Canada has announced special immigration, visa, and border measures in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

To contain the spread of COVID-19, Canada has put a variety of special immigration measures in place. Despite these measures, Canada continues to accept immigration applications, hold Express Entry draws, and issue invitations to apply for permanent residence.

CanadaVisa will update this page as more information becomes available.

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Man and woman wearing face-masks on a busy street during coronavirus pandemic.

Canada still accepting applications despite travel restrictions

While Canada has imposed travel restrictions, candidates are still welcome to submit Express Entry profiles as well as their permanent and temporary residence applications. Canada continues to hold Express Entry draws and issue invitations to apply for permanent residence. Canada is also being more flexible in processing applications by providing candidates with more time to obtain and submit their documentation in case candidates are being affected by COVID-19 disruptions.

Who can come to Canada during coronavirus pandemic?

Canadian citizens and some foreign nationals are currently able to travel to Canada. However, foreign nationals may only travel to Canada for essential (non-discretionary) reasons.

The following are among the people who may travel to Canada:

  • Canadian citizens
  • Permanent residents
  • Immediate family of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, grandchildren, parent or step-parent, and guardian or tutor)
  • Permanent resident applicants who were approved for permanent residence before Canada announced its travel restrictions on March 16, 2020 but who had not yet travelled to Canada
  • Temporary foreign workers
  • International students who held a valid study permit or who had been approved for a study permit when Canada’s travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020

Click here to view the full list of people who will be exempted from the travel restrictions.

Canada’s travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020, and end on June 30, 2020, at noon EDT.


Four Canadian airports open to international travel

Effective March 18, 2020, only four Canadian airports will be open to international travel:

  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  • Montreal-Pierre Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
  • Calgary International Airport (YYC)
  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

Airline companies must screen passengers for coronavirus symptoms

Airline companies will be responsible for screening the health of individuals before they board a plane to Canada. Airlines have been instructed to prevent individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms from flying to Canada.

Canada has issued a statement indicating that passengers who display a fever of over 38°C, a cough, or breathing difficulties may be denied from boarding a plane unless they have a medical certificate that confirms the symptoms are not due to COVID-19.


Good to Know

  • People who can travel to Canada are listed here
  • Express Entry draws continue and federal and provincial governments continue to issue invitations to apply for permanent residence
  • Starting March 16th, all in-person landing appointments are cancelled and will be held by telephone. IRCC will contact you by email to let you know when your new telephone appointment will be.
  • Biometrics deadline extended to 90 days, rather than 30. There will be 90-day extensions for additional document requests on open applications.
  • It is mandatory for those entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • The travel restrictions are in place until June 30, 2020 at noon EDT.
  • The measures do not apply to trade or business.
  • International students may begin their program online at a Canadian designated learning institution in the fall of 2020 and still be eligible for a PGWP.

Top Questions

The following are among the list of people allowed to travel to Canada between now and June 30, 2020.

Such individuals can book travel to return to Canada right now, however, foreign nationals must ensure they are only travelling to Canada for essential purposes:

  • Canadian citizens
  • Permanent residents
  • Immediate family of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, grandchildren, parent or step-parent, and guardian or tutor)
  • Permanent resident applicants who were approved for permanent residence before Canada announced its travel restrictions on March 16, 2020 but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
  • Temporary foreign workers
  • International students who held a valid study permit or who had been approved for a study permit when Canada’s travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020

Individuals entering Canada are required by law to quarantine themselves immediately for a period of 14 days to help avoid the potential spread of COVID-19.

Essential travel is defined as travel which is non-optional and non-discretionary. Please visit the Government of Canada’s website to see examples of what they determine to be essential travel.

They took effect on March 18, 2020 and end on June 30, 2020 at noon EDT.
No. Canada is still open to those wishing to submit an application to come to the country. Canada has not released any statements that COVID-19 will affect its 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan.
Yes, you are still able to apply. IRCC will not reject your application if you are unable to submit all necessary documents due to delays caused by Coronavirus.
Yes, you can still submit an Express Entry profile. In addition, the federal government and provinces are continuing to issue invitations to apply for permanent residence.

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Canada and the U.S. reached a mutual deal to close their borders to non-essential travel effective Saturday March 21, 2020.

Non-essential travel is defined as travel for recreation and tourism.

All essential and business travel will continue uninterrupted.

Individuals who fall under Canada’s list of exempted individuals can still enter Canada.

All biometrics collection services have been suspended. All appointments have been cancelled and applicants are advised not to go to any Service Canada locations until further notice. Applicants will be able to reschedule their appointments when Service Canada locations reopen. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is giving applicants in Canada 90 days from the date of their letter to give their biometrics. IRCC will be honouring the original letters, no new letters will be required.

