One of the most popular questions I get from people considering applying for permanent residency in Canada is, “How long does the immigration process take?” There are no hard and fast rules; instead, processing times are averaged. So, this is what you should expect and what you should do to ensure that your application is processed as quickly as possible (don’t expect miracles!)
What do you mean when you say “production time”?
The term “processing time” refers to the time between which the Government of Canada receives your full application and the date on which a decision is made. Remember that gathering supporting documentation and preparing your application takes time—a few weeks or even months.
How long would it take for my application for permanent residency to be processed?
To begin, it is dependent on the type of immigration:
The official processing time for the Canadian Experience Class is 6 months.
Processing time for skilled workers (Quebec) is 15-17 months, owing to the fact that settling in Quebec requires an additional step—obtaining a CSQ.
For a spouse or common-law partner living within or outside Canada, the processing period for family sponsorship is 12 months.
Keep in mind that while the Canadian government is “committed” to processing most applications within the specified timeframe, there is no guarantee that this will happen. Some applications are handled quickly (mine took four months in 2005!) while others take years.
To get a sense of what to expect, look up the processing period for your immigration group.
What is the reason for the delay?
To begin with, evaluating a permanent residency application is a lengthy procedure. Applications must be carefully evaluated and supporting documentation must be double-checked. That’s all right. After all, this is a life-altering decision. Other variables that can influence average processing time include:
How busy is the visa office in your town?
Some parts of the globe get more applications than others. Since not every country has a Canadian visa office, a central visa office might be in charge of several countries or regions. The visa office in Paris, for example, is responsible for Algeria, Belgium, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Tunisia. The London office, meanwhile, deals with applications from Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
What is the complexity of your background check:
All permanent resident applicants are subjected to a background check in order to deter individuals who pose a threat to Canada’s security from entering the country—this is why you must have a police certificate (s). Military service, international travel, political organization membership, and other factors may all slow down the process. Some foreign countries often work with Canada more effectively than others.
What can you do to speed up the process?
Fill out your application completely and accurately:
It might seem self-evident, but many people believe, “Oh, I’m not sure what to say here… they’ll figure it out.” No, “they” aren’t going to do it. Your application will be returned, wasting your time. Gathering all documentation and filling out your application can take a week or two months, but believe me when I say that it will make your life easier in the long run.
The required supporting documents were submitted:
If you can’t produce a paper for any purpose, submit a letter explaining why. After finding that obtaining a copy of our marriage certificate would take at least six months, I did so. My application was approved after I clarified why I would add the certificate later.
If something in your life changes, please include an update:
Since visa applications can take years to process, keep in touch with your visa office if you travel, marry, have a child, or have any other significant life events.
Make an informed decision about which immigration category to apply for:
To apply to the skilled worker group, make sure you have enough points. If you’re applying for a sponsorship, make sure you have ample evidence of the relationship’s legitimacy. Make sure you have a lot of documentation to back up your argument.
Choose your visa office if you have the option:
Some visa offices have a higher volume of business than others. If you live outside of Canada, you must apply in the country where you live. However, if you are already in Canada, you can apply from either within or outside the country. For example, I had the option of sending my application to either Buffalo, NY, or Paris, France. Buffalo was incredibly busy at the time, so I was advised to delegate my application to Paris—it paid off, as a decision was reached just four months later.
Just contact your visa office after the average processing time has passed:
The Government of Canada often informs you of the time it will take to complete a task—3 to 6 months, 5 to 7 months, and so on. You can contact your visa office for updates if you are past the normal processing period. I did it twice: once in person (for my permanent residence application) and once over the internet (for my citizenship application). My application status was reviewed both times, and I received notification shortly after. However, if you’re still under normal processing times, be careful.
Keep these two misconceptions in mind:
Immigrating to Quebec is a faster operation.
If you want to live in Quebec, the permanent residency process is a little different. Many French speakers believe that applying via Quebec is quicker and simpler, regardless of where they may live in Canada. It may have been valid decades ago, but nowadays it requires an additional phase (the CSQ application), and there is a significant backlog.
An immigration attorney will help expedite the process.
No, they won’t be able to. A nice, truthful immigration representative will always inform you that there is nothing they can do to expedite the process. They can only ensure that the application is correctly and fully filled out.