IRCC Processing Times - What to Expect After Your Application is Submitted

At this point, you’ve managed to secure a job offer in Canada, found a suitable immigration program to apply to and have undergone the necessary procedures for your application. You should have submitted the relevant documents with your application and you may be wondering what follows after you’ve submitted your application. Your application will be reviewed by an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer to assess eligibility.

The main objective of the IRCC is to manage and facilitate immigration applications, and suggest suitable immigration pathways that foreign nationals can take. Whether you need help with immigration programs or protection as a refugee, the idea is to assist immigrants with settling in Canada.

What is the IRC Canada Processing Time?

These are the IRCC processing times for the different IRCC immigration, visa and citizenship programs as of the latest Canada processing time update on January 18, 2023.

Economic Immigration Program IRCC Canada Processing Time
Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) 30 months
Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) 63 months
Canada Experience Class (CEC) 20 months
Atlantic Immigration Pilot 15 months
Self-employed Program 41 months
Quebec Business Class 66 months
Provincial Nominee Program (via Express Entry) 12 months
Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) (non-Express Entry) 21 months
Start-up Visa 32 months

Temporary Residence Program IRCC Canada Processing Time
Work Visa Between 5 and 62 weeks 
Visitor Visa  21 - 484 days
IEC Working Holiday Visa (current season) 7 weeks
Electronic Travel Authorization 5 minutes
Student Visa 9 weeks

Family Sponsorship IRCC Canada Processing Time
Spouse or Common-law partner (inside Canada) 13 months
Spouse or Common-law partner (outside Canada) 17 months
Parents or Grandparents 38 months

Citizenship IRCC Canada Processing Time
Citizenship Grant 24 months
Proof of Citizenship certificate 15 months
Resumption of Citizenship 34 months
  • Part 1 - 10 months
  • Part 2 - Varies based on the application

The backlog in Canadian immigration applications has been growing at an exponential rate of over 2.1 million in the business sector since April 29.

As a result, the escalation of backlogs are caused by temporary residence inventory, while the permanent residents applications increased to a whopping 638 persons in the same time. This has caused the IRCC to reduce the backlog for citizenship by 258 people.

According to the Canadian government, the IRCC manages over 1 million immigration applications from their inventories, while 2021 calls for the finalization of 1.7 million decisions across businesses.

While immigration data is constantly subject to change, we are looking at a total of 2.4 million applications in all IRCC inventories - 1.1 million applications in services standards and 1.3 million applications in backlog. See the data below derived from the official Canadian government website:

IRCC Applications 2023

However, with the right guidance and advice, you can avoid being part of these backlog numbers by getting in touch with one of our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) at today.

Furthermore, we urge applicants to double-check all information, fill in all fields correctly and supply the right supporting documents before submitting their application. While fast processing times cannot always be guaranteed, you can still avoid potential delays by ensuring the completeness of your application.

For now, let’s take a more in-depth look at suitable programs and the estimated Canada processing time for each program.

Step 1: Choose the Right Immigration Program

Before we can dive into the different processing times, you would need to know which program is suitable for you. With over 100 immigration pathways and visas to choose from, you can find a visa or program for your needs and circumstances. The program you choose can also serve as a major contributing factor to your Canada visa processing time. Let’s take a look at how you can obtain a visa through the following immigration options.

What is the Express Entry System?

One of the easiest routes to explore would be the Express Entry system, which is an online points-driven system that comprises three versatile programs:

  1. Canadian Experience Class
  2. Federal Skilled Program
  3. Federal Skilled Trades Program

But what makes the Express Entry system so popular? It is the fact that this pathway yields quick, fast results, enabling individuals to immigrate to Canada sooner rather than later. This is the main objective - speeding up the application process.

However, you can help speed up the process of your IRCC processing times by ensuring that you’ve filled out all forms correctly, and that you’ve submitted the relevant supporting documents. Failure in doing so will result in delays in your Canada visa processing time since your application will be sent back to you.

What is the Canada Processing Time for Express Entry?

Because this is a fast immigration pathway, your application could take approximately six months or less, provided you've filled out all forms accurately and attached all supporting documents with your application. Remember, you must remain truthful when providing information of yourself. Failure in doing so will result in the refusal of your application.

What is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)?

The PNP is an immigration pathway where provinces or territories in Canada can nominate individuals or families who wish to live and work in Canada. Each province or territory is different and therefore the criteria and the manner in which eligibility is assessed will also vary.   

Below we give you a brief explanation of how you can apply for the PNP through Express Entry. 

You Can Apply to the PNP through the Express Entry in Two Ways:

Option one: Choose a province/territory to settle in. You will be nominated accordingly. Once you’ve been nominated by a province/territory, your application will be assessed for eligibility. You may be contacted for additional information.

Top tip: We urge candidates not to omit any information on their application forms, fill out all fields correctly and include the necessary supporting documents to speed up the processing times of your application. In addition to this, individuals must conduct thorough research before choosing a province to live and work in.

Option two: You can also create an Express Entry profile which show the provinces/territories that you would like a nomination from. You can expect to be contacted through your online Express Entry profile. In turn, they’ll inform you to contact them and apply through their stream.

Top tip: Candidates should always double-check which territories/provinces have the PNP so they can apply under the correct province.

What is the Canada Processing Time for the PNP?

Even though you've applied for the PNP under Express Entry, this program still encompasses various provinces or territories of Canada. As a result, the processing times can largely differ from province to province, while the different standards and processes that each province has will also influence processing times.

Note that with PNP, there's a processing time period for the application to the province for nomination. Thereafter, there's a waiting period of eligibility assessment as well. Once this is completed, and you're successful, you would have another waiting period for your application to the federal government for permanent residence. The processing period at this stage could take about one to two years. 

