Update on COVID-19 and Immigration Procedures
Posted on 17/03/2020
As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic plays out, let’s review the current state of IRCC rules and regulations, compared to how they were when we wrote our blog a few weeks ago. What’s changed? And what hasn’t? At least not yet.
Some Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. To see if the nearest VAC is open, go here to find your VAC and see if it is offering services. If it says “None” in the final column, then it is temporarily closed.
Remember that VACs offer only the following services:
- Help in completing applications
- Biometric services (fingerprints and photographs)
- Return securely your passport and documents
- Provide access to a computer to apply online
- Some but not all VACs provide the following:
- Photograph and photocopy services
- Accept payment of application fee
- Use courier services to return applications
- However, they only accept the following applications:
- Study permits
- Work permits
- Visitor visa (temporary resident visa)
- Travel documents for permanent residents
- VACs do NOT accept the following types of applications:
- Express Entry
- Temporary Resident Permits
- Voluntary renunciation of permanent resident status
General Processing Procedures
The rules for processing requests for additional documents that we outlined in our previous blog remain the same. You may find that some VACs that were previously closed are now open, but you need to check the link given above to be sure. Other VACs that were open may now be closed.
Rules for citizenship applications
The rules remain the same compared to our last blog.
Rules for temporary residence applications
The rules remain the same and if you have a temporary residence application in progress you can contact the VAC Contact Centre at:
86 4000 88 66 37
If you are a temporary resident of Canada who is unable to depart Canada due to travel restrictions, you may apply online for an extension of your temporary status, but you must meet all the requirements plus pay the associated fee. Go here for more information on Applying to Change Conditions or Extend your stay in Canada (IMM 5551).
If your temporary status has expired, you can apply to restore your status within 90 days after the expiry date. See the same guide (IMM 5551) here.
If it has been more than 90 days since your status expired, you may be eligible to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). When you apply, you should include an explanation of the need to extend your stay. You can remain in Canada with legal status if your temporary resident permit is approved. See more information about the TRP here.
Rules for Permanent Residents
If you have a permanent residence application being processed but that is incomplete due to missing documentation, your file will be retained in the system and reviewed in 90 days.
For new applications missing documents, you should include an explanation of how service disruptions have caused you to be unable to submit all the required documents. Provide this letter of explanation with your application. If 60 days after receiving your application, immigration officials have still not received the required documents, you will be given 90 additional days to obtain and submit them.
The remaining rules for PR applications appear unchanged from our last blog.