ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 371 - December 19, 2011

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Syria Voluntary Evacuation Procedures


In light of the volatile situation in Syria, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) announced on December 15, 2011, that Canadians should voluntarily evacuate Syria immediately. They should do so by commercial means while these are still available. The period of active voluntary evacuation is until mid-January 2012.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will focus its resources in Syria to ensure priority document processing of applications from spouses and dependent children of Canadian citizens to permit travel, and will work with partner agencies to support this Government of Canada effort.

The news release and frequently asked questions can be reviewed here:

Canadian citizens and their spouses and dependent children in Syria

There will be no special measures for this voluntary evacuation. All Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) requirements and processing fees will continue to apply.

The period of active voluntary evacuation is until mid-January 2012. CIC, in partnership with other departments, will process the vast majority of applications to permit travel to Canada for the spouses and dependent children of Canadian citizens within five calendar days (not five working days).

Applications from other family members of Canadian citizens in Syria

Applications from this group are to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and prioritized only as necessary. The IRPA provides sufficient discretion to officers to respond in a flexible and humane manner to emergency situations.

Entry Documents into Canada

Port of Entry officers are to be advised that, given transportation difficulties, many passengers may delay arrival to Canada.

Temporary residents in Canada

Temporary residents whose status in Canada is due to expire and who are unable to leave Canada because of the current situation in Syria must apply to extend their status. Normal eligibility requirements and the fees associated with these applications continue to apply. Applications must be submitted through the normal channels. Clients should be referred the following CIC web sites to apply to extend their status:

In-Canada application forms/kits:

In Canada online applications:

Client Enquiries

Canadian citizens in Syria wishing to voluntarily evacuate should contact the Canadian Embassy in Damascus at: 963 (11) 611-6692, 611-6851 or 611-6870, or

For assistance after hours, Canadians should contact the Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885 (collect calls accepted), by e-mail or by submitting an online form.

Friends and relatives in Canada seeking information on Canadian citizens believed to be in Syria can contact the Operations Centre (toll-free) at 1-800-606-5499 or 1-800-387-3124.

CIC Call Centre  

The CIC Call Centre in Montréal, Quebec has been provided with key messaging and script to respond to general client enquiries.

Expiry of Directives

These directives will remain in force until further notice.

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