New Instructions for Visitor Visa COVID Exemptions
Posted on 14/09/2021
As Canada continues to ease its COVID travel restrictions, there are a new set up instructions out for visitor visas. As we mentioned a month ago, a series of COVID exemptions were announced for U.S. visitors to Canada who were visiting for specific purposes like, for example, uniting with an immediate family member in Canada.
As of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers with U.S. citizenship or permanent legal residence in the U.S. have been able to visit Canada without quarantining themselves for 14 days, like other travellers to Canada. They must:
- Have received the full doses of a list of approved vaccines (including Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, & Astra Zeneca) at least 14 days prior to boarding a flight to Canada
- Show no symptoms of COVID – that is, be asymptomatic
- Have used the ArriveCAN app to provide COVID-related information
- Have a paper or digital copy of their proof of vaccination in English or French
- Provide COVID-related information through ArriveCAN prior to departing Canada
As of September 7, 2021, other foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated no longer have to quarantine themselves when arriving in Canada but have to also follow the same requirements listed above for U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
Here is the updated information from Canadian immigration authorities:
- If you applied before September 7, 2021, AND you informed Canadian immigration authorities that as of September 7, you qualified for an exemption, then you do NOT have to apply again. Your visitor visa will be processed. You’ll receive an email from IRCC if they need more information from you.
- If you applied before September 7, 2021, and your situation has changed AND it has changed due to one of the following reasons, then it is recommended you apply again for a visitor visa:
- to be reunited with an immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen, a person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or a permanent resident of Canada
- to be reunited with an immediate family member who is in Canada temporarily
- to be reunited with an extended family member who is a Canadian citizen, a person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or a permanent resident of Canada.
- to visit for business (meeting, special event, training)
- to attend an end-of-life ceremony or a funeral
- to be present during the final moments of life of a loved one
- to provide care to a critically ill person
- to join a vessel as a marine crew member
- to assume a posting as a diplomat or to travel as an accompanying immediate family member of a diplomat arriving on posting who will also be accredited in Canada
- to handle the affairs of a victim of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752
This type of situation could occur because perhaps the health of an elderly family member has deteriorated suddenly, for example, or there is an important event involving a family member.
Here’s how to apply again.
Go here and scroll down until you see the following:
Here, for illustration’s sake, we’ve chosen the first reason – to be with an immediate family member who is a citizen, permanent resident of, or registered Indian in Canada. This means you have t o apply through the IRCC Portal, so click on the blue How to apply for a visitor visa through the IRCC Portal button.
Note in the image below that you only need to upload your proof of COVID vaccination to your ArriveCAN app, you should NOT include your proof of COVID vaccination with your new application for a visitor visa. As well, there is also a link to sign up for your IRCC Portal account at the bottom of the image.
As well there is a link in step 2 that you need to click to see what documents you will need in your new application for a visitor visa.
Clicking on the link in step 2 takes you here:
You will have to answer a series of questions by clicking on a drop-down menu. We’ve answered here in our example in accordance with the fact that our fictional visitor is going to unite with an immediate family member in Canada who’s a permanent resident of Canada. What follows is a table of required and optional documents. This will vary depending on how you answer the above questions. Please note that while they list Proof of Vaccination as a required document, they mention that it should be uploaded to ArriveCAN and not included with your visitor visa application. However, you will need your ArriveCAN receipt when you arrive in Canada.
Make sure to carefully go through the table and ensure you have all the required documents.
Finally, your original application for a Visitor Visa will be withdrawn when you apply again, but as of now, there is no guarantee that you will be refunded the fees you originally paid, seeing you will have to pay application fees again when you submit your new application.