Outland Spousal PR Application FAQ

This site is for  Pakistani spouse cases to help them answer a few questions about this brutal process of sponsoring their husband or wife from Pakistan as it is taking unusually long with always increasing Processing Times of Family applications from Islamabad Visa Office. Below are some of the general questions that are asked frequently on the forum by the applicants & sponsors spouses:

Q- Am I eligible to apply under Family Class  if  .....?
Most of those questions are answered on this link from CIC so please read it thoroughly:http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/faq/immigrate/sponsor/index.asp

Q- If I am a homemaker or have no job, am I still eligible to sponsor my husband/wife?
Yes you can as there is no income requirement for Spouse sponsorship but you will have to provide for the spouse and support them for 3 years as per your sponsorship agreement so you should be able to do that. 

Q- How long does it take to get eligibility approval from Mississauga  and how long is a time line for Islamabad to process a spouse sponsorship case? 
Q- What is the general processing milestones and timeline?
1)After the file is transferred to Islamabad Embassy it collects dirt for 10-12 months.
2)Then they start the initial review of the application. 
3)They request to re-fill some forms along with an updated police clearence certificate.
4)They request for Re-medical after some time. (It could come with the forms request as well)
5)If the background checks are clear and medical is clear, they request for Passport to be sent to the Embassy.
6)Once they stamp the Visa on the passport, they return it to you. 

The whole process takes about 14-16 months for wife cases and 16-20 months for husband cases. Sometimes it takes more time if the case is complicated and nikkah only. Although they have started to pick up the pace a little bit lately. They ask for the Ruksati to be done or else they put the file in the interview queue. So keep collecting relationship proof such as call history, chat logs, emails, text messaging logs, gift receipts, money transfer receipts, visit pictures, visit tickets/boarding pass. They can ask for more proof if they feel like the proof of relationship is not enough. It doesn't matter if you are married, now they ask for recent/continuous proof of contact. Hope it helps.

Q- How do I request file number is it supposed to be general inquiry or case specific e-mail address for chc?
General Inquiry... Write your Client ID # in the Subject and your name, DOB, Spouse name etc in the email.

Q-Where do I send an email to get an update on my case and what to write in the email ? 
1)Write your File number in the subject line and TO islamabad-im-enquiry@international.gc.ca
2) Write the immigration file number (B0# or F000# from Acknowledgement of Receipt letter ), your name, date of birth, spouse's name etc on top left
Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing in regards to the above mentioned file number. Could you please let me know the status on our case. I would be really thankful. (OR whatevers your query, keep it short)
Thanks, Your Name

Sponsor's Full Name: (First, Last)
Sponsor's DOB: (Month/Day/Year)
Sponsor's Address: XXXXXXXX
Sponsor's Phone #: XXXXXXXXXX

Applicant's Full Name: (First, Last)
Applicant's DOB: (Month/Day/Year)
Applicant's Passport#: XXXXXXXXX (This can be omitted, I didn't send the Passport #)

Dear Immigration Officer,

With reference to above mentioned my Client ID, I sponsored my wife/husband dated (Month/Day/Year) and sponsorship was approved dated (Month/Day/Year) and file was transferred to Islamabad dated (Month/Day/Year).

I have not received any letter of acknowledgment regarding my application for my wife/husband from your side. Please provide me with her/his Immigration File #.

Best Regards,
Your Name

4)Make sure you wait for a week for their reply. They usually reply within a week or 15 days. Also, if you email them too much, they put your email ID on filter. So don't email them more than once a month.

Q- Where can I check status for my application? 
You can check current status of your application on the following link with your Immigration file number from your Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) letter and Place of birth, full name, Date of birth of the person who is being sponsored: https://services3.cic.gc.ca/ecas/?app=ecas&lang=en

But keep in mind this will not change very often, The only status updates you will see will be very general. First status shows Application Received and then Application started processing, followed by medical received and at last decision made when your passport is stamped with visa or GOD forbid a refusal letter. These statuses are sometimes updated on time and other times they are delayed so the ECAS is not very reliable source of information.