We'd like to remind candidates that you can reduce the Canada processing time of your application, irrespective of the procedures, by simply ensuring that you've filled out all information correctly on the forms. Additionally, you must provide the relevant documents that validates the information you've provided on the forms.

Now, let’s look at the Visitor Visa and how it works.

What is the Visitor Visa?

This visa is required for foreign nationals who plan to live and work in Canada over a stipulated period of time. When exactly is a visitor visa needed? Most likely, if you’re entering Canada as a visitor, or traveling in and around Canada, whether it’s for business or leisure, you’ll require a visa. If you’re transiting through an airport in Canada, you will also need your visitor visa until you reach your destination.

How to Apply for a Visitor Visa

Before you make the actual application to immigrate to Canada, you would also need to know how to apply for a visa (if applicable). Below are the steps on how to apply for a Visa to Canada:

  • Check if you meet the criteria to travel to Canada: To enter Canada, you would have to answer a few questions online on the official Canadian government website which assess your eligibility to enter the country. Thereafter, continue to follow the instructions.
  • Gather your documents to validate your eligibility: Make sure you have your checklist at hand and submit any additional supporting documents that may be required. Some documents may take longer to obtain than others, in this case, we advise you start gathering these documents sooner rather than later.
  • Make your application online: To do this, there are a few steps you must follow through with. These are:
  • Create a valid account/profile online so you can be informed and contacted about what to do next.
  • Upload any supporting documents and mandatory documents that’s required.
  • Pay your fees: Make sure you know which you’re paying for. For instance, you’ll need to pay for the IRCC processing fee, Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF), which is currently $515 and biometrics fees. Note that there could be additional fees that should be paid but this would be subject to the type of program, personal situation or circumstances of the individual.
  • Provide your biometrics (fingerprints and photo): Before submitting your biometrics, you may have to answer a few questions online regarding your situation. For instance, which country you’re applying from and whether or not you’ve applied before. There are different instructions for those attempting to submit biometrics outside of Canada, and those submitting inside the country. Standards and procedures may therefore differ.

Once you've complied with all instructions and successfully submitted your information, your application will be assessed to ensure you have all the necessary documents. Bear in mind that your application will be returned without being processed if it’s incomplete. As a result, this can cause further delays in IRCC processing times

What is the Canada Processing Time for a Visitor Visa?

For Canada's visitor visa, the processing time ranges from 8 to 40 days. For Canada's business visa, the processing time could take about 16 to 20 day. However, these times can vary since it depends on the country you're applying from. In a nutshell, you could be looking around one month to wait for your visitor visa to be processed.

However, the final decision around yourvisiting periodwill depend on what the border services officer decides. This decision could come to less or more than six months, and the expiry date of your visitor visa will be stated on your passport. 

Foreign nationals traveling to Canada may either need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization - the documents you require will depend on the type of document you need for traveling around the country, your nationality and the manner you choose to travel to Canada. If you’re unsure about whether or not you require a visitor visa, you can find out if you need one here.

Step 2: Check if you’re Eligible to travel to Canada

Before you can apply to any program, you must first check if you're eligible to do so. There’s a fine line between the two aspects of eligibility to travel to Canada and applying for a visa. While these two components go hand-in-hand, you must check if:

  • Firstly, you’re eligible to apply for a visa,
  • and secondly, if you’re eligible to enter Canada.
Most likely, if you meet the criteria for a visa, you’d be eligible to travel to Canada. Below are the requirements for any visa:

There are some requirements one must have when it comes to eligibility to enter Canada: You should have a valid travel passport, be in physical good health, have no criminal record, prove that you will return back to your country after your visiting period expires (if you’re a temporary visitor to Canada); and that you have enough money to support yourself or family members should they join you later.

Step 3: Make Your Application

At this point, you’ve double-checked your eligibility to travel to Canada and your eligibility for a visa, which leads you into the next step of applying. We have highlighted the steps to apply for a visa (which is the same as making your application).

However, as a reminder, we will give you a brief outline of the steps below:

  • Step 1: Check if you meet the criteria to travel to Canada (program criteria and eligibility to enter Canada are important criteria)
  • Step 2: Gather your documents to validate your eligibility
  • Step 3: Make your application online

Note that immigrants applying to live and work in Canada will receive a comprehensive guide on how to apply for a visa, so you have nothing to worry about when it comes to applying. Before this can happen, you would be expected to answer a few questions to receive instructions tailored specifically for your situation.

Post Application: What to Expect with the IRCC Canada Processing Time

It is well-advised to arrange your biometric appointment as soon as possible. In addition to this, you want to ensure you’ve filled out your application correctly to avoid potential delays in the Canada processing time. This is of utmost importance. In the meantime, after submitting your application, you will need to be patient until you will be contacted to inform you about the way forward.

While you’re waiting on a response, the IRCC officer will be checking if you’re eligible, whether or not you have all supporting documents in place and the overall completeness of your application.

You will be contacted should anything be missing from your application, or to advise you on your next step in the process. Depending on the type of application, program or personal situation, you may be asked to undergo an interview with the country’s officials, get a medical exam and police clearance.

In the event of the refusal of your application, know that there are other immigration options available. At most, you’d be informed about why your application was rejected and how you can appeal the decision.

The IRCC Canada Processing Time Explained

We’ve provided you with a comprehensive breakdown of what you can expect after submitting your application, the different processing times and how you can avoid potential delays around the Canada processing times. Different programs and visa applications have different standards and procedures, depending on the nature and circumstances of your application.

It is worth noting that the Canada processing time of your application will vary from person to person, as factors such as program, eligibility and completeness of your application will play a vital role in the success of your application.

Should you have any questions or concerns on how to get started, feel free to get in touch with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) today.