The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all operations in the private sector as well as the government. Processes that normally take a few weeks have been extended to several months, maybe even indefinitely. With limited manpower, fractional operations, and a tremendous backlog of applications, the Canadian immigration process has been extended for many.
Now that vaccine rollout has begun and the world is slowly opening back up, there is great promise that bureaucratic processes will soon go back to normal. For immigration applicants that are left in suspense, read on for helpful information on current processing times.
Canadian Visa Processing Time
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continues to accept visa applications even during worldwide lockdowns due to COVID-19. However, limited manpower and other resources set prioritization for some immigration programs leaning toward labour markets in need of specific provinces.
Visa processing times vary greatly depending on what visa program you are applying for, home country, and application method. Keep in mind that processing time starts the day your complete application is received.
For those who applied online, the countdown begins on the day of submission. For those who applied by mail, the processing time starts when your application arrives in the CIC mail room.
As of May 2021, average Canadian visa processing times are as follows:
- Visitor visa – 47 days if you’re applying from the United States, up to 400 days if you’re from other countries.
- Study permit – 8 weeks. All complete study permit applications (including biometrics and medical exam) will be processed as quickly as possible, but there is no guarantee of a final decision before the fall semester begins.
- Work permit – 3 weeks if you’re applying from the United States, up to 30 weeks if you’re from other countries.
- International Experience Canada – 58 weeks
- Canadian Experience Class (via Express Entry) – 6 months
- Provincial Nominee Program (via Express Entry) – 6 months
- Skilled workers/skilled trades – 6 months
- Family sponsorship via spouse – 12 months
- Permanent Resident card – 120 days
Take note that these processing times do not include the time allotted to submit your biometrics. If you haven’t submitted your biometrics to CIC in the last ten years, you need to pay a fee with your application. Within 24 hours after online submission of your visa application, you should receive an instruction letter confirming that you need to submit your biometrics. Local visa application centers are equipped to capture your biometrics; it’s just a matter of booking an appointment as early as possible.
If you applied online, you can easily check your application status through your account. You will be contacted directly if CIC needs additional documents for your application.
The best way to ensure a smooth visa application process is to submit a complete application. An experienced immigration consultant can help guide you through every step of this complicated process.
The Student Direct Stream
Students have an exceptional advantage in securing a study permit through the Student Direct Stream program. It’s ain immigraiton route which aims to process all applications within 20 calendar days. Although tt does not allow you to travel to Canada by itself, your visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA) will be issued as soon as you get approval.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Being a legal resident of China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal, or Vietnam
- Acceptance letter from a designated learning institution
- Guaranteed Investment Certificate of $10,000
- Complete tuition payment for the first year of study
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0 or higher in each skill
COVID-19 has disrupted immigration, refugees, citizenship and passport services. Applications aren’t being processed as normal, and there is a tremendous backlog to go through. Make sure to submit a complete application and set your biometrics appointment as quickly as possible. Consulting with a Canadian immigration agency will help ensure a seamless visa application process.
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