I have been receiving several inquiries from clients and kababayans with regard to their existing applications with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Allow me to respond to common questions received from clients.
What will happen to my immigration application?
IRCC is continuing to accept and process applications. While IRCC continues to serve their clients, service disruptions and restrictions due to COVID-19 may have an impact on processing times, and the current processing times posted on their website may not be accurate.
As announced, there are travel restrictions in place. However, no application in progress will be closed or refused due to a lack of documentation or inability to complete the application process in time, such as giving biometrics or completing an immigration medical exam, when travel reopens.
Can we still submit an application to IRCC?
Yes, you can definitely submit an application however, IRCC is encouraging applicants to submit an application online (Visitor Visa, Study Permit and Work Permit) because due to service disruptions related to COVID-19, they are experiencing difficulties receiving and processing applications submitted by mail or in person at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).
What should foreign nationals who are in Canada with valid temporary status as a visitor, worker or student do if their status is about to expire?
Temporary residents who are currently in Canada are able to apply to extend their status online if they need to extend their status. A temporary resident who has applied to extend their status is allowed to remain in Canada until a decision is made on their new application, even if their initial status expires while they are waiting for that decision. This is called implied status.
Applicants should not travel to a port of entry (POE) to apply directly to a border services officer. Travelling to a POE from inside Canada for the purpose of getting immigration services is not considered essential travel, and they will not receive these services.
Can a foreign national with a valid visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) but no study or work permit come to Canada?
While some exemptions apply, most foreign nationals who hold a valid visa or eTA ARE NOT able to travel to Canada by air at this time. Some people may still be able to travel to Canada by air if they are exempt from the travel restrictions and are coming for an essential purpose.
Will I be allowed to re-enter Canada if I’m a permanent resident?
Yes, IF you’re a landed permanent resident and have no symptoms of COVID-19, you will be allowed to travel to Canada. However, you must isolate for 14 days when you arrive even if you have no symptoms as this is a mandatory requirement.
If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 you will NOT BE allowed to enter Canada by air. You can still enter at a land border and must isolate for 14 days when you arrive as this is a mandatory requirement.
You have to make sure that you have a valid permanent resident card or a permanent resident travel document when you travel.
Please be informed that IRCC has canceled all citizenship ceremonies until April 13, 2020, test and retests, as well as in person permanent resident landing appointments until April 13, 2020 and refugee claimants’ appointments. All landing appointments will be done by telephone whenever possible. Otherwise, IRCC will reschedule them for a later date.
IRCC’s temporary offices in Canada are closed until further notice.
All Service Canada locations in the country are closed until further notice. Biometric collection is stopped until further notice.
Some Visa Application Centres (VACs) have temporarily closed or are operating with limited hours and services. Please make sure you check the VAC’s website before you go.
Passport services at all Service Canada offices are suspended until further notice.
Information is changing constantly. You can check IRCC’s website for the most updated information.
If you have questions regarding the above article you may contact Marjorie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
A word of caution: You should not act or rely on the information provided in this column. It is not legal advice. To ensure your interests are protected, retain or formally seek advice from a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in good standing of the ICCRC. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of RCICs.