Canadian visa offices overseas. They are also applicable to Add Dependent and One Year Window applications for Syrian and Iraqi nationals.

The following changes are in effect for Syrian and Iraqi refugee applications only:

  • Versions of Forms: CPO-W will accept all versions of CIC-issued forms
  • Photographs of refugee applicants: CPO-W will accept unsuitable, undated photographs, or applications without photographs. Visa Office may request new photographs.
  • Signatures: Scanned signatures will be accepted for both sponsoring group and refugee applicant forms. Missing signatures will be collected by CPO-W for sponsors’ forms, or the Visa Office for refugee applicants’ forms.
  • Missing or inadequate information: CPO-W will contact sponsors by telephone or email to perfect application. Legible scans and digital photographs will be acceptable means for providing missing information.

To note: applications will be held at CPO-W until required information is provided. Sponsors will be given 60 days to provide missing information, with a 30 day extension period.

For Syrian refugee applications only, the prima facie designation reduces the burden of proof required to demonstrate that a Syrian’s individual personal circumstances meet the definition of a convention refugee.  While standard application forms and supporting documents continue to be required, information regarding the specific basis of claim may be less detailed and less comprehensive in the responses given the prima facie designation.  However, background information on the individual’s personal history and family information remains helpful  to visa offices overseas to efficiently process cases and should be provided where available. Visa officers overseas are focusing their interviews with refugee applicants on security, criminality and medical screening.

In addition, application packages for sponsoring Syrian and Iraqi refugees can be fully scanned and submitted via email to CPO-W. Please ensure the barcode on each form is legible.

Please contact RSTP if you have any questions about these procedural changes for Syrian and Iraqi sponsorship applications.

Guidelines on Sponsorship of Refugees out of Turkey

September 2015 – This guidance has been developed to assist private sponsors in identifying cases for resettlement from Turkey. It is intended to increase the likelihood of the refugees being granted exit clearance by the Government of Turkey, and to ensure that applicants are ready to travel to Canada as soon as possible once a positive decision has been made on their application for resettlement.

While the Government of Canada cannot guarantee that exit permission will be granted by the Government of Turkey, ensuring that sponsored refugees have formally registered with the Turkish authorities will significantly increase the chances of the refugees being authorized to exit the country. Failing to consider this criterion can lead to sponsored refugees approved by CIC not receiving the necessary exit permits from the Government of Turkey for resettlement to Canada.

In order to increase the chances of being granted exit permission from Turkey, sponsored refugees should be registered with local Turkish authorities as demonstrated by having a valid one of the following documents:

  • Residence permit (Ikamet) in the form of an Ikamet Izni or Ikamet Tezkeresi;
  • Temporary residence document such as visa or work permit (does not include electronic visas);
  • Yabanci Tanitma Belgesi (Foreigner ID Document) or Yabanci Tanitim Karti (Foreigner ID Card);
  • Sığınma başvuru sahibi tanıtım kartı (Foreigner Registration Card);
  • Uluslararası Koruma Başvuru Sahibi Kimlik Belgesi (Identification Card for International Protection Applicant);
  • Uluslararası Koruma Başvuru Sahibi Kayit Belgesi (Registration Card for International Protection Status Holder);
  • Uluslararası Koruma Statüsü Sahibi Kimlik Belgesi (Identification Card for International Protection Status Holder); or
  • Gecici Koruma Kimlit Belgesi (Temporary Protection ID).

If you have any questions about these guidelines, please contact us.

Refugees from Syria & Iraq: Changes to documentation needed for Groups of Five & Community Sponsors

September 19, 2015 – As of September 19, the Canadian Government announced it has temporarily exempt Syrians and Iraqis from the requirement to provide proof of refugee status in order to be sponsored by a Group of Five or Community Sponsor. Therefore, if you want to sponsor a Syrian or Iraqi refugee through a Group of Five or Community Sponsor, you can submit these applications, even if these refugee applicants do not have a refugee status recognition document. Please note that refugees must still be living outside of their country of origin.