IRCC has two officially designated language tests that it accepts for immigration purposes: the IELTS General Test, and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (commonly referred to as “the CELPIP”).

Please refer to their official websites for more information on whether COVID-19 is affecting their operations:

IRCC has seven officially designated organizations that are authorized to perform an Educational Credential Assessment for immigration purposes. The designated organizations are listed here. Please check the official websites of the designated organizations for more information on whether COVID-19 is affecting their ability to complete assessments.
The federal government has stated that traveling to the border for immigration purposes such as renewing a work, study, or visitor permit, or to activate permanent resident status is non-essential travel. As such, the federal government asks such individuals to avoid traveling to the border until further notice. Temporary residents who are looking to extend their stay in Canada as students, workers, or visitors can do so on the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Yes, you can still submit your application even if you are receiving the CERB since the federal government does not consider the CERB to be social assistance.
Your eligibility to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit will not be affected if your in-class courses are being moved to an online format due to COVID-19. In addition, international students may begin their program online at a Canadian designated learning institution in the fall of 2020 and still be eligible for a PGWP after completing their Canadian study program.

For Permanent Residents

Only immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Canada.

The federal government defines an immediate family member as someone who is related to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and is:

  • the spouse or common-law partner of the person
  • a dependent child of the person of the person’s spouse or common-law partner
  • a grandchild
  • a parent or step-parent
  • a guardian or tutor
Yes, if you were approved for permanent residence before Canada announced its travel restrictions on March 16, 2020.
If you are unable to travel to Canada at present, let IRCC know by using the web form. Once you are able to travel again, use the web form again and IRCC will provide more information on restarting the processing of your application.
Use the IRCC web form to let them know why you can’t travel. Once you are able to travel, use the web form to let IRCC know. IRCC will then provide detailed information on restarting the processing of your permanent residence application. This also applies if your confirmation of permanent residence has expired.
Yes. You must submit your application within 90 days of your ITA. If you are missing documents because of the novel coronavirus, you can still submit your application. Submit a letter explaining why you are missing these documents and your application will be held until further notice. Once you are able to submit the documents, you can do so using the web form.

IRCC has provided the following guidance on the recommended travel documentation that exempted individuals should carry with them when traveling to Canada:

Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents:

Documentation demonstrating their immediate family member’s Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status, such as a:

  • Canadian passport
  • Canadian citizenship proof such as a citizenship certificate, card, or provincial birth certificate
  • Canadian permanent resident card
  • Canadian permanent resident travel document
  • Canadian citizens are encouraged to travel with a valid Canadian passport, however they may travel to Canada on a visa-exempt foreign passport upon receiving a confirmation email from IRCC approving special authorization

To demonstrate their relationship to that immediate family members, exempt individuals should carry documentation such as a:

  • Marriage certificate or common-law status certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence for the family class
  • Other proof showing an immediate family connection such as correspondence from IRCC showing a spousal sponsorship application is being processed, or proof of a shared residential address)

COPR holders:

Holders of a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) who were eligible to travel to Canada on or before March 18, 2020 are exempt from the travel restrictions and can self-identify to airlines by presenting:

  • Permanent resident visa, or
  • A COPR document

All:

  • citizenship ceremonies
  • tests
  • retests
  • interviews
  • citizenship events
  • itinerant services
  • hearings (including videoconferences)

are cancelled until further notice.

You have been sent a letter or an email by IRCC about the cancellation of your event. IRCC will be sending you a new date and time.

If you have been requested to submit documents, such as medical opinion forms, you will now be given an additional 90 days to submit your documents.

The days you spend outside of Canada due to COVID-19 will not count towards your physical presence requirement.

Permanent residence applicants who were approved on or before March 18 are exempt from the travel restrictions and may travel to Canada.

Airlines will require you to pass a health check before boarding your flight. If you show symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board your flight.

You are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days even if you don’t show any symptoms.

Step 1: Submit your application to the visa office by courier.

Step 2: Email the visa office in Beijing at beijing-immigration@international.gc.ca to request urgent processing of your application

Step 1: Submit your application to the visa office by courier.

Step 2: Submit a web form. When asked the question “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada?” answer “Yes.”

Step 3: Select “Turkey - Ankara” when asked to choose the visa office processing your application.

Step 4: To obtain a permanent resident travel document, you will have to email the visa office at ANKRA@international.gc.ca.

Step 1: Submit your application to the visa office by courier.

