Canada: Processing Times For Study Permit’s Post-Pandemic 


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Canada is quickly recovering the study permit processing times that got largely delay due to Covid. For the last year and a half, international students have had a more difficult  time processing their study applications due to closed biometric and passport offices. Presently, the processing times for student permits seem to be dropping with lesser processing delays. Though different provinces have different timelines for opening up, the rate of study permit processing has definitely sped up.

A study permit is a document issued to foreign students who want to study at any Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) in Canada and it is imperative for a student to be allowed to enter the country.

According to estimates, Canada was expecting to welcome around 300,000 international students by September 2021. The government of Canada has processed 128,000 study permit applications during the current year and another 140,000 study permits are being processed. The government has clearly shown an interest in having an increasing number of international students come to Canada. They are working to prepare airport and other staff to deal with the hundreds of thousands of students due to arrive in Canada to study.

The majority of Visa Application Centres have opened up and the rest are also in the process of opening up. This would help smooth the processing of applications even further. Though the processing time for study permits varies, at present it’s estimated to be shorter than during pre-pandemic times. The IRCC has said that their current average time for processing a complete study permit application is 55 days. 

Students who were pursuing short term programs of less than six months duration can also now choose to take the study permit application route for Canada. Even students who have not been vaccinated have been allowed to travel to Canada provided they comply with existing quarantine protocols. After they complete their mandatory isolation period, they will also receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of cost.

It’s  worth noting that the processing times have jumped for 2019 and 2020, as they were greatly disrupted due to COVID-19. However, current times are reverting back to pre-pandemic levels.  In general, processing times for applications are dependent on a variety of factors. It could depend on the type of application submitted, whether the application is complete in all respects, the expected time for processing the application, the ease of verification of information and the time taken by the applicant to respond to requests or concerns.

To further ensure the smooth processing of applications, make sure the applications are complete in all respects before you submit them. Even complete applications need to go through the process of follow-up with students, securing the documentation and reviewing it before delivering the decision. An incomplete application only adds more time to the process. First and foremost, you need to have your acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (DLI) ready before you apply for a study permit. The time required for each application is also dependent on the nationality of students. 

On an average students from 80 different countries had average processing times of under 50 days. On the other hand, even though Indian, South Korean and Mexican students make up roughly 50% of all study permit applications, their decision waiting times were roughly 20 days in 2019. During the pandemic in 2020, this time saw an average increase to about a hundred days. That was in part due to inability to secure necessary documentation and biometrics. By 2021, these times have gradually been returning to the pre-pandemic averages. 

Depending on your nationality, you might need to get biometrics done for your study Visa. Not all countries are on the list of nations whose citizens are required to get these biometrics. It is important to start the application process sooner if biometrics are required. Some candidates may also be required to show up for an in-person interview, varying from case to case. 

The Government‘s dedicated efforts to get students back on campus have been instrumental in lowering study permit processing times. At Aplicar, we help students lower their study permit processing times by updating them regarding the necessary documents, informing them about current processing times and informing them of any missing or additional documents required. Stay on top of your application and get the latest from us!

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