NOTE: The information below is based on our current understanding of CIC processes. This is not a legal document and information may change without notice. Always refer to www.cic.gc.ca for the most up-to-date information.
CIC Account and CIC Login
CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) is now called Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) but we will use the old name CIC in this article.
With your account, you can apply, pay your fees and check your status for some applications.
You can create and sign in to an account using:
- your online banking login (Sign-In Partner)
- a Government of Canada login (GCKey)
What’s the difference?
- Sign-in Partner (SecureKey Concierge) this refers to people who have accounts with CIC-affiliated banks. Most applicants choose
to create a GCKey Log In instead
- GCKey is the Government of Canada login credential
- Use the same sign in information you use for other online services (for example, online banking)
- None of your information will be shared with us. Your Sign-In Partner will not know which government service you are using.
- You will temporarily leave Canada.ca to use your Sign-In Partner
- Sign in with a GCKey user ID and password if you don’t use a Sign-In Partner.
- Register for a GCKey user ID and password if you don’t have one.
CIC Processing Time
How long will it take to process my application?
Exact CIC processing times are difficult to predict. They vary depending on:
- the type of immigration application that you submitted
- whether or not your application is complete and accurate
- backlog of CIC applications already received
- how easily CIC can verify your information
- how long you take to respond to any request for further information or concerns from CIC
- other factors
CIC processing times may also change during the processing of your application. Check processing times for details.
How are CIC processing times calculated?
A CIC processing time starts the day CIC receives a complete application and ends when CIC makes a decision. If you apply by mail, the time starts when your application arrives in CIC’s mailroom. If you apply online or in-person, it starts when you submit your application.
For some permanent resident applicants who haven’t applied yet, processing times are projected:
- Processing times are measured based on the current number of applications waiting to be processed and how quickly CIC expects to process 80% of them.
For other applicants, processing times are historical:
- Processing times are measured based on how long it CIC took to process 80% of applications in the past.
CIC has an explanation below each processing time stating if it’s projected or historical.
How often are the processing times for visa offices updated?
Most processing times show how long it took to process applications in the past and are updated weekly.
The following permanent resident programs have estimated processing times for new applications and are updated monthly:
- Sponsoring a parent or grandparent
- Economic immigration
- Provincial Nominees (excluding Express Entry)
- Skilled Workers (Quebec)
- Start-up visa
- Humanitarian and compassionate cases
The following programs show a commitment and are updated when new commitments are set:
- Electronic travel authorization (eTA)
- International Experience Canada (IEC)
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot
- Express Entry
- Federal Skilled Trades
- Federal Skilled Workers
- Provincial Nominees
- Canadian Experience Class
- Sponsoring a spouse or a common-law or conjugal partner
To help avoid delays or a refusal, make sure that you:
- carefully read the application guide for your immigration category and follow the instructions;
- properly fill out, sign and date the application form(s);
- if required, provide biometrics (fingerprints and photos) as soon as possible within 30 days of receiving the request;
- include all the required documents as indicated on the application checklist;
- pay the right fee using the correct method of payment;
- include the payment with your application; and
- double-check your application before submitting it.
Things that can cause delays:
- Your medical and security screening takes longer than usual
- We need to interview you
- You communicate with us by mail instead of using an online account
- You don’t respond to our requests for information quickly
- High numbers of applications
What is a complete application package?
Your application package is complete when you have:
- answered all of the questions on the application form, and
- submitted all the necessary documents along with your application.
If you forget to send a document, your application may be returned to you, the processing of your application may be delayed, or your application may be refused.
To find out what you need to submit with your application you can:
- read the instruction guide and the application package, that includes the paper application forms you need to fill out, or
- use the Come to Canada tool to find out if you’re eligible to apply and to get a personalized document checklist that provides you with a list of documents you need to submit, according to your specific situation.
How do I check my CIC application status?
There are three different routes to check up on the status of your application with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC). The first option is to call IRCC at 1-888-242-2100. The second option is to use IRCC’s e-Client Application Status online tool at IRCC’s website.
Calling IRCC at 1-888-242-2100 is not necessarily the simplest or fastest approach to check your CIC application status.
For one thing, it’s quite hard to call this number if you are outside of Canada (which will be true for most applicants), as it’s only available in North America.
But the real problem is that it’s hard to get through. Here are the problems in order:
- When you call, there is a long, tiered menu system, so you need to know what you are calling about, not just what you are calling about but what IRCC calls the application you are calling about. If not, you may not find your way to an operator.
- IRCC’s call centre is often extremely busy so you can be on hold for hours and sometimes the system will just disconnect your call.
- Once you do get through, you have to prove to the operator that you are who you say you are, so you’ll need your UCI or application number, in addition to being able to answer certain questions about yourself (such as your birth date).
- Once your identity has been confirmed, the call centre staff member will only be able to tell you the vaguest details about your file, such as whether or not it was received, whether or not it is being processed, or whether or not there has been a decision on your application (and if a document has been sent).
IRCC e-Client – CIC Canada Application Status Checker
This CIC Canada online tool available at IRCC’s website is not, in fact, available to all applicants. Whether or not you can access e-Client Application Status depends on what you applied for with IRCC:
- Applications eligible to use the e-Client CIC Application Status
- Sponsorship: all categories;
- Permanent Residence from within Canada for compassionate and humanitarian cases;
- Permanent Residence from within Canada for all categories;
- Permanent Residence from outside Canada for all categories;
- Permanent Resident Card;
- Temporary Residence: all categories
- Refugees: all categories of refugees are eligible;
- Citizenship: all categories of citizenship except Search of Citizenship Records;
- Applications not eligible to use the e-Client Application Status
- Immigration Documents: verification of status, replacements, and amendments of documents; as well as: request to amend – record of landing/confirmation of permanent residence
- Citizenship: Search of Citizenship Results category.
For those not eligible to use the e-Client, you must check CIC Canada processing times to see how long in general your application may take. This is not the same as an application status, which is specific to each individual application. For those eligible to use it, the e-Client Application Status online tool will give you your application’s status, but will not give further information on your file.
If you are indeed eligible to use CIC Canada e-Client Application Status online tool, you must remember to have available the following information in order to use the e-Client:
- The identification number related to your application whose status you are checking;
- Your surname (last name) as it appears on your application or on your identity documents;
- Your date of birth and your place of birth.