COVID-19 update: Applicants should start collecting supporting information as IRCC resumes processing of applications in progress
Ottawa, April 12, 2021 – Since the onset of the pandemic, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been working to better serve clients, including by processing applications to reunite families more quickly. We have also prioritized applications for people who are vulnerable, coming for compassionate reasons or providing critical services to Canadians, such as those working in the food supply and health care sectors. In addition, IRCC has been automatically extending deadlines for applicants who have faced delays in submitting required documents due to COVID‑19 restrictions.
As most IRCC offices, visa application centres (VACs) around the world, and application support centers (ASCs) in the United States have reopened, many applicants can now provide the supporting documents needed for IRCC to process their application. As a result, IRCC will no longer be automatically extending deadlines for submitting the required supporting documentation. However, IRCC will continue to provide deadline extensions to clients who are still unable to provide required documentation due to COVID‑19 disruptions. Please read below for detailed information on what applicants need to do to submit the required information or request an extension.
important: You should not travel to another city or country to obtain the required supporting documents. As long as you provide a reasonable explanation of how you’ve been affected by a COVID‑19-related disruption by the deadline, IRCC will extend that deadline for an additional 30 days.
Having clients provide the required supporting documentation will allow IRCC to make timely decisions on their applications, where possible. This will also help minimize impacts to future processing times for all applicants by reducing the current inventory IRCC has and expediting people’s travel to Canada when the travel restrictions are eased.
Foreign nationals whose application for a visitor visa or permanent residence is approved are not eligible to travel to Canada at this time, unless they’re exempt from the travel restrictions.
How this change may affect you
Over the coming months, IRCC officers will contact citizenship, permanent residence and temporary residence applicants, on a case-by-case basis, to request that they provide supporting documents or a reasonable explanation of how a COVID‑19-related disruption prevents them from obtaining this information.
What you need to do if you still have to provide a document in support of your application
- Check the last email or letter you received from IRCC to confirm what documents you need to provide. As it can take time to get this information, it’s important to start collecting the documents now, so you will be able to submit them on time when we ask for them.
- You’ll receive another request from IRCC in the coming weeks or months and will have 30 days from the date you receive this new request to submit the supporting documents.
- If you need to provide your fingerprints and photo (biometrics), book an appointment with your local VAC or ASC as soon as possible. Appointment slots fill up quickly, and some offices are operating with reduced hours of service.
- Check IRCC’s website to find out if your local VAC or ASC is open and book your biometrics appointment. At your appointment, follow all local public health requirements and bring a copy of your biometric instruction letter.
- After the 30‑day deadline, an IRCC officer will make a decision on your application, where possible.
- For citizenship applicants, if we don’t receive your documents after 30 days without an explanation, we may stop processing your application and consider it abandoned, or we may make a final decision if we have enough information.
Even if you receive a confirmation of permanent residence or visitor visa, you likely will not be able to travel to Canada. Only foreign nationals who are exempt from the travel restrictions are eligible to travel to Canada at this time.
What you need to do if you’re still affected by a COVID‑19 restriction or disruption
If you can’t provide the requested documents, IRCC officers will be as flexible as possible.
- You must provide a reasonable explanation of how you’re affected by a COVID‑19 disruption within 30 days from the date you receive our request.
- Examples of a reasonable explanation include
- the temporary closure of the VAC or ASC in your region, which prevents you from providing your fingerprints and photo (biometrics)
- a regional or city-wide pandemic lockdown that prevents you from obtaining supporting documents, such as a police certificate, or undergoing a medical examination
- Examples of a reasonable explanation include
- If your request for an extension
- is reasonable, based on the explanation provided, IRCC will extend your deadline for an additional 30 days
- isn’t reasonable, IRCC will make a decision on your application, where possible, based on the information we have on file, which could result in your application being refused
- IRCC will inform you of our decision. You will not need to contact us.
- If we don’t hear from you by the 30‑day deadline, IRCC will make a decision on your application, where possible, based on the information we have on file. This could result in your application being refused.
- If IRCC determines that a large number of clients is affected by a pandemic lockdown or a service-related disruption, such as a temporary closure of a VAC or ASC, we will not contact you to request the supporting documents until the situation is resolved.
Keep checking our website for updates, including when the travel restrictions will be eased.
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