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Improved Processing Times Estimates: A Win for Permanent Residence Applicants

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What Are Forward-Looking Processing Times? 

Forward-looking processing times are an estimate of how long applicants applying today should expect to wait before a final decision is made on their application. They are more accurate and realistic than backward-looking processing times, which is what IRCC has previously used to predict processing times. 

Forward-looking processing times consider the total number of that application type IRCC expects to process. 

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Defining Backward-Looking Processing Times

Backward-looking processing times are calculated based on how long it took IRCC to process 80% of all applications over a set period of time. The period of time was 6 months for permanent residence programs and 8 or 16 weeks for temporary residence programs. 

As you might expect, these are less accurate than the forward looking times because it doesn’t take any recent changes into account. These backward-looking timelines don’t consider staffing changes, application volume fluctuations, or various other factors considered for forward-looking application times. 

How Accurate Are Forward-Looking Processing Times? 

IRCC updates the forward-looking processing time each month, so they are accurate enough to be used as a general guideline. 

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However, it’s important to remember that the forward-looking processing time is based on the number of applications in IRCC’s inventory, as well as IRCC staffing volumes and estimates about future application volumes. 

It’s also important to remember that there will be applications that fall outside of this processing timeline. For instance, your application may be returned if it is not complete. It may also be delayed if there are specific elements of your application that are more complex or require further investigation. 

Other factors that might impact your application processing time include:

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  • how easily IRCC can verify your information
  • how long you take to respond to any request or concerns
  • other factors.
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