We were under the impression that the forms wouldn't be reviewed for a long time - maybe nine months, maybe a year - and then, if anything was incorrect or incomplete, the applications would be kicked out, and we'd have to start all over. This made the whole thing a little stressful, as we felt everything had to be done perfectly - though the instructions were not always perfectly clear. As it turns out, our information about the process wasn't completely accurate. No surprise, it came from the immigration law firm, trying to sell their services.
On March 22, 2004, we assembled all the pieces, including two cashier's "cheques" for $1,115.00 each, marched off to the post office, and send everything by certified mail. Ta-da! Then we went out for a celebratory drink or two.
April 3, 2004. The celebration was premature. Our applications were returned. We had submitted two completely separate applications, but we were supposed to apply together, with one of us as the primary applicant and the other as the common-law partner. Since I have more "points" because of my college degree, we decided I'd be the primary. (Hey, ain't I the alpha dog?)
This was actually more relief than disappointment. It seems our belief that the applications wouldn't be reviewed for nearly a year was false, and Canadian Immigration did, in reality, check applications soon after they were received. The whole thing became a lot less scary.
It didn't take long to rework the applications, and on April 6, back to the post office we went. No drink this time, just fingers crossed!
April 23, 2004. What now??? My application is returned. Two days later, here comes Allan's in the mail. Somehow our forms had gotten separated, and it appeared to some paper-pusher that we had either overpaid on one application or grossly underpaid on the other. sigh
It took us a while to sort it out, but we decided it clearly was not our fault. This time we wrote a very clear cover letter, detailing what was contained in the envelope: application for so-and-so, primary applicant, cheque in this amount representing this and that, etc.
We didn't hear anything for a while, which we took as a good sign, since the incorrect forms had been returned pretty quickly.
And then, the moment we didn't know we were waiting for: June 3, 2004.
Letter dated May 28, 2004, from the Canadian Consulate General (Consulat General du Canada):
This is to advise you that your application for permanent residence has been received at the Regional Programme Center and that a file has been created for you. Your file number appears above...
Whoo-hoo! Now we have an official file number. The letter continues:
Your file has been placed in a queue awaiting assessment. Once it has been assessed, you will receive additional information and instructions....
Suddenly it all seems so real! It is scary, but in a wonderful, exciting way.