When it comes to a CIC application status, Canada’s immigration website allows you to check out some primary elements of your application. CIC loosely describes this state as the status of your application:

  • When the application was received.
  • Whether completed medicals are present.

The CIC doesn’t provide an official time frame for when CIC may finalize your application. Often all of the CIC application status notes on the file may be as brief as the following:

  • We received your application for permanent residence on June 18, 2014.
  • We sent you correspondence acknowledging receipt of your application(s) on Aug. 6, 2014.
  • We started processing your application on July 31, 2015.
  • We sent you medical instructions on Aug. 2, 2015. To avoid delays, please provide us the information requested in the letter as soon as possible. Please consider delays in mail delivery before contacting us.
  • We received medicals on Aug. 20, 2015.

The timing on the receipt of your application can help you if you want to request more information about your case or determine whether it’s in process. In the section of this article titled “How to Check Your Application Status,” you can learn more about the importance of the application receipt date and how to determine whether applications received in a particular time frame are in process.

Sponsorship Case Processing Time

The CIC website has an estimate of the processing time for your case. However, this estimated time applies to about 80% of cases. Your case may not be part of the 80% majority if any of the following conditions apply:

  • An interview is required.
  • Background checks take longer.
  • An officer working on your file gets transferred, and the officer doesn’t have an immediate replacement.

Other reasons can also delay your case.

Applications filed online typically process faster than paper applications mailed to the office. The faster processing time is likely due to the simplified process of reviewing and sending documents uploaded online.

Inquiries and Requests

Some visa offices politely request applicants to keep the status queries regarding processing an application to a minimum. Other visa offices convey the message that queries sent before the currently published processing time will be ignored.

As an immigration lawyer, I work with both clients and immigration officers. My job is to balance the needs of the clients who want to inquire about their application status with the officer’s requests. Immigration officers are busy and don’t have time to answer multiple requests about a file.

An applicant might believe that asking for a status update will help the application process move faster. This belief is not true. However, if the CIC hasn’t processed the application within the published processing time, I can submit an inquiry or multiple requests for a status update.


How to Check Your CIC Application Status 

If you want to check your CIC application status, go to the CIC website. Select what you applied for on the drop-down menu. Options include:

  • Immigration.
  • Family sponsorship.
  • Citizenship.
  • Electronic travel authorization (eTA).
  • Visitor visa.
  • Work permit.
  • Study permit.
  • Permanent resident card (PR Card).
  • Refugees.
  • Verification of status (VOS) or request to amend.

After you make your selection, click continue. You will see a list of categories that your selection applies to, followed by a series of dates. This series of dates indicates the receipt dates of the applications that the CIC is currently finalizing. If the CIC received your application after these dates, your application is likely not completed yet.

You can also use this page to sign in to your account to view the status of your application. Your account will also display any messages that the CIC and its officers may have sent to you. If you submitted a paper application or do not have an online account, you can either:

  • Create an online account and link it to your application.
  • Use the tool on this page (option 1) to check your application status.

Although the CIC has a phone number, you may not be able to speak to an officer. The phone line includes a long menu system, and you could be on hold for several hours or longer due to high numbers of calls. If you do get through, the staff at the call center can only provide minimal details about your case, such as the following:

  • Whether your application was received.
  • Whether your application is in process.
  • Whether the CIC has reached a decision.


Unique Cases and Processing Delays


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Cases experience delays due to unique circumstances and situations. For example, if an applicant has a pending criminal charge, the officer would wait for the court’s decision. Changes in laws can also cause cases to take longer to process. Examples of law changes include:

  • New criteria for sponsoring parents.
  • New criteria for citizenship.

Legal changes often lead to applications held up in the CIC queue. Some of the applications might fall under the old laws, while the rest fall under the new law. Cases filed under the old laws take longer to process because they’re considered a lower priority.

If your case is delayed without reason, then a Toronto immigration lawyer like me may be worth consulting for a CIC application status matter. Email max@chaudharylaw.wpenginepowered.com or call 416-447-6118, ext. 225.

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