How Long Does Visa Processing Take For Canada

By Tiara

Finding out how long it takes to process your visa can be tricky. There are several different factors that determine this, including whether there is already a case against you in Australia or not, if you have applied for asylum in Canada, and what country you’re travelling from.

In some cases, there could also be an appeal going on related to your application here!

If you need to know how long it will take for your visa to be processed, our article has tips to help.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) process time

Unfortunately, CBP does not publicly disclose their average processing times at international airports. What we can tell you is that it takes an average of 24-48 hours to process most types of visa applications.

There are several reasons why this happens, but one of the biggest factors is how busy customs has become in recent years due to terrorism concerns.

By having more agents working longer hours, waiting rooms get crowded faster, which adds to the overall wait. And since only certain teams within CBP have access to computerized systems used to check documents, things also take longer because they have to be reworked or even done manually.

This doesn’t just affect Canadians traveling internationally, as all travelers must go through the same processes.

Canadian visa processing times

how long does visa processing take for canada

Recent reports claim that it can take up to eight days to process your documents if you are traveling outside of the country for less than two weeks. This is not true!

It has been reported time and again, but there is no truth to this rumor. It seems that some people spread this myth in an attempt to scare tourists away from international travel. More often than not, these rumors come from individuals with little-to-no first hand knowledge of how visas work.

Businesses that publish such statistics probably don’t have any proof that what they say is actually happening, so they add fuel to the fire by circulating the information as well. It is very important to do your research before making assumptions about visa processing times, as there is never a guaranteed timeframe.

That being said, we thought it would be best to give you an exact timeline of everything that happens during the visa application process in Canada. So, keep reading to learn all of the details!

Timeline of VISA Applications in CANADA

The length of time it takes to process a visa depends mostly on two things: where in Canada you apply and who processes your paperwork. In both cases, the faster you are able to complete your applications, the shorter your wait will be.

At Kayak, we know how frustrating waiting around for answers can be, which is why we have put together hard facts and timelines regarding every step of the process.

Types of visas

how long does visa processing take for canada

Visas are a document that prove your identity and authorization to enter or remain in a country. There are many different types of visa, depending upon your purpose for being in the country.

Most people know about the tourist visa which is typically only valid for a set amount of time (usually one month) and allows you to visit a destination as a visitor. Some countries also have working holiday visas where you can spend some time working while you are there. These two things usually go hand-in-hand so most people do not really need a long term visiting visa.

But what if you want to live abroad? Or even just travel outside your home country for an extended period of time! You might be looking at having a much longer stay than a month. A work visa is different from a tourism visa because it gives you permission to live and work in the country. This could mean staying for several years!

Finding out how long processing times are for different visa types can play a big part in knowing when you should expect to arrive in your new city. The best way to avoid stress is by planning ahead! Luckily, we have done the hard work for you. Read on to find out more about how long it takes for Canadian immigration to process various visa types.

We will cover: What kind of information you must have before applying, how long it takes to receive your documents back via mail, and how to check the status of your visa.

How to get a visa

how long does visa processing take for canada

If you are visiting or living in Canada as a tourist, there is an easy way to ensure that everything goes smoothly. You can come into Canada with only your passport!
As of January 1st, 2020, all non-immigrant visas (for example, tourism, business, work, etc.) will be issued at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Visitor Information Centres (VIC).

What this means for you is that instead of having to visit a consulate outside of Canada to obtain your visa, you can now do it within Canada. This makes things much easier because you don’t have to go back home first and then travel to another country to return.

You also know what agency you are dealing with which helps promote trust. There is a one month grace period from when a VIC opened until they close their doors so if something happens during that time, you will still have some time to fix it.

There is an extra fee associated with doing this though so make sure to budget accordingly. But overall, it is a more cost effective option than going through a consulate.

Visas that arrive in the mail

how long does visa processing take for canada

Unfortunately, not every country is as quick at processing visas via postal service. Some countries require you to physically travel there to process your visa, which can be expensive and time consuming depending on your plans.

Many wealthy nations are able to afford this due to their higher income levels, but it may put a damper on some people’s dreams of living abroad.

There are several ways to get your Canadian visa without having to go all the way to Canada, or even send your passport through the mail! A few of these services offer both international express shipping and currency exchange, making it easy to have everything shipped together and waiting when you get back.

Phone visa applications

how long does visa processing take for canada

If you are applying via phone, it will typically take around 30 minutes to an hour longer depending upon how many employees there are in our offices that need to review your documents and validate your identity.

It’s important to remember that even though we can do some of the work for you over the phone, we still have to process your application in person as well!

We can also’t make any decisions about whether or not to issue you with a VISA or PR card until then.

So, what we can tell people is that it takes us around two hours to get everything done if all goes according to plan. But this may be extended due to special circumstances or potential risk factors.

And again, none of these things affect the validity of the VISA or PR at all! Only the expiry date does (we suggest getting them renewed early!).

Visas that arrive in the mail

how long does visa processing take for canada

Many people do not know this, but some countries can actually process your visa in person! This is very common with visas for business trips or vacations where you will be traveling for several days.

Some embassies and consulates are equipped with an electronic kiosk to help speed up the process. The employee processing your visa goes through a checklist using these devices, which makes it much more efficient.

This way, they don’t have to physically visit the embassy every day to confirm receipt of documents and signatures, etc. If there is no such device available, their staff may still meet with the ambassador or other consulate members to ensure everything has been properly handled.

However, since these things happen less frequently, it really does not make a big difference unless you are traveling for hours every week.

Online visa applications

how long does visa processing take for canada

Most Canadian consulates now offer an online application option for visa processing. This means you can apply from the comfort of your own home or device, all while keeping track of time efficiently.

Some countries require additional documents and/or proof be sent to them directly, so it is important to know what format your consulate requires before submitting.

Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs has some helpful information about their most recent update here:

Once again, these updates are not free nor do they come without its cost. The fees differ per country, but overall it will take around one week – sometimes even less than that! – to process everything.