The current situation with COVID-19 is still developing and countries worldwide are taking precautionary measures. Canada is not an exception. Please refer to this post to familiarize with the impact of COVID-19, and precautionary measures and changes that it has caused in Canadian immigration.
General Travel Restrictions
Currently, Canada is refusing entry to all foreign nationals except those exempt. Exemptions include foreign workers, international students with valid study permits or those approved before/on March 18, 2020, and foreigners approved for permanent residence before/on March 18, 2020.
Those travelling by air will have to undergo a health check before boarding a flight to Canada. Upon arrival, each passenger’s health will have to be assessed once more before they leave the Canadian port of entry. Following that, each person must isolate for 14 days. Those travelling through a land border will have to isolate for 14 days when they arrive in Canada.
Even if you hold a valid visitor visa or a travel electronic authorization (eTA), you will not be able to travel to Canada. You are exempt, among others, if you are a transiting passenger, a protected person, an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident with essential reasons for a visit, or an accredited diplomat or family member. You are encouraged to check the full list of exemptions, that can be found under the Interim Order to Prevent Certain Persons from Boarding Flights to Canada due to COVID-19.
Those international students, who currently hold a valid study permits or have been approved for one before/on March 18, 2020, are able to enter Canada and exempt from travel restrictions.
The majority of international students are also faced with transfer to online-only format of classes, instead of in-class learning. Affected students do not have to worry about their future application for Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP), as their eligibility will not be impacted.
Temporary foreign workers are not impacted by travel restrictions and are free to travel to Canada by land or air.
If a person is not in Canada but was approved their permanent residence (PR) before/on March 18, 2020, they are allowed to enter Canada. Landed permanent residents who do not show symptoms of COVID-19 are allowed to Canada, but they have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. If PRs show COVID-19 symptoms, they can enter only by land and must isolate for 14 days.
Immediate family members of a PR can enter Canada, but only if they can prove that the reason for their travel is essential. Tourism, recreation and/or entertainment is not considered an essential purpose.
All in-person PR landing appointments are cancelled until April 13, 2020, and will be held over the phone if possible. Otherwise, the appointment will be rescheduled.
Refugee resettlement programs have been paused until further notice due to travel restrictions. In-person refugee claimant appointments, as well as interviews and refugee protection claimant document renewals, are cancelled until April 13, 2020.
Asylum claimants entering from the USA will be sent back to the USA, and, identically, asylum claimants entering from Canada to the USA will be sent back to Canada.
All immigration loan collection activities have been suspended until September 2020. If applicants require any assistance or have questions, they are encouraged to contact IRCC at 1-800-667-7301.
All citizenship ceremonies, tests/retests, hearings, interviews, and events have been cancelled until April 13, 2020. New applications are still being accepted, although there are delays in processing times.
For those applications that are currently processing, the applicants are given an extra 90 days from the deadline for submission of supporting documents.
If you spend more days abroad due COVID-19 it will not be counted towards your presence in Canada, you still have to be physically present in Canada to meet this requirement for the application for citizenship.
Application processing, IRCC and VAC offices
Applications continue to be accepted. However, there are disruptions of service, so the currently posted processing time may not be accurate.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recognizes that some applicants will be unable to provide specific documents and/or complete some steps of the application process, like the medical exam, passport or supporting documents submission. Therefore, no applications will be refused or closed as a result of documents missing because of COVID-19. IRCC provides 90 days for applicants to complete the necessary steps.
All biometric collection appointments are cancelled. Applicants are given 90 days to submit their biometrics instead of regular 30 days. Additionally, all biometric Service Canada locations are closed. In Canada, applicants will be able to book an appointment when Services Canada resume their normal operating procedures.
If you are applying through a Visa Application Centre (VAC), please check if your local VAC is open. Alternatively, you are encouraged to apply online.
If you are planning to file an application to visit or immigrate to Canada or have any immigration-related questions, we encourage you to consult our lawyer. Konan Law Immigration Law Firm provides comprehensive immigration, refugee, and citizenship services. By contracting our experienced immigration lawyer, you could escape mistakes, explore options and receive navigation in your immigration process.
Konan Immigration Law Firm is based in Toronto, Ontario, which is one of the most progressive cities in Canada, and where about 47 per cent of the population are immigrants. Our firm offers a full range of od immigration legal services including permanent and temporary residence, business immigration, visitor visas, refugee claims and representation, and Canadian citizenship applications. You can easily book an appointment through our website to discuss your immigration matter with our immigration lawyer.