Step 2: Submit a web form. When asked the question “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada?” answer “Yes.”

Step 3: Select “Philippines - Manila” when asked to choose the visa office processing your application.

Step 4: To obtain a permanent resident travel document, you will have to email the visa office at MANILIMMIGRATION@international.gc.ca.

For Temporary Residents and IEC Participants

If your visa or permit has not yet expired, you can apply online to extend your stay in Canada.

If you are a visitor, you can apply online to extend your stay in Canada.

If you are a worker or student and are no longer working or studying, you can apply to change your status to visitor.

If you would like to continue working or studying, you may be able to extend your work or study permit. When you apply, make sure you mention why you need to extend your stay.

If your visitor visa, study permit or work permit is expired, and it’s been less than 90 days since the status expired, you can apply to restore your status. You must use the document checklist and guide for your situation:

When you complete the form, make sure you do the following:

  • Select “Restore my status”
  • Include a note explaining your reason for wanting to restore your status.
  • You must also pay the restoration fee

If it has been more than 90 days since your visitor visa, study permit or work permit expired:

You may be eligible for temporary resident status. When you apply, make sure you include a note explaining why you need to extend your stay.

The Government of Canada is asking those who wish to travel to the border to apply for a work permit, study permit or permanent residence to respect federal and provincial guidelines on self-isolation and social distancing as well as to avoid travelling to the border to obtain immigration services until further notice.

If you currently reside in Canada as a visitors, student or worker, you are encouraged to apply online to the IRCC if you wish to extend your temporary resident status. In doing so, you can continue to stay, study or work in Canada while your application is being processed. This process is known as implied status, and as long as you submit your application before your current document expires, your immigration authorizations and conditions will remain unchanged.

IRCC has provided the following guidance on the recommended travel documentation that exempted individuals should carry with them when traveling to Canada:

International students:

International students who held a valid Canadian study permit or were issued a letter of invitation date on or before March 18, 2020 can self-identify to airlines to prove they are exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions by presenting:

  • A valid study permit, or
  • A letter of introduction from IRCC dated on or before March 18, 2020

Temporary foreign workers:

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) who were established in Canada or who had existing plans to work in Canada prior to the enforcement of the travel restrictions are exempt. Exemptions also apply to new TFWs who are coming to Canada to work in critical industries (e.g., health, transportation and emergency services, food processing, and agriculture).

These individuals can self-identify to airlines to prove they are exempt by presenting:

  • A valid work permit, or
  • A letter of introduction from IRCC

Your application will not be refused if you cannot submit your passport or supporting documents, or complete an immigration medical exam.

If you are an international student with a valid study permit, or if you were approved for a study permit on or before March 18th, you are allowed to travel to Canada.

Airlines will require you to pass a health check before boarding your flight. If you show symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board your flight.

You are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days even if you don’t show any symptoms.

All travel restrictions do not apply for temporary foreign workers. You are able to travel to Canada by air or land.

Airlines will require you to pass a health check before boarding your flight. If you show symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board your flight.

You are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days even if you don’t show any symptoms.

IRCC confirmed that the processing of study permits, visas and electronic travel authorizations (eTAs) will continue for those who are exempt from travel restrictions. The processing of study permits will continue "to the extent possible" in preparation for the fall academic term.

Step 1: Apply online

Step 2: Contact the Beijing visa office at beijing-immigration@international.gc.ca and request urgent processing of your application

*If you have already applied, contact the visa office and request urgent processing of your application.

Step 1: Apply online

Step 2: Fill out the web form to explain your emergency and request urgent processing of your application.

Step 3: When asked “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada?” answer “No”.

Step 4: Complete the rest of the form.

You may temporarily work more than 20 hours per week between now and August 31 if you are a study permit holder in an academic session, eligible to work off-campus, and providing an essential service in one of the following 10 sectors.

Canada is currently prioritizing the processing of temporary foreign workers who fall under one of the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes:

  • NOC 6331 – Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale
  • NOC 7511 – Transport truck drivers
  • NOC 8252 – Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • NOC 8431 – General farm workers
  • NOC 8432 – Nursery and greenhouse workers
  • NOC 8611 – Harvesting labourers
  • NOC 9463 – Fish and seafood plant workers
  • NOC 9617 – Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing
  • NOC 9618 – Labourers in fish and seafood processing
  • NOC 9462 – Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

Yes. From May 8, 2020 onwards, applicants of the Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-op categories are able to travel to Canada if they:

  • Have a valid job offer
  • Have a port of entry letter of introduction.

Yes. All travelers to Canada are required to quarantine for 14 days after their arrival.

