Canada Immigration Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines - AfriCanada Immigration Inc.
CANADA VISA - COVID 19 RULES
Canada Visa Applicants - CoronaVirus Rules    
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Canada Immigration Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines

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1 Canada immigration Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines

Canada immigration Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has issued Canada immigration coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines and instructions as the country battles to stem the pandemic. IRCC is still processing immigration and citizenship applications, taking measures to avoid delays in processing and refusals. The immigration department has also refined the measures for citizenship, permanent residence, and temporary residence applicants. These COVID-19 program delivery instructions are for temporary residence, permanent residence and citizenship applications.

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All immigration applicants can expect to see delays with some IRCC offices operating with essential staff only. IRCC may also continue to request additional documents necessary for all citizenship and immigration applications. These may include police certificates, biometrics, passports, medical examinations, and any documents that must be issued by Chinese, Iranian, or South Korean authorities.

Applications will not be refused for non-compliance, and all applications currently in progress at IRCC offices abroad, at case processing centres and within the Domestic Network will continue to be processed but may experience delays.

canada immigration coronavirus

1. Canada Immigration coronavirus – Office closures

To prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus, some visa application centres are closed until further notice. See which offices are temporarily closed:

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Some IRCC offices are currently operating with essential staff only. At Service Canada locations, biometric collection services have been suspended until further notice.

2. Expedited processing – Canada Immigration coronavirus

At this time, no significant expedited processing requirement is foreseen; therefore, these instructions do not include specific measures for expedited processing. That said, the decision to expedite an application due to special circumstances remains at the discretion of the Migration Program Manager of the responsible IRCC office and the manager of the responsible processing office in Canada.

3. Requests for additional documents on open applications

Canada Immigration coronavirus update: Until further notice, offices may continue to request any additional documents necessary for processing to continue in relation to all citizenship and immigration applications, including police certificates, biometrics, passports, medical examinations and any documents that must be issued by Chinese, Iranian or South Korean authorities, as follows:

  • When additional documentation is required to make a decision on the application, processing officers should send a request letter and allow 90 days for the applicant to respond.
  • If a request for additional documentation was previously sent but the applicant was unable to comply within the deadline, processing officers should bring forward the application and allow an additional 90 days for the applicant to respond.
  • Please note that the biometric instruction letter (BIL) cannot be amended and will continue to advise applicants that they have 30 days from the date of the letter to give their biometrics. Officers should still allow 90 days for the applicant to provide their biometrics, despite the 30-day timeline identified in the BIL.

4. Temporary residence: Canada Immigration coronavirus instructions

These are COVID-19 program delivery instructions for applications from visitors, workers and international students.

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First read General processing measures: COVID-19 program delivery

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Urgent applications – Canada Immigration coronavirus

Urgent applications for temporary residence are to be actioned by IRCC offices in

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Ankara
  • Manila (processing office for South Korea)

CHINA:

Temporary residence applicants in China who have an urgent travel request are asked to submit an online application and then flag the application to IRCC Beijing for urgent processing at beijing-immigration@international.gc.ca. These applications will be addressed on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the migration officer.

IRAN:

Temporary residence applicants in Iran who have an urgent travel request are asked to submit an online application and then flag the application to IRCC using the web form for urgent processing. Clients should select “No” in response to the question, “Is your application being processed by an office OUTSIDE Canada?” and then complete the enquiry form.

SOUTH KOREA:

Temporary resident applicants in South Korea who have an urgent travel request are asked to submit an online application and then flag the application to IRCC using the web form for urgent processing. Clients should select “No” in response to the question, “Is your application being processed by an office OUTSIDE Canada?” and then complete the enquiry form.

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Migration program managers have the delegation to waive biometrics overseas for urgent or humanitarian and compassionate reasons if and when deemed necessary.

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Biometrics, interviews and required documents

Due to the VAC closures in China, applicants will be unable to provide their biometrics or to submit their original travel document for visa issuance through the VAC; however, applicants in China may still submit online applications only. Applicants with temporary residence applications in progress may contact the VAC Contact Centre for additional details, by phone at +86 4000 88 66 37 or by email at infopek.cacn@vfshelpline.com.

Due to travel bans from neighbouring countries, Iranian citizens may be unable to access VACs or IRCC offices to submit biometrics, attend interviews, do medical examinations, etc. However, applicants in Iran may still submit online applications only.

