Choose your representative carefully
Immigration and citizenship representatives:
- explain and give advice on your immigration or citizenship options
- help you choose the best immigration program for you
- fill out and submit your immigration or citizenship application
- communicate with the Government of Canada on your behalf
- represent you in an immigration or citizenship application or hearing
- advertise that they can give immigration or citizenship advice
This information does not apply to passport applications.
Representatives could be:
- citizenship or immigration consultants
- family members or
- other third parties
You may choose to use a representative to act on your behalf for immigration or citizenship applications with:
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
- the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada or
- the Canada Border Services Agency.
You don't need to hire a representative!
It's your choice. Using one will not draw special attention to your application and does not mean that we will approve it.
You can get all the forms and instructions you need to apply for a visa, a permit or citizenship for free on this website. If you follow the instructions, you should be able to fill out the forms and submit them yourself.
Beware of fraudulent representatives. Learn more about how to protect yourself from fraud.
Types of representatives
There are two types of representatives: paid (and authorized) and unpaid.
Authorized paid representatives
Only some people can charge you a fee or receive any other type of payment. These people are called “authorized” representatives. They are:
- lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society
- notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and
- citizenship or immigration consultants who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council
We will not deal with representatives who charge a fee but are not authorized. If you use an unauthorized representative, in Canada or abroad, we may return your application or refuse it.
Remember: if you pay a representative or compensate them in any way in exchange for their services, we consider that paid and they must be authorized.
Find out how to check if your representative is authorized.
Unpaid representatives or third parties
Unpaid representatives could be:
- family members
- friends and
- other third parties who do not charge a fee
They may give the same services as paid representatives, but they do it for free.
Beware of fraud
You are responsible for all the information in your application, even if your representative completes it for you.
Beware of representatives who:
- advertise their services as free and later ask you to pay a fee
- advise you to lie on your application. It is against the law to give false or misleading information in your application
Learn more about:
Other types of help
Other people who may access your information
You may get help from someone who isn't acting as your representative. For example, someone can check your application status for you.
This person is not considered a representative as long as they do not:
- advise you on which program to apply for
- complete or update your application as you or
- act as you when dealing with us
To protect your privacy, you need to give us your written consent before we will share any of your personal information with anyone or give anyone access to your application information.Find out how to give someone access to your file as a non-representative.
Others who may help you apply
Some people may help you with other parts of the application process. These people do not need to act as your representative or access your personal information.
For example, someone may help you:
- use this website to find information
- access a computer, scanner or printer
- navigate our e-services
- view and use electronic forms or to download/upload documents
- get your documents translated
- make travel plans or
- choose and register in courses to study in Canada
For this kind of help, you do not need to send us a representative form or release form.
People offering such help and services might be:
- friends or family members
- travel agents
- employment agents and recruiters
- human resources professionals
- educational agents
- adoption agencies or
- Visa Application Centre staff
Find out the forms you have to submit to add, change or cancel a representative.
Protect yourself from fraud
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