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How Long Does it Take to Get a Canada Work Permit?

How Long Does it Take to Get a Canada Work Permit?

A Canada work permit is your gateway to a world of opportunities in the Great White North. Whether you’re a skilled worker, a student, or a professional, working in Canada can be an exciting prospect. However, one crucial question looms large when planning to work in Canada: “How long does it take to get a Canada work permit?” Understanding the processing times for a Canada work permit is essential, as it directly impacts your ability to embark on your Canadian journey.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of Canada work permit processing times, shedding light on various factors that influence the duration of the application process. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of what to expect and how to navigate the timeline effectively.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Canada Work Permit?

Types of Canada Work Permits

Canada offers a range of work permits to cater to different needs and situations. It’s vital to grasp the distinctions between these permit types and how they can influence processing times.

  1. Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): If you have a job offer from a Canadian employer, you’ll typically apply through the TFWP. The processing time for this category can vary depending on factors like location, the type of job, and the stream you’re applying under.
  2. International Mobility Program (IMP): The IMP encompasses work permits for individuals who are exempt from the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Processing times may be quicker in some IMP categories due to the LMIA exemption.
  3. Express Entry Program: Express Entry is known for its speed and efficiency in processing applications. If you have an invitation to apply (ITA) for a work permit through Express Entry, the processing time is notably faster. Express Entry is often used by skilled workers and professionals.
  4. Inland vs. Outland Applications: The location of your application submission can also affect processing times. Inland applications are made within Canada, while outland applications are submitted outside Canada.

Factors Affecting Processing Time

Several factors can influence the processing time of your Canada work permit application. Understanding these factors and how they impact the duration of the process is crucial.

  1. Completeness of Application: A well-prepared and complete application is likely to be processed faster. Ensure all required documents are included and forms are filled out correctly.
  2. Type of Work Permit: The type of work permit you’re applying for matters. Different categories may have varying processing times.
  3. Location: Your location can influence processing times. Some visa offices may process applications faster than others.
  4. Current Workload: The volume of applications being processed at a specific visa office can affect processing times. High-demand periods may result in longer processing times.

Processing Time for Different Categories

Let’s delve into specific processing times for different Canada work permit categories:

  1. Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): Processing times for the TFWP vary based on the specific stream and the country or territory where you’re applying from. On average, the processing time may range from a few weeks to several months.
  2. International Mobility Program (IMP): IMP work permits can have faster processing times, particularly if you’re exempt from LMIA requirements. Some IMP categories may receive approval in a matter of weeks.
  3. Express Entry Program: Express Entry is known for its efficiency. If you have an ITA through Express Entry, your work permit application can be processed in as little as two weeks.
  4. Inland vs. Outland Applications: Processing times for inland applications are generally shorter compared to outland applications. Inland applicants may receive approval within a few months, while outland applicants may experience longer processing times.

General Processing Timeframes

While the specific processing time can vary, it’s useful to have a general idea of average processing times:

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Typically, it takes an average of 6 to 8 weeks to process a TFWP application.
  • International Mobility Program: LMIA-exempt IMP applications are usually processed within 2 to 8 weeks.
  • Express Entry Program: Express Entry work permits can be processed in as little as 2 weeks, making this category one of the fastest.
  • Inland Applications: Inland applications may take around 4 to 5 months for processing, but this can vary.
  • Outland Applications: Outland applications can take longer, with processing times ranging from 3 to 7 months.

Expedited Processing

In certain situations, you may require expedited processing for your Canada work permit application. Expedited processing is typically available for urgent cases, such as job offers with tight deadlines. To request expedited processing, you will need to provide a valid reason and supporting documentation. Keep in mind that not all applications are eligible for expedited processing, and the decision is at the discretion of immigration authorities.

Tips for Faster Processing

To ensure a smoother and quicker processing time for your Canada work permit, consider the following tips:

  1. Complete Documentation: Ensure all required documents are included and that forms are accurately filled out. Incomplete applications can lead to delays.
  2. Double-Check Eligibility: Before applying, verify that you meet all the eligibility criteria for your chosen work permit category.
  3. Avoid Common Mistakes: Review your application carefully to avoid common errors and omissions
  4. Use Authorized Representatives: Consider seeking assistance from an authorized immigration representative or consultant. They can help ensure your application is complete and accurate, reducing the chances of delays.
  5. Keep Records: Maintain copies of all your application documents and correspondence with immigration authorities. This can be valuable in case you need to provide additional information or respond to requests for clarification.
  6. Double-Check Eligibility: Before applying, verify that you meet all the eligibility criteria for your chosen work permit category. Being eligible from the start can save time in the long run.
  7. Submit Online: Whenever possible, consider submitting your application online. Online submissions are often processed faster than paper applications.


In conclusion, the processing time for a Canada work permit is influenced by a multitude of factors, including the type of permit, the location of your application, and the completeness of your submission. While some categories offer expedited processing, others may require more time and patience.

Planning and preparation play a vital role in expediting your application. Ensuring that your documentation is accurate, that you meet the eligibility criteria, and that you avoid common mistakes can significantly reduce processing times.

Whether you’re aiming to work in Canada as a skilled professional, a temporary foreign worker, or an international student, understanding the processing times and following the right steps will help you achieve your goal.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Canada work permits:

 1: Can I apply for a work permit before getting a job offer in Canada?

Yes, you can apply for a work permit without a job offer. However, having a job offer may streamline the process and increase your chances of approval.

 2: Are there any countries with faster processing times for Canadian work permits?

Processing times can vary based on factors like your location, the type of work permit, and the specific program. Some categories offer faster processing than others.

3: What happens if my work permit application is rejected?

If your work permit application is rejected, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons for the rejection. You can reapply with the necessary corrections or seek legal advice if needed.

4: Can I work in Canada while waiting for my work permit to be approved?

In some cases, you can work in Canada while your work permit application is in progress. However, you must meet specific eligibility criteria and have applied under the right category.

5: How can I check the status of my work permit application?

You can check the status of your work permit application online through the official website of the Government of Canada’s immigration department.

For those eager to start their Canadian journey, understanding the processing times and taking the necessary steps can make the dream of working in Canada a reality.

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