Applicants in South Korea may experience delays in obtaining immigration medical examinations (IMEs), as many panel physicians in the region are not open to clients at this time. Officers should continue to send IME requests and bring them forward for 90 days. If an IME was requested and not received, officers should bring it forward for an additional 90 days.

Withdrawal of temporary residence applications

If an applicant wishes to withdraw their temporary residence application and is residing in an area where travel restrictions are imposed, regular processes for withdrawal requests should be followed.

Temporary residents in Canada unable to depart Canada

There is no fee waiver for any temporary residence applications or extensions.

Foreign nationals who are in Canada and whose temporary resident status may soon expire may apply for an extension so that they may maintain their temporary resident status in Canada. As per current guidelines, applicants must apply online and must meet all requirements, including associated fees.

Foreign nationals who have an extension application currently in progress will benefit from implied status and may remain in Canada until a decision is rendered on their application; therefore, expedited processing is not required.

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Restoration

Foreign nationals whose temporary resident status has expired may apply for restoration. They must pay the associated fee.

If the applicant is eligible for restoration

The officer proceeds with the assessment of the application (medical results, bona fides, etc.).

If all other requirements are met, the officer issues a visitor record (or appropriate permit) outlining the conditions for the restoration of status. The document is mailed to the client.

If the applicant is not eligible for restoration

The Minister’s delegate decides on a disposition for the case. The following options are available:

  • refer the case to an admissibility hearing
  • issue a departure order
  • allow the foreign national to remain

5. Permanent residence: Canada Immigration coronavirus instructions

These are COVID-19 program delivery instructions for applications from all permanent residents.

First read General processing measures: COVID-19 program delivery

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Application intake

Intake of new permanent residence applications will continue. Files that are incomplete due to unavailable documents will be retained in the system and reviewed in 90 days.

New, complete permanent residence applications under section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) will be processed as per normal procedures.

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If a new application is missing supporting documentation (associated fees are required), the applicant should include an explanation with their application that they are affected by the service disruptions as a result of the novel coronavirus. The application may then be promoted and reviewed in 90 days. New applications should be promoted in the order they were received, and the org ID should be associated with them when the applicant self-identifies. If the application is still incomplete in 60 days, officers should request the missing documents with an additional 90-day deadline.

Applications found to be incomplete with no explanation provided, or for reasons unrelated to the disruption of services associated with impacts of the novel coronavirus, may be rejected as per section R10, and all fees associated with the application should be refunded to the applicant. The reason for rejection should be unrelated to the disruption of services.

Offices in the Centralized and Domestic Networks will continue to process permanent residence applications where the principal applicant is in Canada and has overseas dependants in China, Iran or South Korea, taking into account the delays that may occur. The principal applicant should not be granted permanent residence if their overseas dependants cannot travel. Clients will be contacted to ascertain next steps once travel is possible again.

Travel documents

CHINA:

Permanent residents who may require a permanent resident travel document to return to Canada should contact the VAC Contact Centre for additional instructions. Applicants requesting urgent travel outside of China should be directed to contact IRCC Beijing in exceptional cases only (email). Permanent residents are being asked to submit their PRTD applications directly to the embassy by commercial courier.

IRAN:

Permanent residents who may require a PRTD to return to Canada should contact IRCC via the web form. Clients outside Canada should select “Yes” in response to the question, “Is your application being processed by an office OUTSIDE Canada?” and then select “Turkey – Ankara” as the visa office processing their application. Applicants requesting urgent travel outside of Iran should be directed to contact IRCC Ankara in exceptional cases only (email). Permanent residents are being asked to submit applications directly to the embassy by courier.

SOUTH KOREA:

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Permanent residents who may require a PRTD to return to Canada should contact IRCC via the web form. Clients outside Canada should select “Yes” in response to the question, “Is your application being processed by an office OUTSIDE Canada?” and then select “Philippines – Manila” as the visa office processing their application. Applicants requesting urgent travel outside of South Korea should be directed to contact IRCC Manila in exceptional cases only (email). Permanent residents are being asked to submit applications directly to the embassy by courier.

Approved permanent residence applications (COPR and PRV)

Permanent residence applicants who are in possession of a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) and permanent resident visa (PRV) and inform us, by submitting a web form to IRCC, that they are unable to travel within the validity of their documentation should be processed as follows:

  • Valid COPR and PRV: In an effort to reduce the number of cancelled COPRs and PRVs, a note should be placed in the file explaining that the applicant is unable to travel, and the file should be brought forward to the expiration date of the COPR and PRV. If the applicant informs IRCC that they can travel prior to the COPR and PRV expiration, they are encouraged to use their existing COPR and PRV to land.
  • Expired COPR and PRV: If the applicant informs IRCC via the web form that they were unable to travel after the expiration of their COPR and PRV, or if they were unable to travel prior to expiration, officers are to re-open the application, and it should be brought forward for review in 90 days.

