The world saw an unprecedented change in travel guidelines in 2020. The Canadian government is still issuing visas to foreign workers and students. However, the time taken to process the visa has changed.
Before discussing the different steps of the visa application process, you should have a clear definition of what processing time means and encompasses. In the Canadian context, processing time covers the total time taken by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) authorities to decide whether your application is approved or not, starting from when they receive it.
While your application is being processed, you may have to furnish an expression of interest and respond to their invitation to apply. This includes preparing documents, mailing finalised visas and status cards, etc. The time taken for these steps is not included in the application processing time.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Canadian Visa?
There are different pathways you can take to get a visa. Depending on the category, the time taken to process your application will vary, anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. However, the visa application processing time has stretched significantly amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic wave worldwide.
- A Parental Sponsorship Visa will easily take about 20 to 24 months to process.
- The processing time taken for a Working Holiday visa depends on the region from where you are travelling. The processing time for a Visitor visa from inside Canada is 76 days. However, it is much higher for people coming from outside Canada, especially for severely Covid hit regions. For example, application processing for visitors from India is 98 days
- The application processing time for a Canada Super Visa, taken for parents of residents, depends on the region where you are situated. Example: The application processing for Indian nationals will take nearly 424 days.
- A Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) application’s processing will vary according to the province or territory one is applying for. For more details, click here.
- The processing time for Work Permit or Study Permit applications will also vary according to the location where you are situated. Example: The processing for a Work Permit application for an Indian national will take about 10 weeks, while a Study Permit application will take about 10 weeks.
The IRCC has provided a detailed breakdown of the latest visa processing times, as of 20th April 2021. You can check the updated application processing time for each visa type here. The processing time is updated on a weekly basis.
The fastest way towards your immigration to Canada is through Express Entry. An Express Entry visa is processed under six months, and if accepted, you can get your visa by the end of this period.
Express Entry Visa
In more than 80% of cases, applications processed through the Express Entry system are completed within the stipulated period of six months. It includes the FSW program (Federal Skilled Worker), FST program (Federal Skilled Trades), and the CEC (Canadian Experience Class) stream of visa applicants. In some cases, it also covers PNP applicants (Provincial Nominee Program).
- Federal Skilled Worker Program – This category is for applicants who qualify with managerial roles or as professionals like doctors, engineers, and accountants.
- Federal Skilled Trades Program – This category is for applicants who have experience or the necessary qualifications to perform skilled trades like plumbing, welding, and carpentry.
- Canada Experience Class – This category is for applicants who meet the requirements for at least one of the above categories and a minimum of one year of work experience in Canada.
The processing time for an Express Entry visa is about six months, including the time needed to submit your biometrics. However, due to the ongoing pandemic outbreak, it is advisable to check the updated application processing time on the official IRCC website mentioned above.
Study Permit and Student Visa
Before you apply for a study permit, you should apply to a university or institution where you wish to study. Once you are accepted to the university, you can use your acceptance letter to back up your application form. You must fill out other criteria, too, like proof of income and enough financial strength to support your lifestyle and your education while you live in Canada.
In light of the global pandemic, Canada is currently not open to visitors. The Canadian government will announce the reopening of this category as it starts up again. On regular days, there is a waiting period of 114 days.
You can now apply for a work visa and immigrate to Canada with a valid job letter through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Some employers require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which could increase the processing time. But if you don’t need an LMIA, you could take advantage of priority processing and receive your visa even within two weeks!
How To Apply For A Canadian Visa
The different visa type you are applying under determines how long the application process will take. However, the steps to follow are essentially the same.
Check if you are eligible for a Canadian Visa
There are different tests that the Canadian government has created to evaluate applicants’ eligibility. You need to fill out a questionnaire online after choosing a category, after which your responses will determine whether you can apply for a Canadian visa or not.
The government website for Canadian visas might seem tricky. Visit the website and click the ‘Immigration’ tab. You will see a series of tabs denoting your purpose and the visa category. Once you choose the visa type, you are aiming for. You will see more information and a ‘Find out if you are eligible’ tab. This link will take you to the targeted questionnaire with several questions regarding your reason to visit, along with personal details and your travel history.
After this, you will see one of three answers
- You are eligible for the category you selected
- You qualify for a different category on the website
- You do not qualify for a Canadian visa
Put Your Documents Together
Once you’ve created your account on the website and logged into your account, you can start applying. You will find a list of documents on the website that you’ll have to compile before the visa application process begins.
Look For The Fees And Pay It
After you submit the documents required for your application, you will reach the payment stage. The visa fee varies depending on the category or visa type that you are applying under. Pay the fee using one of the multiple payment methods available. But one thing you should know is that the application won’t show on your website immediately. This is normal, and you don’t need to worry. Your application will show up on your page in about five working days.
If you are applying in person, you will have to take your documents to Canada’s Embassy in your country and submit them there.
Get Help From The Best
While choosing a company or visa consultant to help with your application, make sure the consultant is registered with the Canadian government and aligned with the ICCRC (Immigration Consultant of Canada Regulatory Council).