Canada’s special steps for applicants from COVID-19 hit nations

Canada measures for S.Korea

Efforts are now being made by the Canadian immigration department to accommodate visa applicants from Iran, China, and South Korea. The special consideration for the people from these countries is offered in the context of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is a good step for those who are trying for migration overseas to Canada.

The COVID–19 situation is disrupting the immigration process and causing travel restrictions. Hence, people from these countries are facing difficulty in complying with the necessary steps in the immigration procedure. These include giving photographs and fingerprints.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) stretched the special measures implemented for China, on February 7. These steps were taken to include citizens of Iran and South Korea on February 29. As per the IRCC webpage, the special measures apply to the following types of applicants:

  • Iranian, Chinese or South Korean Nationals, or
  • People in Iran, China or South Korea, and
  • Those affected by travel restrictions or service disruptions related to COVID-19

The term “service disruptions” may be:

  • Closure of visa application centers, or
  • Disruption of services, or
  • Limited access to local government offices and businesses, or
  • Limited access to a panel physician who can do the immigration medical exam.

IRCC will also be able to help those in need of a permanent resident travel document to go back to Canada.

The immigration department will also still accept incomplete applications too. These will be from those who are applying for a work permit, visitor visa, study permit, or permanent residency.

Upholding Canada’s commitment to promoting immigration, IRCC stated that there will be no refusal of any application because of a lack of documentation. It has started to automatically give people an extra 90 days to complete the steps. If the documentations are done within that time, the applicant can complete the remaining steps. It is always advised to complete these steps at the earliest to avoid delays.

The biometrics deadline also comes under the additional 90 days provided. The instruction letter gives a 30-day deadline to complete this step. However, IRCC is giving an additional 90 days to those applicants affected by service disruptions.

IRCC has gone forward to issue special instructions. These are meant for work or study permit applicants, citizenship applicants, and permanent resident applicants. It is necessary for affected applicants to communicate with IRCC via the online web form.

Instructions for permanent resident applicants

In normal case

Those applying for permanent residency in Canada via Express Entry are normally instructed to submit applications within 60 days. The days are counted from the date of receiving their Invitation to Apply (ITA).

In the case of COVID-19 disruption

Considering the disruptions happening due to COVID-19, IRCC has relaxed its rules. IRCC will accept incomplete applications where such disruptions are not allowing applicants to produce necessary documents. The applicants must send a letter explaining the absence of documents from their applications. IRCC will then hold the application until further notice.

The applicants can submit the pending documents with the IRCC later using the web form. This form can be used by those who desire to take back their application. For such withdrawals done within 24 hours of submitting the form, refunds may also be claimed. But it’s necessary that the processing has not commenced.

Instructions to Canadian citizenship applicants

In normal case

Those who are expecting to miss any part of the citizenship application process must intimate IRCC. They should use the online form to explain the reasons for any misses. For any of the following events in the process, the applicant needs to contact IRCC within 30 days of missing the appointment.

  • Knowledge test
  • Retest
  • Interview
  • A hearing
  • Taking the Oath of Citizenship

In the case of COVID-19 disruption

While filling the online form, the applicant will tell IRCC when he/she returned from the affected country. In that case, an additional 30 days will be allowed to submit the most required documents. Another 45 days will be allowed for submitting medical opinion forms.

No circumstance does, however, waive for applicants the need to be physically present for a stipulated period to apply for citizenship. This period is at least 3 years of the 5 years preceding the date when they placed their citizenship applications. Extra days spent in virus-affected countries won’t be considered days in Canada.

Instructions for those restricted from coming to Canada (even with an approved permanent residency)

There may be those with approved permanent residency, who are unable to travel to Canada before their documents expire. They must use IRCC’s web form to explain their situation. Once they can begin to travel again, they must intimate IRCC via the online form. Thus, they will receive instructions on restarting the processing of their permanent residency applications.

Those with confirmation of permanent residency having already expired will receive the same instructions.

Instructions to temporary workers, students, and visitors who can’t leave Canada

Foreign nationals in Canada on a visitor visa can extend their stay by applying online. Those who are not studying or working anymore can apply to change their status to ‘Visitor’. The only requirement for this is that their study or work permit hasn’t expired.

While applying for an extension of stay in Canada, the applicant must explain to IRCC the reason to do so. If the visitor, study or work permit has expired within 90 days, he/she may restore the status. If the 90 –day period has passed, he/she may apply for a temporary resident permit.

Instructions by country

A visitor, permanent resident, work permit seeker or study permit seeker could be wanting to travel urgently to Canada. According to the country such an applicant belongs to, IRCC has the following instructions for them.

Iran

Permanent residents in Canada coming from Iran can submit a web form to IRCC for their permanent resident travel document. IRCC has instructions for filling the form like:

  • You must answer the question “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada?” in the form with “Yes”
  • Select “Turkey-Ankara” when it prompts you to “Choose the visa office processing your application”

There could be special circumstances requiring you to travel to Canada urgently. Then, email the Ankara visa office (ANKRA@international.gc.ca). The applicant will need to submit the application to the visa office by courier.

For a study permit, visitor visa or work permit to travel to Canada urgently

  • Apply online at the government’s webpage.
  • Then fill out a web form. There, explain the situation and request an urgent visa/permit processing.

To make sure it goes to the right office, IRCC has specific instructions:

Answer with a “No” the question “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada”.

China

In an exceptional situation an applicant from China can request for a permanent resident travel document to come to Canada. For such urgent application, the applicant must email the visa office in Beijing (beijing-immigration@international.gc.ca) The applicant will need to submit the application to the visa office by courier.

If you need a study permit, visitor visa or work permit to travel to Canada urgently:

  • Apply online at the government’s webpage
  • Then request to process your application urgently, to the visa office in Beijing. Send an email to the visa office in Beijing. Applications will be processed on a case-by-case basis

South Korea

Canadian permanent residents in South Korea can apply for a permanent resident document to travel to Canada via a web form. IRCC has specific instruction of filling the form like:

  • Answer “Yes” for the question “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada?”
  • Select “Philippines — Manila” when the form prompts to “Choose the visa office processing your application”

For urgent travel to Canada owing to exceptional circumstances, the applicant must email the visa office in Manila (MANILIMMIGRATION@international.gc.ca). The applicant will need to submit the application to the visa office by courier.

If you need a study permit, visitor visa or work permit to travel to Canada urgently:

  • Apply online at the government’s webpage
  • Then, fill out a web form. There, explain the situation and request an urgent visa/permit processing.

To make sure it goes to the right office, IRCC has specific instructions:

Answer “No” to the question “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada”.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate overseas, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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