Applications are not being processed at the moment. However, IRCC will still accept profile submissions into the IEC pool.

If your application is already in process, it will not be closed or refused if you do not have all your documents or if you are unable to complete the application process in time. This includes if you are unable to give biometrics or unable to complete a medical exam.

Yes. It is a mandatory requirement for IEC, unless you are receiving coverage from your employer or the province or territory where you will be workers. It is up to you to ensure you have adequate coverage including testing for coronavirus. You must have coverage for the entire time you are in Canada.

It is up to your employer. Check with your employer to see if they are still planning on honouring your contract.

An employer may withdraw their offer of employment if the work permit has not yet been issued. You would then be refunded the participation fee. This will not be counted as participation under IEC, and you may be eligible to reapply.

Applications will not be closed or refused if you are unable to complete the medical examination.

IEC participants can extend their work permits only in some cases. To find out if you can extend your work permit, follow this link.

If you cannot find a flight out of Canada and are unable to return home, you will have to apply to stay as a visitor.

You are required to apply before your work permit expires.

Once you have applied, you will have ‘implied status’. This will allow you to stay in Canada legally as a visitor until a final decision is made regarding your application.

Yes. As long as your work permit is still valid, you may be allowed to re-enter Canada. However, all individuals are required to quarantine for 14 days.

IEC participants can change their work permits only in some cases. To find out if you are able to change your work permit, follow this link.

If you are a participant in the Young Professionals or the International Co-op (Internship) Categories, and the company that you were working for has closed, you may be able to change your employer, provided your new job meets the requirements of the Young Professionals or International Co-op Categories.

If you have stopped working due to the pandemic, you may be eligible for temporary income support through the CERB provided you meet eligibility requirements.

Your letter will be valid for one year after its date of issue. Once a letter is issued, it is considered a participation. You are not able to cancel your letter.

If you wish to extend the letter, you may be able to do so using IRCC’s web form. You must select “International Experience Canada” from the drop down menu when choosing the type of application/enquiry.

IRCC expects you to contact them only if your letter expires in the next 30 days and you are unable to travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you did not receive a confirmation email, this does not mean that IRCC did not receive it. Please keep checking your account for any updates.

Do not travel to a port of entry in Canada as this is not considered essential travel. Please check the IRCC website regularly as new ways may be introduced for IEC participants to activate work permits from inside Canada.

In the meantime, make sure you maintain your current immigration status while in Canada.

Yes. If your job offer has been withdrawn, this is not considered participation. Your participation fee will be refunded and you may be able to reapply for another participation at a later date.

  • Online learning will not be counted against PGWP eligibility.
  • Students will not see their PGWP eligibility impacted if they need to change their study status from full-time to part-time due to program changes made by their Canadian designated learning institution.
  • Students who begin their Canadian educational program online can have their time outside of Canada still count towards the length of their PGWP as long as they arrive to Canada by December 31, 2020. If they arrive to Canada in 2021, their time outside of Canada will result in a PGWP length of a shorter duration.
  • Students in Canada can begin working while their PGWP application is being processed if they submit their PGWP application while their study permit is still valid and are unable to get a letter of completion or their final transcript from their designated learning institution due to coronavirus interruptions.

Yes. IRCC has stated that applicants can submit an incomplete study permit application if they are unable to obtain all the requirements documents due to coronavirus disruptions. IRCC will not make a decision on the study permit application until required documents have been submitted.

For Employers

Yes. The following occupations currently have priority processing.

  • 6331 - Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers-retail and wholesale
  • 7511 - Transport Truck Drivers
  • 8252 - Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 8431 - General Farm Workers
  • 8432 - Nursery and Greenhouse Workers
  • 8611 - Harvesting labourers
  • 9463 - Fish and seafood plant workers
  • 9617 - Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing
  • 9618 - Labourers in fish and seafood processing
  • 9462 - Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

The minimum recruitment requirements for the following occupations are waived until October 31, 2020.

  • 6331 - Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers-retail and wholesale
  • 7511 - Transport Truck Drivers
  • 8252 - Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 8431 - General Farm Workers
  • 8432 - Nursery and Greenhouse Workers
  • 8611 - Harvesting labourers
  • 9463 - Fish and seafood plant workers
  • 9617 - Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing
  • 9618 - Labourers in fish and seafood processing
  • 9462 - Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

For Transport Truck Drivers who are in a province that requires compulsory training, the foreign national must have this training certification at the time of the issuance of his or her work permit.

Yes, for workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.

