As the impact of the novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 becomes more apparent worldwide; Canada immigration is taking exceptional measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic and to help immigrants & travelers affected by service disruptions and travel restrictions.
The following is a summary of new instructions issued by the federal government:
- Canada is closing its borders to non-citizens and non-PR holders
On Monday, March 16, the federal government announced that Canada is closing its borders to those who do not hold Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status.
However, there are few exceptions being made to immediate family members of Canadians, Citizens of the United States, Air Crews and Diplomats.
The government has stated that at this time, it is unknown that whether the individuals who hold valid Canadian study and work permits and who are currently overseas will be allowed to enter into the Canada or not. The more information on the same will be provided to public in the coming days.
Additionally, airlines have been mandated by the government to check all boarding passengers for symptoms of COVID-19, and those displaying any consistent symptoms will not be allowed to board aircraft and fly to Canada.
Under this new measure, which will take effect from Wednesday, March 18, only four Canadian airports will receive international flights – Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.
Flights from the United States, Mexico, and Caribbean are exempt from this restriction for the time being. The border restrictions also do not apply to essential trade or business.
- IRCC’s special measures to help immigration applicants
On Sunday, March 15, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced new program delivery instructions to help those who are applying for temporary residence, permanent residence, and Canadian citizenship. Under new general processing measures:
- Applications will not be refused for non-compliance. Those applications that are currently in progress at IRCC offices abroad at case processing centres and within the Domestic Network will continue to be processed.
- For those who will be unable to submit a complete application for permanent residence before the deadline, IRCC is allowing an additional 90 days in some cases.
- Canada immigration can request any additional documents necessary for processing all citizenship and immigration applications including biometrics, passports, police certificates, medical exams, and any other documents.
- When additional documentation is required, IRCC will send a request letter allowing the applicant 90 days to respond. However, in case applicants could not meet the deadline, they will be given an additional 90 days to respond.
- Although the biometric instruction letter will continue to say that applicants have 30 days to give biometrics, they will actually be allowed to provide the same in 90 days instead.
In addition, those who have had their permanent residence application been approved, but cannot travel to Canada before their documents expire; may be eligible for an extended deadline as long as they inform IRCC of their situation via the web form.
- Cancellations of in-person appointments, citizenship ceremonies and knowledge tests
IRCC announced that it is temporarily cancelling all citizenship ceremonies, knowledge testing and retesting events until further notice.
All in-person permanent resident landing appointments scheduled to take place in Canada are cancelled until April 13, 2020. Applicants who had a landing appointment already booked, it will be held by telephone at a new date.