Q- Since now the timeline is over two years can I also apply for a Temporary Resident Visa(TRV) at the same time for my spouse in Pakistan and does it affect my other spouse sponsorship application in any way? 

Yes you can  apply for a TRV as you wait for your PR application to go through due to long times for processing and it does not affect you current application for Permanent Resident for your spouse. For TRV it it usually takes about 3 months to process it. 

For those who want to apply for the TRV, the golden rules are that you need to convince the Visa Officer of the following 4 things -

1- Your marriage is legitimate
*To prove this attach all documents from shadi,honeymoon etc, basically everything u put in your sponsorship application.

2- Your are able to financially support your husband/wife when he/she is in Canada
*Show your household income, your income, your bank statements, your wifes bank statements, salary stubs, your tax assessment, T4, her fathers bank statements. The rule here is that your wife should have access to 10k for every month she is in Canada visiting you. Show this money

3- Your husband/wife will return to Pakistan.
*Discuss the dates on arrival, departure, flight#'s, length of stay, what you intend to do, purpose of visit, where she will be staying etc. If your wife works, then show documentation to prove that she works and she needs to be back in a certain period of time. If she is in school, show that her school fees are paid and get a letter from the principal showing that she needs to be starting school at a certain date. If she doesnt work or go to school, then show that she has assets in Paksitan, if she doesnt have any assets, then show her family assets, which prove that she is well established in Pakistan.

4- Your husband/wife will not become a burden on Canada in any way shape or form
*Get travellers insurance for the same time period that she will be visiting. Outline what your finances and expenditures will look like during her visit, what you guys expect to spend, where you plan to visit. Explicitly state that you will be taking full responsibility of her financial needs during her visit in a notarized document. (mobile notaries/lawyers take $10 to notarize documents, they will come to your house or meet you in a public place) Notarized documents really gives that added touch of seriousness and authenticity to your claims.

You may included the following in your TRV application:
  • Completed forms
  • A notarized letter of invitation
  • A notarized copy of my passport
  • A letter from my employer stating my salary and position. 
  • A bank statement which shows >$10k in my bank account
  • Travellers insurance I bought for the time my wife will be visiting me
  • A letter which shows how much my household income is
  • A letter from my MP which supports my case, a letter which he forwarded to High commissioner of Canada to Pakistan Ross Hynes on our behalf.
  • ~100 Pictures from our wedding maiyoon mehndi shadi ruksati walima functions
  • ~70 pictures from our honeymoon
  • E-tickets and boarding passes from our honeymoon
  • Copy of the invitation card from our wedding
  • All receipts from our wedding
  • All receipts from honeymoon
  • Copy of our marriage certificate and notarized translation
  • A letter from her parents giving her permission and giving me temporary custody of her (wife is <18)
  • Bank statement from her fathers account showing >10k Canadian dollars
  • School letter stating that she needs to be back in school in September and that her fees are paid for next year
  • Copy of her birth certificate
  • Her police clearances 
  • Copy of her medical which we did for the spousal sponsorship
  • My tax assessment and T4
  • An affidavit signed by me and an oath taken infront of a lawyer that I will take her complete financial responsibility during her visit and will send her back and that she needs to start school...
  • A copy of the Canada Post slip which states that I have sent the spouse sponsorship application
  • A copy of the tracking information which states that the application was received in Mississauga on Feb 27th
  • 2 Passport sized photos of my wife
  • A letter of intent stating that she needs to visit me because my vacation days are exhausted at work. And spending time apart is very hard and strenuous on our marriage.
People on that thread got their passport's back with a VISA, but a lot of people have been getting rejections recently as well. So its really a hit/miss.

Just ensure that when your MP contacts you, you ask for a letter directly directly towards High commissioner of Canada: Ross Hynes. He will ask you for some sort of proof of your marriage, as my MP's office did. Just send them a picture from each of your wedding ceremonies. Takes them a few days to draft the letter, and then you can pick it up.

