Understanding Pre-Arrival Letters in Immigration to Canada


Maria, a 35-year-old nurse from the Philippines, is in the process of immigration to Canada. She recently received a pre-arrival letter from Canadian immigration. However, she is unsure about it. This letter was her first step towards a new life in Canada. It explained pre-arrival services, like credential recognition and job connections. Nonetheless, Maria wonders if responding to the letter is mandatory. Moreover, she wants to know if this means IRCC has approved her application or not. Regardless, Maria felt excited and prepared for her journey. She looked forward to contributing her skills in Canada.

What is a pre-arrival letter?

You usually receive a pre-arrival letter at the last stages of immigration to Canada. The letter opens a discussion around the following matters:

  • Preparation for Moving to Canada
  • Recognition of Foreign Credentials
  • Employment Connections
  • Settlement Services

Of course, the letter directs to online sources regarding these matters. However, you may register for some of those services if you have only received the letter.

A sample pre-arrival letter (IMM 5801)

The following image shows a sample pre-arrival letter. However, the content could change over time.

Do these letters mean IRCC has approved my application?

IRCC usually issues pre-arrival letters at the final stages of your application. Consequently, you will likely receive your PR soon. However, there is no guarantee. A couple of my clients received their pre-arrival letter in the past, but IRCC later refused their applications. These incidents are rare. Nonetheless, they remind us that a pre-arrival letter is not equivalent to the approval of the PR application. Also, keep in mind that these letters are only for permanent residency applications.

Can I ignore a pre-arrival letter?

The simple answer is yes. Responding or not responding to pre-arrival letters does not affect your application. However, please read the letter carefully. Visit the pages it links to and see if you want to sign up for the services or contact the organizations. Most applicants benefit from these services. After all, you are paying more than $500 as the right of permanent residence fee. Don’t you think it is wise to take advantage of what the PR status offers?

Can in-Canada applicants benefit from pre-arrival services?

IRCC has designed pre-arrival services for those who are outside Canada. Therefore, you may not receive a pre-arrival letter if you have immigrated under an in-Canada program. However, if you do, visit the website to see if there is anything there for you.

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    Al ParsaiAl Parsai, LLM, MA, RCIC-IRB
    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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    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.