Handling duplicate UCI numbers in visa or immigration to Canada

Sometimes IRCC issues you a duplicate UCI. What should you do at that time? You may ignore the issue. However, you could face problems in the future. For example, IRCC may ask you to do your biometrics again. Also, losing your history could cause complications for you. Here I explain how to handle duplicate UCI numbers in Canadian immigration or visa applications.

What is a UCI?

UCI stands for Unique Client Identifier. It is an eight-digit or ten-digit number that is unique for every person. Of course, you only receive a UCI when you interact with IRCC. I have another article that explains UCI in detail:

What does a duplicate UCI mean?

Let’s say you apply for a TRV. Regardless of the decision, you later apply for immigration as well. You’ll receive a new application number. However, your UCI must remain the same as the one you received for your TRV application. If IRCC issues a new UCI, you face a duplicate UCI situation. Of course, the issuance of different UCIs could be due to,

  • your name appears differently on the applications, or
  • there is a computer glitch or human error.

What are the consequences of duplicate UCI numbers?

Sometimes a duplicate UCI may not cause much of a problem. However, the following are some examples of the issues a duplicate UCI could cause:

  • IRCC asks you to give biometrics again, despite valid biometrics in their system.
  • IRCC loses track of your previous applications.
  • The officer could question your integrity if they believe you were trying to hide your previous applications.
  • They will set you aside from your dependent family members. In other words, IRCC might think you are not a member of your immediate family. Consequently, you or your family could face adverse interactions with them.

Of course, this list could go on and on. Regardless, there is usually no benefit in duplicate UCIs. Only potential complications!

How to handle duplicate UCI numbers

If you face a duplicate UCI number, you must do your best to resolve the issue. The easiest way is to contact them via the web form. Of course, you must upload a copy of the old and new application correspondence. For example, you may upload the AOR letters. Make sure to explain why you are contacting them. Also, use the letters to prove your point. Sometimes the AOR letters do not include your UCI. Alternatively, you may use other correspondence (e.g., the approval or refusal letters) or even a PDF copy of your online profiles. I have a video that explains how to use the new IRCC web form:

What about overlapping UCI numbers?

Sometimes IRCC assigns the same UCI numbers to two people. Of course, the incidents are rare. It is unlikely you notice such a problem. However, contact them via the webform and ask for corrections if you do.

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    Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches immigration courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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