Helpful links:

Q- My spouse has a criminal record, can he still apply for Canada?
You can still apply but whether they will be admissible in Canada will depend  on how serious the crime committed is and how many years is it punishable by (10 or more yrs means serious crime) if it was committed in Canada and please read the following link for that scenario: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/faq-inadmissibility.asp
IMPORTANT NOTE: Never lie on the application even if you think something will get you refused(and even if your immigration consultant advised you to) as it will get you banned for 2 years from Canada for misrepresentation and also if you do get the visa and later become a citizen and they catch your lie then your citizenship will be revoked and you will be deported!

Q- What if I see Decision Made on my applicant spouse's ECAS before he/she was requested for Passport (PPR) ?
If this happens for your PR application ECAS (NOT Sponsorship eligibility application status on ECAS) usually at the end of your case processing of your file over a year after being transferred to Islamabad then sorry to say but that could mean that your application was refused. 

Q- Can I stay with my spouse in Pakistan while the application is in process?
If you, the person sponsoring the spouse, is a Permanent Resident then you cannot live in Pakistan while application is going on. However if you are citizen then you can but most people recommend not staying in Pakistan for longer than 3 months as it can raise an objection from CHC that you are not planning to re-settle back in Canada. And they may ask you to provide proof of intention to settle back in Canada which can be letters from family and friends and affidavits or lease of house rent or owning properties in Canada etc. 

Q- How long can I stay in Pakistan with my spouse without any objections?
See above question's reply.

Q- Are nikah marriages still accepted?
Yes but you have to provide a lot of proof of contact over the phone and gifts etc. It also means you might get an objection letter from CHC and an interview queue which usually means a year or more of wait just to get a date for the interview. It is recommended to do a full rukhsati and send pictures and boarding passes receipts of the event and whatever else you can manage prior to your file's initial review to avoid the long waits of interview queues. 

Q- I have been waiting for the a long time and have not received an AOR letter from the CHC?
For October 2010 due to a switch to a new GCMS system many AOR letters were not sent and you will have to email the embassy in order to ask for your immigration file number so that you can use it to send your additional Proof of Contact and new pictures or visit proofs etc to add to your file prior to the initial review.

After October some people are receiving their AOR letters in the email inbox for email address they provided in the application that file has been transferred to Islamabad along with File number starting with F00# or B0#. 

Q- When should I expect to hear from CHC after receiving Medical request letter?
Next step is Passport Request letter if the background checks are completed and you usually receive it anytime from 1 month to a year depending on the background checks completion and the complexity of your case and travel history etc.

Q- I have sent all the required documents to the Embassy and have done the medical examination. I have received a letter from the Embassy saying the background check is underway. What does that mean? How much longer will I have to wait for my visa?
That means that CHC is  verifying the information you have submitted in order to determine whether you are admissible to Canada. All applicants for permanent residence in Canada are subject to criminal and security checks. It is not possible to give you a timeframe as the time required for these checks can vary considerably. They will inform you if any further information or action is required on your part.

Q- After I file the application in Mississauga, by when can I tentatively expect to receive the original documents back?
You will get all the originals back when the applicant gets the Visa, so you are looking at 16 months if your case is straight forward. Make copies of all the originals you are sending and if possible get it attested. Also, it would be a good idea to scan the originals and keep an electronic copy of it just in case you needs it for something. Everyone from Pakistan is supposed to send the original birth certificate, educational certificates, Nikkah nama/ Marriage certificate etc, so there is no way to avoid it.

Q- My medicals and Police Certificates have expired as 1 year has elapsed since they were issued, when should I expect to hear from the CHC?
You normally receive a letter to send new IMM08 forms, International for Pakistan Supplementary forms, Re Police Character Certificate request almost a year after your AOR. You then shortly receive a request for re medical as well. You are given certain number of days to complete the requests in and if you are unable to meet those timelines then you must inform CHC via email or fax or phone that you will not be able to send them in time due to the reason at hand( unable to get appointment in your area with your DMP or ordering certificates is taking longer than 45 days given to you or you received the letter late and missed the deadline dates etc)

Q- I submitted my passport to Islamabad. How long before I receive my passport back from CHC Islamabad?
Anywhere within 15days to 1 month but can also take a 6 months or more in rare or complicated cases. 

