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September 28, 2023

How long does it take for Canada to process visa

Canada has maintained processing of visa applications from India, including temporary resident visas for students and workers; and permanent resident and family-class sponsorship applications.

Below are the average wait times for Indian applicants across five different permit/visa processing streams as of September 26, 2023. Note that these processing times are subject to change and can vary depending on the specific conditions of one’s application. Please check the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to get the latest info.

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Work permits and visas

Work permits allow foreign individuals to work and reside in Canada for the term of their work permit.

Note the difference between a visa and a permit for immigration purposes—a permit allows someone to legally reside and work and/or study in Canada. A visa grants foreign citizens entry into Canada through its borders. Usually permits take up the bulk of processing times. After a permit is issued to a foreign national, they must subsequently submit their passport at an IRCC office for visa stamping if they wish to travel outside of Canada and subsequently return.

Work permit processing can vary based on whether one is applying within Canada, or from outside the country. The processing times are:

Immigration Stream Processing Time
Work permit (applying from India) 9 weeks
Work permit (applying inside of Canada (initial and extension)) 128 days online; 47 days on paper

Study permits and visas

Study permits allow foreign nationals to study and reside in Canada. Some study permits also allow provisions for students to work either full-time or part-time during their studies.

The same distinction between work permits and visas applies to study permits—once an applicant has their study permit approved, they must subsequently give their passport for visa stamping if they wish to travel outside of Canada and subsequently return.

Study permit processing varies based on whether one applies for their study permit inside or outside of Canada. In addition, processing times can vary based on whether the application is for an initial study permit, or an extension. Finally study permit processing times can be expedited when applying through the Student Direct Stream—a specialised study permit stream that Indian students are eligible for.

Below are current processing times for study permits:

Immigration Stream Processing Time
Study permit (applying from India) 8 weeks
Study permit (applying inside of Canada) 5 weeks
Study permit extension 75 days online; 91 days on paper
Student Direct Stream 20 days (assuming all criteria are met)

Visitor visas

Indian citizens who wish to visit Canada will need a visitor visa. These visas do not have associated permits, as visitor visas do not allow holders to work or study in Canada (though visitors are free to pursue study and/or work permits if they wish). In addition, visitors can apply for an extension of their visitor visa, known as a visitor record. This is not a visa but rather a document that allows visitors to stay in Canada longer.

Visitor visa processing is impacted by whether one applies inside or outside of Canada.

Below are current processing times for visitor visas:

Immigration Stream Processing Time
Visitor visa (applying from India) 31 days
Visitor visa (from inside of Canada) 16 days online; 47 days on paper
Visitor extension (visitor record) 55 days online; 102 days on paper

Economic class immigration

Economic class immigration spans a number of immigration programs. These include the Express Entry managed programs—the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)—as well as the immigration pathways within the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which can vary from province to province.

This line of business also includes the Atlantic Immigration Program, the Self-Employed persons Program (federal), Start-up Visa, Quebec immigration streams (including the Quebec Business Class, and the Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program), and pathways for caregivers.

Candidates who are approved for these programs are granted Canadian permanent residence (PR) upon arrival.

Below are current processing times for economic immigration applications:

Immigration Stream Processing Time
Atlantic Immigration Program 6 months
Canadian Experience Class 5 months
Home Child Care Provider Pilot Depends on time of application and work experience.
Home Support Worker Pilot Depends on time of application and work experience.
Provincial Nominees 8 months if applied online through Express Entry; 16 months if not.
Self-Employed persons Program (federal) 52 months
Quebec Business Class 61 months
Federal Skilled Worker 6 months
Federal Skilled Trades Not enough data
Quebec Skilled Worker 15 months
Start-up Visa 37 months

Family sponsorship immigration

Canadian permanent residents and citizens of Indian origin who wish to sponsor Indian spouses, dependent children, or other family members to come to Canada can do so. The main pathways to accomplish this are Spousal sponsorships, Dependent child sponsorships or for other family members, the Super-Visa and Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP).

Processing times for spousal sponsorships are dependent on whether the spouse being sponsored is currently in Canada or not; and if the couple will be residing in or outside of Quebec (as due to legal provisions both the federal government and the provincial government must process immigration applications to Quebec ).

Below are current processing times for family class sponsorship applications:

Immigration Stream Processing Time
Spouse or common-law partner living in Canada 10 months outside of Quebec; 25 months in Quebec
Spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner living in Canada 13 months outside of Quebec; 24 months in Quebec
Super Visa (Parents or Grandparents living in India) 53 days
Dependent Child (living in India) 10 months
Parents and Grandparents Program 21 months outside of Quebec; 46 months in Quebec
Adopted child or other relative (living in India) 22 months

For more up to date information on processing times, applicants can use IRCC’s processing times tool here.

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