Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Refugees, asylum claimants, sponsors and PRRA applicants
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.
You need to use ArriveCAN
Use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information required for entry into Canada.
Make sure you’re using the newest version of ArriveCAN. If you previously submitted your information using an older version of ArriveCan, you must download the latest version and resubmit your information.
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
- restrictions on who can currently travel to Canada
- 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 (IOM)
Quarantine and COVID-19 testing
Before refugees leave for Canada, they attend a Canadian Orientation Abroad session with the IOM. This session provides refugees with information on how they can monitor their health and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Refugees are also
- told about the 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Canada, and
- given information about the supports they’ll receive from Resettlement Assistance Program service provider organizations or their private sponsor
As an added precaution, refugees undergo a fitness-to-fly check for COVID-19 signs and symptoms with an IOM nurse or doctor. This check is done 24 to 72 hours before their flight.
Resettled refugees come to Canada by air and, like all international travellers, are tested before boarding and upon arrival in Canada. They must also follow all quarantine requirements.
If you’re a refugee overseas waiting to travel to Canada
Before you travel to Canada, make sure you know the rules and what you need to do before and after you arrive:
If you already sponsored refugees
We’ll contact you when the refugees you’re waiting for are ready to travel. Once we do, 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.
You’ll need to confirm that you’re ready to welcome your sponsored refugees. This includes having a quarantine plan. You must provide us with a copy of the quarantine plan for the refugees you sponsored before travel will be booked. You should also share your quarantine plan with the refugees you sponsored so they know what to expect when they get here.
When the refugees you sponsored land in Canada, they’ll stay in government-authorized accommodation for their first 3 nights, while they wait for the results of their COVID-19 test. A government-funded resettlement service provider will coordinate the hotel bookings and transportation to the hotel.
You may need to help them complete their daily ArriveCAN check-in. This includes the first few days they are in Canada, before they arrive in your community.
Once they receive a negative COVID-19 test result, they’ll continue to their final destination. When they arrive, they must complete the 14-day quarantine period, or a longer quarantine period, as required by the health authorities in your region. If they’re already in the community where they will stay, you should pick the refugees up from the hotel. If they need to travel to their final destination, you should plan to pick the refugees up when they arrive.
If they receive a positive COVID-19 test result, they will be transferred to a designated Public Health Agency of Canada quarantine facility in the city where they land. This will be paid for by the Government of Canada.
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.
Choose your language
- Amharic (አማርኛ) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Arabic (العربية) (PDF, 1.5 MB)
- Dari (دری) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- English (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Farsi (فارسی) (PDF, 1.5 MB)
- French (Français) (PDF, 1.5 MB)
- Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji) (کورمانجی) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Oromo (Afaan Oromoo) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Somali (Af Soomaali) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Spanish (Español) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Swahili (Kiswahili) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Tigrinya (ትግርኛ tigriññā) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
See the Travel Resumption Resource Kit for Refugee Sponsors for help in preparing for the arrival of your sponsored refugees.
Refugee claimants who are inside Canada
Asylum claimants who were directed back to the U.S.
We’re contacting individuals who wanted to make a claim for asylum in Canada, but were directed back to the U.S. because of the COVID-19 border restrictions. These individuals will be able to return to Canada to continue their claim. Find out more from the Canada Border Services Agency.
Safe Third Country Agreement remains in effect
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 aren’t processing refugee protection claimant document (RPCD) renewals. Expired RPCDs are still considered valid.
If you’re already inside Canada, you can still make a refugee claim online.
If you’re subject to a removal order, you aren’t eligible make a refugee claim.
Refugee claimant interview time
If you didn’t already have an interview scheduled, we’ll contact you once we’ve scheduled you for one.
We’ll contact you about a new interview time if you had a scheduled interview that we cancelled because of COVID-19.
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.
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
Applying 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, as per Section 162 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). This is the only way to guarantee that your removal order will be stayed, as per Section 232 of the IRPR.
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, with supporting documentation.
Applying after the 15-day deadline
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 within the 15-day deadline before June 22, 2021, but you were unable to submit your supporting documents within the 30-day deadline
- We’ll contact you to request the supporting documents.
- You’ll have 30 days from the date we contact you to submit the information.
For applications received on or after June 22, 2021
After a CBSA officer tells you that you’re eligible for a PRRA, you have 15 days (per Section 162 of the IRPR) to submit your completed PRRA application and 30 days (per Section 162 of the IRPR) to submit your supporting documents.
If you are unable to submit supporting documents within 30 days because of COVID-19 disruptions, you must request an extension to submit documents at a later time with a reasonable explanation and proof of the explanation that would allow the application to remain open.
After the 30 days, officers will use their discretion to either grant an additional 30-day extension where a reasonable explanation and proof has been provided, or; make a final decision, where possible, with the information on file.
Applications received on or after June 22, 2021, should be submitted with all of the supporting documents or a reasonable explanation with proof why the applicant is unable to obtain and provide the document at this time.
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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