Re-opened applications

Approved applications can be re-opened in GCMS by cancelling the COPR and PRV and removing the final decision.

When to review a re-opened application

Once the applicant informs IRCC via the web form that they are able to travel, a re-opened application may be re-approved provided that the applicant and their family members, whether accompanying or not, have valid immigration medical examinations, criminal and security checks and passports.

If the 60-day waiting period elapses and the applicant has not informed us that they are able to travel, a note should be placed in the application, and it should be brought forward for review for an additional 60 days.

Medical examinations

Currently, these instructions apply to applicants residing in China only.

All permanent residence applicants must have valid immigration medical examination (IME) results in order for officers to finalize an application. A complete list of panel physicians in China is available on the IRCC website. Should the IMEs be expired by the time the applicant and their family are ready to travel, new IMEs (or a reassessment of the IMEs, if possible) will be required prior to finalization. Do not request a new IME until the applicant indicates that they are ready to travel.

The Migration Health Branch will continuously identify all applications where the applicant is residing in China and their medical results will expire in the coming 4 to 8 weeks. Identified applications with an original M1 or M3 decision will be proactively reassessed for an additional 6 months. Should any applications that have not already been reassessed come to the attention of processing officers, officers are instructed to contact the Migration Health Branch with the following instructions:

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  • “This reassessment request is as a result of the novel coronavirus situation.”

Any applicants whose medical results have been reassessed but who do not travel to Canada within the new 6-month validity will require a new IME.

IRCC offices abroad and case processing centres within the Domestic Network should remain flexible in providing extensions for getting medical examinations where feasible and until further notice. These instructions will be updated as the situation evolves.

Permanent residence applications with current medical results that are valid for more than 6 months may be finalized, and the COPR may be issued, if possible.

Travel restriction measures: Canada Immigration coronavirus instructions

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Canada Immigration coronavirus

Air travel and border measures have been implemented to protect the health and safety of Canadians by restricting non-essential international travel. These instructions describe IRCC’s role in supporting the administration of these measures and provides guidance on applying some of the exemptions that are in place to facilitate necessary travel.

Important note: Regular travel document requirements for air travel and entry to Canada continue to apply. Foreign nationals who are exempted from the travel restrictions must continue to meet all travel document requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations.

Air travel restrictions affecting foreign nationals

These have been implemented under the authority of the Minister of Transport through interim orders under the Aeronautics Act. Current Order in Effect from March 21, 2020: Interim Order to Prevent Certain Persons from Boarding Flights to Canada due to COVID-19, No. 2.

The basic rule is that foreign nationals are prohibited from boarding an aircraft for a flight to Canada departing from any country other than the United States, unless an exemption applies.

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Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons continue to be permitted to board an aircraft, subject to health screening measures.

Exemptions

Family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents

The interim order exempts foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents from the travel restriction.

The definition of immediate family members set out in Interim Order No. 2 is broader than that in IRPA (spouses and common-law partners, their dependent children and any dependent children of their dependent children) and includes

  • the foreign national’s own parents or step-parents
  • the parents or step-parents of the foreign national’s spouse or common-law partner
  • the foreign national’s guardian or tutor

In respect of a parent, dependent child is defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations as a child who

  • (a) has one of the following relationships with the parent, namely,
    • (i) is the biological child of the parent, if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner of the parent, or
    • (ii) is the adopted child of the parent; and
  • (b) is in one of the following situations of dependency, namely,
    • (i) is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner, or
    • (ii) is 22 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before attaining the age of 22 years and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.

Find additional information related to the interpretation of a dependent child:

Where the immediate family member is a parent or step-parent, the foreign national child’s age is not a factor and there is no requirement to establish dependency.

The Canadian citizen or permanent resident family member’s physical location is not a factor. They may be in Canada, in a third country, or accompanying the foreign national.

Travellers are expected to self-identify to airlines at the point of boarding that they are exempt under this provision by presenting documentation to establish their family member’s Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status and their relationship to that family member.

