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Latest IRCC Processing Times As of December 13th

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) oversees a range of immigration and citizenship programs for those looking to study, work, visit, or permanently migrate to Canada. These programs include economic class permanent residence, family sponsorships, work/study permits, visitor visas, citizenship grants, passport issuance and more.

However, processing times for all IRCC application types are currently facing major delays due to extremely high demand and significant backlogs built up over the past 3 years. As of December 13, 2023, here is an overview of current processing timelines as well as backlogs impacting major IRCC application categories:

Latest IRCC Processing Times

Permanent Residence
CategoryProcessing Time
Spousal Sponsorships26 months
Express Entry Programs23-24 months
Family Reunification12+ months
PR Card Renewals12+ months
Temporary Residence
CategoryProcessing Time
Visitor Visas24 weeks average
Study Permits12 weeks average
Work Permits10-33 weeks
Citizenship Applications
CategoryProcessing Time
Online Applications25 months
Paper Applications28 months
Canadian Passports
CategoryProcessing Time
Renewals10 weeks
New Passports20 business days

Backlogs stemming from the pandemic coupled with a surge in new applications are responsible for nearly all categories of IRCC applications taking at least double the amount of time previously expected.

To ease pressure, IRCC aims for more digital processing and added staff resources. However, the agency does not predict a return to normal processing times until 2025 at the earliest.

Permanent Residence Application Types

Permanent residents gain the right to permanently live and work in Canada without the need for renewing a temporary status. Here are some major categories:

Family Reunification Programs

The Family Reunification stream allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor close family members.

Spousal Sponsorships involve sponsoring a foreign spouse or common-law partner. Processing is currently delayed to 26 months due to backlogs. Required documents include:

  1. Application forms and supporting documents
  2. Proof of relationship
  3. Financial support pledges

Parent/Grandparent Sponsorships allow sponsors to reunite with parents or grandparents aged 60+. This category remains on hold as IRCC works through a backlog of over 100,000 applications.

Economic Immigration Programs

Economic immigration selects skilled immigrant workers to meet Canada’s labor market needs.

Express Entry manages multiple economic residence programs including:

  1. Canadian Experience Class (CEC) for temporary workers/grads with Canadian work experience
  2. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) for skilled professionals
  3. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) for qualified tradespeople

Express Entry currently processes applications submitted 23-24 months ago across all streams. Minimum criteria includes education, skilled work experience, English/French competency, and proof of sufficient settlement funds.

Business Immigration covers pathways like Start-Up Visa, Self-Employed, and various Investor programs. Processing times range from 30-84+ months across these categories due to substantial backlogs.

PR Card Renewals

Permanent residents must renew PR cards every five years to maintain status. Renewals now take 12+ months versus the 6-8 weeks pre-pandemic. Submitting an application 6 months in advance is recommended if needing to travel.

Temporary Residence Programs

Temporary residents gain time-limited authorization to live in Canada for study, work or visits.

Visitor Visas include Super Visa (10-year multi-entry) for parents/grandparents of citizens or PRs wishing to visit family. The Family Visit stream facilitates 6-month visits for immediate family members. Overall visitor visa processing averages 24 weeks but exceeds 9-12 months for some nationalities like China and India.

Study & Work Programs enable international students to attend Canadian schools, university or colleges. Post-graduation students may qualify for multi-year work permits. Study permits now process around 12 weeks on average. Work permits range from 10-33 weeks depending on the specific program. Certain countries like India still battle study/work permit delays over 40+ weeks in some cases.

Canadian Citizenship

Citizenship Application Process

Permanent residents may apply for Canadian citizenship once meeting eligibility:

  1. Permanent resident status held for 3 out of last 5 years
  2. Tax-filing obligations met
  3. Language and knowledge criteria fulfilled

Online and paper applications now face 25+ month waits compared to the 6-month standard. Key documents include passport, PR confirmation, tax records, language proof, police certificates and more.

Citizenship Ceremonies

The final step sees approved candidates take the Oath of Citizenship at local ceremonies. Most cities continue working through a major backlog of ceremonies cancelled amid the pandemic. Many new citizens now wait 12+ months following approval to attend their ceremony.

Canadian Passports

Due to the pandemic’s impact on operations, Canadian passport processing added significant new delays. Routine renewals take 10+ weeks compared to 2-3 weeks previously. First-time passport requests take 20 business days to process.

Those needing urgent passport delivery within 25 business days must submit supporting travel details and pay special fees. However average urgent processing is now delayed to 45 business days due to ongoing backlogs.

Tips for Applicants with Delayed Applications

Check the official IRCC website weekly for the latest processing time estimates.

Consider retaining an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer like those at Bishop Immigration Law to get expert assistance expediting an excessively delayed case.

For applications pending 12+ months beyond published times, file an inquiry requesting escalation and urgent follow up. Document hardships faced due to unreasonable delays.

When preparing new applications, allot extra buffer time wherever possible. Submitting 6-12 months in advance helps offset lengthened processing goals.


In summary, almost every type of IRCC application from visitor visas to citizenship grants is currently taking 12+ months longer than usual to process due to substantial pandemic-related backlogs coupled with spiking immigration targets.

While IRCC strives to smooth operations, applicants and sponsors should steel themselves for some of the longest waiting periods seen in modern Canadian immigration history over the next 3+ years. Checking Canada.ca and seeking professional assistance when needed are the best ways to navigate through this challenging era for Canadian immigration processing.

For help with a delayed or upcoming application, contact the experts at Bishop Immigration.


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