Immigration Canada provides processing timelines during COVID

A new IRCC update provides a window into the processing status of applications for several immigration programs.

Canada’s immigration department recently updated its processing timelines to reflect its operational capacity during the pandemic.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says on its website that people who are trying to access immigration services may experience processing delays, due to COVID-19. The department is prioritizing applications from people who are exempt from travel restrictions.

Here is a breakdown of the updated processing times, according to the IRCC webpage on March 26.  IRCC says the information on its website regarding where they are in the processing queue is based on 80 per cent of applications. More complex applications may take longer for reasons specific to the application.

Permanent residence

IRCC says it is working at full capacity to process permanent residency applications. However, COVID-19 caused a backlog in applications, so you may experience some delays.

At the time of writing, IRCC said it was finalizing most of the Canadian Experience Class applications they received between May 24 and May 30, 2020, meaning decision-makers are working on applications that they received about 10 months ago.

Find Out if You’re Eligible for Canadian Immigration

PR Cards

If you are applying for your permanent residency (PR) card, check the online status tool to see the status of your application. This applies to anyone applying for their PR card for the first time, or for a renewal or replacement. IRCC says to make sure you gather your documents and have your identification numbers so that you can log in.

If you cannot check the online tool, try IRCC’s webpage. New PR cards are currently being processed in about 125 days, and renewals are taking about 80 days.


DocumentApplicantsIRCC Status
Grant of CitizenshipReceived AOR LetterFinalizing most applications received between March 31 and April 6, 2019.
Grant of CitizenshipWaiting to receive AORSending letters for applications received the week of January 21, 2021.
Proof of CitizenshipCheck Client Application Status Tool. Processing time is 5 months.


ProgramApplication typeIRCC Status
Spousal, common-law, dependent child sponsorshipInlandFinalizing most applications received between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, 2019.
Spousal, common-law, dependent child sponsorshipOutlandFinalizing most applications received between May 26 and June 1, 2019.
Parents and GrandparentsCheck online account.
Adoptive child or other relativeCheck online account.

Temporary workers

Work Permit TypeOnline or PaperEligible for Global Skills StrategyIRCC Status
Work Permit Outside CanadaOnlineYesFinalizing most applications received between September 20 and 26, 2020.
Work Permit Outside CanadaOnlineNoCheck online account.
Work Permit Outside CanadaPaperCan’t give accurate processing time.
Work permit inside Canada (initial, extensions and changes)OnlineFinalizing most applications received between December 13 and 19, 2020.
Work permit inside Canada (initial, extensions and changes)PaperFinalizing most applications received between December 13 and 19, 2020.
For asylum claimantsOnlineFinalizing most applications received between December 6 and 12, 2020.
For asylum claimantsPaperFinalizing most applications received between December 6 and 12, 2020.


IRCC is currently finalizing most study permit applications received between December 13 and December 19, 2020. This includes applications for study permits, study permit extensions, and work permits for students. Complex applications may take longer to process.

Under the current travel restrictions, study permit holders can only come to Canada if they are going to a Designated Learning Institution with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan, or if they had their study permit approved before March 18, 2020.


If you are applying for an Electronic Travel Authorization you can check your status online.

If you applied for a Visitor Visa online, you can sign in to your account to check your application status. Click “check status and messages” under the “View my submitted applications or profiles” section. If you applied for the visa on paper, you can link your application to an online account where you can see the status of your application. You can also receive messages about your application from IRCC.

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