UPDATED MARCH 23, 2020
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which is sweeping the globe has left everybody with more questions than answers. Temporary residents in Canada are stressed and confused, and have no idea how the current situation will affect their Canadian immigration. We have listed the most common questions we have been asked during this crisis to hopefully alleviate some of the doubt and confusion
I have a biometrics appointment, citizenship test, or other immigration appointment. Is it cancelled?
Yes – all non-essential services pertaining to IRCC matters have been cancelled until further notice. This means all in-Canada landing appointments, citizenship tests, interviews, refugee claimant appointments etc. are cancelled.
Service Canada locations providing biometrics services are all closed.
Is the VAC closed?
The VAC is not providing any centralized information regarding coronavirus and how it is affecting their operations. Almost all Visa Application Centres abroad are closed.
If you have an appointment to provide biometrics or other information, you will be contacted to reschedule the appointment.
It is recommended that you contact your local VAC to confirm whether they are closed before proceeding to any scheduled appointment.
IRCC has confirmed that no application will be refused due to failure to meet deadlines for provision of information such as biometrics due to coronavirus.
I hold a Canadian Visa, Study Permit, Work Permit or Visitor Record, Can I return to Canada?
Yes, anyone who holds a valid work or study permit and visa (if applicable) can travel to Canada. Anyone who returning to Canada are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days.
My permanent residency was approved and I received my Confirmation of permanent Residency (COPR), can I come to Canada to activate it?
Yes, if your permanent residency application was approved before March 16th, who have their COPR and Visa (if applicable), can travel to Canada. Please note that per government instructions, you will need to self isolate for 14 days after you arrive in Canada
My Confirmation of Permanent residency document is due to expire, what should I do?
If you are unable to travel to Canada prior to the expiry of your confirmation of permanent residency document, you must submit a case specific enquiry to IRCC informing them of the reason why you were unable to travel to Canada. IRCC will bring your case forward once travel restrictions have been lifted. IRCC has explicitly stated that no one’s application will be refused because they were unable to travel due to coronavirus. We highly recommend you take screenshots of your case specific enquiry prior to submitting.
I am a worker or student in Canada, can I claim employment insurance? (EI)
Yes, if you are not a Canadian citizen OR permanent resident, you may still be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). If you are or have been employed in Canada and have contributed to EI through your tax deductions, you may be eligible for employment insurance if you
- were employed in insurable employment;
- lost your job through no fault of your own;
- have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
- have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter;
- are ready, willing and capable of working each day;
- are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).
Please note that some of the criteria may be subject to change in light of the coronavirus. Some individuals who are self-employed may also be eligible for government assistance. To determine whether you are eligible, please visit the Canadian government website.
My application has been submitted and is currently in process. Will the Coronavirus create processing delays?
There has been no official statement regarding this matter, however it is almost certain that the current coronavirus pandemic will have an extreme negative impact on processing times no matter the type of application you have submitted, and regardless of whether the application is being processed overseas or within Canada. Furthermore, there is no way to determine how long the coronavirus may effect processing times. Please check the Canadian government website for current processing times keeping in mind that they are more then likely subject to change.
I am on implied status, will the coronavirus affect my status?
No, as long as you submitted your application using IMM5708, IMM5709 or IMM5710 prior to the expiry of your previous study permit, work permit or visitor stamp/record, you may continue to remain in Canada on the same conditions of your last status permit/record regardless of the expiry date. As processing time will likely be affected, this means that you could be on implied status longer than you originally expected until a decision on your application is eventually received.
My status expired. Can I still apply to restore my status?
As long as your status expired within 90 days, you can apply to restore your status. If your status has been expired for more than 90 days, you can apply for a TRP to regain legal status in Canada.
I am on implied status, am I eligible for provincial health coverage? OR
I have no status in Canada and I am illegal, am I eligible for provincial health coverage?
As all health coverage is provincially regulated, you will need to contact your local provincial service center to see if you are eligible for health coverage. Please note that some provinces do not issue health coverage while on “implied status”. If you are unable to receive health coverage you should look at alternative option such as private health insurance. Please make sure you read the policy to ensure that the private health coverage covers “pandemics” and will also issue you while you are not in your country of citizenship. Furthermore, if you cannot afford private medical insurance, there are several Canadian charities and organization who can advise and assist you.
