One of the most common questions asked by potential Canadian immigrants is “how long will my immigration application take to be processed?” We put together all the information you need about immigration processing times and how long it takes to immigrate to Canada.
Applicants for any type of visa or permit to Canada should take into account the average processing times when calculating how long it will take for them to hear back on their application.
In Canadian immigration, the processing time is how long it takes authorities with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to process your application, from the day they receive it to the day they come to a decision.
Please note that processing times do not include the time it may take to submit an expression of interest and receive an Invitation to Apply, to prepare documents, to submit an application, or for the mailing of finalized visas, permits, status cards, etc.
There are a few factors that will affect the processing time of your application and how long it takes to immigrate or come to Canada:
Below, we go through some of the most popular streams and approximate processing times. It is important to remember that processing times cannot be guaranteed and are estimates only. The following times are based on IRCC’s average processing times as stated on December 7th, 2021.
Please note that sometimes processing times depend on whether an application was submitted electronically using the online procedure, or in hard copy through a paper-based procedure. Processing times outlined below specify if they vary between online versus paper-based applications.
*Due to the effects of COVID-19, Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is unable to process applications normally or provide accurate processing times for many applications. If you have already applied, you can check your status page for for more information on the processing time for your application.
This includes the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades (FST), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) streams, as well as some Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).
Prior to the pandemic, in 80% of cases, an application submitted through Express Entry is processed within 6 months from the date it is received. Please note that these processing times do not include the time it takes to submit an Express Entry profile, receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), and prepare the final application for submission.
Study permits vary greatly in processing time depending on the applicant’s country of residence.
The shortest processing time is approximately 8 weeks, but applicants applying from some countries can expect processing times close to 13 weeks. Study visa processing times also vary depending on the volume of applications received, so if you’re applying close to the beginning of Canada’s academic year you may experience delays.
This is a visa type that falls under the work permit extension category. Application processing times for post-graduation work permits vary depending on which method you use to apply.
If you submit your application online or by mail, it should be processed within 106 days.
A new permanent resident (PR) card takes 56 days to process. However, renewing or replacing an old PR card takes can take 136 days to process.
Applications take approximately 12 months to be processed when sponsoring a spouse for permanent residence.
Processing times used to vary depending on whether the spouse was residing inside or outside of Canada (inland sponsorship vs outland sponsorship), but they have now been largely standardized to within 12 months for all spousal sponsorship applications.
Processing times for a visitor visa depend on where you are making the application from, and how.
If you apply from within Canada, online and paper-based applications are processed within 92 days. However, applications made from outside of Canada will vary depending on the applicant’s country of residence.
How long it takes to immigrate to Canada can vary greatly depending on the details of your case. It should be noted that all times mentioned above are in no way guaranteed, and are subject to change without notice, at the discretion of IRCC.
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