Help us make Moving2Canada better! Complete our Community Survey and be entered for a chance to win one of two CAD$50 Amazon giftcards. You must complete the survey by October 31 to be considered. Winners will be contacted by email. Start the survey here.

Latest update: October 21, 2021
Jump ahead to:

Most recent updates to Canada’s travel restrictions & immigration policies during the COVID-19 pandemic

October COVID travel updates:

No major changes Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions have been implemented so far in October. However, there have been two important updates which may impact those travelling to Canada, as well as those in Canada travelling abroad.

1. The United States will open their borders to fully vaccinated travellers as of November 8: The U.S. border re-opening applies to the U.S.-Canada land border, as well as to air travel to the U.S. All vaccines approved in Canada, including mixed dose vaccines, will be accepted by the United States. However, Canadian residents travelling to the U.S. should bear in mind that Canada continues to require proof of a negative COVID-19 test for re-entry — even for fully vaccinated Canadians re-entering the country (full details below). This means that any Canadian residents travelling to the U.S. should plan ahead to get a COVID-19 test for their re-entry to Canada.

2. Is Canada creating a vaccine passport for international travel? All of Canada’s provinces and territories have been using different systems to show proof of vaccination, but soon the federal government will be introducing a national standard for proof of vaccination. On October 21, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will be collaborating with the provinces to issue a standardized “proof of vaccination” for all vaccinated persons. Trudeau is “very confident” that the new documentation, essentially serving as a vaccine passport for international travel, will be accepted worldwide.

The new national standard for vaccine passports is already available in some provinces and territories across Canada and is expected to roll out nationwide in the weeks and months ahead. Until Canadian residents receive their new proof of vaccination, they can continue to use the proof issued by their province or territory.

Trudeau’s announcement comes as most provinces and territories across Canada already require proof of vaccination for certain activities. As well, as of October 30, proof of vaccination will be mandatory on domestic flights and VIA Rail trains within Canada, and Canadian cruise ships.

Canada is open to fully vaccinated travellers from all countries:

Fully vaccinated non-essential travellers from all countries have been allowed to enter Canada since September 7, 2021.

There are still special travel requirements in place, even for the fully vaccinated:

  • Pre-arrival COVID-19 test: All travellers still require a pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test (note: antigen tests, often called “rapid tests,” are not accepted). For travellers arriving at the land border with the U.S., this test must be taken within 72 hours of arriving at the Canadian border. For air travellers, this test must be taken within 72 hours of flight departure.
  • On-arrival COVID-19 test (Day One test): A new randomized testing system is being used for fully vaccinated travellers. Only fully vaccinated travellers who are randomly selected will have to complete an on-arrival COVID-19 test. All unvaccinated/partially vaccinated travellers will still have to take an on-arrival test.
  • End of mandatory hotel stay for air travellers: Air travellers no longer have to stay in a government-authorized hotel while awaiting their on-arrival COVID-19 test results. This applies to all travellers from all countries. Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated air travellers may proceed directly to their quarantine location. Fully vaccinated air travellers will be exempt from quarantine.
  • Children under the age of 12: Children under the age of 12 travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians can enter Canada and are exempt from quarantine requirements, but will have to follow certain special measures, like avoiding schools, camps, and daycares. Refer here for details about requirements for children under the age of 12.

Your questions about entering Canada as a fully vaccinated traveller: Answered.

Who is considered ‘fully vaccinated’?

Under current definitions (and these could change in the future), in order to be considered a fully vaccinated traveller, you must have received the full series of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines. You must have received your last dose at least 14 days prior to travelling. Canada currently accepts four vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Johnson & Johnson. If you have been vaccinated using a different vaccine, Canada does not consider you fully vaccinated at this time.

Will fully vaccinated travellers have to do anything special to travel to Canada?

Pre-arrival COVID-19 test: All travellers still require a pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test (note: antigen tests, often called “rapid tests,” are not accepted). For travellers arriving at the land border with the U.S., this test must be taken within 72 hours of arriving at the Canadian border. For air travellers, this test must be taken within 72 hours of flight departure.