Note: Regardless of whether or not you have provincial health coverage or medical insurance, private insurance or company benefits, any person in Canada has the right to medical treatment or care should it be required. If you are sick or ill and you need medical assistance you should go to your nearest emergency room/hospital, or in more serious circumstance’s call 911. Please carefully follow the government instructions for people showing symptoms of coronavirus.
Due to the Coronavirus situation, I am unable undergo an immigration medical exam, submit my passport, provide biometrics, provide a police certificate as requested by IRCC. What should I do?
Any and requests for applicants to submit their passport, provide biometrics, undergo a medical examination, provide a police certificate or provide any other document will be given 90 days automatically instead of the usual 30 days, regardless of what your letter states. Should you be unable to submit these documents within 90 days, you must submit a case specific enquiry to IRCC informing them of the reason you could not submit the document requested. For the immediate future, no application will be refused or cancelled because of a missed deadline or missing document. Please be sure to always enclose a letter of explanation.
I received my Invitation to Apply (ITA) through Express Entry, however I am unable to obtain all of the required mandatory documents prior to the 60 day timeframe because of the Coronavirus, what should I do?
You must proceed to submit your PR application within the 60 day period with as many documents you can obtain. Any document you are unable to obtain, ie, proof of medical, police certificate, you must upload a letter of explanation in place of the required document, detailing the reason why you were unable to obtain the document in question. Should you manage to obtain the document after you have submitted your application, you can either submit the document through case specific enquiry OR upload the document only if IRCC have requested it and have created a space in your application to upload it. Until then your application will be held until further notice.
I must return to my home country because my family member is ill or has passed away, what should I do?
You must first see if your country of citizenship has imposed travel restrictions and check to see if there are any available flights available from Canada. We strongly advise that you contact your nearest consulate or embassy representing your country of citizenship for advice and assistance.
I am a visitor in Canada and I have applied overseas for a work permit or study permit which is in process, however, due to the coronavirus it is delayed and my visitor status in Canada is due to expire. What should I do?
You must submit an application to extend your stay as a visitor in Canada online BEFORE your current visitor status expires. You can explain the situation in a letter and upload it as part of your application. You should also reference the work/study permit application number that you are awaiting a decision on.
I need to activate my IEC work permit, but I can’t due to the Coronavirus, what should I do?
If you are currently in outside of Canada and you have received a decision on your IEC application and your port of entry letter, you should wait until the travel restrictions have ended, then come to Canada and activate your work permit.
If you are currently in Canada, you should not leave Canada until the travel restrictions have ended. If your current status is due to expire before you can activate your IEC work permit, you must submit an application to extend or change the conditions of your current status BEFORE it expires. Please note that an IEC approval letter does not give you status. It is also important to note that you have 1 year to activate your IEC work permit from the date of the approval letter.
I was scheduled to take my citizenship test or citizenship oath, but everything has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus, what should I do?
All citizenship tests and ceremonies have been cancelled in light of the Coronavirus. If you have received your letter confirming your appointment for your test or oath. You do not need to take action as IRCC will contact you with a new appointment once normal service resume.
I am sponsoring or want to sponsor my spouse, common-law partner, child, or other family member. Due to coronavirus, I have been laid off and need to apply for Employment Insurance (EI). Can I still sponsor them.
Yes – there is a bar against being on social welfare if you are applying to be a sponsor. However, receiving employment insurance (as well as being on disability) is not considered social welfare. You may continue to sponsor your family member even if you are in receipt of EI.
If you are the applicant and have been approved for PR, you are allowed to apply for EI assuming that you meet the eligibility requirements. If you apply for EI during the time of your sponsor’s undertaking for you, the sponsor does not have to pay this money back as it is not considered social welfare. If you pay EI premiums as an employee in an insured job, then you are entitled to apply for EI.
Please note that the information contained in this article is accurate as of the time and date of publication. However, circumstances may change suddenly and without warning. The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a professional regarding your immigration situation before making any decisions which could impact your status. Doherty Fultz Immigration Inc. is not liable for any action taken based upon general information contained on this site without retaining DFI as representative.
If you need to extend or restore your status, or have questions about how coronavirus will affect your Canadian immigration, contact us.