Q- Why are case time lines longer for husband cases than for wife cases?
There seems to be longer timeline for Husband cases compared to Wife cases as there are more background checks that need to be done where as for girls in Pakistan they tend to be mostly homemaker who have little to no travel and work history or tendencies to join any organizations or movements.

Q- I had background checks going on when I asked CHC at the beginning of my case processing and now after remedicals again they are saying that background checks are underway again why is that? 
They are running background check twice on husband cases from what we know. We have a few husbands on this forum waiting for 4 months after the Remedical and they are being told the same thing that their background check is underway.

Q-What happens after they ask me for new IMM forms or PCC and Remedicals?
You will then wait for a few more months for Passport Request next if there are no complications in background checks,

Q- Why do they ask me to refill the IMM forms again after a year?
The old forms expire and need to be updated with new updated information of the applicant after 1 year or more for complicated cases.

Q- Does it make my case processing shorter if I get an MP involved? If yes when should I involve an MP or hire a consultant/lawyer?
No but it does help you get some more information from MP's and within two days- a week. For a lawyer or consultant they are good for organizing your application and documentation but you are fully capable of doing that yourself as long as you can read and follow instructions on the forms. 

Q- How long after the re-medical do I get Passport request (PPR)? 
Usually a 1-2 months for Wife cases and for husbands it can be anywhere from 1-6 months or more. But this is not necessary as it can always take longer for both of the spouses as each case is treated based on individual cases. There is no exact time set for it. Usually, if both are requested together, then it can take up to 3 months in some cases. If medical is done earlier and then Passport is requested after a month or 45 days, then it normally takes 30 days for the passport to return with Visa.

Q- Where can I find the DMP's to get the remedical done?
On the CHC website look for DMPs close to your city. 

Q- How long do I have to send back Passport to Islamabad?
Within 15 days.

Q- How long do you have to perform Medical (Remed)?
Within 30 days.

Q- How long do I have to send back Police Character Certificate (PCC)?
Within 45 days.

Q- Is it possible to get Passport Request and Re Medical together?
Yes sometimes you can get both of these together. 

Q- How long after the PPR and ReMed request received together do I expect to receive the Passport Request(PPR)?
It is usually before your medical or passport expires that CHC tends to issue you the visa.

Q- What kind of objection would CHC raise?
  • Relationship not genuine(due to nikah only or not enough evidence of proof of contact etc)
  • No intentions to settle back in Canada ( due to sponsor living in Pakistan too long with the spouse)
Q- What proofs do I need to provide to overcome for these objections?
Genuine Relationship proofs: Proof of contact ( Facebook, email, Chats communication, Skype logs, phone bill incoming and outgoing call logs, long distance bills, boarding pass, copy of passport showing entry and exit stamps, pictures of honeymoon and with other relatives, sending money proofs western union receipts , gift receipts, ecard, paper cards on events, etc) ...if you have performed the rusksati then provide photos of honeymoon and wedding with labels etc. 

No intentions to settle back in Canada: Recent Notice of assessments, credit card bills, bank statements, cell phone bills, apartment lease in the name of the Sponsor, letters of Relatives or friends supporting the sponsor's plans of settling back in Canada once PR is received, tickets/boarding passes/copy of passport showing that sponsor is back in Canada, business in Canada, letter from employer if you are working and on leave, current tenancy contract or property ownership deeds.

Q- I have been placed in an in the interview due to relationship not genuine objection would they place me out of the queue if I provide them more proofs before the interview?
Yes you can be. Please send and collect as much proof as you can for the interview and also to send to embassy prior to interview so they can review it on the next bring forward file review date so immigration officer can waive the interview. If you are Nikah only case and can get the rukhsati done as soon as possible then do that and sent pictures and other proofs to CHC well ahead of the interview so they can review and remove you out of this queue.

Q- I just found out that I have been placed in interview queue, when can I expect to get a date for interview?
It usually takes about a year or longer for Islamabad CHC to give you an interview date. See the Google Docs Spreadsheet tab for individuals who had to wait for interview queues. There are two cases from 2009 who were put into the queue and it took them 15 months to get the date of interview after being informed of  being placed interview  queue via letter. So please plan accordingly and visit your husband or wife  as these queues are the most frustrating and CHC will always responds with "an in person interview is required and we cannot give you a date at this time" for a year or two. Order GCMS/CAIPS notes to find out the reason they put you in the interview queue. Try to voluntarily  provide A LOT of documents to clear whatever doubts
(usually stated in the CAIPS/ GCMS notes) the visa officer  may have before the interview so that they can place you out of the queue.

