The Canadian government is currently working to accommodate visa applicants from Iran, South Korea and China as the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) causes service disruption and travel restrictions.
Citizens of these three countries who have filed for a Canadian visa, but who are unable to comply with certain requirement due to coronavirus outbreak, will be offered more time to complete the necessary steps, such as providing their fingerprint and photo.
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) expanded these special measures to accommodate China, on Feb. 7 and included citizens of Iran and South Korea on Feb, 29.
The IRCC website says that special measures apply to the following types of individuals:
- Chinese, South Korean, Iranian Nationals; or
- those who are in China, South Korea or Iran; and
- Or those applicants who are affected by service disruption or travel restrictions related to coronavirus (COVID-19)
“Disruptions” may include any of the following:
- visa application centre closure;
- service disruption;
- limited access to government offices and businesses; and
- limited access to panel physicians who can do the immigration medical exam.
Canadian immigration agency will also be able to help those who require a permanent resident travel document to return to Canada.
“No application on progress will be refused or closed due to a lack of documentation,” the IRCC website says. “We’ll automatically give you an additional Ninety (90) days to complete these steps. Once you are able to, complete the steps as soon as possible to avoid delays or disruptions.”
The extra Ninety (90) days also applies to the biometrics deadline. Though the instruction letter says this step must be completed within thirty (30) days, the IRCC is giving individuals an additional Ninety (90) days to those who have been affected by service disruption— no new biometrics instruction letter required.
Special instructions are below for applicable permanent resident applicants, permanent residents, study or work permit applicants, and citizenship applicants.
IRCC has laid out special instructions for affected work or study permit applicants, permanent resident applicants, and citizenship applicants. In most cases, it is advisable to communicate with IRCC through their online web form.
Those who are applying for Canadian immigration via the Express Entry system must submit their application within Sixty (60) days of receiving their Invitation to Apply (ITA).
However, IRCC will accept incomplete applications provided that affected individuals were unable to send all the necessary documents due to disruptions related to Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). Candidates must send a letter explaining the reasons why the documents are not available, and the application will be put on hold until further notice.
When applicants do obtain the missing documents they may submit or forward them to IRCC using the online web form. This same form can also be used for those who want to withdraw their application. Refunds may be available to those who withdraw within twenty-four (24) hours of submitting, as long as processing has not yet begun.
For those applicants who expect that they will miss an important date in their citizenship application process must contact IRCC through their online form, and explain why.
Those who have been approved for Canadian permanent residence, but are unable to travel to Canada before their documents expire must use IRCC’s web form to explain their reasons. Once travel becomes enabled again, they must tell IRCC through the online form in order to get instructions regarding restarting their permanent residence application process.
The same instructions apply to applicants whose confirmation of permanent residence has already expired.
Foreign citizens who are in Canada on a visitor or tourist visa can apply online to extend their stay in Canada.
Students and temporary workers have a couple of options depending on their circumstances.
Those who are no longer studying or working can apply to change their status to a “visitor,” as long as the work or study permit has not expired.
Some may be able to extend their study permit or work permit if they are qualified. IRCC says it is important to write a note in the application form explaining the reason for extending a stay in Canada.
If the visitor record, study or work permit has expired within Ninety (90) days it may be possible to restore status.
If the Ninety (90)-day mark has elapsed, it may be possible to apply for a temporary resident permit.