On-arrival COVID-19 test (Day One test): A randomized testing system is in place for fully vaccinated travellers. Only fully vaccinated travellers who are randomly selected have to complete an on-arrival COVID-19 test. All unvaccinated/partially vaccinated travellers will still have to take an on-arrival test.

Proof of vaccination and other required documents must be uploaded to the ArriveCAN app at least 72 hours prior to arrival in Canada.

Which foreign nationals are able to travel as of September 7, 2021?

Foreign nationals from all countries are eligible to travel to Canada as of September 7, as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (see above for definition of ‘fully vaccinated’).

What about children under the age of 12?

Children under the age of 12 travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians can enter Canada and are exempt from quarantine requirements, but will have to follow certain special measures, like avoiding schools, camps, and daycares. Refer here for details about requirements for children under the age of 12.

Please refer below for details on other exemptions from Canada travel restrictions and what is required of individuals entering Canada.

Are you planning travel to Canada once borders open? Make sure you have proper health insurance coverage for your stay. Explore your health insurance options with our partner, Cigna. Get started today with a free quote!

Who can enter Canada during COVID-19?

If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19: You are eligible to enter Canada as of September 7, 2021.

If you are unvaccinated/partially vaccinated against COVID-19: You can only enter Canada if you meet one of the exemptions to Canada’s travel restrictions and follow Canada’s special travel requirements (including COVID-19 testing and mandatory 14-day quarantine). The following groups can cross the border into Canada, even if they are unvaccinated:

  • Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents;
  • immediate family members* of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents who are travelling to Canada for non-discretionary reasons;
  • extended family members** and long-term partners** of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (or their partners) who apply for written authorization from IRCC;
  • immediate family members* of temporary residents in Canada who receive written authorization from IRCC;
  • temporary workers who hold a valid work permit or who are approved for a work permit but have not yet been issued the work permit (please note that flagpoling is not permitted at this time, refer below for more details);
  • COPR-holders with a valid COPR can enter Canada as of June 21, 2021 (full details here);
  • IEC participants who have not yet activated their work permits must have a valid job offer in order to enter, this job offer does not need to be in an essential sector (Source: IRCC);
  • IEC participants who have already activated their work permits and were outside the country temporarily do not require a valid job offer in order to re-enter (Source: IRCC; note that anecdotal reports suggest airline staff and border officers may still deny entry without proof of a connection to Canada like employment, housing, or family);
  • international students attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that is on the approved list (schools which have a COVID-19 readiness plan) and have either a valid study permit or a letter of introduction showing that they’ve been approved for a study permit (Source: IRCC);
  • those granted special permission to enter for compassionate reasons.

There are a handful of other exceptional exemptions listed here.

*The following types of family members are considered ‘immediate’:

>

The following types of family members are considered “immediate”:

  • the spouse or common-law partner of the person;
  • a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
  • a dependent child of a dependent child;
  • the parent or step-parent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or
  • the guardian or tutor of the person.

**The following types of family members are considered to be “extended” or “long-term couples”:

>

The following types of family members are considered to be ‘extended’ or ‘long-term couples’:

  • an individual who is in an exclusive dating relationship with the person, has been in such a relationship for at least 1 year and has spent time in the physical presence of the person during the course of the relationship;
  • a dependent child of the person in the exclusive dating relationship;
  • a child of the person, of their spouse or common-law partner or of the person in the exclusive dating relationship;
  • a dependent child of a child (that is, a grandchild);
  • a sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
  • a grandparent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner.

Are you planning travel to Canada once borders open? Make sure you have proper health insurance coverage for your stay. Explore your health insurance options with our partner, Cigna. Get started today with a free quote!

What do you need when travelling to Canada during COVID-19?

If you do choose to travel to Canada at this time, there are strict requirements for entry. The entry requirements are different for travellers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who are not fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated / partially vaccinated travellers to Canada: Special travel requirements

If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, please refer here for the instructions that apply to you.

