Guidance for special measures to support Hong Kong residents to come to Canada

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

These instructions provide guidance to officers on the following:

Applicant instructions: How do I get priority processing if I’m a resident of Hong Kong?

On this page


Under these facilitative measures, the following clients may be eligible as a principal applicant or an accompanying dependant:

Fee waiver

HKSAR and BNO (Hong Kong) passport holders who are temporary residents in Canada may have their fees waived under these special measures if they are applying for an extension of authorization to remain in Canada as a

Paper-based applications

Applicants who have not yet submitted their paper-based application must label their envelope with “Urgent – Hong Kong priority” to ensure officers process their application on a priority basis.

Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents

All passport applications for Canadian citizens residing in Hong Kong will be prioritized. For more information, contact the Passport Program.

Canadian permanent residents residing in Hong Kong who require a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) will have their paper applications prioritized at IRCC Hong Kong.

Temporary residence

All temporary residence applications for HKSAR or BNO passport holders should be processed following the Temporary residence: COVID-19 program delivery instructions.

Holders of HKSAR passports are visa exempt and may apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) should they wish to come to Canada.

Priority processing instructions:

Family reunification

IRCC will give priority processing to temporary residence applications from immediate and extended family members (as defined in the Orders in Council) of Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, Canadian permanent residents and protected persons in Canada who have applied for permanent residence, if their family members abroad hold a valid passport and have remained in, or have departed, Hong Kong. These measures apply to new and existing applications.

Learn more: Travel restriction measures: COVID-19 program delivery


Priority processing should be given to all study permit applications received from HKSAR and BNO passport holders.

Officers should process all Hong Kong study permit applications and finalize those that are for designated learning institutions (DLIs) on the list of DLIs with COVID-19 readiness plans approved by their provincial or territorial authority. If their DLI is not on the list, officers should still process their application but not finalize it until their DLI is on the approved list.

Until further notice, officers may continue to request any necessary additional documents or impose regulatory requirements for processing in relation to study permit applications, including police certificates, biometric enrolments, passports and medical examinations, as follows:

Until further notice, applicants will not be refused for non-compliance.


As of February 8, 2021, foreign nationals who hold either a HKSAR or BNO passport are eligible to apply for an open work permit under a 2-year temporary resident public policy exempting them from the requirements of paragraph R200(1)(c). Applicants can be residing in Canada or overseas at the time of application. Foreign nationals are not eligible to apply for an open work permit at a port of entry. Work permit applications must be submitted online. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers may authorize entry as a visitor.

Eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, can also apply for a study or work permit, as appropriate.

Eligibility requirements


The applicant must hold either a

The educational credential must have been obtained in the 5 years immediately preceding application submission. For degrees issued overseas, officers may request an ECA report.


Applicants applying for an open work permit under the public policy must select in the online application tool that they are “Applying for a work permit under an active public policy or special measure announced by IRCC” for them to trigger the open work permit results. However, the amended document trigger portion will not be implemented for applications received outside Canada until later in 2021, and until then, clients will be instructed to upload a page with “Not applicable” in the “Client information” slot.

Mandatory documents

“Not applicable” documents

Police certificates

As with any case, the officer reviewing the file may require a police certificate in order to be fully satisfied that the applicant is not criminally inadmissible.

Work permit extension or change conditions

HKSAR and BNO passport holders already in Canada are eligible to either extend their stay or apply for their initial open work permit from within Canada under the public policy.

For in-Canada work permit extension applications, a copy of the CV or resume is not required.

Exemptions from the IRPR

Under the public policy, the following exemptions apply for Hong Kong residents:

Note: The open work permit fee [R303.2(1)] is not required under the public policy for applications received in Canada, and officers must initiate a refund of the fee as per normal office procedures.

Open work permits for spouses or common-law partners and dependent children

An open work permit may be issued, under LMIA exemption code R01, to the spouse or common-law partner if the principal application is approved for a work permit under the public policy. Dependent children who have reached the age of majority (that is, 18 years of age and older) are also eligible to apply for an open work permit. Minor children can apply for a study permit under existing study permit streams, or may study without one at the K–12 level, if they are already in Canada.

International Experience Canada (IEC)

Prior to closing the program’s 2020 season on November 12, 2020, International Experience Canada (IEC) invited a number of Hong Kong youth in the IEC pool to submit an application. Hong Kong youth will not be able to enter Canada unless they have

Applications in progress will not be closed or refused for lack of documentation or inability to complete the application process in time, such as giving biometrics or completing a medical exam.

Permanent residence

Permanent residence applications from family members of Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents or protected persons residing in Hong Kong that are in processing should be prioritized where feasible. However, in some circumstances, the most expeditious option for these clients may be to apply for an eTA or TRV.

Family class applications

Priority processing should be given to family class applications received from legal residents of Hong Kong (whether they are currently in Canada or outside of Canada or in the U.S.).

Existing applications

Existing complete family class permanent residence applications under section R10 will be processed on a priority basis while taking into consideration the additional processing guidance outlined in these instructions.

Use the organization ID to track all applications received from Hong Kong nationals. If the application is still incomplete in 90 days, officers should request the missing documents with an additional 90-day deadline.

New applications

If a new application is missing supporting documentation (associated fees are required) due to COVID-19 circumstances, the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) or Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M) may promote the application, and it can be reviewed in 90 days. Officers should associate the organization ID to track all applications received from Hong Kong nationals. If the application is still incomplete in 90 days, officers should request the missing documents with an additional 90-day deadline.

Applications found to be incomplete with no explanation provided, or for reasons unrelated to the disruption of services associated with impacts of COVID-19, may be rejected as per section R10, and all fees associated with the application should be refunded to the applicant. The reason for rejection should be unrelated to the disruption of services.

Officers should consult the current Permanent residence: COVID-19 program delivery instructions for more information on processing applications that have been affected by the disruption in services as a result of COVID-19.

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