Travel restriction exemption – High-performance amateur athletes: COVID-19 program delivery
This page contains instructions to facilitate the entry of high-performance amateur athletes and their support personnel into Canada as part of the exemptions to the travel restrictions measures and the isolation order.
On this page
- Travel to Canada
- Processing instructions
To be eligible to travel under this exemption, foreign nationals must
- be one of the following
- a high-performance amateur athlete taking part in an International Single Sport Event (ISSE) and who is affiliated with a National Sport Organization (NSO) responsible for that sport
- a person engaging in an essential role in relation to an ISSE, and who is affiliated with a NSO responsible for that sport
- have a letter of authorization from the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage (PCH) validating that they are participating in an ISSE
Foreign nationals will still have to meet the requirements of paragraph 186(h) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) and all other requirements to travel and be admitted to Canada.
Letter of authorization
The letter of authorization for the high-performance amateur athletes exemption will be issued solely by the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage (PCH).
Foreign nationals in possession of a letter of authorization for the travel exemption must also obtain all other required authorizations needed to travel to Canada seamlessly. This includes a temporary resident visa (TRV) or an electronic travel authorization (eTA), if required. A note will be included in GCMS to record foreign nationals authorized under this exemption.
Note: PCH will notify IRCC of an approved letter of authorization, at which point a note about the letter will be included on the client’s unique client identifier (UCI) in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) to ensure that the letter can be verified throughout the traveller continuum.
Travel to Canada
Due to foreign nationals under this exemption being assessed prior to arrival, entrance will be deemed non-discretionary, and a traveller under this exemption will be permitted entry unless either of the following scenarios occurs
- they do not meet the requirements for entry (COVID-19 symptomatic, inadmissible, etc.)
- the traveller is no longer seeking to enter Canada for the purposes of taking part in an ISSE as indicated on the PCH-issued letter of authorization
A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) border services officer at a port of entry makes the final determination on a foreign national’s entry to Canada. The border services officer will query GCMS to confirm that the foreign national is in fact the recipient of an authorization letter. The border services officer will then authorize entry to Canada if all other entry requirements have been met.
Note: In the case of an event being cancelled, PCH will notify IRCC, and a note will be placed in GCMS to indicate that the authorization letter is no longer valid.
PCH, in consultation with PHAC, is responsible for authorizing foreign nationals under this exemption. PCH will communicate through NSOs the travel document (TRV or eTA) requirements for each authorized individual, including a unique identifier to be used during the TRV or eTA application process. PCH will provide a list of authorized foreign nationals to IRCC. Officers will then use this list to cross reference against TRV and eTA applications received, as well as enter notes into GCMS.
If a processing office receives an application that does not fit under these parameters, PCH should be contacted to confirm whether the foreign national is eligible under this exemption. Please note that this exemption is discretionary and only the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage (PCH) can provide a letter of authorization to exempted foreign nationals.
TRV and eTA submission or application in progress
In all instances, case notes must be entered stating that PCH has authorized the foreign national under the exemption to enter Canada to take part in an ISSE. Foreign nationals must still continue to meet all regular requirements for travel to Canada, and a PCH letter of authorization does not equate to an automatic TRV or eTA approval, or guarantee entry to Canada.
TRV: Foreign nationals who do not yet hold a TRV will be informed by PCH or the NSO when they should submit an application to IRCC, as they will require authorization to prompt the expedited processing of the application.
eTA: Foreign nationals who do not yet hold an eTA will be informed by PCH or the NSO when they should submit an application to IRCC. These foreign nationals will need to contact IRCC directly through the designated channel indicated on the Temporary residence: COVID-19 program delivery page to prompt the expedited processing of their application, if need be.
Note: For individuals who do not require an eTA or TRV, a UCI will be created and a note added to their UCI in GCMS.
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