First, ensure that you are allowed to enter Canada. If you are eligible to enter Canada at this time, you will need to follow these special measures:

  1. Entering by air — Pre-departure negative COVID-19 test: All travellers over five years of age arriving in Canada by air must show negative test results from a COVID-19 molecular test (note: antigen tests, often called “rapid tests,” are not accepted) obtained no more than 72 hours prior to boarding their flight (or a positive COVID-19 test result from 14 to 90 days prior to boarding). Obtaining test results is the responsibility of the traveller. (Source: Government of Canada)
  2. Entering by air — COVID-19 testing upon arrival: All unvaccinated/partially vaccinated air passengers arriving in Canada are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival (Source: Government of Canada). Travellers then must complete their mandatory 14-day quarantine (detailed below). Previously, air travellers had to undergo a mandatory hotel stay, but this requirement ended on August 9, 2021.
  3. Entering by land at the U.S. border — COVID-19 testing requirements: All non-essential travellers crossing the land border into Canada from the United States must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test (antigen tests or ‘rapid tests’ are not accepted) taken in the United States within 72 hours of crossing the border (or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival). Travellers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 upon arrival, as well as an additional COVID-19 test near the end of their 14-day quarantine period. (Source: Government of Canada)
  4. All travellers — mandatory 14-day quarantine: Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated travellers entering Canada will be forced to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine. You must prepare an isolation plan in advance of arrival in Canada detailing where and how you will complete your quarantine. This quarantine is being enforced and those breaking quarantine may be subject to fines and jail time. Certain exemptions will be made for essential workers and in certain compassionate situations (Source: IRCC).
  5. All travellers — ArriveCAN app: All those travelling to Canada by air must use the ArriveCAN app to submit information regarding their travel/contact info, quarantine plan, and COVID-19 self-assessment. (Source: Government of Canada).

Fully vaccinated travellers to Canada: Special travel requirements

First, ensure that you are allowed to enter Canada (refer to the section above on who can and cannot enter at this time). If you meet an exemption to Canada’s travel restrictions, you still need to follow the steps listed below in order to enter.

In order to be considered a fully vaccinated traveller, you must have received the full series of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines. You must have received your last dose at least 14 days prior to travelling. Canada currently accepts four vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Johnson & Johnson. If you have been vaccinated using a different vaccine, you are not eligible for this exemption at this time.

  1. Pre-arrival negative COVID-19 test: All travellers over five years of age arriving in Canada must show negative COVID-19 molecular test results (note: antigen tests, or ‘rapid tests,’ are not accepted). If arriving by air, travellers must take their test within 72 hours of their flight departure. If arriving at the U.S. land border, travellers must take a test in the United States within 72 hours of arriving at the border. Travellers who have recovered from COVID-19 may instead present proof of a positive COVID-19 test taken within 14 to 90 days of arrival. Full details on testing requirements are here.
  2. Proof of vaccination submitted via ArriveCAN app: Fully vaccinated individuals travelling to Canada must use the ArriveCAN app before arriving in Canada to submit information regarding their proof of vaccination and other details.
  3. On-arrival COVID-19 test (Day One test): A new randomized testing system is being used for fully vaccinated travellers. Only fully vaccinated travellers who are randomly selected will have to complete an on-arrival COVID-19 test.
  4. Quarantine plan: Even though fully vaccinated travellers are exempt from the quarantine requirement, these travellers must still prepare a suitable quarantine plan in case border officers determine they are not eligible for the exemption or they test positive during an on-arrival COVID-19 test.
  5. Children under the age of 12: Children under the age of 12 travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians can enter Canada and are exempt from quarantine requirements, but will have to follow certain special measures, like avoiding schools, camps, and daycares. Refer here for details about requirements for children under the age of 12.

Full details on travel requirements for fully vaccinated travellers are here.

Are you planning travel to Canada once borders open? Make sure you have proper health insurance coverage for your stay. Explore your health insurance options with our partner, Cigna. Get started today with a free quote!

Most common questions about travelling to Canada during COVID-19

Can I still enter Canada at this time?

>

If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19: You are eligible to enter Canada as of September 7, 2021.

