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Coronavirus impact on Canada immigration, visas, and border – Latest news

Canada still accepting applications despite travel restrictions

While Canada has imposed travel restrictions, candidates are still welcome to submit Express Entry profiles as well as their permanent and temporary residence applications. Canada continues to hold Express Entry draws and issue invitations to apply for permanent residence. Canada is also being more flexible in processing applications by providing candidates with more time to obtain and submit their documentation in case candidates are being affected by COVID-19 disruptions.

Who can come to Canada during coronavirus pandemic?

  • Canadian citizens
  • Permanent residents
  • Immediate family of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, grandchildren, parent or step-parent, and guardian or tutor)

The following individuals will be able to come to Canada but Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have stated they cannot book their trips until they receive more information from the federal government:

  • Permanent resident applicants who were approved for permanent residence before Canada announced its travel restrictions on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet traveled to Canada
  • Temporary foreign workers
  • International students who hold a valid study permit or who had been approved for a study permit when Canada’s travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020

Click here to view the full list of people who will be exempted from the travel restrictions.

Canada’s travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020, and end on June 30, 2020, at noon EDT.


Four Canadian airports open to international travel

Effective March 18, 2020, only four Canadian airports will be open to international travel:

  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  • Montreal-Pierre Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
  • Calgary International Airport (YYC)
  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

Flights arriving from the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are excluded from this measure.


Airline companies must screen passengers for coronavirus symptoms

Airline companies will be responsible for screening the health of individuals before they board a plane to Canada. Airlines have been instructed to prevent individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms from flying to Canada.

Canada has issued a statement indicating that passengers who display a fever of over 38°C, a cough, or breathing difficulties may be denied from boarding a plane unless they have a medical certificate that confirms the symptoms are not due to COVID-19.


Good to Know

  • People who can travel to Canada are listed here
  • Express Entry draws continue and federal and provincial governments continue to issue invitations to apply for permanent residence
  • Starting March 16th, all in-person landing appointments are canceled and will be held by telephone. IRCC will contact you by email to let you know when your new telephone appointment will be.
  • Biometrics deadline extended to 90 days, rather than 30. There will be 90-day extensions for additional document requests on open applications.
  • Travelers coming from international locations are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • The travel restrictions are in place until June 30, 2020, at noon EDT.
  • The measures do not apply to trade or business.
1. Can I travel to Canada right now?

The following are among the list of people will be allowed to travel to Canada between now and June 30, 2020.

Such individuals can book travel to return to Canada right now:

  • Canadian citizens
  • Permanent residents
  • Immediate family of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, grandchildren, parent or step-parent, and guardian or tutor)

The following individuals will be allowed to come to Canada but they cannot book their travel right now. The federal government is asking such individuals to monitor its website for more information before they book their travel:

  • Permanent resident applicants who were approved for permanent residence before Canada announced its travel restrictions on March 16, 2020 but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
  • Temporary foreign workers
  • International students who held a valid study permit or who had been approved for a study permit when Canada’s travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020

Individuals entering Canada are required to quarantine themselves immediately for a period of 14 days to help avoid the potential spread of COVID-19.

2. Will relatives of permanent residents be allowed to enter Canada?

Only immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Canada. 

3. What is the definition of an immediate family member?

The federal government defines an immediate family member as someone who is related to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and is:

  • the spouse or common-law partner of the person
  • a dependent child of the person of the person’s spouse or common-law partner
  • a grandchild
  • a parent or step-parent
  • a guardian or tutor
4. I have a COPR. Can I travel to Canada?

Canada has committed to admitting permanent resident applicants who were approved for permanent residence before Canada announced its travel restrictions on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet traveled to Canada. If this applies to you, please continue to monitor the federal government’s website for more information before you book your travel. Please also note the federal government has suspended permanent resident landing appointments until April 13. 

5. I have a COPR and a visa expiring soon. With travel restrictions and quarantine measures in place, will I be given an extension for my visa expiration date? 

If you are unable to travel to Canada at present, let IRCC know by using the web form. Once you are able to travel again, use the webform again and IRCC will provide more information on restarting the processing of your application. 

