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.
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.
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
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
As of December 14, 2020, we have a new application process for refugee claimants working in Canada’s health-care sector to apply for permanent residence.
You can apply if you meet the eligibility requirements and you’re
- a pending or failed refugee claimant who made a refugee claim in Canada prior to March 13, 2020, and who still lives in Canada, or
- the spouse or common-law partner of an eligible refugee claimant if
- the refugee claimant contracted COVID-19 and passed away from it
- you have been in Canada since before August 14, 2020
Transfer your existing humanitarian and compassionate consideration application
You can ask us to review your application under this process instead if
- your application is still pending (we’re still processing it and haven’t made a decision on it)
- you meet the eligibility requirements
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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