COVID-19: Latest Canada Immigration News & FAQs

COVID-19: Latest Canada Immigration News & FAQs

This Alpha Consultants page provides you with the latest information on travel-related measures and how the coronavirus pandemic affects Canada's immigration system.

The following FAQs aim to give you information on how Canada's current measure regarding COVID-19 may affect you.


Frequently Asked Questions

1) Can I travel to Canada right now?

If you are a fully vaccinated non-essential traveller you are allowed to enter Canada as of September 7, 2021.

To verify if you are allowed to enter Canada at this time, you may use this government tool.

If you are not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated against COVID-19, you can only enter Canada if you meet one of Canada's travel restriction exemptions and comply with Canada's special travel requirements. The following individuals may cross the border into Canada even if they are not vaccinated:

  • 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)
  • Extended family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents, (individuals in an exclusive and long-term relationship and their dependent children; non-dependent children, grandchildren, siblings, half-and step-siblings and grandparents)
  • Foreign nationals who hold a valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR)
  • Temporary foreign workers
  • Foreign nationals entering Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds in special circumstances, such as terminal illness, serious injury or death.
  • International students who held a valid study permit or who had been approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020
  • International students attending a Designated Learning Institution that has obtained prior approval of its response plan to control the spread of COVID-19 from the provincial government.

As of January 15, 2022, certain groups of travellers who are currently exempt from entry requirements will only be admitted to Canada if they are fully vaccinated.

These groups of travellers are family reunification travellers (unvaccinated children 18 years of age or younger are still exempt if they are travelling to join an immediate or extended family member who is fully vaccinated or a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or a person registered under the Indian Act).

International students 18 years of age and older will also be required to be fully vaccinated, as will professional and amateur athletes, persons with valid work permits, including temporary foreign workers (other than those in the agriculture and agri-food sectors), and essential service providers, including truck drivers.

2) What are the latest government measures that could affect my travel to Canada?
  • Effective December 21, all travellers as well as their accompanying children who travelled abroad have to provide a negative PCR pre-arrival test upon their return.
  • Effective November 30, passengers 12 years and older are not allowed on flights departing from Canadian airports, take a VIA Rail train, a Rocky Mountaineer train and cruise ship passengers on trips of 24 hours or more if they are not fully vaccinated.
  • The following are vaccines currently approved in Canada:
    • Pfizer;
    • Moderna;
    • AstraZeneca;
    • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson);
    • Sinopharm;
    • Sinovac; and
  • Requirements for fully vaccinated travellers are as follows:
    • Pre-arrival: All fully vaccinated travellers are required to plan their quarantine and take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before arrival to Canada. Testing information is to be entered using the ArriveCAN app. Travellers will need to prepare their ArriveCAN receipt and required documents which include a confirmation of a negative pre-entry test, a digital or paper copy of their proof of vaccination.
    • Upon arrival: Travellers will need to provide the required information and documentation, including proof of vaccination, and answer questions relating to eligibility, vaccination and health screening. Canada is conducting testing and mandating quarantine at random on travellers arriving by air from destinations other than the United States. Quarantine is mandatory until test results are received.
    • Post-arrival: Travellers who meet all entry requirements and are fully vaccinated will be exempt from quarantine and government-approved hotel accommodation, as well as from day 8 testing. Unvaccinated dependents of fully vaccinated travellers are nor required to quarantine but must follow strict public health measures.
  • Requirements for travellers who are not fully vaccinated are as follows:
    • Pre-arrival: All travellers are required to submit contact and travel information through the ArriveCAN app before entering Canada. Anyone entering Canada is required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The test must have been taken within 72 hours of entry into Canada or the scheduled departure time of the flight. Should a traveller have previously tested positive for COVID-19, they will be required to provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test performed between 14 and 90 days prior to entry into Canada or the scheduled flight. Children under 5 years of age are exempt from these requirements.
    • Upon arrival: All individuals arriving through land borders or by air will be required to take a COVID-19 test at arrival and another one on day 8 of their 14 day mandatory quarantine period. Children under 5 years of age and anyone with proof of a positive COVID-19 test performed between 14 and 90 days prior to travel are exempt from this requirement. 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.
  • Effective September 27, Canada is welcoming direct flights from India again. Passengers are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the Delhi Airport approved Genestrings laboratory within 18 hours of their scheduled departure to Canada.
  • Effective October 29, Canada is welcoming direct commercial and private passenger flights from Morocco to Canada. Passengers will need to have a negative COVID-19 molecular pre-departure test that is issued by the Government of Morocco and recognized by the European Commission. This test should be taken within 72 hours before lift off.
3) Which Canadian airports are currently accepting international passenger flights?