6. I have been approved for permanent residence but I am unable to travel. What do I do?

Use the IRCC webform to let them know why you can’t travel. Once you are able to travel, use the webform to let IRCC know. IRCC will then provide detailed information on restarting the processing of your permanent residence application. This also applies if your confirmation of permanent residence has expired. 

7. Is Canada stopping immigration?

No. Canada is still open to those wishing to submit an application to come to the country. Canada has not released any statements that COVID-19 will affect its 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan. 

8. Can I still apply for immigration or temporary residence?

Yes, you are still able to apply. IRCC will not reject your application if you are unable to submit all necessary documents due to delays caused by Coronavirus. 

9. Can I still submit an Express Entry profile?

Yes, you can still submit an Express Entry profile. In addition, the federal government and provinces are continuing to issue invitations to apply for permanent residence. 

10. I hold a valid study or work permit but I am currently outside of Canada. Can I return?

Yes, you will be able to return, but not until the federal government provides more information on when you can go ahead to book your trip to Canada.

IRCC has stated that international students are able to come to Canada as long as they held a valid study permit or were approved for a study permit when Canada’s travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020.

IRCC has stated that temporary foreign workers come to Canada (CanadaVisa will provide more information as it becomes available).

You must quarantine yourself for 14 days upon your return.

11. Is the Canada-U.S. border closed?

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Canada and the U.S. reached a mutual deal to close their borders to non-essential travel effective Saturday March 2020.

Non-essential travel is defined as travel for recreation and tourism.

All essential and business travel will continue uninterrupted.

Individuals who fall under Canada’s list of exempted individuals can still enter Canada.

12. I am currently in Canada and would like to travel to the border to flagpole. Will I be able to do so?

The federal government has stated that traveling to the border for immigration purposes such as renewing a work, study, or visitor permit, or to activate permanent resident status is non-essential travel. As such, the federal government asks such individuals to avoid traveling to the border until further notice. Temporary residents who are looking to extend their stay in Canada as students, workers, or visitors can do so on the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

13. I am a temporary resident and I can’t leave Canada.

If your visa or permit has not yet expired, you can apply online to extend your stay in Canada.

If you are a visitor, you can apply online to extend your stay in Canada.

If you are a worker or student and are no longer working or studying, you can apply to change your status to visitor.

If you would like to continue working or studying, you may be able to extend your work or study permit. When you apply, make sure you mention why you need to extend your stay.

If your visitor visa, study permit or work permit is expired, and it’s been less than 90 days since the status expired, you can apply to restore your status. You must use the document checklist and guide for your situation:

When you complete the form, make sure you do the following:

  • Select “Restore my status”
  • Include a note explaining your reason for wanting to restore your status.
  • You must also pay the restoration fee

If it has been more than 90 days since your visitor visa, study permit or work permit expired:

You may be eligible for temporary resident status. When you apply, make sure you include a note explaining why you need to extend your stay.

14. I am in Canada. Can I travel to the U.S. border to make an application for permanent residence, or a study or work permit?

The Government of Canada is asking those who wish to travel to the border to apply for a work permit, study permit or permanent residence to respect federal and provincial guidelines on self-isolation and social distancing as well as to avoid travelling to the border to obtain immigration services until further notice.

If you currently reside in Canada as a visitors, student or worker, you are encouraged to apply online to the IRCC if you wish to extend your temporary resident status. In doing so, you can continue to stay, study or work in Canada while your application is being processed. This process is known as implied status, and as long as you submit your application before your current document expires, your immigration authorizations and conditions will remain unchanged.

15. I am a Canadian citizenship applicant. Will my appointment be cancelled?

All citizenship ceremonies, tests and itinerant services are cancelled until further notice. If you have returned from an affected country, use the web form to let IRCC know. You will be given an additional 30 days to submit your documents, and an additional 45 days for medical opinion forms. 

16. I am a refugee claimant in Canada waiting for my appointment. What do I do?

All refugee claimant appointments are cancelled until April 13th 2020. If you have an appointment booked, IRCC will contact you with your new appointment date. If you need to update your contact information, use the web form.

