How did the pandemic affect Canada immigration in 2020?

One of the important measures that have been taken by the Canadian Authorities due to COVID-19 is travel restrictions between March 18th and July 31st, 2020.

Foreigners have been prohibited from boarding a plane flying to Canada from any country except the U.S. Travelers who have symptoms are not allowed to fly to Canada, but may still be able to enter by land and must self isolate. All travelers must self-isolate themselves for 14 days after entering Canada from abroad. Exception: truck drivers who regularly cross the Canada-U.S. border to maintain the flow of goods.

Who were allowed to arrive in Canada until July 30th?

- Canadian citizens

- Permanent residents

- Immediate Family Members of Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents

- International Students who held a valid Canadian study permit or were issued a letter of invitation dated on or before March 18, 2020. These international students were already enrolled at a designated learning institution in Canada or had been accepted by a DLI and made arrangements to come to Canada to study before the travel restrictions were put in place. They will need to present:

  • a valid study permit,

  • a letter of introduction from IRCC dated on or before March 18, 2020

- Temporary Foreign Workers who were already established in Canada or who had made arrangements to come to Canada to work before the travel restrictions were put in place. It also includes new workers who are coming to Canada to be employed in critical industries, such as agriculture, food processing, health, transportation, and emergency services.

These foreign nationals can self-identify to airlines at the point of boarding that they are exempt under this provision by presenting

  • a valid work permit, or

  • a letter of introduction from IRCC

Permanent resident visa holders

These are those who were approved for permanent residence and who were eligible to travel to Canada to become landed permanent residents on or before March 18, 2020.

Many of these foreign nationals had already made arrangements to settle in Canada before the travel restrictions were put in place. 

These foreign nationals should present to airlines:

  • a permanent resident visa (nationals from visa-required countries only), or

  • a COPR document (all foreign nationals)

You can  find more information on the details and other exempt categories at

* Please note that these rules might change and in order to avoid any travel issues please confirm with the CBSA (Canadian Border Services).

Who are the immediate family members allowed to enter Canada?


The CBSA announced that as of June 8, 2020, 23:59 EDT, foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and who do not have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or who do not have reason to believe they have COVID-19, will be exempt from the prohibition on entry to Canada if entering to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days.

Foreign nationals who are admitted to Canada must quarantine for 14 days.

An immediate family member refers to a person’s:

a)      spouse or common-law partner;

b)      dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, or a dependent child of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;

c)      dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b):

d)      parent or step-parent or the parent or step-parent of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;

e)      guardian or tutor.

Non-essential traffic between the United States of America and Canada has temporarily stopped until July 21st, 2020.

Those travelers who are currently temporarily in Canada are able to apply online on IRCC’s website to update their status. No need to travel in person to the land border. Applications for temporary residence are accepted and reviewed by the Immigration Authorities, however, even if your application has been approved, you will not be able to enter Canada until the restrictions are removed.


Many potential applicants are wondering whether they are able to submit their residence application through Express Entry (EE) Application Profile. The Express Entry draws are still implemented; accordingly, you can submit both PR application and Express Entry Applications.

Moreover, despite the current “Coronavirus Quarantine” situation the Canadian provinces (PNP – Provincial Nominee Programs) hold draws as well.


Individuals who are unable to submit completed Permanent Resident Applications due to the current situation in the world are given an additional 90 days to complete the process.


Obviously, Canadian immigration processing times have been affected by Coronavirus closures and imposed restrictions. Currently, there is no expedited processing, except for special cases which will be decided at the discretion of the Migration Program Manager of the specific IRCC office.


All the temporary workers, students, and people who are in Canada on a temporary basis are able to apply for status extensions online. While your application is under consideration, you can stay in Canada.


Asylum claimants are accepted as well, except those who wish to make an asylum claim at the US-Canada border. The irregular migrants attempting to cross the border will be returned.


Keep in mind that Canadian Immigration Authorities might request additional documents necessary for all citizenship and immigration applications. Especially this might be the case with the additional medical documentation. Canadian Immigration applicants will have 90 days to respond to the request letter for additional documentation. New applications with missing supporting documentation will need to include an explanation.



In order to avoid delays Canadian Immigration Authorities require presenting the following documents as a proof of immediate family members’ having Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status:

  • Canadian passport

  • Canadian permanent resident (PR) card

  • Canadian permanent resident travel document

  • Visa-exempt foreign passport and IRCC Special Authorization for Canadian Citizens


Travelers flying to Canada should provide documents establishing their relationship to the family member such as a marriage or common-law status certificate, birth certificate, a Confirmation of Permanent Resident for Family Class Immigration, or other supporting documents.

PR applicants who have already received their Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a Permanent Resident Visa must inform the Canadian Immigration Officials if they are unable to travel.


Currently only the following Canadian airports open for international travel:


Flights arriving from the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean are excluded from this measure.


If the passenger has any sickness signs, she/he might be denied from boarding a plane unless they have a medical certificate that confirms the symptoms are not due to coronavirus.


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

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