If you are unvaccinated/partially vaccinated against COVID-19: You can only enter Canada if you meet one of the exemptions to Canada’s travel restrictions and follow Canada’s special travel requirements (including COVID-19 testing and mandatory 14-day quarantine). The following groups can cross the border into Canada, even if they are unvaccinated:

  • Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents;
  • immediate family members* of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents who are travelling to Canada for non-discretionary reasons;
  • extended family members** and long-term partners** of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (or their partners) who apply for written authorization from IRCC;
  • immediate family members* of temporary residents in Canada who receive written authorization from IRCC;
  • COPR-holders with a valid COPR can enter Canada as of June 21, 2021 (full details here);
  • temporary workers who hold a valid work permit or who are approved for a work permit but have not yet been issued the work permit (please note that flagpoling is not permitted at this time, refer below for more details);
  • IEC participants who have not yet activated their work permits must have a valid job offer in order to enter, this job offer does not need to be in an essential sector (Source: IRCC);
  • IEC participants who have already activated their work permits and were outside the country temporarily do not require a valid job offer in order to re-enter (Source: IRCC; note that anecdotal reports suggest airline staff and border officers may still deny entry without proof of a connection to Canada like employment, housing, or family);
  • international students attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that is on the approved list (schools which have a COVID-19 readiness plan) and have either a valid study permit or a letter of introduction showing that they’ve been approved for a study permit (Source: IRCC);
  • those granted special permission to enter for compassionate reasons.

There are a handful of other exceptional exemptions listed here.

*The following types of family members are considered “immediate”:

  • the spouse or common-law partner of the person;
  • a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
  • a dependent child of a dependent child;
  • the parent or step-parent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or
  • the guardian or tutor of the person.

**The following types of family members are considered to be “extended” or “long-term couples”:

  • an individual who is in an exclusive dating relationship with the person, has been in such a relationship for at least 1 year and has spent time in the physical presence of the person during the course of the relationship;
  • a dependent child of the person in the exclusive dating relationship;
  • a child of the person, of their spouse or common-law partner or of the person in the exclusive dating relationship;
  • a dependent child of a child (that is, a grandchild);
  • a sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
  • a grandparent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner.

I am the relative of someone who’s in Canada. Can I enter the country?

>

Fully vaccinated travellers from all countries are eligible to enter Canada as of September 7, 2021.

Unvaccinated / partially vaccinated travellers may be eligible to enter Canada if they have one of the following familial relationships to someone in Canada:

Immediate family members* of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents who are travelling to Canada for non-discretionary reasons can enter the country at this time.

Extended family members** and long-term partners** of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (or their partners) who apply for and receive written authorization from IRCC can enter Canada at this time.

Immediate family members* of temporary residents in Canada who apply for and receive written authorization from IRCC can enter Canada at this time.

*The following types of family members are considered “immediate”:

  • the spouse or common-law partner of the person;
  • a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
  • a dependent child of a dependent child;
  • the parent or step-parent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or
  • the guardian or tutor of the person.

**The following types of family members are considered to be “extended” or “long-term couples”:

  • an individual who is in an exclusive dating relationship with the person, has been in such a relationship for at least 1 year and has spent time in the physical presence of the person during the course of the relationship;
  • a dependent child of the person in the exclusive dating relationship;
  • a child of the person, of their spouse or common-law partner or of the person in the exclusive dating relationship;
  • a dependent child of a child (that is, a grandchild);
  • a sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
  • a grandparent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner.

Is Canada still processing immigration applications?

>

Canada is still processing immigration applications for most immigration programs, with some delays and restrictions in place. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has updated the tool for checking application processing times. Immigration applicants can now use this tool to check average processing times. Even with the updated tool, processing times are not available for many popular immigration programs.

Are invitations still being issued through Express Entry?

>
Yes. For several months now, Express Entry draws have continued throughout the pandemic. Throughout 2021, all Express Entry draws have been exclusive to candidates in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and those with provincial nominations. More information here.

Are invitations still being issued through International Experience Canada?

>
Yes. As of March 1, the 2021 IEC season is open for many countries. New COVID-19 measures have been introduced. Full details in our Working Holiday Newshub.

Are invitations still being issued through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)?

>
Yes. PNP draws were never fully paused at any point in the pandemic. You can track the latest PNP draw results in our PNP Live Tracker.

I have my COPR. Can I still enter Canada despite the travel ban?

>
Yes. As of June 21, 2021, those with valid COPRs are eligible to enter Canada. COPR-holders will have to follow all COVID-19 special travel measures (refer above for the up-to-date measures). Those with expired COPRs will be contacted by IRCC to have their documents reissued. Full details here.

