How is Coronavirus affecting Canada immigration?

The World Health Organization WHO has declared the Coronavirus outbreak as a Pandemic. This outbreak has affected hundreds of thousands of people in over 100 countries and still spreading.

China, Italy, and Iran seems to be the worst-hit countries with over 90% of the deaths as a result of this Coronavirus pandemic recorded in these countries. Canada has about 138 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus with just only one death recorded.

The Canadian government is taking special measures to accommodate visa applications from countries affected by the Coronavirus. Candidates from countries like China, South Korea, Iran and Italy who had applied for Canadian visas are given more time to complete the necessary procedures.

According to the IRCC website, the following applicants would be able to avail the new measures:

  • you’re a Chinese, Iranian or South Korean national; or
  • you’re in China, Iran or South Korea; and
  • you’re affected by service disruptions or travel restrictions related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Disruptions include the following:
  • visa application centre closures
  • service disruptions at Canadian visa offices
  • travel plan disruptions
  • limited access to local government offices and businesses
  • limited access to a panel physician who can do the immigration medical exam
  • There is also help available if you need a permanent resident travel document to travel back to Canada.

For candidates whose application for Permanent Residence, Work Permit, Visitor Visa or Study Permit is still incomplete, the IRSS website stated that such applications would not be rejected or closed due to lack of sufficient documents. Such applicants will be given 90 days extra time to complete the documentation.

Even though the IRCC letter may say 30 days, Candidates will also be given 90 days extra time to complete their biometrics.

For Permanent Residence Applicants

Ideally, Candidates who received an invitation to Apply ITA via the Express Entry system will need to submit their application within 60 days. But due to the Coronavirus service application, IRCC says they will accept your application even if it is incomplete.

But you must submit a letter explaining the reason why you are missing some documents. Your application will be held until further notice.

You can use the IRCC online web form to submit the missing documentation at a later date.

For Canadian Citizenship Applicants

If you missed a citizenship event or appointment such as the knowledge test, a retest, the interview, a hearing or taking the oath of citizenship because you couldn’t travel to Canada, you must inform the IRCC within 30 days of missing the appointment or event.

You can use the online web form to submit documents to the IRCC if you have returned from a country affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. You’ll be given an additional 30 days to submit the required documents for your citizenship application. You’ll have an additional 45 days for medical opinion forms.


Extra days spent in affected countries due to the virus will not count as days in Canada. Applicants must still meet the physical presence requirement.

For PR Visa holders restricted from traveling to Canada

If your permanent residence application has been approved, but you can’t travel to Canada before your documents expire, you must inform the IRCC through the online web form. This is also applicable to those whose PR Visas have already expired.

For Temporary Visa holders unable to leave Canada

You can apply online to extend your stay in Canada if you are a visitor, worker or student. Those who are on a Student Visa or Work Visa nearing expiry may also change their Visa status to “Visitor”, provided their Visas are still valid. Eligible applicants may also be able to extend their Work or Student Visas.

Special Instructions For Some Countries

If you need a visitor visa, study permit or work permit to travel to Canada urgently due to exceptional circumstances, you must apply online or you have already applied for temporary residence, send an email to the Visa office in Beijing ( after your application to request urgent processing of your application.

Iran & South Korea

If you need a visitor visa, study permit or work permit to travel to Canada urgently due to exceptional circumstances, you need to apply online. After you apply, fill out a web form to explain your emergency and request urgent processing of your visa or permit application. To make sure the request goes to the right office,

  • Answer “No” when asked the question “Is your application being processed by an office outside Canada?”
  • Complete the rest of the form.

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