10 Canadian airports are currently accepting international flights:

  • Halifax Stanfield International, Québec
  • City Jean Lesage International,
  • Montréal-Trudeau International,
  • Ottawa/Macdonald–Cartier International,
  • Toronto Pearson International,
  • Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre,
  • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International,
  • Edmonton International,
  • Calgary International, and;
  • Vancouver International.

Starting November 30, 2021, international passenger flights are also be permitted to land at the following additional Canadian airports:

  • St. John's International;
  • St. John C. Munro Hamilton International;
  • Waterloo Region International Airport;
  • Regina International;
  • Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International;
  • Kelowna International;
  • Abbotsford International;
  • Victoria International.

Transport Canada is continually evaluating the possibility of adding additional airports as conditions warrant, according to demand, operational capacity, the epidemiological situation in Canada and recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

4) What documents do I need to travel to Canada?

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) are exempt from the travel restrictions and can self-identify to airlines by presenting:

  • Permanent resident visa, or
  • A COPR document
5) Can I apply for immigration or temporary residence in Canada right now?

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.

Canada is increasing immigration to strengthen its economy after the coronavirus pandemic is over. Canada is still open to those wishing to submit an application to come to the country. Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Program, Quebec, and other immigration programs continue to operate. Under its new 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, Canada will seek to welcome over 400,000 immigrants per year. This is the highest level of immigration in Canadian history.

6) Can I submit an Express Entry profile during coronavirus pandemic?

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. The federal government has held Express Entry draws throughout the pandemic and, in February issued a historic number of over 27 000 invitations in one draw. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Quebec skilled worker draws are also occurring frequently.

7) Is Canada still processing application for immigration?

Yes, Canada is actively processing applications for most immigration programs, but delays are possible.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has an updated tool to check application processing times. Immigration applicants can now use this tool to check average processing times.

8) Can I apply for permanent residence in Canada?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria of a Canadian immigration program.

9) I am a foreign worker or student, can I come to Canada?

Yes, if you fall under the list of exempted individuals.

To be able to enter Canada as a student, you must meet 2 requirements:

  1. You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit
  2. You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory

If you are a foreign worker are are coming for a non-discretionary reason, or if you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller you may be able to enter Canada.

If you are a foreign worker and have an open work permit but you don’t qualify as a fully-vaccinated traveller, you must also have a valid job offer, to travel to Canada.

All fully vaccinated travellers must have a 14-day quarantine plan in place before arriving in Canada.

10) I am in Canada and have visitor status, Can I apply for a work permit?

Visitors who are currently in Canada and have a valid job offer will be able to apply for a employer-specific work permit and, if approved, receive the permit without having to leave Canada. This is a coronavirus measure and is in effect until February 28, 2022. More details are available here.

11) Is Quebec still processing applications for permanent selection?

Yes, Québec is processing applications for permanent selection, regardless of the program under which they were submitted

12) The deadline for submitting my application is fast approaching and I can't get all the required documents together. What can I do?

Generally, if you are unable to gather the required documents due to COVID-19, you may be granted additional time to submit them. Your application will be approved or denied at the discretion of the immigration officer handling your case.

Extensions for missing documents and/or information are no longer being granted automatically, and the onus is now on the applicant to prove that a new extension is needed.

If documents are missing, the immigration officer will issue a letter requesting additional information or documents, and the applicant will only have 30 days to respond. Applicants must respond within the 30-day period by either providing the missing information/documents or by submitting a request for an additional extension with a reasonable explanation and proof of the explanation that would keep the application open.

13) Are IRCC offices and visa application centers open?

IRCC has begun offering some in-person services in a few offices. Applicants are being contacted to make appointments and only clients with a scheduled appointment can currently visit an office.

14) I am in Canada. Can I attend my biometrics appointment?

Applicants in Canada can now book their biometrics appointments on Service Canada's website. For more information refer to the biometrics information on this page.

15) What can I do if I am unable to take an immigration medical examination?

In general, applications in progress will not be closed or refused if you are unable to pass the medical examination.

Due to COVID-19, some panel physician offices may be closed. If you need to make an appointment for an immigration medical examination (IME), contact the panel physician's office to see if they are open and conducting examinations.

If your application is in process and you cannot complete your IME due to COVID-19, find out what to do by following this link.