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Processing Delays for Canadian Permanent Residency Applications - Question Submitted by Karin W.

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

Q. My partner and I sent a spousal sponsorship application in December of 2020 and we still haven't heard anything about our application. Is this normal? - Karin W.

Applying for a Canadian visa can be an exciting yet stressful time. A major added stressor may be related to the processing time associated with your application. It is not unheard of for applications to take more than a year to process. In fact, it was recently reported that there is an application backlog of almost 1.8 million, creating even further delays. Let’s take a look at what is going on:

How long will my Canadian immigration application take to process?

Limitations due to Covid-19

At the moment, processing times are still being significantly impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. Due to distancing measures, lockdowns and isolation, the application process is taking more time than it normally would. Most of the in-person departments for immigration are still closed, with staff working from home. While working from home means that they are still working, communication between staff and departments does not happen as easily as they are not working from one space. Therefore, it is more difficult for Canadian immigration services to give an accurate time frame for processing applications.

As noted above, it was reported at the end of October that 1.8 million immigration and permit applications had to be processed. According to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, this included over 500,000 permanent residence applications (over 100,000 of which were for refugees), just under half a million Canadian citizenship applications and over three-quarters of a million temporary residence applications, which include temporary resident visas, work and study permits and visitor extensions). Previously, many of these applications, including Permanent Residency had a turnaround time of 6 months, now some have reported it taking 3 to 4 times as long.

Increasing Refugee Applications

The processing times have also been impacted by the increase in refugee applications over the past year due to the increasingly concerning situation in Afghanistan. The Canadian government pledged to expedite the applications for over 20,000 Afghans in vulnerable situations, leading to further delays for other applicants. While this is a just cause in helping those in need, it can be frustrating for those waiting for a decision on their application.

The Implications of Longest Processing Times

It is important to try and apply for your visa as early as possible, as the longer processing times are leading to inconvenient and frustrating real-life consequences for many applicants. Many have reported having to defer studying at Canadian Universities or having to wait longer to be reunited with their spouse or family members living in different countries.

An expert in the immigration and visa field will be able to advise on this and help you through the application process. They can also help track your application while it is being processed and explain any updates to you.

How to Roughly Estimate Your Application Processing Time?

If you have already applied, you will be able to check your application status page online, which is updated weekly and allows you to see the progress of your application. Additionally, the Government of Canada website here will give you a rough time frame based on the application type, visa type and country you are applying from. However, it is important to note that the times on the website are a rough estimate and not a guaranteed time frame.


About Us

Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, in Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a 6th-generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the link located at the top right of the page.

How Can We Help?

We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications. Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.

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