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How Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada is Dealing with COVID-19

16-Mar-20

By: Bryan Kwan

As the number of coronavirus cases in Canada continues to climb, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is rapidly deploying new measures to help foreign nationals in Canada and to deal with pending applications.

Many IRCC offices are either closed or operating with essential staff only. Individuals who have immigration applications in progress or who need to submit one soon should expect lengthy delays in processing.

If the novel coronavirus affects your application, you should let IRCC know by submitting an IRCC Webform report as soon as possible. The IRCC Webform is available at www.cic.gc.ca.

IRCC has implemented special protocols to help applicants affected by the coronavirus.

Citizenship Applicants

Effective immediately, all citizenship tests and ceremonies are cancelled until at least April 13, 2020. Applicants will be advised via email about the rescheduling of their appointments.

For those who are about to submit their applications, it is noteworthy that days spent outside of Canada due to the coronavirus will not count as days spent in Canada for the purposes of meeting the physical presence requirement for Canadian citizenship.

Permanent Resident Applicants

Effective immediately, permanent resident landing appointments at IRCC offices are cancelled until at least April, 13, 2020. Instead, IRCC will advise applicants by email when their appointments can be rescheduled as phone interviews.

Applicants who were planning to land at a port-of-entry but is unable to do so should advise IRCC via the IRCC Webform of the reason they are unable to travel and request that the validity of their Confirmation of Permanent Residence be extended.

Temporary Residents

Foreign Workers, Students, and Visitors who are unable to depart Canada due to travel restrictions should apply to remain in Canada 3-6 months before their immigration status expires. This includes individuals who cannot obtain all of the information or documentation required to complete their applications as IRCC has indicated it will accept partially completed applications.

On March 16, 2020, the federal government announced it was barring entry to all travelers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents with the exceptions being: air crew, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens and U.S. citizens. Accordingly, most foreign national who planned on submitting their applications at port-of-entries should either apply online or wait for further announcements from the Canadian government.

All Applications

IRCC is granting all applicants an additional 90 days to respond to requests for additional documentation or information. If applicants require additional time, they should notify IRCC of their request via the IRCC Webform.

As this situation continues to evolve, we strongly recommend that Foreign Nationals monitor the IRCC website for the latest updates. If Canada follows the path of countries like the United States and Germany, we expect that additional special measures will be released by IRCC in the near future.

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