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The Canadian government publishes estimated processing times for applications for visas and other immigration documents. These estimates vary wildly according to the type of application and where it is submitted. For example, a visitor visa application from Austria currently takes about 178 days; the same visa application from the United States takes only 27 days, but from the United Arab Emirates it takes 700 days.

What happens if you submit a visa application from one country, but then, while it is being processed, you move to another country with very different estimated processing times? (Assume that you promptly inform the visa office about your change in address.) In particular, how would such a move affect the expected processing time for the visa application? For instance, if you move from Austria to the United States, can you expect the processing to speed up considerably? Conversely, if you move from Austria to the UAE, can you expect it to slow down considerably?

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    Just an educated guess, your application will surely not jump between offices... it's already so hard to get through the stack for them Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 8:00
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    Isn’t it possible that such a move would actually result in a new application being required? Moving from say Austria to the US implies a pretty significant change in personal circumstances
    – Traveller
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 8:54
  • Just a side note for the Austria to Canada case, if you arrive by plane in Canada you can apply for an eTA instead of the visitor visa, which is usually approved and delivered via email within minutes.
    – kirbby
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 11:22
  • @kirbby Whether you need a visa or can use an eTA depends primarily on your citizenship, not on your country of residence. Simply living in Austria is not enough for an eTA.
    – Psychonaut
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 11:28
  • @Psychonaut yes, I assumed that is the case since you didn't explicitly state that you are not Austrian. It might be useful for someone else anyway.
    – kirbby
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 11:30

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It depends. If you move during the application, depending on the stage of your application, it may be reassigned to another visa office, or maybe not. It may not matter eventually that much.

With the backlogs any visa office in the world may process your application. The differences in wait time come from many factors, for example, the political stability of the country (concerning notably reliability of documents), cooperation of governments, behaviours of past applicants (e.g. overstays, asylum claims), propsects in the residing countries etc.

For example, one reason people (legally) in the U.S. may have a faster processing time is that U.S. has capibility to do extensive screening and shares a lot of security and immigration data with Canada (and vice versa), so the processing is greatly facilitated. There is/was also no additional risk for unwanted asylum claims since they could simply go across the land border (illegally) to do so.

Whereas countries like India and China have relatively short processing times even if there are much more applicants exactly because the visa offices have a huge amount of experiences to rely on and have developed routine procedures on how to treat these applications.

The wait time is not necessarily what you expect, especially for relatively small countries. Some countries may have a higher concentration of certain types of applicants that require longer processing times than usual (e.g. asylum seekers or refugees) which unduly skew the data. The wait time is when they historically processed 80% of applications within the time, so even if 20% of applications from residents in one country are complicated, it can skew wait times by a lot. If they need to verify your history at another country, this may contribute to a longer treatment period. They may even send your file to the local visa office if your main history can only be found there. In UAE for example, I would speculate that it is due to a large number of migrant workers making applications in an attempt to go to Canada, even if the hope of getting one is low.

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