General processing measures: COVID-19 program delivery
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
These COVID-19 program delivery instructions are for new and existing temporary residence, permanent residence and citizenship applications in Canada and abroad.
Applications will not be refused for non-compliance, and all applications currently in progress at IRCC offices abroad and at case processing centres within the Centralized Network and within the Domestic Network will continue to be processed but may experience delays.
Due to the volume of cases, the International Network’s applications are being tracked by the Operations Planning and Performance Branch (OPPB).
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At this time, no significant expedited processing requirement is foreseen; therefore, these instructions do not include specific measures for expedited processing. That said, the decision to expedite an application due to special circumstances remains at the discretion of the Migration Program Manager of the responsible IRCC office and the manager of the responsible processing office in Canada.
Requests for additional documents on open applications
Until further notice, offices may continue to request any necessary additional documents or impose regulatory requirements for processing in relation to all citizenship and immigration applications, including police certificates, passports and medical examinations, as follows:
- When additional documentation is required to make a decision on the application, processing officers should send a request letter and allow 90 days for the applicant to respond.
- If a request for additional documentation was previously sent but the applicant was unable to comply within the deadline, processing officers should bring forward the application and allow an additional 90 days for the applicant to respond.
Officers should keep in mind that clients may be unable to provide their biometrics at a Service Canada location, Visa Application Centre, or a United States Application Support Center (US ASCs).
- Effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice, biometric enrolment services have been suspended at Service Canada locations and US ASCs.
- Closures or service disruptions at Visa Application Centres could prevent clients from enrolling their biometrics.
The biometric instruction letter (BIL) has been amended in GCMS. It now advises applicants that they have 90 days from the date of the letter to give their biometrics. Despite BILs instructing applicants that they have 30 or 90 days to enroll their biometrics, they are not required to enroll their biometrics until biometric collection service points reopen. Public messaging on the websites and social media has been updated to reflect this extension.
Applicants are advised to keep informed of the status of local biometric service points and to keep their original BIL, as it will be required at the biometrics collection point once service resumes.
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