Q- When and what voluntary documents for proof of contact with spouse should I send to CHC Islamabad?
I would suggest you to send the pictures and proof of visit before your initial review is done. We had a few people send documents after the initial review so their file was back in the queue for a review even though they had no issues with the relationship being genuine and it increased the processing time for them. Also remember that they open mail after one month or so and attach it with the file, so you should consider that as well. 

Q- What should the write in the letter to provide supporting document? What should the template look like?

Dear Immigration Officer,

My wife/husband has applied for my sponsorship to Canada on May 01, 2011 and my file was transfered to CHC-Islamabad on June 01, 2011. I would like to send some additional documents to further support our case( and I was wondering if you could provide me the immigration file number that has been assigned to our case in Islamabad.IF NO IMMIGRATION FILE NUMBER WAS PROVIDED TO YOU YET) Below is our detailed Information:

My Full Name: Xxxxx Xxxxx, DOB: June xx, xxxx, Passport#: XXXXXXXXX
My Sponsor's Full Name: Xxxxx Xxxxx, DOB: June xx, xxxxx, Client ID: xxxxxxxxx, Address: XXXXXXX, Phone#

Please find attached proofs of the new updated and recent proofs of contact with my spouse to be attached to my immigration file #B0 or F00.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Thank you very much in advance

Your Name

Q- My wife is pregnant, how do I add my newborn child / baby  to my wife's sponsorship application? (I’ve already submitted the application.)
If your child was born in Canada or if one of its parents is a Canadian citizen(NOT PR. You may need to check the new change in Law 2009 about citizenship as well ), the child is therefore a Canadian citizen. If that is the case, you will not need to add the child to your application, no medical examination or fee is required. You must, however, send CHC-I a copy of his or her birth certificate.

 If this is not the case and the parent sponsoring is a PR , then you must add the child to your application by sending CHC- I a copy of the birth certificate along with 7 identity photos. Your child will have to undergo a medical examination. If the child is accompanying you to Canada, you will also have to pay the required processing and landing fees, submit a copy of the child’s passport and obtain a Certificate de sélection du Québec (CSQ) in his or her name if your province of destination is Quebec.

Q- I am pregnant and was told that I shouldn't have an x-ray at this time. Can I be exempt from my medical x-ray requirement?
X-rays are a mandatory part of the medical examination. Some women, at their own discretion and in consultation with their own physician, choose to undergo the x-ray with the use of a lead apron. CHC recommends that you discuss your situation with your physician before deciding whether or not to undergo an x-ray while pregnant.

While CHC does not require you to undergo x-rays during pregnancy, you must do so as soon as possible following the birth of your child. We therefore recommend that the whole family undertakes medical examinations only after the birth of the child. Following the birth, you must send a notarized photocopy of the birth certificate (with translation) together with the appropriate processing fee and two passport-sized photographs. We will issue a medical form for the newborn child.

If one of the baby's parents is already a Canadian Citizen, no fee and no medical examination will be required but you must provide proof of the Canadian parent's citizenship (passport or birth certificate) and a copy of the baby's Canadian passport as soon as it is available.If you are being sponsored by your spouse to immigrate to Canada, it is important that you notify the visa office as early as possible regarding your pregnancy and your expected date of delivery, as there are several additional steps that are required in order to add your new dependant to your application.

Q- Would adding a baby to my wife's application make the processing time longer?
Yes it would add a few more months to your application but you have to inform CHC about a change in family composition and cannot land without informing them of a new born baby as the new born  child will not be screened as your family depenent person and therefore you will not be able to sponsor him/her later after landing in Canada.

Q-How do I change my address if I am the applicant spouse in Pakistan? 
If you would like us to make a change of address on your application, or for our office to re-send mail that you have failed to receive, you must submit your address with an original signature. We cannot accept this new contact information by email; this is to ensure the security of your documents and personal information.

