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IRCC has unveiled major changes today as it seeks to be more transparent with its clients.

IRCC has unveiled major changes today as it seeks to be more transparent with its clients.


PHOTO: Stock


On March 31, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced major updates to the government’s online processing times tool. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) clients can now see more accurate estimates of how long it will take to process their application. 

Most permanent resident and citizenship services will now use dynamic processing times. New calculations will be posted weekly based on data from the previous six months. Dynamic processing times for temporary residence services are already in place, based on data from the past eight or 16 weeks.

The new processing time estimates will reflect the volumes of applications being processed, as well as the latest operational realities. They will allow future newcomers to make plans based on a more accurate timeline. This upgrade to the government website is part of IRCC’s effort to modernize the immigration system. 

Before, the government website was only showing the service standard, which is IRCC’s commitment to process applications under normal circumstances. This past January, Fraser had announced that these changes would be forthcoming in the months ahead.  

The difference between processing times and service standards 

IRCC’s processing times tell clients how long it took to process most complete applications in the past and are updated weekly. Service standards, on the other hand, are IRCC’s commitments to process applications in a certain amount of time under normal circumstances. They are not updated regularly, and not all programs have service standards.  

IRCC reports annually on how actual processing times compared to service standards. 

How processing times are calculated 

IRCC measures processing times based on how long it took to process 80% of the applications in the past. Processing times start the day IRCC receive a complete application and ends when an immigration officer makes a decision on it. 

For those who apply by mail, the processing time starts when their complete application arrives in an IRCC mail room. For those who apply online or in person, the processing time starts when they submit their application.

What are IRCC’s processing times right now?

As of March 31, processing times are the following:

Economic class immigration

Family class immigration

Refugees and humanitarian & compassionate (H&C) applicants

  • Government-assisted refugees: Varies by country
  • Privately-sponsored refugees: Varies by country
  • Protected persons and convention refugees in Canada: 22 months
  • H&C cases: 16 months

Temporary residence application

  • Visitor visa outside Canada: Varies by country
  • Visitor visa inside Canada: 16 days online and 48 days by paper
  • Visitor extension: 162 days online and 201 days by paper
  • Parents or grandparents Super Visa: Varies by country
  • Study permit outside Canada: 13 weeks
  • Study permit inside Canada: 9 weeks
  • Study permit extension: 75 days online and 156 days by paper
  • Work permit outside Canada: Varies by country
  • Work permit inside Canada (initial application or extension): 133 days online and 239 days by paper
  • International Experience Canada: Varies by country
  • Electronic Travel Authorization: 5 minutes


Permanent resident (PR) cards

  • Renewing or replacing a PR card: 108 days
  • Waiting for first card: 103 days

Replacing or amending documents, verifying status

  • Verification of status: 26 weeks
  • Replacement of valid temporary resident documents: 22 weeks
  • Amendments of immigration documents: 47 weeks
  • Amendments of valid temporary resident documents: 27 weeks

IRCC’s latest inventory

IRCC has struggled to manage its inventory and stick to its service standards due to challenges caused by the pandemic. The latest data shows the department’s inventory stands at 1.84 million people awaiting processing. The data suggests IRCC is making progress in some areas, such as with Express Entry CEC and FSWP applicants, but continues to struggle in other areas, such as processing citizenship applications.


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