Decoding the AOR in Canadian Immigration: What You Need to Know

Navigating the maze of Canadian immigration paperwork can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the numerous acronyms that pepper the process. One such acronym you might come across is AOR, which stands for Acknowledgment of Receipt. But what is an AOR, and what does it signify in your immigration journey? In this guide, our experts at Immigration Nation dive into the nuts and bolts of AOR in Canadian immigration. We’ll explore its meaning, compare paper-based and electronic applications, and shed light on the timing of its issuance by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

What is an AOR?

An AOR, or Acknowledgment of Receipt, is a formal communication from IRCC confirming the reception of your immigration application. In other words, it’s a formal nod that signals the beginning of your application’s journey through the bureaucratic labyrinth. While it’s just the starting point, many see it as a crucial milestone that provides some degree of relief and assurance, given that your application package has successfully reached its intended destination. The AOR is essentially a formal notice, usually sent via email, indicating that your application has entered the processing stage and that you can now track its status through the relevant channels. It’s worth noting that receiving an AOR doesn’t mean that your application is complete or that you’ve been approved. It merely acknowledges that the IRCC has received your paperwork and fees.

What does the Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) mean?

The issuance of an AOR can mean different things at various stages of the immigration process. In the early stages, it’s a vital piece of communication that confirms your application didn’t get lost in the mail or stuck in some digital folder. It can serve as a reference point for future interactions with the IRCC, as it often comes with a unique identification number. However, the AOR is not an approval notice. It’s more like a signpost on your immigration pathway indicating that you’ve cleared the first hurdle: the IRCC now has your application and will begin to assess it. Although receiving the AOR is reassuring, it’s important to remain vigilant about the next steps, which may include additional documentation or interviews.

Paper-based applications vs electronic applications

In the age of technology, one might wonder why paper-based applications even exist. The reality is that not all immigration streams have transitioned to digital. Paper-based applications, although seemingly archaic, are still prevalent for several immigration categories. The AOR for paper-based applications typically takes longer to receive due to mail travel times and manual data entry. On the flip side, electronic applications offer a faster turnaround. The AOR for online submissions often arrives shortly after you’ve completed all required steps and made the payment. In a digital setting, the AOR is generally an automated email, whereas paper-based AORs might include a physical letter. Either way, the importance of the AOR remains the same; it’s a crucial milestone that indicates the initiation of your application’s evaluation process.

When does IRCC issue an Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR)?

The timing for the issuance of an AOR can vary. For paper-based applications, it can take several weeks, considering mailing times and the manual efforts involved. Electronic applications are quicker, with the AOR typically being generated almost immediately after you submit your application and fees. However, the timeline can depend on various factors such as the complexity of your application, the volume of applications received by IRCC, and sometimes even the immigration category you’re applying under. It’s always a good idea to keep track of your application status, and in case of undue delays, reach out to the IRCC for clarification.


The AOR is a small but significant steppingstone in your Canadian immigration journey. While it doesn’t guarantee success, its receipt is a crucial indicator that your application is on track for the extensive evaluation process that lies ahead. Now that you understand what an AOR is, what it signifies, the differences between paper-based and electronic applications, and the timelines for its issuance, you’re better equipped to navigate the Canadian immigration system. If you seek further guidance with your Application Process, please feel free to contact us at Immigration Nation. Our team of experts will ensure your application is prepared for success!

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