Please send us a signed fax or a signed letter (see fax number and address below) with the following information:
  • your original request to change your mailing address,
  • the full name of applicant and original signature,
  • the applicant's date of birth,
  • the file number [letter followed by a nine-digit number],
  • telephone number, including area code,
  • fax number, including area code, 
  • the mailing address, and
  • a return fax number and/or e-mail address (if available)
Please do not send any new address information by email. As we require your signature on this information, kindly note that your current mailing address stands unchanged and this email has been deleted.
Note that address changes for applications at visa offices may not be made using the online service on the CIC web site's E-Client Application Status (E-Cas) and that the change of address resulting from the future reception at this office of the information noted above will not be reflected on E-Cas. Change of address notifications for applications at visa offices must always be submitted directly to the visa office processing the application

Q- When should I order CAIPS/CGMS notes for my case?
After the initial review which is about 12 months after the AOR and when you are in the interview queue or unusually long delay in re-medicals or PPR etc.

Q- What are CAIPS or CGMS notes?
Notes an immigration officer makes on the progress of your application as it gets reviewed each times and information is requested.

Q- How to order CAIPS/CGMS notes?
Getting your file is fairly straight forward, but you will have to pay $ 5 if you are requesting CAIPS/CGMS notes for your spouse, and they are not residing in Canada. Follow the instructions below:

You can send the request electronically by filling in and scanning these forms from the following link and then email to ATIP-AIPRP@cic.gc.ca as per instructions on the following link (this will save you time of mailing the paper CAIPS or GCMS notes to and from but it will take you same 30 days to receive your notes via email as it will with paper application minus the time of mail going to Ottawa and back to the Canadian address. Also note that if your CAIPS/GCMS file is more than 25 pages long then they will send it to you via MAIL regardless of your preference to receive it in email as it is too large for them to scan and email):
  1. Access to Information and Personal Information Request Form (IMM 5563)
  2. Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual Form (IMM 5475)
  3. There are 3 ways to pay the $5 to Receiver General for Information Access request: 
      1. Fill out Credit Card Payment Form (IMM 5667) and scan to email or send via Mail
      2. On-line payment for $5 of Access to Information on this URL https://eservicesak.cic.gc.ca/epay/welcome.do ( need to signup for an account to pay online)
      3. Send a cheque written in the name of Receiver General 

For instructions on how to fill the GCMS/CAIPS request forms see below instructions:

1. Have your sponsored spouse fill out this form,IMM5475 Step by step instructions follow below:
  • Tick the box that says "I authorize Citizenship and Immigration Canada... ... to release information from my case file to the following individual."
  • Then have your spouse fill out all of his particulars (his/her name, DOB, location of VISA Processing centre, i.e. Islamabad, etc.)
  • Then fill out your personal information under the headings titled "Designated Individual."
  • Have your spouse sign AND date the form at the bottom (alternatively, you could sign for your spouse; I dont think they will notice).
 OR, if you have already filled out this form: IMM5476 then just send a photocopy of it along with 2. and 3..

2. You (sponsor in Canada  must now fill out this form: IMM5563 Step by step instructions follow below:
  • Tick the box that says "Access to Information Act ($ 5.00 fee)." Yes, you HAVE to pay $ 5, there is no way around this. Do not tick "Privacy Act" and hope they will just process it without you having to pay $ 5; this will NOT work. You must pay $ 5 since you are requesting the info on behalf of your spouse, and your spouse is not residing in Canada.
  • Select which language you wish to receive your notes in, English or French
  • Then tick the box which says "Email." if you prefer to receive it that way must include your email address in the form.
  • Tick the box "NO" if you are requesting them on your spouse in Pakistan's behalf
  • Fill out your spouse in Pakistan's information under the "Section B: Information Requested
  • Select Electronic Files (do not check physical as it will take you out the queue) and Status of an Application then put in the File Number and Location as Islamabad
  • Check  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/forms/IMM5563E.pdf
  • Under the next heading, "Request for- Required Information" box, tick the "CAIPS/ /CGMS  (information abroad)" box and write "Canadian High Commission (ISLAMABAD)" under the "Embassy" sub-heading, and write the "Visa File No."  
  • In the next heading, tick the box which says "This request is being made by a Canadian Citizen..." Fill out all of your information in this box, name, phone number, address, etc.
  • Sign and date.

