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How Coronavirus is Affecting Canadian Immigration Processing Times

By Sierra March 31, 2020 (Updated April 4, 2020) 4 min. read
coronavirus affects

To manage the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), officials have announced travel restrictions that will limit travel to Canada. These restrictions will affect immigration, refugees, citizenship and passport applications at this time and differentiate by the situation. The latest updates on Canadian immigration can also be found here

Processing Times

Like always, the processing time when going through any of the program applications listed above will reflect on how many visa applications have been received. Your processing time starts the day your application is received and ends when a decision is made but it very important that your application is complete.

What Makes an Application Complete?

When you have answered all of the questions on the application form and submitted all necessary documents, your application is complete. If you forget to send a document, your application may be returned to you which can result in delayed processing of your application may be refused.

Use the Check Processing Time Tool to get a more accurate processing time depending on your unique process.

Workers, Students, and Visitors

All temporary foreign workers are exempt from travel restrictions and can travel to Canada by air or land.

If you’re an international student who has a valid study permit or was approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, you are exempt from the travel restrictions.

If a foreign worker or international student is traveling by air, you need to 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 your health will be assessed before you leave the port of entry. You must isolate for 14 days even if you have no symptoms.

Until further notice, visitors are not allowed to travel to Canada even if you have a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization. If you are already in Canada and hold a valid visa or eTA, you are able to stay. There are some visitors who are exempt from this change in Canadian travel.

Refugees, Claimants, and Sponsors

Refugee resettlement programs have been impacted by Canadian travel restrictions. If you’ve sponsored refugees, The Resettlement Operations Centre will contact you if the refugees you’re preparing to receive won’t be traveling. There will be no additional arrivals or new flight bookings until further notice.

Until April 13th, Canada will no longer interview refugee claimants or process refugee protection claimant document renewals in-person. If you had an interview scheduled, you will be contacted with rescheduled interview information.

Immigration Applications

Applications That Have Already Been Approved

If your application was approved on or before March 18, 2020, but you haven’t traveled to Canada yet, you’re exempt from the travel restrictions.

All in-person permanent resident landing appointments have been canceled until April 13, 2020. All landing appointments will be done by telephone or rescheduled for later.

Use this IRCC web form if your permanent resident application is already approved but you can’t travel to Canada before your documents expire OR you are able to travel but need guidance on your next steps.

Applications That Are Still Being Processed

No application in progress will be closed or refused because of documents missing due to COVID-19. You will be given 90 days to complete these steps including your biometrics.

To keep everyone safe, Service Canada has temporarily stopped collecting biometrics until further notice. All appointments have been canceled and will have to be rescheduled. If you are unable to give biometrics at a Service Canada location, don’t go to another location.

If you’re affected by these travel restrictions and­ want to withdraw your permanent residence application, use the web form to let the IRCC know. You will be issued a refund if you withdraw your application within 24 hours of submitting it and if the application hasn’t started processing.

Canadian and Citizenship Applicants

All citizenship events have been canceled across Canada until April 13, 2020, including citizenship ceremonies, citizenship tests/retests, hearings, interviews, and citizenship events in temporary offices.

Although these events have been canceled and may result in delays, the good news is that citizenship applications are still being accepted and a 90-day extension is granted to turn in required documents.

Permanent Residents

If you’re a landed permanent resident and have no symptoms of COVID-19, you’re allowed to travel to Canada. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 you will not be allowed to enter Canada by air but you can still enter at a land border.

If your permanent residence application is approved before March 18, 2020, but you haven’t landed yet, you’re also exempt from the travel restrictions and allowed to come to Canada.


As a permanent resident, your immediate family members are exempt from the travel restrictions and allowed to come to Canada and must show that they’re coming to Canada for essential reasons and not reasons that are optional or discretionary, such as tourism, recreation or entertainment.

Passport and Travel Documents

If you need to travel urgently, you can get passport and/or travel document services if you

You must wait to submit your passport application if

To get urgent travel document services, fill out the web form.

Non-urgent passport and travel document services are suspended until further notice.

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Belinda Maraj

Our experience with the team at VisaPlace has been absolutely amazing. Special thank you to Nadia Bakhtiari whom we had the pleasure of partnering with. Nadia was attentive, empathetic, knowledgeable, professional, friendly and accessible. She provided guidance and kept us in the loop every step of the way. We were so impressed with the professionalism and exceptional client experience from VisaPlace that we partnered with them for both our PR application and our citizenship application. Thank you VisaPlace and thank you Nadia!

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betty klassen

We were switched legal teams 3 times within our time there.( This was not our doing) We weren’t impressed at all with the service almost all the way through our experience. Our review would have been 1 star. The response time was awful. To get in contact with our attorney was so difficult. And not thorough. Almost at the end, when we were almost ready to file, we got switched again, but this time, we are thankful. The attorney we got then was Andrew Diamond. He is fantastic and the reason for the 5 star rating. This is his rating. He was phenomenal. Absolutely amazing and prompt with response time and very knowledgeable, thorough and so helpful. We couldn’t have asked for better. Thank you Andrew for all you did for us!

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Arash Sorkhabi

I’m satisfied with the expertise and professionalism with which my case was managed and handled. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the firm for its support. Although it has been a long process time due to Covid, Nadia has always been one of the first people to guide me step by step through the path during this stressful and unprecedented time. I strongly recommend VisaPlace to anyone seeking legal counsel.

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Sarb walia

I am thrilled to share that , We have just got our Permanent residence status under humanitarian and compassionate category. It was great experience to get professional service from visaplace. All team members very knowledgeable, hard worker, polite and professional. Special thanks to Yasmeen Ali, who always guide me through out processs. Its not easy task to get positive output in HM Category. I am highly recommend visaplace for any kind of immigration needs.

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Shannon Wilde

Applying for my E2 Visa was so overwhelming for me. As soon as I engaged VisaPlace all that worry and stress was gone. They guided me through the entire process and set me up for success! I would 100% recommend using them for any of your Visa Needs.

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Julia Rood

I reached out to VisaPlace kind of on a whim, knowing that I needed to apply for permanent residency in order to stay with my spouse and our two cats. They were immediately and incredibly responsive, and almost instantly made me feel that I was dealing with professionals who cared about my case.

I reached out to them August last year, and today got the confirmation that my permanent residency has been approved. The people I worked with in VisaPlace stuck with me through the whole process, answering any questions and assuaging any fears that I had about the process, my application, or what I needed to do. Even when my anxiety made me snappy (I apologized immediately!) they handled my case and me with professionalism and compassion. Immigration is a stressful, scary process. I wanted professionals who knew the ins-and-outs so that I had the best chance of being able to come to Canada.

And now, I get to stay in Canada with my partner of nearly 10 years, and I couldn’t be happier. I would absolutely recommend this service to anyone who wants immigration help! A big thank you, especially, to Alejandra and Nadia for handling my case. I’m so lucky to have had your help!

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Sanjida Prima

Had a great experience working with the people at VisaPlace for a Permanent Residency application! The team I dealt with (Nadia B., Krisztina T., Mansi S.) was extremely knowledgeable, prompt and handled the case with care. I would definitely recommend their services to anyone in need!