A cover letter for a permanent residence application is used to address any doubts or concerns that an immigration officer from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada may have regarding your application.

A cover letter, also known as a letter of explanation, may be useful in assisting officials in determining whether or not you are eligible to immigrate through the program of choice since it is your duty to demonstrate that you are qualified to apply under the chosen immigration program.

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How to write a cover letter for a permanent residence application

All Canadian immigration program applications are human-assessed by immigration officers and not machine-scanned. So when you’re writing your letter of explanation, keep in mind that you must persuade the immigration agent that your case is genuine and meets the criteria, but that you are unable to produce the documents to demonstrate this for whatever reason.

The immigration officers who process applications are busy, analyzing a large number of cases every day. Consequently, it is beneficial to maintain a respectful tone throughout the letter and state your intent early on. Try to avoid giving irrelevant information that won’t aid your cause.

Here are some simple rules to follow to write a successful cover letter:

  • Should be short, concise and factual
  • Keep it to a maximum of 1-2 pages
  • You do not need an index for your papers. IRCC system gives you a document checklist
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Sample cover letter

Your Full name                                                                   

Your Mailing address

Your Telephone

Your Email address

Re: UCI number XXXX-XXX


Dear Visa Officer,

I am applying for Express Entry under the Canadian Experience Class.

I am attaching this letter to provide an explanation on the following:

Topic #1

Explain the situation.

Topic #2

Explain the situation.

Insert your request here.


Thank you very much for your consideration.

Your name

When to add a cover letter

If you have any questions or concerns about your application, it may be in your best interest to include a properly drafted cover letter to increase your chances of being granted PR status.

If any of the following describes you, among other relevant factors, then adding a cover letter may help with processing your application:

  • If the proof you submitted to verify settlement funds does not contain all of the required fields and information
  • If your application does not contain all of the required fields and information, such as details about the responsibilities you were obliged to perform during your time in that profession
  • If you cannot get a police clearance certificate by the time you need to submit your application
  • If you can not obtain a birth certificate if you are from a country with an unstable government

When not to add a cover letter

In some cases, a letter of explanation will not be useful and it cannot fix all the gaps in your application or rectify missing information.

Below are some examples of times when a letter of explanation will not aid your case:

  • If your application is missing a key document, such as a passport
  • If you have not included the results of a medical examination
  • If your documents have not been converted into English or French before submitting your application

It is important to remember that a letter of explanation is simply an explanation. The only thing it can do is explain why a certain document wasn’t submitted. You cannot use it to explain when you don’t meet the eligibility requirements that the PR application process entails.


No, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada does not need or request a cover letter with applications. Although not mandatory, a letter of explanation may be beneficial to your application process.

A cover letter is not required to be merged with every additional document you submit along with your application. Address all the issues in a single document and submit it as a Letter of Explanation.

Is the cover letter required to be notarized? No, the cover letter does not have to be notarized. It doesn’t have to be self-attested, either.

Have you submitted your documents online and the cover letter or letter of explanation does not appear under additional documents?

This is a technical issue where the Letter of Explanation tab disappears.

To fix this issue, attempt Clearing your browser cache and logging into your online account using the incognito mode.


A cover letter for a permanent residence application can be helpful when trying to explain gaps or missing information from an application. The cover letter should be concise, factual and respectful. If you have any questions or concerns about your application, get in contact.