Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Immigration applicants 

Immediate restrictions for travellers arriving from Southern Africa region

Canadians citizens, those registered under the Indian Act, and permanent residents, who have been in the Southern Africa region within the previous 14 days, including South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia:

  • must follow new pre-entry testing before continuing their journey to Canada, and post-arrival requirements

Foreign nationals who have been in these countries within the period of 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada.

News release

Changes to border measures coming soon

Upcoming changes to border measures include

  • rules for re-entering Canada, if leaving for 72 hours or less
  • who is considered fully vaccinated
  • rules for travelling within Canada
  • who can enter Canada as an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated traveller

Learn more about the new measures.

We recognize that the travel restrictions have an impact on many people who can’t travel to Canada right now. These restrictions stop most discretionary travel to Canada. At this time, you can come to Canada only if you’re eligible to travel.

Find out who can travel to Canada.

On this page

How COVID affects your immigration application

Answer a few questions and we’ll direct you to the information you need.

You need your application finalized

Follow the instructions in the letter. We'll send you

  • a permanent resident visa sticker in your passport (if you need one), and
  • a printed CoPR document

If your family makeup, or other details of your application have changed, do not travel. Use the web form to tell us about the changes. We'll tell you what to do next.

Find out more about travel requirements and exemptions.

You’re already a permanent resident and you need a travel document

If you were in Canada on the date on your letter, you're already a permanent resident of Canada. You should apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) if you’re now outside of Canada and are ready to return here but don’t have a valid permanent resident card.

If you were not in Canada on the date of that letter, you should follow the instructions provided in the letter to tell us this. We’ll then let you know what to do next.

You can travel to Canada if your situation is still the same

If your situation hasn't changed since we issued your COPR, you can use it to travel to Canada.

If your family makeup, or other details of your application have changed, do not travel. Use the web form to tell us about the changes. We'll tell you what to do next.

If you’re a citizen of a visa-required country

  • check that you have a visa sticker (counterfoil) in your passport
  • contact us using the web form if you don’t

You need to get your documents replaced

As of June 21, 2021, you’re exempt from travel restrictions, no matter what date we issued your COPR, if you’re travelling to Canada with a valid COPR.

But, you can’t travel to Canada on expired documents.

If you have an expired COPR, you won’t be able to travel to Canada until we reissue your documents. Normally, you’d have to reapply, but right now we’re making exceptions for people who couldn’t travel to Canada due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19.

We’ve already contacted most people with expired COPRs issued on or before March 18, 2020, to explain what to do. If we already sent you instructions to do a new medical or submit updated documents, follow them and wait for us to tell you what happens next. You don’t need to contact us again.

We’re also working to contact anyone else with expired COPRs, including those issued after March 18, 2020.

What happens next:

  • We’ll send you an email about your application.
  • If you answer the email and tell us you still want to come to Canada, we’ll tell you what to do next.
  • We may ask you for new medicals and/or updated information.
  • If you don’t respond, we’ll keep your file closed and you’ll have to reapply when you’re ready to come to Canada.

When we email you, we’ll ask you to tell us if your family situation has changed (for example, newborn, marriage, divorce) so we can update your application and ask you for any other documents we need. We may also need updated documents if the ones you previously submitted are no longer valid (police certificates, medical exams, etc.) 

Do not do an up-front medical exam. If you need a new medical, we’ll send you new instruction forms to take with you to the doctor after you reply to our email. This will help avoid processing delays.

To avoid delays, we ask that you don’t contact us via our web form or through the processing office email. If you have already contacted us, please wait for our instructions.

We expect people with a COPR and permanent resident visa that are valid until October 1, 2021 or after to have enough time to come to Canada before their documents expire.

Travelling to Canada

You can travel to Canada once we confirm to you in writing that we

  • re-issued your documents and
  • sent you a reprinted COPR and (if you need one) a new visa sticker in your passport

If we reissue your COPR, we’ll send you the documents you need to travel.

You need to confirm your PR status

Once we approve your permanent residence application, we’ll confirm your PR status.

You don’t have to do anything until we contact you using the phone number or email you provided. It’s important to let us know if your contact details have changed. Make sure you change your address online if you need to.

You must tell us if you leave Canada before we grant you PR status.

Use the web form if you need to update other contact information or tell us about changes to your family situation (for example, marriage, birth, divorce, death).

Confirm your PR status through the Permanent Residence Portal

You’ll get emails from a mailbox ending in

  • 1)  asking you to confirm you’re physically in Canada and
  • 2)  with information about the Permanent Residence Portal (and options if you can’t use it)

We may still ask to speak with you on the phone or to see you in person when offices are open, in some cases.