For more information about Group of Five sponsorship, please visit the Self-Assessment Tool for Groups of Five or contact us.

For more information about Community Sponsorship, please visit our Community Sponsors page or contact us.

Forms for Sponsoring Groups and the Refugee Applicant(s) are available at Refugee Sponsorship Application Forms

Please note that we are currently receiving an exceptionally high number of inquiries, and may not be able to respond immediately.

Changes to Community Sponsors program

As of May 2015, Community Sponsoring groups are no longer limited to submitting 2 refugee sponsorship cases a year. They can submit as many as their financial and settlement capacity allows them. For more information about Community Sponsor sponsorships, visit:

Refugee sponsorship forms updated May 13

On May 13th, 2015 CIC posted updated versions of the following forms online:

  • IMM5373A Settlement Plan & Financial Assessment form for Groups of Five
  • IMM5373B Financial Profile form (Groups of Five)
  • IMM 5437 Document Checklist
  • IMM5373 Undertaking/Application to Sponsor
  • IMM5413 Sponsorship Application Guide

The grace period for submitting older version of these forms is 60 days (unitl July 13, 2015). All forms can be accessed at:

In addition, please note the following changes:

  • The Add Dependent form is being phased out. This form was used when there was an addition to the family unit such as a birth of a new baby or a marriage. Instead, the updated IMM5373 Sponsorship Undertaking form now includes a check box on page 1 to identify additional dependant requests. It is still the responsibility of the refugee applicant or their sponsors to notify the visa office of any changes to the family configuration by submitting the Undertaking with any supporting documents to CPO-W as soon as possible. As with the other forms, a 60-day grace period, expiring on July 13th, 2015 has been granted.
  • One Year Window (OYW): the IMM0008 Generic Application Form must now be submitted to CPO-W together with the OYW request within 1 year of the PA’s arrival (landing) in Canada. Once received by CPO-W, the visa office will be deemed to have received the OYW request on the same day as received by CPO-W. A new form (IMM5571) and updated guide (IMM5578) will be available on CIC website on/after May 25, 2015

Canadian Government pledges 13,000 additional Syrian and Iraqi refugees

On January 7, 2015, the Government of Canada published a press release that announced that Canada would welcome an additional 3,000 Iraqi refugees expected to arrive by the end of 2015, and an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees expected to be resettled over the next three years.

The full press release can be read at:

Additional information visit:

Canada pledges to accept 13,000 more refugees from Syria and Iraq (Globe & Mail)

Additional 10,000 Syrian refugees to be offered asylum by Canadian government (Winnipeg Free Press)


Change in requirement of photos

There is no longer a need for the refugee applicant to provide 6 photos, as indicated in the IMM6000 document checklist. CPO-W now requires only one photograph (per person) to be provided with the PSR application.

Change in mission coverage – Moscow

effective immediately responsibility for refugee resettlement cases currently handled by Moscow will be as follows:


  • GAR and PSR cases out of Russia and Armenia
  • GAR and PSR cases that are already in processing at Moscow and have passed Selection


  • GAR and PSR cases out of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz Republic (all new applications and applications that have not yet passed selection by Moscow)

CIC is making arrangements to transfer applications from the Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan that have not yet passed Selection from Moscow and Ankara.

Change in mission coverage areas

There have been changes to the areas of responsibility covered by Canadian visa offices in Pretoria, Nairobi, Dakar and Accra, effective immediately:
• Mauritius and Madagascar are now under the responsibility of Pretoria (previously Nairobi);
• Zambia is now under the responsibility of Nairobi (previously Pretoria);
• The Gambia is now under the responsibility of Dakar (previously Accra);
• Equatorial Guinea is now under the responsibility of Accra (previously Dakar).

To view the full list of countries and missions covering them, visit