Who immigration and citizenship representatives are and what they do

Choose your representative carefully

Immigration and citizenship representatives:

  • Explain and/or provide advice on your immigration or citizenship options
  • Guide you to select the immigration program best suited for you
  • Complete and/or submit your immigration or citizenship application
  • Communicate with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on your behalf (except for the direct translation of your written or spoken submissions)
  • Represent you in an immigration or citizenship application or proceeding
  • Advertise that they can provide immigration or citizenship advice

This information doesn’t apply to passport applications.

Immigration and citizenship representatives could be:

  • citizenship or immigration consultants,
  • lawyers,
  • friends,
  • family members, or
  • other third parties.

You may choose to use a representative to act on your behalf for immigration or citizenship applications with:

You don't need to hire a representative!

It's your choice. Using one will not draw special attention to your immigration or citizenship application or guarantee it'll be approved.

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 without the help of a representative.

Beware of fraudulent representatives. Learn more about how to protect yourself from fraud.

Types of representatives

There are two types of representatives: authorized compensated (paid) and uncompensated (unpaid).

Authorized compensated (paid) representatives

Only some people can charge you a fee or receive any other type of payment. These people are called “authorized” representatives and they are:

IRCC won't deal with representatives who charge a fee but aren't authorized (members of one of the above groups). If you use an unauthorized representative, in Canada or abroad, your application may be returned to you or refused. Remember: if you give a representative money or any other type of compensation in exchange for their services, they are considered paid and must be authorized.

Find out how to check if your representative is authorized.

Uncompensated (unpaid) representatives or third parties

Uncompensated representatives could be:

  • family members,
  • friends, and
  • other third parties who do not charge a fee.

They may provide the same services as paid representatives, but they do it for free.

Beware of fraud

Beware of representatives who:

  • Advertise their services as free and later ask you to pay a fee;
  • Encourage you to lie on your application. It's against the law to give false or misleading information in your application. You're responsible for all the information in your application even if your representative completes it for you.

Learn more about:

Other types of help

Non-representatives 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.

As long as this person:

  • doesn’t advise you on which program to apply for,
  • doesn’t complete or update your application as you, or
  • doesn’t act as you when dealing with us,

they aren't considered representatives.

To protect your privacy, you need to provide us with your written consent before we'll 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 with your application

Some people may help you during the application process, without acting as your representative or without needing to access your personal information.

For example, someone may:

  • Direct you to the IRCC website to help you find information,
  • Help you access a computer, scanner or printer,
  • Guide you through our e-services,
  • Provide tech support to view and use electronic forms or to download/upload documents,
  • Facilitate translations of your documents,
  • Help you make travel arrangements, or
  • Help you select and register in courses for your studies 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.

If you are using a representative, see add, change or cancel a representative to learn about the forms you need to submit.

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