Impact of COVID-19 on Canada’s Visa Processing

In an attempt to contain the spread of Coronavirus, Canada has put in place several travel restrictions to prevent people from entering into Canada, with some exemptions. As a result, there has been a suspension of the processing of non-essential visitor visa applications. This is done to ensure that the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is able to divert the resources to work on critical services. The suspension is applicable on some electronic travel authorization (eTA) applications as well.

However, Canada visa processing and eTA applications will continue for the exceptional cases, which includes all temporary foreign worker applications, with a particular focus on essential services like medical field or supply food chains.

For study permits, the processing will continue as the fall study term is approaching. IRCC will continue to process the applications with its maximum potential. The study permit applications require biometrics and the services of many visa application centers are shut due to lockdown situation across the nations. To address the issue, applicants are allowed a time of 90 days as compared to 30 days earlier to complete their biometric formalities.

One thing to note here is that only the students who have been granted study permit before 18th March, 2020 are allowed to travel to Canada at present.

Further, the permanent residence applications are also being processed continuously and only those who got approval for their permanent residency before 18th March, 2020 can travel to Canada as of now.

Those who qualify for the exemption to travel (workers, students or visitors) are supposed to apply for their visa online. For any guidelines and changes further, IRCC is updating regularly until the situation restores to normal and restrictions are lifted.

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