3. Make credit card form  payable to the "Receiver General of Canada" for $ 5 on form IMM5563. Or If you wish to make the payment online, please follow the link below and make sure to return a copy of the receipt for proof of payment.https://eservicesak.cic.gc.ca/epay/welcome.do

You can then attach this PDF reciept of payment sent to you in email as a proof of payment in the email you are sending to ATIP-AIPRP below:

4. If you are sending the request via email then send it to the following address after scanning all the forms and payment receipt attaching them to the email: ATIP-AIPRP@cic.gc.ca

You will receive them:
Via EMAIL: 30 days
Via REGULAR MAIL: 30 days + Mailing Time(2-3 weeks)

Caips/CGMS  file is basically just notes of any work done on your file. It doesn't affect your file negatively or positively. It helps if someone hasn't heard from CHC for an unusually long time (July 2010 in your case) and is wondering what is happening then they order notes and see what stage your application is at. 
  • If the initial review is done or not? 
  • If its done was the comments of VO positive or negative about your relationship being genuine? 
  • Did they issue re-medical letter or not?  
  • Did they issue RE-PCC &IMM forms or not? 
  • Did they place you in interview queue? If so then why?
  • Did they send you any letter request that you have not received due to mail being lost? 
You will see all of these notes in the file. The file it self doesn't help anyone's case. It is just notes for you to know what is going on in CHC Visa Officers head and on your file which is A LOT considering we ask the same question everyday ...what is happening with my file? Why not just order caips/CGMS  notes every other month (after waiting for the first 12-13 months) and see for yourself?

Q- What kind of background checks are there and who does these checks for CHC?
Background check includes criminal (Police Clearance) and security (National Security) checks. All adult applicants for immigration to Canada and ALL their dependents, whether accompanying or not, are required to contact the police or relevant authority of each country where they have lived for six months or longer in the last ten years and obtain the necessary police certificate or clearance stating that they do not have criminal convictions. 

A National Security check procedures identify persons seeking admission who are, or have been, involved in espionage, subversion, or terrorism. These checks involve CBSA, CSIS, RCMP, and local security authorities in the countries applicant lived in for 6 months or more. They take a while as it is not just one entity doing the work, but one entity communicating with others [internationally, and that can take a while. Sometimes up to a year or even two years + for some complicated cases with serious criminality, army or other travel history. For Islamabad CHC husbands backgrounds generally take anywhere from 3-6 months and for wives 1-3 months for straight forward cases.

Background & Security Checks
Note: Our Background Check comprises of 2 parts:
1. The Standard Documentation Checks,
2. The Security & Criminality Checks.
3. The process in a Nutshell

1-Standard Documentation Checks:
Our background check is done at the CHC stage. It commences the moment our file gets the 1st BFD by the VO. An indicator of which is the e-CAS that shows "In Progress". All docs been checked & if the VO finds our case 'eligible' for Canadian PR, the file becomes 'Accepted'; and then it goes for standard background checks references exp etc.

The process involves many things. If our case file is well presented and the enclosures vouch the quality-quantity, adequate POF docs etc., there might not be a requirement of 'actually' calling the references etc. The VOs have a way with that, they are experienced enough to ascertain the logical disposition of our case. But, if there are any concerns of his/her, s/he is likely to ask for additional docs, do further scrutiny vide any means [calling, visiting etc. asking for more proofs of relationships, pictures, call history record for contact proofs] & might ask for an Interview.

-Culmination: When 'fully' satisfied, we get the 'Medical Request'.
-Timeframe: Can be anything around 3-8* months
-eCAS: Continues to Show 'In Process'.
*The older system has a queue, thus can be longer.