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Recommended documentation for travel

Documentation showing their immediate family member’s Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status, such as a

  • Canadian passport
  • Canadian permanent resident card
  • Canadian permanent resident travel document (visa counterfoil)
  • visa-exempt foreign passport and a IRCC Special Authorization for Canadian Citizens (see below)

Documentation showing their relationship to that family member, such as

  • a marriage or common-law status certificate
  • a birth certificate
  • a Confirmation of Permanent Resident (COPR) for Family Class (FC) (Please note that the COPR category under Application Details will be FC.)
  • other document(s) supporting an immediate family connection (for example: correspondence from IRCC showing spousal sponsorship in progress, documentation indicating a common residential address)

Paper and electronic copies of the documents listed above are acceptable.

Role of IRCC – Canada Immigration coronavirus

Air carriers who require assistance to confirm that a foreign national passenger is eligible for this exemption will communicate through established channels to Transport Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Government of Canada officials may contact the IRCC Operations Support Centre (OSC) to confirm citizenship or immigration status and to verify family relationships to the extent that this information is available in Citizenship, Immigration or Passport program records.

Family reunification

The interim order also exempts foreign nationals whose travel to Canada is authorized in writing by a consular officer in order to reunite family members.

The expanded definition of immediate family member described above continues to apply.

While the foreign national’s immediate family member must be a resident in Canada, that family member does not have to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

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This means that a foreign national with an immediate family member residing in Canada as a worker, visitor, student or protected person would be included in this exemption.

Recommended documentation for travel

Global Affairs Canada will provide a letter to the client confirming their eligibility for this exemption.

Important note: Regular travel document requirements for air travel and entry to Canada continue to apply. Foreign nationals who are exempted from the travel restrictions must continue to meet all travel document requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations.

Role of IRCC

Consular officials who require assistance to confirm that a foreign national passenger is eligible for this exemption will seek guidance from Global Affairs Canada through established channels.

Government of Canada officials may contact the IRCC Operations Support Centre (OSC) to confirm citizenship or immigration status and to verify family relationships to the extent that this information is available in Citizenship, Immigration or Passport program records.

Accredited officials

The interim order exempts foreign nationals who are exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa under paragraph 190(2)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and their immediate family members. Note that the broader definition of immediate family members continues to apply.

The foreign national must hold a passport that contains a diplomatic acceptance, a consular acceptance or an official acceptance issued by the Chief of Protocol for the Global Affairs Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada and are a properly accredited diplomat, consular officer, representative or official of a country other than Canada, of the United Nations or any of its agencies, or of any international organization of which Canada is a member.

Protected persons

The interim order exempts protected persons within the meaning of subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

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A protected person is a person on whom refugee protection is conferred under subsection 95(1), and whose claim or application has not subsequently been deemed to be rejected under subsection 108(3)109(3) or 114(4) of IRPA. The only document that may presented to provide proof of this status is a Canadian Refugee Travel Document issued by IRCC, in line with section 39(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

National interest

The interim order exempts a foreign national whose presence in Canada, in the opinion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, is in the national interest.

This exemption may only be applied by any of the 3 ministers listed. The decision for the exemption will be made by the respective minister. The IRCC Case Management Branch will manage these situations in accordance with existing processes.

Transit passengers – Canada Immigration coronavirus

The interim order exempts foreign nationals in transit through Canada to another country. Given the interplay between the interim order under the Aeronautics Act and related emergency orders under the Quarantine Act, the airport of arrival into Canada must have the facilities to permit the foreign national to connect to their destination without the foreign national having to present themselves for examination to enter Canada.

Crew members

The interim order exempts foreign national crew members, including those arriving by air to join a vessel.

Airlines will permit boarding for seafarers travelling to Canada to join a ship’s crew if they are holding a seafarer’s identity document supplemented by a passport or other seafarer documentation, including proof of employment on a vessel at a Canadian port.

This exemption does not affect regular travel document and permit requirements for foreign nationals under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Canadian citizens travelling on a foreign passport

Canada immigration coronavirus update: Canadian citizens are encouraged to carry a valid Canadian passport at all times. Exceptionally, Canadian citizens may travel to Canada on a visa-exempt foreign passport with a special authorization. When this special authorization is issued, IRCC will produce a confirmation email approving the special authorization. For the purposes of the interim order, the Canadian citizen can provide this email to the airline to show they are not a foreign national, and therefore not subject to this travel restriction. Note that the foreign passport number in the approval email should match the traveller’s foreign passport number.

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