Visa Crunch

During COVID, Immigration Canada offers processing timelines.

The Canadian government’s immigration department recently revised its processing timelines to reflect the department’s operational capability which has been affected due to the pandemic. On its website, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) warns that COVID-19 may cause processing delays for people seeking immigration services. Applications from people who are not in any way travel restricted are given priority by the agency.

Permanent Residency

The IRCC says it is processing permanent residency applications at full speed. However, due to a backlog in applications caused by COVID-19, you can encounter some delays. The IRCC stated that it was finalising the majority of the Canadian Experience Class applications received between May 24 and May 30, 2020, implying that decision-makers are focusing on applications received nearly a year earlier.

PR cards

If you’re applying for a permanent residency (PR) visa, you can check the status of your application online. This is true if you’re applying for your first PR card, a renewal, or a replacement. To log in, the IRCC recommends gathering your documents and having your identification numbers handy. New PR cards take approximately 125 days to process, while renewals take approximately 80 days.


DocumentApplicantsIRCC Status
Grant of CitizenshipReceived AOR LetterMost applications submitted between March 31 and April 6, 2019 are being finalised.
Grant of CitizenshipWaiting to receive AORLetters are being sent out in response to applications submitted the week of January 21, 2021.
Proof of CitizenshipCan use the Client Application Status Tool. It takes 5 months to process your application.


ProgramApplication typeIRCC Status
Spousal, common-law, dependent child sponsorshipInlandMost applications submitted between September 29 and October 5, 2019 are being finalised.
Spousal, common-law, dependent child sponsorshipOutlandMost applications submitted between May 26 and June 1, 2019 are being finalised.
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 CanadaOnlineYesMost applications submitted between September 20 and September 26, 2020 will be finalised.
Work Permit Outside CanadaOnlineNoCheck online account.
Work Permit Outside CanadaPaperUnable to have an exact processing time.
Work permit inside Canada (initial, extensions and changes)OnlineMost applications submitted between December 13 and December 19, 2020 will be finalised.
Work permit inside Canada (initial, extensions and changes)PaperMost applications submitted between December 13 and December 19, 2020 will be finalised.
For asylum claimantsOnlineMost applications submitted between December 6 and December 12, 2020 will be finalised.
For asylum claimantsPaperMost applications submitted between December 6 and December 12, 2020 will be finalised.


Most research permit applications obtained between December 13 and December 19, 2020 are currently being processed by IRCC. This includes applications for research permits, extensions of study permits, and work permits for students. Complex applications can require more time to process. Under the new travel restrictions, study permit holders are only permitted to enter Canada if they are attending a Designated Learning Institution with an authorised COVID-19 readiness plan or if their study permit was approved prior to March 18, 2020.

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