Citizenship backlog to be reduced by closing dormant files

Citizenship backlog to be reduced by closing dormant files

The Citizenship and Immigration authorities have indicated that commencing September 4, 2013, they will close the files of those who fail to attend scheduled multiple citizenship tests or interviews. Also, applications submitted on or after April 17, 2009 will be considered dormant and closed if applicants fail to provide proof of residency after receiving two notices from the citizenship authorities

A statement issued by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander on September 5, 2013, indicates:

“Measures are being taken for applicants who do not show up for their scheduled citizenship test or interview.”

After a missed test or interview, applicants will be reminded in a final notice to contact CIC to provide a reasonable cause for not showing up. If the applicant provides a reasonable cause for missing their appointment, CIC will reschedule their test or interview. They will be given two opportunities over three months to provide a reasonable cause. Otherwise, their application will  be closed.

Some examples of reasonable cause for missing a scheduled test or interview include:

  • being  away to care for a dying parent;
  • inability  to appear as a result of health constraints following an illness or accident;  or
  • waiting for the arrival of documents requested from a third-party (requests for  additional information only).

CIC sends notices to the applicant’s most-recent known address. Applicants are responsible for keeping their contact information with CIC up-to-date.”

The citizenship authorities estimate that this will allow the elimination of some 12,000 files currently in process. This is an effort to reduce the backlog of citizenship applications which has ballooned in recent years due to stricter assessments, including the almost blanket issuing of Residency Questionnaires to applicants.

Due to the backlog of citizenship applications currently in process, the processing time for a routine application now stands at 25 months, while a complicated application averages 35 months.

According to the Calgary Herald, the backlog of citizenship applications stood at 349,249 at the end of 2012. Realizing the problem that has been created by the over-zealous screening of applications, the recent federal budget included $44 million in taxpayer dollars to try to accelerate citizenship processing times.