I am inside Canada and have been approved for PR. How do I confirm my status?

>
Canada has introduced a new online portal enabling successful applicants for permanent resident status who are residing in Canada to confirm their PR status. This new online portal enables new permanent residents who are in Canada to confirm their PR status without the need for an in-person interview. Full details here.

My travel document (LOI, visitor visa, etc.) is going to expire and I can’t travel to Canada. What do I do?

>

If your travel document is going to expire within the next 30 days, please complete the IRCC online web form to advise them of your issue. Include as many details as possible. Please wait until 30 days before your document’s expiry date before submitting your extension request.

IRCC has indicated that they will offer extensions to some users who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

My application deadline is approaching and I cannot gather all the required documents. What do I do?

>

If you cannot gather required documents due to COVID-19, you may be able to request an extension on the document requirements. Your request will be approved or denied at the discretion of the immigration officer handling your file.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Canadian government brought in a new policy where immigration applicants who were unable to supply certain types of information or documents were automatically granted 90-day extensions to provide these documents. Many applicants were issued multiple automatic extensions as the pandemic continued. This policy ended on April 12, 2021.

As of April 12, 2021, when an immigration officer issues a request letter for additional information or documents, the applicant will be given only 30 days to respond. Applicants must respond within the 30-day timeframe either by submitting the missing information/documents or by submitting a request for an additional extension with a “reasonable explanation and proof of the explanation that would allow the application to remain open.” Full details here.

Essentially, extensions for missing documents and/or information will no longer be granted automatically, and it is now the responsibility of the applicant to prove a further extension is necessary.

I have a Canadian study permit or work permit, but I am temporarily outside Canada. Will I be able to come back?

>

The answer to this question depends on the type of work permit or study permit you’ve received and your date of issue. According to official guidelines published by IRCC, individuals who meet the following conditions may still enter Canada:

  • fully vaccinated travellers from all countries are eligible to enter Canada as of September 7, 2021. If you are fully vaccinated, you should be able to re-enter Canada;
  • Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated temporary workers who hold a valid work permit or who are approved for a work permit but have not yet been issued the work permit (holding a Letter of Introduction);
  • Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated IEC participants who have not yet activated their work permits must have a valid job offer in order to enter, this job offer does not need to be in an essential sector (Source: IRCC);
  • Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated IEC participants who have already activated their work permits and were outside the country temporarily do not require a valid job offer in order to re-enter (Source: IRCC; note that anecdotal reports suggest airline staff may still request to see proof of a connection to Canada like employment, housing, or family, when boarding);
  • Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated international students attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that is on the approved list (schools which have a COVID-19 readiness plan) and have either a valid study permit or a letter of introduction showing that they’ve been approved for a study permit (Source: IRCC).

I am inside Canada and have my POE letter of introduction. How can I activate my work permit or study permit?

>

There is a temporary process that has been introduced during the pandemic allowing permits to be activated from inside Canada — this is in place until at least August 31, 2021.

The government asks that individuals do not flagpole (travel to a Port of Entry) in order to activate work permits or study permits from inside Canada at this time.

I am inside Canada with 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 an employer-specific work permit and, if approved, receive the permit without having to leave Canada. Eligible job offers must be supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or exempt from needing one. Full details here.

I am inside Canada as a student/worker/visitor and I am unable to leave. Can I extend my study/work/visitor status?

>

Temporary residents stuck inside Canada may be able to extend their status, or restore their status if they’ve fallen out of status (refer below for details on restoration of status). Follow the guidelines in IRCC’s special measures to help those affected by the coronavirus as well as those in IRCC’s temporary public policy for certain out-of-status foreign nationals in Canada.

If your work permit or study permit has expired (or is going to expire), you must apply to extend your status, either as a worker, a student, or transitioning to visitor status. If you do not apply to extend your status and your work/study permit expires, you are technically not legally entitled to continue working or studying in Canada (until you apply to restore your status). Follow the IRCC instructions that apply to your situation.

Holders of Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs): On January 27, 2021, Canada started accepting applications through a new temporary immigration program enabling certain recent international graduates to apply for an extra open work permit (Source: IRCC). Read our full reporting on this update.

