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What Should I do if My Immigration Application is Sent Back Because It’s Incomplete?

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This article outlines the steps Canadian immigration applicants must take if their application is returned by IRCC due to incompleteness.

Every incomplete application will be returned to the applicant with a letter explaining the reasons and a document checklist specifying the missing elements.

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Additionally, IRCC assures applicants that they will receive a refund for returned incomplete applications. The refund process may take up to eight weeks, and those who experience longer delays can submit a refund request.

Highlighting the Significance of Submitting a Complete Application to IRCC

IRCC provides applicants for all programs with a completeness checklist. Ensuring that every received application is thorough and ready for processing. This checklist underscores the crucial importance of submitting a complete application to IRCC.

Furthermore, specific programs, including the three programs –  the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) – within the widely-used Express Entry application management system, do not accept resubmissions. Instead, applicants must initiate the entire process anew.

Steps to Take After Receiving Your Incomplete Application Back from IRCC

Upon receiving your incomplete application, carefully read the accompanying letter and review the included document checklist to understand the reasons for the return and identify the specific omissions.

When preparing to resend your application, include any missing documents or information from your initial submission. Resubmitted applications can consist of the same documents and payment receipts as the initial application. All provided signatures remain valid. Due to outdated signatures, applicants can complete, sign, and date new forms if necessary.

Subsequently, compose a letter to IRCC explaining the reasons for changing or updating your information.

Suppose your application turned out incomplete due to missing documents, and you cannot provide the initially omitted documents as requested by IRCC. In that case, you must provide an explanation in the letter.

Applicants resubmitting an application returned as incomplete should include the explanation letter and document checklist received from IRCC with their resubmission.

Key Highlights for Resubmitting an Incomplete Application to IRCC

Here are essential considerations for applicants when re-submitting an incomplete immigration application:

  • Paper applicants who have received their returned application via email can find instructions on resubmitting their documents here.
  • Resubmitted applications must reach IRCC within 90 days of the signature date; it’s crucial to note that the new application’s signature date cannot be in the future (postdated).
  • Applicants receiving an incomplete application should thoroughly review the application guide to ensure awareness of any changes since their initial submission.


The processing time for resubmitted applications commences when IRCC receives the newly completed application.

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