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 non-essentialFootnote 1 (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.

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.

Refugee sponsors and refugees overseas waiting to be resettled

Many countries and organizations continue to limit travel to prevent the spread of infection. Our ability to resettle refugees is restricted by the prevention measures that are still in place around the world and in Canada.

Our resettlement work is being affected by

  • the unique challenges in each country of asylum, when planning departures and resettling refugees
  • the importance of making sure service providers and sponsors in Canada have the capacity to support refugees when and after they arrive in Canada

We continue to work with our resettlement partners, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration to facilitate refugee resettlement where and when conditions make it safe to do so.

If you’ve sponsored refugees

We’ll contact you if the refugees you’re waiting for are ready to travel to Canada. Some refugees are starting to arrive as countries and organizations reduce travel restrictions. We expect more refugees to slowly start arriving over the next few months.

Immigration loans

We suspended immigrant loan collection activities until September 2020.

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.

This applies

  • 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 are reviewing the Federal Court decision released on July 22, 2020.

The Court suspended its declaration of the unconstitutionality of the Regulations enacting the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) for a period of 6 months, during which the STCA continues to remain 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.

Learn more about the recent Federal Court of Canada decision.

Until further notice, IRCC offices in Canada won’t

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.

Getting a new refugee claimant interview time

We’ll contact you about an interview time if

Use the Web form if you need to update your contact information.

Get services with expired refugee documents

Expired RPCDs should be considered valid until further notice. You can use your acknowledgement of claim letter or RCPD (valid or expired) to prove you’ve made a refugee claim.

Get a work or study permit

You won’t be able to get a free work or study permit until you had your refugee claim interview and completed an immigration medical exam.

If you already have a valid permit, you can keep using it. You can also apply for extension before your work or study permit expires.

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

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,

If we get your application after the 15-day deadline,

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,

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

  • factsheets
  • videos
  • recordings
  • infographics

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

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