Continued below…

We hope you are enjoying the content on Moving2Canada.

We pride ourselves on delivering fast and accurate immigration news to our community. Revenue from trusted advertisers helps support this work.

Please consider disabling your ad blocker while visiting our site.

I am inside Canada with an employer-specific work permit, but I lost my job. Am I allowed to get a new job?

>

Temporary workers inside Canada may start a job with a new employer more quickly through a new streamlined process announced in May, 2020 (Source: IRCC). As many temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in Canada lost their jobs due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, the government has created a temporary policy allowing these TFWs, who are already in Canada with an employer-specific work permit, to more quickly change employers.

Normally, TFWs who lost their job in Canada would have to apply for a new work permit and wait until a decision is made on this application—a process that usually takes 10+ weeks. Under the new process, TFWs can start a position with a new employer before their new work permit application is processed.

Important: TFWs with employer-specific work permit still have to apply for their new work permit. After applying, they must follow the instructions on this IRCC webpage, and must wait until receiving email confirmation from IRCC that they can start working in their new position.

TFWs with open work permits are always able to switch employers, so this policy does not impact them.

How can I submit biometrics with my application during COVID-19?

>

In most cases where biometrics were required before COVID-19, they are still required. Instructions for completing your biometrics depend on where you’re living. Take note, however, that due to COVID-19, certain applicants who would normally require biometrics are now exempt from needing them (refer below for more details).

If you are residing inside Canada and need to complete your biometrics: On November 30, 2020, Service Canada re-opened their online scheduling system for biometrics appointments. Full details here.

If you are residing outside Canada and need to complete your biometrics: Please consult our guide on biometrics for Canadian immigration to understand what options are available in your region.

Biometrics exemptions due to COVID-19

On July 15, Canada announced that certain temporary resident applicants who are inside Canada will be exempt from the requirement to provide biometrics (Source: IRCC). This is a temporary measure. The exemption includes those who are applying from within Canada:

  • to extend your stay as a student, worker or visitor
  • to restore your status as a student, worker or visitor
  • for a work or study permit
  • for a visitor visa
  • for a temporary resident permit

As well, this temporary measure does not apply if you are outside Canada. Those applying for permanent residence from within Canada are still required to provide biometrics (note that Service Canada locations in Canada are not yet processing biometrics and biometrics deadlines for PR applicants have been extended due to COVID-19).

Additional biometrics exemptions for PR applicants: IRCC is introducing a new special measure for PR applicants who have already completed biometrics for a different immigration application within the past 10 years. These applicants will now be exempt from providing new biometrics with their PR application (Source: IRCC).

I am applying for a study permit. Will I be able to begin my studies in the summer/fall term?

>

Read full updates on how COVID-19 is impacting international students in our dedicated COVID Student Newshub.

Study Permit Eligibility & Application Process

The Canadian government is introducing special measures to help approved international students and study permit applicants who are hoping to begin Canadian studies in the fall & winter terms (Source: IRCC). Many international students will be able to begin or continue their Canadian studies while living outside Canada through distance learning. The new measures include:

  • Giving priority study-permit processing for students who have submitted a complete application online; and
  • Implementing a temporary two-stage approval process to reassure international students who cannot submit all required documents for their study permit applications and who choose to pursue Canadian programs through distance learning.

The temporary two-stage approval process will allow study permit applicants to count time spent studying online abroad towards their PGWP as long as they’ve received an approval-in-principle, as long as eventually they are able to satisfy all requirements and receive a full approval of their study permit. This should provide hope to some study permit applicants who were hoping to begin studies in the fall, but were unable to obtain all required documents for their study permit due to COVID-19.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Eligibility

Canada has introduced special measures due to COVID-19 which allow international students to complete a percentage of their studies from abroad and still count this time towards their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). The percentage of online course work you can complete while maintaining eligibility for your PGWP depends on which situation describes you:

  • Students may now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided 50 percent of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program that is between 8 and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, will be able to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date from May to September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a post-graduation work permit in the future, as long as 50 percent of their total studies are completed in Canada.

