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New Canadian immigration instructions during coronavirus pandemic

Special IRCC measures

Canada's immigration department also released new instructions for officials and immigrants affected by COVID-19, on Sunday, March 15. 

IRCC announced they will be cancelling all citizenship ceremonies, citizenship tests and retests, and itinerant service trips until further notice.

The new program delivery instructions are an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, and to help those whose immigration applications are affected by service disruptions, including people who are applying for temporary residence, permanent residence, and Canadian citizenship.

In-person permanent resident landing appointments and pre-scheduled in-person refugee claim appointments will be cancelled until April 13. In-person refugee claims can still be submitted until further notice.

Under new general processing measures, IRCC says applications will not be refused for non-compliance and all those currently in progress at IRCC offices abroad at case processing centers and within the Domestic Network will continue to be processed. There may be delays as some visa application centers are closed until further notice, and some IRCC offices are operating with essential staff only.

Expedited processing for those in special circumstances will continue to be at the discretion of the Migration Program Manager of the responsible IRCC office, and the manager of the responsible processing office in Canada.

IRCC may continue to request any additional documents necessary for processing all citizenship and immigration applications. These might include police certificates, biometrics, passports, medical exams, and any documents that must be issued by authorities in China, Iran or South Korea.

When additional documentation is required, immigration officers will send a request letter allowing the applicant 90 days to respond. If a previous request for additional documents was sent, but the applicant could not meet the deadline, applicants will be given an additional 90 days to respond.

Though the biometric instruction letter will continue to say that applicants have 30 days to give biometrics, they will actually be allowed to complete this step in 90 days instead.


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