Canada’s immigration department has released new instructions for officials and immigrants affected by the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced they will be cancelling all citizenship ceremonies, citizenship tests and retests, and itinerant service tips until further notice.
In-person permanent resident landing appointments and in-person refugee claim appointments will be closed until April 13.
The new program delivery instructions are an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, and to help those whose immigration applications are affected by service disruptions, including people who are applying for temporary residence, permanent residence, and Canadian citizenship.
Under new general processing measures, IRCC says applications will not be refused for non-compliance and all those currently in progress at IRCC offices abroad at case processing centres and within the Domestic Network will continue to be processed. There may be delays as some visa application centres are closed until further notice, and some IRCC offices are operating with essential staff only.
Expedited processing for those in special circumstances will continue to be at the discretion of the Migration Program Manager of the responsible IRCC office, and the manager of the responsible processing office in Canada.
IRCC may continue to request any additional documents necessary for processing all citizenship and immigration applications. These might include police certificates, biometrics, passports, medical exams, and any documents that must be issued by authorities in China, Iran or South Korea.
When additional documentation is required, immigration officers will send a request letter allowing the applicant 90 days to respond. If a previous request for additional documents was sent, but the applicant could not meet the deadline, applicants will be given an additional 90 days to respond.
Though the biometric instruction letter will continue to say that applicants have 30 days to give biometrics, they will actually be allowed to complete this step in 90 days instead.
More time for permanent residence applications
IRCC is being more lenient for those unable to submit a complete application for permanent residence before the deadline, allowing an additional 90 days in some cases.
If applicants must submit an incomplete application before the allotted 60 days are up, they must include an explanation as to why they do not have all the required documents. They must also pay all associated fees in order to have their deadline extended an additional 90 days.
In addition, those who hold confirmation of permanent residence, and permanent residence visas may be eligible for an extended deadline, as long as they inform IRCC of their situation via the web form.
Chinese nationals are being asked to take another medical exam if their previous one has expired or is about to expire.
Earlier this month, IRCC announced that it would be extending special measures first implemented for Chinese nationals to residents of Iran and South Korea as well.
Temporary residents may apply for extensions
Foreign nationals who are in Canada and whose temporary resident status will soon expire may apply for an extension to maintain their status.
Temporary residents wishing to extend must apply online, meet all requirements, and pay associated fees.
Those who have extension applications currently in progress will receive implied status and can stay in Canada until a decision is made on their application.