If you still do not have a pre-scheduled appointment, you may still submit an in-person refugee claim.

17. I am in Canada. Can I attend my biometrics appointment? 

All biometrics collection services have been suspended. All appointments have been cancelled and applicants are advised not to go to any Service Canada locations until further notice. Applicants will be able to reschedule their appointments when Service Canada locations reopen. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is giving applicants in Canada 90 days from the date of their letter to give their biometrics. IRCC will be honouring the original letters, no new letters will be required. 

18. I am outside Canada and have applied for temporary or permanent residence. Will I be denied entry to Canada?

Your application will not be refused if you cannot submit your passport or supporting documents, or complete an immigration medical exam. 

19. I have received an ITA and am about to submit my permanent residence application. Will Canada process my application?

Yes. You must submit your application within 90 days of your ITA. If you are missing documents because of the novel coronavirus, you can still submit your application. Submit a letter explaining why you are missing these documents and your application will be held until further notice. Once you are able to submit the documents, you can do so using the web form

20. I would like to take an English language test for immigration purposes.

IRCC has two officially designated language tests that it accepts for immigration purposes: the IELTS General Test, and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (commonly referred to as “the CELPIP”).

Please refer to their official websites for more information on whether COVID-19 is affecting their operations:

21. I would like to complete an Educational Credential Assessment for immigration purposes.

IRCC has seven officially designated organizations that are authorized to perform an Educational Credential Assessment for immigration purposes. The designated organizations are listed here. Please check the official websites of the designated organizations for more information on whether COVID-19 is affecting their ability to complete assessments. 

22. I have a biometric appointment booked but the Visa Application Centre has cancelled it. Will I get an extension? 

IRCC will give you 90 days to submit your biometrics. 

23. Has Canada cancelled all appointments to provide the biometrics?

All biometrics collection services have been suspended. All appointments have been cancelled and applicants are advised not to go to any Service Canada locations until further notice. Applicants will be able to reschedule their appointments when Service Canada locations reopen. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is giving applicants in Canada 90 days from the date of their letter to give their biometrics. IRCC will be honouring the original letters, no new letters will be required. 

24. I am in China and need a visitor visa, study permit or work permit to travel to Canada urgently.

Step 1: Apply online

Step 2: Contact the Beijing visa office at beijing-immigration@international.gc.ca and request urgent processing of your application

*If you have already applied, contact the visa office and request urgent processing of your application.

25. I am in Iran or South Korea, and need a visitor visa, study permit or work permit to travel to Canada urgently.

Step 1: Apply online

Step 2: Fill out the web form to explain your emergency and request urgent processing of your application.

Step 3: When asked “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada?” answer “No”.

Step 4: Complete the rest of the form.

26. I am in China and I need a permanent resident travel document urgently.

Step 1: Submit your application to the visa office by courier.

Step 2: Email the visa office in Beijing at beijing-immigration@international.gc.ca to request urgent processing of your application

27. I am in Iran and I need a permanent resident travel document urgently.

Step 1: Submit your application to the visa office by courier.

Step 2: Submit a web form. When asked the question “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada?” answer “Yes.”

Step 3: Select “Turkey – Ankara” when asked to choose the visa office processing your application.

Step 4: To obtain a permanent resident travel document, you will have to email the visa office at ANKRA@international.gc.ca.

28. I am in South Korea and I need a permanent resident travel document urgently.

Step 1: Submit your application to the visa office by courier.

Step 2: Submit a web form. When asked the question “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada?” answer “Yes.”

Step 3: Select “Philippines – Manila” when asked to choose the visa office processing your application.

Step 4: To obtain a permanent resident travel document, you will have to email the visa office at MANILIMMIGRATION@international.gc.ca.

29. I have a valid visitor visa on my passport. Will I be denied entry to Canada? If so, will I get a refund on my visa application?

At the current time, only Canadian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Canada. We will provide an update on the issue of refunds once such information has been provided by IRCC. 

30. How long will Canada’s travel restrictions be in effect?

They took effect on March 18, 2020 and end on June 30, 2020 at noon EDT.

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