Find out more about the Permanent Residence Portal

You should not travel to a port of entry to confirm your PR status. This is not considered essential travel and you won’t be able to confirm your PR status this way.

Permanent resident cards

Once you become a permanent resident, we’ll make an e-COPR available to you in the portal to provide proof of your new status in Canada. In this portal we’ll also ask you to provide a photo so we can start the process of issuing your first PR card. You don’t need to apply for your first PR card.

While you wait for your PR card, you can use your signed e-COPR to

  • prove that you’re a permanent resident in Canada, and
  • apply for government benefits and services that you’re eligible for (for example, to apply for your social insurance number so you can work).

It may take longer than usual for us to issue your PR card.

We’re still processing your application

If we didn't send you an official letter telling you that we made a final decision on your application, it's still in process.

  • This is true even if the status in your online account is "approved."
  • The official letter would have asked you to submit your passport or provide photos for your CoPR.
  • We didn't send a letter if you weren't exempt from the travel restrictions, or if we couldn't issue your documents.

You don't need to do anything. We'll contact you if we need more information to process your application (updated medical results, police certificates, etc.).

You can use your valid documents to travel to Canada if you

  • have a valid study or work permit
  • have a valid visa in your passport, if you’re from a country where you need one and
  • are exempt from the current travel restrictions

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, we can’t

  • process applications normally
  • give accurate processing times for most applications

We’re prioritizing some applications, including

  • vulnerable people
  • people who perform or support essential services

If you’ve already applied, see the check your application status page to learn how

  • to check your application status
  • we’re processing applications during the pandemic New

Supporting documents for an application in progress

We no longer automatically give more time to send documents.

  • We’ll contact you to request the supporting documents.
    • This will happen in the next few months.
    • You’ll have 30 days from the date we contact you to submit the information.
  • Start collecting your documents.
    • Do this before we contact you. It can take time to get some documents.
    • Check the last email we sent you to confirm what you need.
  • Don’t travel to another city or country to get the supporting documents.
  • If you have a reasonable explanation that shows you’re affected by COVID-19, we’ll consider extending your deadline.

Find out what to do if you still have documents to provide for your application.

If you get your language test results or educational credential assessment report by email or electronically, we’ll accept them as part of your application.

Progress bar removal

Starting March 26, 2021, until further notice we’re removing the progress bar in all Express Entry applicants’ online accounts.

You can still get the most current information about the status of your application by checking the Details about application status section in your online account.

COVID-19: Changes to biometrics requirements and collection procedures

Temporary measures have been put into place for biometrics requirements and collection procedures.

Find out what to do for your biometrics

Language testing organizations

Some language testing organizations have started scheduling tests again.

You may be able to take a language test depending on the:

  • designated testing organization
  • region where you want to take your test
  • language you’re being tested for

Language tests we accept:

Make sure you check the latest information about testing in your region.


Find more information about language testing

You haven’t applied yet

We’re still accepting most permanent residence applications. Unfortunately, our ability to review and process them is still being affected by COVID-19. We can’t currently estimate any processing times.

If you apply, you still need to submit a complete application. This means you must include all the supporting documents we ask for. If you can’t get a document because it’s delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can send proof that you’re trying to get it (like a receipt). Include a letter to tell us why you don’t have the document and when you’ll get it. Send us the document as soon as you have it to avoid more delays.

Don’t travel to another city or country to get the supporting documents. We’ll consider extending your deadline if you have a reasonable explanation that shows you’re affected by COVID-19.

If you get your language test results or educational credential assessment report by email or electronically, we’ll accept them as part of your application.

How financial benefits affect family sponsorship

If you collect the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), you’re still eligible to sponsor your spouse, parent, grandparent, child or other relative as long as you meet all the requirements to be a sponsor.

CERB isn’t considered social assistance. Collecting CERB won’t make you ineligible to sponsor.

We recently put a temporary public policy in place which lets any family class sponsors who must meet income requirements count CERB in their income calculations for the 2020 tax year. This is in addition to other benefits:

EI and CERB won’t cause you to default

If the person you sponsored collects EI or the CERB during the undertaking period, it will not cause you to default.

However, if the person you sponsored collects social assistance during the undertaking period, you have to repay the amount. If you don’t, you’ll be in default of your undertaking.

COVID-19 information in multiple languages

The Public Health Agency of Canada website has resources in multiple languages to help you understand COVID-19. These include

  • factsheets
  • videos
  • recordings
  • infographics

You can find the languages of each resource under its description.

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