As hundreds of thousands of people both inside Canada and outside Canada have experienced over the past year, covid-19 has had an extremely negative impact on Canadian immigration processing times.
The processing time has increased by many months for all applications across the board, including spousal sponsorship, work permits, study permits, visitor visas, and everything in between. Unfortunately, the IRCC website has not been updated to accurately reflect all processing times. If you call the IRCC phone number, a recording will advise you that processing times on the website are inaccurate.
We have created the chart below in an effort to give a more accurate list of Canadian immigration processing times as they currently are due to the impact of covid-19. Please note that these figures are averages based on our clients’ experiences and are in no way an official update by IRCC.
Type of Application
Processing Time Before Covid-19
Current Processing Time on IRCC Website
Average Processing Time Experienced by Doherty Fultz Immigration Clients
|In-Canada Class Sponsorship – Acknowledgement of Receipt Email||6 – 12 weeks||N/A||3 – 11 months|
|In-Canada Class Sponsorship Application – Final Decision||6 – 12 months||12 months||12 – 18 months|
|Family Class Sponsorship – Acknowledgement of Receipt Email||6 – 12 weeks||N/A||3 – 11 months|
|Family Class Sponsorship – Final Decision||8 – 12 months||12 months||12 – 18 months|
|Work Permit Submitted Within Canada||3 – 4 months||66 days||6 – 10 months|
|Work Permit Submitted Outside Canada||1 – 4 months (average depending on location)||1 – 63 weeks||3 – 12 months|
|Express Entry PR Application – Final Decision||6 months||6 months||8 – 14 months|
|Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)||2 – 3 months||66 days||4 – 5 months OR approximately 10 days|
|Extension or Restoration of VISITOR Status||2 – 4 months||203 days||4 – 7 months|
|Extension or Restoration of WORKER Status||3 – 4 months||66 days||6 – 9 months|
|Extension or Restoration of STUDENT Status||1 – 3 months||64 days||1 – 3 months|
|Grant of Canadian Citizenship||9 – 12 months||12 months||24 months|
|Proof of Canadian Citizenship Application||6 months||5 months||6 – 9 months|
|PR Card Renewal Application||30 days||86 days||7 months|
|First PR Card||4 – 6 weeks||118 days||2 – 5 months|
IRCC Application Backlog: Covid-19
IRCC largely makes decision on applications in the order they were received. However, this sometimes changes when a backlog grows too large such as the ones we are experiencing right now. Sometimes, when there is a backlog of applications, IRCC will begin a new policy to speed up processing as of a certain date. However, applications received prior to that date remain in the backlog and take longer to process than those received after the new, speedier processing has been put in place. This is why sometimes an application submitted more recently will receive a decision before an application submitted many months prior.
While IRCC has put some measures in place to help people during the pandemic, such as extending the restoration period beyond 90 days and allowing workers to work while waiting for their work permit, there are still many people who have been strongly impacted by these processing times.
Processing times for work permit restorations have reached nearly 9 months for some clients, who have been forced to remain out of work for that time.
Family sponsorship applications were not opened or accepted into processing for 6 months in 2020, leading to a backlog of over 50,000 applications. In our experience, most clients whos applications were submitted from February 12 – October 31, 2020 have not received any correspondence about their application at all. This means that they have not been opened or gone into process yet. Around November 1, our office began to receive temporary file numbers and/or biometrics requests for applications being submitted after this date. However, many clients whose applications were submitted in the summer and have still received no Acknowledgement of Receipt.
There is no indication when processing times may return to normal.