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COVID-19 Canadian Immigration Update: Key Changes Made by IRCC

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March 20, 2020

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COVID-19 Canadian Immigration Update: Key Changes Made by IRCC

As the situation gets fluid due to COVID-19 pandemic, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made some changes in its procedures and deadlines to accommodate the needs of people who have been impacted.

Let’s look at some important updates made by IRCC to help all immigrants affected by COVID-19.


Specials measures from IRCC is implemented to help temporary and permanent residents, and applicants affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID‑19) if

A) you’re a Chinese, Iranian or South Korean national; or

B) you’re in China, Iran or South Korea; and

C) you’re affected by service disruptions or travel restrictions related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Applications are not refused if you are unable to complete the next step due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for a visitor visa, work permit, study permit, and permanent residence applications, and 90 days will be granted automatically to complete these steps.
  • Biometrics deadline has been extended to 90 days if you are affected by service disruptions.


  • IRCC states that the applications at this point of time will not be refused for non-compliance.
  • Applications that are currently in progress at the case processing centres, and Domestic Network of IRCC offices abroad, may experience delays.
  • Expedited processing of the applications is not foreseen now, however this may or may not change in near future.
  • Some Visa Application Centres are closed and are operating with minimal essential staff only temporarily.
  • New applicants have been strongly advised to apply online because of service disruptions due to COVID-19, as there are difficulties in receiving and processing applications submitted by mail or in person at a VAC
  • Biometric collection services have been suspended until further notice at Service Canada locations.
  • Considering safety, IRCC has cancelled all citizenship ceremonies, citizenship tests and retests, and itinerant service trips until further notice.
  • In-person appointments for permanent resident landing  and refugee claims have been cancelled until April 13, 2020.


  • Offices may request additional documents required for your immigration and citizenship applications, such as passport, police certificates, biometric, medical examinations, and any other documents that must be issued by Chinese, Iranian or South Korean authorities, until further notice.
  • Processing Officers are required to send a request letter, allowing 90 days for the applicants to respond.
  • If a request for the document has already been made previously but the applicant was not able to comply with the deadline then the Officers will bring these applications forward and give an additional 90 days to respond.
  • The Biometrics Instruction Letter has 30 days to submit from the date the letter was issued, however, Officers will consider 90 days for the applicants to provide their biometrics, even though the deadline is mentioned as 30-days.


  • Foreign nationals in temporary resident status and whose status is expiring soon can apply for extension to maintain their temporary resident status in Canada, provided that applicants must apply online and meet all requirements, including fees associated.
  • Foreign nationals whose application for extension is in progress will have the implied status and may remain in Canada until further decision is made on the application.
  • Foreign nationals whose Temporary Resident status has expired; you may apply for restoration of the status by paying the associated fees.
  • In cases where restoration is eligible, the Officer will conduct the assessment of applications and the Officer will issue a Visitor Record or an appropriate permit, with the conditions of the restoration status, and the document will be mailed.
  • However, if the applicant is no longer eligible for restoration, the Minister’s delegate decides on a disposition for the case with the following options – to refer the case to an admissibility hearing or issue a departure order or allow the foreign national to remain.
  • The IRCC will not be waiving any fees for temporary residence applications or extensions


  • New and complete permanent residence applications will be accepted as per normal procedures
  • If the new applications miss any supporting documents, for example, fees associated, applicants should include an explanation if they are affected by service disruptions. Applications then, can be prompted to be reviewed in 90 days. However, if the application is still incomplete in 60 days, Officers will request the documents giving additional 90 days to respond.
  • If the applications are incomplete without any explanations or due to reasons other than the service disruptions due to COVID, the applications can be rejected.
  • Incomplete files due to unavailable documents will be retained in the system and reviewed in 90 days.


  • Any appointments that are missed for knowledge tests, retests, interviews, hearings, or oath ceremonies will be rescheduled within a reasonable timeframe, once IRCC is notified of the clients who have returned to Canada.
  • Applicants will be provided with additional 30 days to send the documents to IRCC once the applicants notify the local office of their return from China, Iran or South Korea.
  • For Medical Opinion form, Officers will be providing additional 45 days upon their return to Canada to comply.
  • Permanent Residents applying for the citizenship after coming back to Canada from China, Iran or South Korea must meet the physical presence requirements as per the normal procedure. These extra days spent in the countries due to COVID will not be counted as days in Canada.

In this uncertain and difficult time, IRCC has been taking measures to help immigrants with their applications, but its definitely not the time to take anything for granted. If you need more information, please visit IRCC’s official website, it has lots of resources to help you with many questions you may have for your applications.

We are here to help you with any questions you may have for your immigration needs. As of now, we are working remotely to address your concerns, and help you meet your deadlines; you can reach us through Email or Assessment Form.

Let’s be together and help each other in any way we can, to overcome this extreme situation the entire world is facing!

Sources: IRCC 

Special measures to help temporary and permanent residents and applicants

General processing measures: COVID-19 program delivery

Temporary residence: COVID-19 program delivery

Permanent residence: COVID-19 program delivery

Citizenship: COVID-19 program delivery


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