To Order or Not To Order (GCMS Notes)

I have stated this many times before in my earlier posts – the one thing you need the most when you start your immigration journey is PATIENCE.

Not money, not enthusiasm, not technical savvy, not planning and organisational skills – although all of these are very helpful – but lots and lots and lots of patience. Without at least some semblance of patience, your Canadian dream is going to be one that will see you run the gamut of emotions; from being stressed out, obsessed, grumpy, angry, depressed, and anxious to excited, happy, relieved, and enthusiastic and back again.

Actually, even with patience you will run the gamut of emotions. But having patience helps you persevere during the long days of no news, and keeps you from letting your excitement get away from you when some little update does come through.

One way for applicants to know where their applications currently stand and give themselves some peace of mind, or to pre-empt any ADR that CIC might send them is through GCMS Notes.

What is GCMS?
GCMS (Global Case Management System) is Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC’s) system used to process applications for citizenship and immigration. The system contains a detailed record of each applicant’s file, including correspondence from and to IRCC, documents received from the applicant, detailed notes from the officers reviewing the file among others. The GCMS notes are the only accurate way of providing an applicant with the in-depth view of his file on the IRCC system, thus enabling the applicant to be well informed of the status, or take pro-active steps as needed.

Does ordering GCMS slow the processing of the file or affect it adversely?
The answer is NO. Ordering GCMS is your right and it does not affect your file or your case at all. On the contrary, in some cases since the officer working on your file has to review your file before it is sent out, does update documents received from other agencies and helps your file move forward.

Why can’t I get the same information over email or phone?
While email and phone calls are always an option, they do not provide a complete picture of your file. Only a specific question is asked and responded, most likely with a generic reply. Whereas GCMS notes are an exact copy of your file as they are on the system. It is the only accurate way of knowing what is happening with your file.

How can I order GCMS notes?
If you are a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent resident you can order the notes for yourself and others, however, if you are not a citizen and neither a PR, you will need a third party to request GCMS notes for you.

Which is the best place to order GCMS notes?
This is a matter of personal choice, but 2 of the most popular ones are GetGCMS, and GCMSBuddy.

Why does it take so long to get GCMS notes?
Under the Canadian Access to Information and Privacy Act the IRCC has to respond to a request for GCMS notes within 30 days. However, 40 days is the average processing time after taking into consideration the workload on different offices and the number of pending requests.

How to read your GCMS notes?
While it is confusing to begin with, but if you take enough time, it becomes easy as it is your information. Before you even start, it is important to understand how a case file is processed. Once you know the different stages and have a basic understanding of the application, it will become very easy for you to read your own notes. To summarise, this is how it proceeds:
a. Completeness Check
b. R10 Review
c. Eligibility
d. Security

When is the best time to order GCMS?
While there is a lot of difference of opinion in when to order, but the simple answer is after R10. R10 is a strict review where it is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure that his application is complete. If the application is incomplete, it is rejected and nothing much can be done, except re-filing it. Once your application crosses this stage, which is usually within the first month, is the right time to order GCMS notes.

What is one piece of advice I can give?
As stated in the beginning of this post: Be patient. This is most important. If you have done your homework and filed your application, you will get a positive decision. It is just a matter of time.

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