Published on: Oct 24, 2019
An eTA application is typically processed within minutes of submission. However, there are instances where an application requires manual processing by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada). In these instances, an applicant will be notified within a few hours or days of IRCC’s request for additional information or documentation to support an eTA application. This request for additional documentation or information comes in the form of a GCKey request.
A GCKey is the digital identification used by the Canadian Government to manage Canadian eTA and visa applications. A GCKey enables applicants to use IRCC online services for submitting documents and other information. The vast majority of eTA applicants will not be required to create a GCKey, only those applicants who have been contacted by IRCC about a pending eTA application will need to create a GCKey.
The most common types of GCKey requests are related to previous criminal records. IRCC may often request eTA applicants with previous criminal history to provide police letters, clearance, discharge certificates or other documents supporting the conviction has been spent and any necessary incarceration time has been served. There are also instances where IRCC may send a GCKey request for additional information to an eTA applicant if there are potential immigration concerns or risk with communicable diseases disclosed by the travel on the eTA application form. In circumstances where an applicant’s medical history may be of concern, IRCC may request a certificate of a medical examination from the applicant. These examinations can only be conducted at accredited medical centres recognized by IRCC.
IRCC will send an email to the applicant with a deadline of when the supporting documents need to be received. If the documents are not received by the deadline, then IRCC will decide on the application based on the information available. With insufficient information, it is likely IRCC will decide negatively and refuse the eTA application. Thus, applicants should strive to respond to the request as soon as possible to improve the likelihood of getting their eTA application approved.
Applicants should not respond to GCKey requests via email. All documents requested must be submitted via the IRCC online portal. Applicants can create an account to respond and submit documents for the GCKey by visiting the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/account.html. Click the option for registering a new account. You will then be prompted to enter a username and password as well as set your account security questions. If you have previously signed up for GCKey, you can use an existing account and add a new case with the reference number provided by IRCC in the most recent GCKey request email.
After a GCKey account has been created, the applicant must then link their eTA application reference number, which usually starts with the letter ‘V’, to their account. This can be done by clicking the option for “Link eTA application to this account”. Once the application has been linked, the list of documents requests by IRCC will be shown to the user. Ensure any uploaded documents comply with the file upload requirements and are fully legible.
No, while IRCC is deciding on your eTA application, you are still considered to not possess a valid eTA. Thus, you should not attempt to board a flight to Canada as you will be denied boarding or be denied entry into Canada.
You will need to provide a written declaration explaining the circumstances around your inability to obtain the documents required in a GCKey request. This declaration should be supported by evidence that the requested documents are not possible for you to obtain in your country of residence or citizenship.
IRCC systems have regular maintenance periods and downtimes. If applicants experience issues uploading their documents, they can contact IRCC on twitter or can contact the Canadian government technical team for support.
You can reset your GCKey password by visiting the following link https://clegc-gckey.gc.ca/j/eng/l and selecting ‘Forgot your password’?
You will be prompted to provide answers to the security questions you selected when creating your GCKey account. After providing the correct answers, you will be able to set a new password.
There is no way to recover a lost GCKey username. Thus, if you have lost or forgotten your GCKey username, you will need to create a new one by visting the following page, and selecting the option most relevant to your situation: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/register.html
A majority of eTA applicants receive their approved authorizations within minutes of applying. However, there are instances where some applications require manual processing, and thus, a GCKey request is likely from IRCC. If applicants do receive a GCKey request, they should aim to respond with the appropriate supporting documentation before the deadline, as IRCC will decide on an eTA application regardless of if the GCKey request has received a response from the applicant.