2-Security & Criminality Checks:
A part of the b/ground checks is the 'Security Check'. It commences after our med results are submitted to the CHC. This is a major activity -mainly concerning our 'safe inclusion' into the Canadian Soil; vis-a-vis, Political, Socio-Econmical, Anti-Social disposition, perceived Threat to Canada's integrity etc. This gets us the Security Decision(SDEC), CDEC & SECCRIM.

This is a serious & time-consuming stage, involving many agencies, including CSIS, Interpol, NASC,CSBA, Database Checking & touch-base with Local Police. Many things are considered here... the No. of countries visited, Applicant coming from 'certain' countries, ex-Servicemen [including Law Enforcement services], Prolonged stay in a country w/out sufficient docs to prove cause, frequent traveling to certain nations, your *Name (?), Inter-Religion/Nationality Marriages etc.

If everything is simple & straight, the file soon gets into the 'final review' stage. If there are any 'red flags', our case goes into a 'spin'. Then our file might go to the local Police/CID agencies; the outcome/timeframe of which is beyond the control of CIC. And thereby the timeframe can be anything [sometimes beyond 1yr]. But, usually this stage should be over by 5 months max. However, a point to be noted is that we can also be called for an Interview [at this stage], due to this reason.

-Culmination: Only upon security clearance we receive the PPR.
-Time frame: Around 2-6 months. Avg. 3 months. [With new system, sometimes PPR is clubbed with Medicals]
-eCAS: Still 'In Process', but 'Med Results Recd.' inside.

3-The Process in a Nutshell:
Stage-1: [CIO stage] Send Initial Application+Processing Fees to CIO-NS > Qualitative Check > Issue of Acknowledgment of Receipt letter (AOR)+120 days Letter >
Stage-2: [CHC/CIC stage onwards] Send Full Docs+RPRF to the Local Visa Office > File on Queue > e-Cas: "Received by Visa Office" > Eligibility Check+Paper Screening Decision (PSDEC) > Issue of 2nd
Acknowledgment of Receipt letter (AOR) > Background Check > Issue of Additional docs Request [if any] > 1st Bring Forward(BF'D) or Due Date > e-Cas: "In Process" > Send Additional Docs > Issue of Med Request > 2nd Bring Forward or Due Date(BFD) >
Stage-3: Medicals Sent > e-Cas: "Medical Results Recd." > Issue of PPR* > Send Passport/s > Security Check > Visa/s Stamped > e-Cas: "Decision Made" >
*The Medicals & PPR are sometimes 'clubbed' together.
Stage-4: Return of 'Stamped' Passport/s+COPR > Landing at the POE > e-Cas: "Completed".

Q-How long do the background checks take? 
Background checks take anywhere from 45 days to 6 months depending on the travel history.

Q- Who is the background checks conducted by? 
Background checks 99% are conducted by the CSIS & RCMA.. and they do it within one month...

Here I will explain you how all this process goes...
1. After CHC-I receives your application they send you AOR which contains file number and estimated process time..
2. They open your file at least after 9-10 months for the first review
3. They send you additional documents request IMM, Supplementary forms etc along with updated PCC report.
4. They send you re-medical request within a month after sending additional documents (in some cases they will send re-medicals along with PPR)
5. They do your back ground checks from CSIS & RCMP & 
6. After completion of background checks they forward file to a decision making officer
7. Within ONE month decision is made 99% PPR
8. Passport Back with visa within 2 weeks.

Here I will explain you how all this process goes...
1. After CHC-I receives your application they send you AOR which contains file number and estimated process time..
2. They open your file at least after 9-10 months for the first review
3. They send you additional documents request IMM, Supplementary forms etc along with updated PCC report.
4. They send you re-medical request within a month after sending additional documents (in some cases they will send re-medicals along with PPR) (Plus Objection Letter) and they wait to resolve that objection either by conducting an interview of applicant or by getting additional supporting documents (i.e. more proofs, pictures, phone bills, letters, cards,travel etc) which takes at least 3-4 months extra
5. They do your back ground checks from CSIS & RCMP, CBSA.
6. After completion of background checks they forward file to a decision making officer (If they don't find anything suspicious in background)
7. Within ONE month decision is made depends on background check results
8. Passport Back with visa within 2 weeks.