For all other workers, you must pay the worker for a minimum of 30 hours per week, at the rate of pay specified on the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

You cannot allow the worker to work during the self-isolation period, unless they are providing an essential service as per the Chief Public Health Officer.

Yes. You are responsible for monitoring the health of workers who are self-isolating. It is suggested that you communicate with your self-isolated employees on a daily basis.

You must make sure that the employee is fully isolated from the others immediately. Contact local health officials. It is also recommended that the employee contacts the appropriate consulate.

You should provide information on the virus. You may check www.canada.ca/coronavirus for resources. It is suggested that the information is provided in a language the employee understands well. Many resources are available online.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has materials in other languages. For access to these materials, you may call 1-833-784-4397 or email phac.covid19.aspc@canada.ca

You must also post information about the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in the accommodations where the employee(s) is/are self-isolating. This should include information about the best practices for maintaining bathrooms and other facilities. It is suggested this information be posted in shared facilities and common areas. This information should be posted in a language the employee understands well.

You must report a violation of the Quarantine Act to local law enforcement.

You must place your self-isolating employee in separate accommodations. If you are unable to do so, you must find alternate accommodations, such as a hotel.

During the self-isolation period, you must ensure that the employee will avoid contact with older adults (those over 65), and those with medical conditions.

Yes, as long as it allows them to be two metres apart from each other at all times. Shared facilities are allowed. If this cannot be met, you must find alternate accommodations, such as a hotel.

It is recommended that date-stamped photos be taken of the accommodation including the facilities and the bedroom.

If a new employee is housed in the same accommodation as others who are self-isolating, the time resets to the arrival of the most recent employee.

You must also ensure that surfaces in the accommodations are disinfected and cleaned regularly, especially surfaces in bathrooms, kitchens and common areas. Workers may do this, or you may hire a professional cleaner. However, you are expected to provide all cleaning materials.

For Immigrants to Québec

Yes. The Ministère is continuing to process applications for permanent selection, regardless of the program under which they were submitted.

Several assistance programs have been put in place by the federal government as well as by Québec’s Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (MTESS).

For more information, visit the Temporary Aid for Workers Program (MTESS) of Québec or consult the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Yes. The 12 months of full-time work experience required to be eligible for the Québec experience program do not have to be acquired consecutively. Temporary foreign workers who have lost their job due to COVID-19, and would have wanted to submit an application for the PEQ, can therefore submit their application once they have resumed employment and have accumulated 12 months of full-time work in Québec.

MIFI will accept official transcripts and attestations of the successful completion of the study program. After submitting your diploma, official transcript, or attestation, you have three years to apply for a CSQ. During this time you can get a Post Graduation Work Permit that will allow you to work in Quebec for up to three years. In this time, you can obtain the work experience to apply as either a graduate or a temporary foreign worker.

Yes. French courses offered by educational institutions and community organizations have been suspended until further notice. If you are currently receiving an allowance under the Programme d'aide financière pour l'intégration linguistique des immigrants (PAFILI) you will continue to be paid until the end of the suspension of classes if you are a full-time student, and until the end of the term if you are a part-time student.
Your Quebec Acceptance Certificate will be automatically extended if it was set to expire between April 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

General FAQ

All refugee claimant appointments are cancelled until April 13th 2020. If you have an appointment booked, IRCC will contact you with your new appointment date. If you need to update your contact information, use the web form.

If you still do not have a pre-scheduled appointment, you may still submit an in-person refugee claim.

All biometrics collection services have been suspended. All appointments have been cancelled and applicants are advised not to go to any Service Canada locations until further notice. Applicants will be able to reschedule their appointments when Service Canada locations reopen. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is giving applicants in Canada 90 days from the date of their letter to give their biometrics. IRCC will be honouring the original letters, no new letters will be required.

At the current time, only Canadian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Canada. You may be allowed into Canada with a valid visitor visa if you are:

  • Registered under Canada’s Indian Act.
  • A protected person.
  • Immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident traveling to Canada for essential reasons.
  • Transiting passenger, and will be staying in an airport in Canada to connect to your next flight.
  • Member of the Canadian military or family member.
  • Accredited diplomats or family member.
  • Air or marine crew.
  • French citizen who lives in Saint Pierre et Miquelon who has not left the country except to Canada or the U.S. in the last 14 days.
  • Foreigner travelling from the U.S. who has only been in the U.S. or Canada in the last 14 days and is travelling for essential purposes.

Airlines will require you to pass a health check before boarding your flight. If you show symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board your flight.

You are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days even if you don’t show any symptoms.

We will provide an update on the issue of refunds once such information has been provided by IRCC.

All in-person renewals are postponed until April 13th.

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