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Frequently Asked Questions

All about the Progress Bar

The progress bar just shows the time elapsed from the day an application is submitted. It does not inform what stage or how far an application has been processed.

IRCC Progress Bar

Update March 26, 2021 – Due to the impacts of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), IRCC is experiencing longer than usual processing delays. This also means that IRCC is unable to provide accurate processing times on individual applications at this time. As a result, IRCC has removed the progress bar in the online account of Economic Class – Provincial/Territorial Nominees (EE) clients.

What does the progress bar in my application status mean?

The progress bar just shows how long it may take to process your immigration application. The progress bar and the estimated dates are based on the date IRCC received your application and IRCC’s processing times. It isn’t based on your application’s progress and it does not inform what stage or how far an application has been processed. It simply shows the time elapsed from the day an application is submitted.

If IRCC’s processing times change, so will the progress bar and dates. Processing times can change because of the number of applications currently being processed and other factors.

The progress bar is available only in your online account. If you submitted a paper application, you need to link it to your online account.

When does the progress bar first appear?

The progress bar first appears on MyCIC within a few weeks (2 to 4 weeks) of submitting the application. When the progress bar first appears on MyCIC account, it usually indicates that the R10 (Completeness Check) is also completed.

Why isn’t there a progress bar for my application?

At the moment, the progress bar is only available for these types of applications:

  • Express Entry
    • You only see the progress bar once IRCC starts processing your application.
    • If you submitted your application, but don’t see the progress bar, it’s because IRCC hasn’t started processing your application yet.
    • It may take a few weeks up to a few months for the processing bar to appear.
  • sponsorship of a:
    • spouse or partner
    • parent or grandparent
  • Atlantic Immigration Pilot
  • Caregivers – High Medical Needs
  • provincial nominee
  • self-employed (federal)
  • Quebec-selected business class (includes investors, self-employed people and entrepreneurs)
  • Quebec-selected skilled worker
  • start-up visa
  • In-Canada protected person or Convention refugee

Why is there a difference between my progress bar and my application progress?

The progress bar and estimated dates are based on the date IRCC received your application and IRCC’s processing times (note that, some posted processing times are a service commitment). Some applications take IRCC longer than usual to process.

About 20% of IRCC’s applications are more complex to process. They take IRCC longer due to things like how easily IRCC can verify information, how well and how quickly you answer IRCC’s requests and whether the application is complete.

If it’s been longer than your processing time since you applied and you aren’t seeing updates, contact IRCC using the Web form.

How are processing times calculated?

A processing time starts the day IRCC receives a complete application and ends when IRCC makes a decision. The Completeness Check is the first stage of the application processing. At the completeness check, the processing office determines only whether the required documents are included according to the document checklist requirements in place at the time the application is received. This stage is also called R10 which refers to section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

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 IRCC expects to process 80% of them.

For other applicants, processing times are historical:

  • Processing times are measured based on how long it took to process 80% of applications in the past.

IRCC has an explanation below each processing time stating if it’s projected or historical.

What happens when the progress bar reaches 100%?

When the progress bar reaches 100%, applicants are greeted with the following message;

Application Status
Message after the expiry of the 6 month processing mark

This table displays the time, in months, that IRCC took to process 80% of applications under each program.

Program201720182019
Canadian Experience Class457
Federal Skilled Worker469
Provincial/Territorial Nominee669
Federal Skilled Trades6712
All Programs558

At this stage a frequently asked question from applicants is, What’s happening with my file? There are a number of ways to contact IRCC and check the status and these are explained in detail here. One of the quickest ways to get in touch with IRCC is to use the Web Form, also called Case Specific Enquiry or CSE. Be sure to read the Guide to Web Form responses and review samples responses & understand how to make sense of it.

In conclusion

The progress bar just shows the time elapsed from the day an application is submitted. It does not inform what stage or how far an application has been processed. The only accurate way of knowing the status of your visa application is through GCMS notes. See How to read, interpret and understand GCMS Notes

Thank you for reading!
Canada Visa Status - The only way to know the most detailed information of an application is by requesting GCMS Notes. GCMS is the most comprehensive and up-to-date information that can be obtained to understand the status of a visa application or to learn the details about a visa refusal.  It offers far more detail than IRCC’s online system and you can order your GCMS Notes online
Disclaimer - Material contained within this website is intended for informational purposes only and is provided as a service to the Canada visa applicant community. These materials do not, and are not, intended to constitute legal advice.