You will still have to meet all other eligibility requirements for a PGWP. To be eligible for these measures, students must have submitted a study permit application before starting a program of study in the spring, summer, or fall 2020 semester, or the January 2021 semester. All students must eventually be approved for a study permit.

Which Visa Application Centres (VACs) are open?

>
Canada has reopened some Visa Application Centres (VACs) around the world, although with limited services available. Please refer to our guide on which VACs are open to find out which countries have operational VACs and what types of services are available.

Which airports in Canada are accepting international flights during COVID-19?

>

Nine Canadian airports are currently receiving international flights: Toronto Pearson (YYZ), Montreal Trudeau (YUL), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Halifax (YHZ), Quebec City (YQB), Ottawa (YOW), Winnipeg (YWG), and Edmonton (YEG).

Those who are eligible to travel to Canada can expect additional and potentially disruptive measures affecting their journey, as airlines have been mandated by the government to ensure that people displaying any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are not allowed to board aircraft.

Many Canadian airlines are offering refunds or credit for flights cancelled or disrupted due to COVID-19. Check with your airline to see their policy.

Has Canada banned flights to or from any countries?

>

Canada is technically still accepting flights from most countries, although the availability of airline service has dramatically reduced and service to and from some countries may not be available.

Ban on flights from Morocco: Canada has introduced a ban on commercial and private passenger flights arriving in Canada from Morocco from August 29, 2021, to September 29, 2021 (although the ban may be extended beyond this date).

Lifting — Bans on flights from India and Pakistan: In the spring and summer of 2021, Canada banned flights from India and Pakistan to help slow the spread of the Delta variant. The ban on flights from Pakistan ended on June 21 and the ban on flights from India ended on September 27.

Lifted — Ban on flights to Mexico and the Caribbean: In January, 2021, Canada’s major airlines suspended flights to Mexico and the Caribbean — favourite sun destinations for Canadians looking to escape the winter. This measure was in place until April 30.

Lifted — Ban on flights from the United Kingdom: In late 2020, Canada briefly banned all flights from the United Kingdom, as the country assessed how to address the new UK variant of the coronavirus. This ban was lifted in early January 2021.

My immigration application was tied to a job offer, but I lost my job. What can I do?

>

Be sure to check the rules and regulations tied to your specific immigration program and stream, as there may be facilitative measures in place. On the federal level, IRCC has introduced special measures to support paper-based PNP applicants who have lost their job offer:

IRCC has introduced a temporary facilitative measure to assist paper-based PNP applicants (not Express Entry-aligned) who are applying through a job offer-based PNP stream. Under this new measure, applications may be placed on hold in cases where an applicant no longer has a valid job offer as a result of COVID-19 and their application was received prior to March 18, 2020. In order to be considered for this exemption, the provincial or territorial jurisdiction must contact IRCC between September 17, 2020, and March 10, 2021 (Source: IRCC).

Where can I get information about special measures IRCC has in place to help immigrants?

>

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced special measures to help temporary and permanent residents and applicants affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID‑19). This link contains advice for:

  • If you’ve been approved for permanent residence,
  • If you’re a Canadian citizenship applicant,
  • If you’ve applied for temporary or permanent residence and are outside Canada (this includes applications for work permits and study permits),
  • If you’re about to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry,
  • If you need a visitor visa, study permit or work permit to travel to Canada urgently,
  • If you’re a permanent resident who needs to travel to Canada urgently, or
  • If you’re a temporary resident who is unable to leave Canada.

For advice on any of the above situations, click here.

Insurance for Canada

For access to the best possible healthcare while living and working abroad, consider Cigna Global. Cigna is a leader in these policies and provides 12-month cover for those moving to Canada, regardless of nationality or age.

Click here to get a free online quote in under 60 seconds.

Toughing through COVID-19 in Canada? Check out our guide on how to get through COVID-19 as a newcomer in Canada.

Need the latest immigration info?

Create a Moving2Canada account to get immigration updates to your inbox, and a copy of our FREE Getting Started Guide!

Do you have health insurance for Canada?

Many newcomers are not eligible for Canadian healthcare coverage when they first arrive.

Our partner, Cigna, offers newcomers a range of comprehensive health insurance policies for peace of mind. Explore your options with a free quote today!