Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Refugees, asylum claimants, sponsors and PRRA applicants
We recognize that the travel restrictions will have an impact on many people who can’t travel to Canada right now. These restrictions stop most discretionary travel to Canada.
Travelling to Canada: health check and quarantine
If you’re travelling by air, you need to follow all airline requirements and pass a health check conducted by airlines before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.
As of November 21, 2020, you must use ArriveCAN before checking in at the airport or crossing the border to submit your
- travel and contact information
- quarantine plan
- COVID-19 symptom self-assessment
Please bring your ArriveCAN receipt (electronic or paper) with you to show the border services officer upon arrival.
When you arrive in Canada, we’ll assess your health before you leave the port of entry. You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. If you don’t have a plan, you should not travel to Canada.
Only people who provide essential services, for example, truck drivers who regularly cross the border to maintain the flow of goods, are exempt from the quarantine requirements.
On this page
- Refugee sponsors and refugees overseas waiting to be resettled
- Refugee claimants in Canada
- Pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) application deadlines
- COVID-19 information in multiple languages
- Updates and related links
Refugee sponsors and refugees overseas waiting to be resettled
Our ability to resettle refugees is restricted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention measures in Canada and around the world. We expect to see more refugee departures to Canada as these measures are lifted.
Some challenges affecting our resettlement work are
- the unique conditions in each country of asylum
- the importance of making sure service providers and sponsors in Canada can support refugees when and after they arrive
We’ll keep working with our resettlement partners to facilitate refugee resettlement safely. Our partners include
- the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- the International Organization for Migration
If you’ve already sponsored refugees
We’ll contact you when the refugees you’re waiting for are ready to travel. You’ll need to confirm that you’re ready to welcome your sponsored refugees. This includes having a quarantine plan.
All refugees arriving in Canada must isolate for 14 days when they arrive. As their sponsor, you must have a quarantine plan ready for them. Share your quarantine plan with them so they know what to expect when they get here.
When any traveller arrives in Canada, one of our officers will ask them about their quarantine plan. Make sure the refugees you’re sponsoring have the details of their quarantine plan available before they leave. Our officer may contact you for more information about the plan if something isn’t clear.
We’ve made a fact sheet to help refugees understand what they’ll have to do when they get to Canada. You can download it in multiple languages and share it with the refugees you’re sponsoring.
Once we contact you, make sure everyone in your sponsorship group agrees that you’re ready to welcome and support the refugees you’ve sponsored.
If you’re sponsoring through a sponsorship agreement holder, discuss your plans with them. Make sure they agree before you tell us to proceed with the refugees’ travel plans.
See the Travel Resumption Resource Kit for Refugee Sponsors for help in preparing for the arrival of your sponsored refugees.
As of October 2020, we started sending out immigration loan statements of accounts again.
Contact us at 1-800-667-7301 if you
- have questions about your loan
- want to suspend pre-authorized payments
- want to make other payment plans for this period
Refugee claimants in Canada
Temporary agreement between Canada and the U.S.
- Individuals entering Canada from the U.S. to make an asylum claim will be temporarily sent back to the U.S.
- Individuals entering the U.S. from Canada to make an asylum claim will be temporarily sent back to Canada.
- between official ports of entry along the land border
- at air and marine ports of entry
If you make a claim at a land port of entry, the Safe Third Country Agreement applies.
Safe Third Country Agreement remains in effect
We’re appealing the Federal Court of Canada’s decision on the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA).
The STCA continues to be in effect. Individuals entering Canada at a land port of entry continue to be ineligible to make a refugee claim, and will be returned to the U.S. unless they meet one of the relevant exceptions under the STCA.
Until further notice, IRCC offices in Canada won’t
- interview refugee claimants in person
- process refugee protection claimant document (RPCD) renewals
You can still make a refugee claim if you’re already inside Canada by sending us an email.Make a refugee claim inside Canada
If you’re subject to a removal order, you can’t make a refugee claim.
Get a new refugee claimant interview time
We’ll contact you about an interview time if
- you already had an interview scheduled that we cancelled because of COVID-19
- you submitted a refugee claim between March 16 and July 7, 2020, using
- our refugee claim email address
- an IRCC office drop box
Use the Web form if you need to update your contact information.
Get services if your refugee documents are expired, lost or were stolen
Expired RPCDs should be considered valid until further notice. You can use your acknowledgement of claim letter or RPCD (valid or expired) to prove you’ve made a refugee claim.
If your RPCD was lost or stolen, send an email to IRCC.RPCDLostStolen-DDAPerduVole.IRCC@cic.gc.ca. The subject line of your email should say if your RPCD was lost or stolen.
After we get your email, we’ll invite you to sign up for Canada Post’s epost ConnectTM service. We’ll communicate with you using this secure service to help you with your lost or stolen RPCD.
We can’t replace RPCDs right now. We can only provide temporary documents.
When our offices re-open, we’ll contact you using epost Connect to set up an appointment to replace your RPCD.
Get a work or study permit
You won’t be able to get a free work or study permit until you’ve had your refugee claim interview and completed an immigration medical exam.
If you’re a refugee claimant providing direct care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic
We’re working on a new public policy to help refugee claimants in the health-care industry apply for permanent residence. We’ll consider any refugee claimant, including claimants with failed or pending claims, who is
- working in the health-care industry
- providing direct care to patients as part of their job
You won’t be eligible for this process if
- your claim was not eligible to be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
- you already withdrew or abandoned your claim
If you’re eligible for this new process, we’ll approve your application for permanent residence if you
- meet the conditions of the public policy
- are not found to be inadmissible
If we approve your application
- your family members included on your application who are already in Canada will be granted permanent residence
- you’ll be able to sponsor the following family members who are overseas:
- your spouse or common-law partner
- dependent child (and their dependent children)
If you already applied for humanitarian and compassionate consideration but think you qualify for this public policy, we’ll provide an update soon to explain how you can be considered.Learn more about this process and who may be eligible.
Pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) application deadlines
We’re still accepting PRRA applications at this time. We’ve also added the option to submit and communicate about your application online.
Find out how to
- submit your PRRA application
- update your contact information if it’s changed since you arrived in Canada
If you can’t apply within the 15-day deadline
A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will tell you if you’re eligible to apply for a PRRA. If you’re eligible, you then have 15 days to submit a complete application. This is the only way to guarantee that your removal order will be stayed.
If you can’t submit a complete PRRA application within the 15 days because of COVID-19 disruptions,
- submit what you can within the deadline
- For example, submit an unsigned or partially completed form.
- include a letter with your application explaining why you couldn’t complete or sign your application
If we get your application after the 15-day deadline,
- we’ll process it
- your removal order won’t be stayed
- you can contact the CBSA office working on your case to find out how you’re affected
If you already applied, but can’t submit your supporting documents within the 30-day deadline
After a CBSA officer tells you that you’re eligible for a PRRA, you have 30 days to submit other documents to support your application.
If you couldn’t submit supporting documents within 30 days because of COVID-19 disruptions,
- you don’t need to contact us
- we’ll automatically contact you to give you a new 30-day period
- We’ll only contact you after the situation improves enough that you can gather supporting documents effectively.
We won’t make a decision on your case until after your new 30-day period is over.
The purpose of this new 30-day period is to make sure you have the same amount of time to submit supporting documents as you would have had without the COVID-19 disruptions.
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
You can find the languages of each resource under its description.
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Updates and related links
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