COVID-19 IMMIGRATION UPDATES
Due to the exceptional and fluid circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, information will be updated as soon as possible. We direct you to government resources for a fulsome and up-to-date account of the current situation.
The information below details the Canadian border and entry requirements as of September 7, 2021. This may change.
As of August 9th 2021, the previously required 3-day stay at a government approved hotel upon entry to Canada has completely ended. In addition, fully vaccinated travellers qualify for an exemption to enter Canada for discretionary travel. This includes all international travellers.
FULLY VACCINATED TRAVELLERS
Fully vaccinated travellers will be exempt from the quarantine requirement upon entry into Canada. Unvaccinated travellers, including children aged 12 to 17, must quarantine and follow strict testing requirements, when permitted entry into Canada.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated when they have received the full series of a vaccine — or combination of vaccines — accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. These vaccines can be received from any country, but documentation must be provided in English, French, or with a certified translation. Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
Fully vaccinated travellers will still need to complete pre-arrival testing. However, they will not be subject to a day-8 COVID-19 test or be required to stay at a government-approved hotel upon arrival in Canada.
Fully vaccinated travellers must upload their vaccination documentation to the ArriveCAN app prior to their arrival at the Canadian border and answer all health and security related screening questions at the border.
Unvaccinated children under 12 travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians are exempt from quarantine but are required to take a COVID-19 test on day-1 and day-8 of their arrival into Canada. The mandatory testing requirement does not apply to children under five years old.
All travellers entering Canada must take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of their arrival at the border or their scheduled flight time.
The Canadian testing requirement is strict. Ensure your test is one of the following, as an antigen or rapid test may not be sufficient:
- PCR - Polymerase chain reaction
- RT-PCR – reverse transcription real time PCR
- Quantitative PCR (qPCR)
- Nucleic acid test (NAT) or Nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs)
- Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
- Isothermal amplification
- Droplet digital PCR or digital droplet PCR (ddPCR)
- Transcription-mediated amplification (TMA)
- RNA (Ribonucleic acid)
- Ct (cycle threshold)
- Next generational sequencing (NGS) or whole genome sequencing (WGS)
- Oxford Nanopore sequencing (LamPORE)
- Detection of the N gene
- Detection of Orf1a/b
- Detection of the S gene
- Detection of the E gene
- Detection of the RdRp gene
The test result must include the traveller’s name, date of birth, name and civic address of the facility that administered the test, the date on which the test was conducted, the type of test conducted, and the test result. Ensure the testing facility you attend lists all these details.
Although a PCR test is sufficient, travellers entering the United States only require a rapid antigen test, which is significantly less expensive and less invasive.
Testing is not required for individuals who have had COVID-19 in the past 14-90 days and have a positive test result from that period of time.
Individuals entering Canada must download the ArriveCAN app prior to their travel. All travellers, with limited exceptions, will need to submit the following information in the app before entering Canada:
- Travel and contact information;
- Quarantine plan (necessary in case one develops symptoms of COVID-19 in Canada);
- Proof of Vaccination
- COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.
Once you submit your information, a receipt will be displayed and emailed to you. Travellers will need to show this receipt to Canadian border services officers and airlines to confirm entry into Canada.
The following are examples of travel for a non-optional or non-discretionary purpose:
Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada
“Immediate family member” means the spouse, common law partner, parent/grandparent, dependent child, the dependent child of the dependent child, guardian or tutor of the Canadian citizen/permanent resident of Canada.
Extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada
“Extended family member” means the non-dependent child, grandchild, sibling, half-sibling, step-sibling or grandparent of the Canadian citizen/permanent resident of Canada. It also includes individuals, over 18 years of age, that have been in an exclusive dating relationship for over 1 year in the physical presence of each other.
Immediate family members of temporary residents of Canada
Required to provide evidence that their travel is non-optional or non-discretionary and an authorization letter issued by IRCC.
Foreign nationals travelling from the United States
If the purpose of travel isnot“optional or discretionary” such as “tourism, recreation, or entertainment.”
Foreign nationals travelling from all other countries outside the U.S. who fall into an enumerated exemption
This includes foreign nationals who hold a valid work permit and normally live in Canada, as well as workers who have a letter of introduction for a work permit, have a valid immigration medical exam, and have a valid job over. International students are also able to enter Canada with a valid study permit or hold a written study permit approval issued from a designated learning institution.
- supporting Indigenous communities
- transiting through Canada for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes
- any other activities that are deemed non-optional or non-discretionary by the Government of Canada or based on an officer’s assessment
- foreign national coming to assist with the birth of their own child to another foreign national with temporary resident status
Some foreign nationals who have an immediate family member residing in Canada who is on a work permit or study permit holder may be authorized by a designated official to enter Canada for the purposes of family reunification. The requirement to travel for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose does not apply to compassionate grounds.
Please note that there are certain travel restrictions and exemptions when traveling between provinces and territories.
The travel ban of direct flights from India remains in place until at least September 21, 2021.
The travel ban from Morocco remains in place until at least September 29, 2021.
Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
INTEGRITY. EXCELLENCE. DEDICATION.
Green and Spiegel is Canada’s largest and oldest immigration law practice with over 50 years of experience assisting a diverse global clientele. Our reputation has been earned by providing extraordinary immigration legal services time and time again. Our talented team of immigration lawyers has not only the depth but the breadth of knowledge in this specific area of law. Regardless of the complexity of the case, we know how to proceed.
On Saturday, February 13th, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced an unprecedented Express Entry draw in which 27,332 candidates who met the Canadian Experience Class requirements were invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence. This draw was designed for candidates who have been working in Canada for at least one year out of the past three, and who met minimum English or French language requirements.
As a result of the large number of invitations issued, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score that was required to receive an invitation in this historic Express Entry draw dropped down to 75 points (from an average of 450 over the last 12 months).
Permanent Residence may now therefore be a realistic option for many who are interested in this unprecedented opportunity. If you would like to assess your eligibility, we have limited slots available for paid consultations. Please contact us today to reserve your consultation.
COVID-19 AND CANADIAN IMMIGRATION: ANSWERING TRAVEL RESTRICTION QUESTIONS
As the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19 continue to evolve, the Government of Canada has released a series of measures to help contain the spread of the virus. On March 26, 2020, two Orders in Council (legal instruments made by the Governor in Council) came into effect and provide the details of what has been dubbed the “travel ban.” Additionally, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has released Program Delivery Instructions and Special Instructions, and orders have been made pursuant to the Quarantine Act, that, in conjunction with the Orders in Council, inform who is subject to Canada’s “travel ban”, who is exempted, and the obligations of individuals upon entry to Canada.
Below is a summary of questions and answers relating to Canadian immigration and Canada’s travel ban as of March 31, 2020.
Q: Who can travel to Canada?
A: Canadian citizens and permanent residents can enter Canada. However, if traveling by air, airline personnel have been instructed to deny boarding to any passenger who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
A travel ban has been announced by the Government of Canada which largely prevents foreign nationals from traveling to Canada, with exceptions. As such, no foreign national may enter Canada unless that individual either:
- Has been in the United States for the past 14 days and their purpose of travel to Canada is not optional or discretionary (i.e. for tourism, recreation, or entertainment); or
- Falls under one of the exemptions listed below.
No foreign national will be admitted to Canada if they are exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Q: Which foreign nationals are exempted from the travel ban and permitted to travel to Canada?
A: An extensive list of exemptions to the travel ban was released on March 26, 2020. The following are notable examples of foreign nationals who are not affected by the travel ban, regardless of the country from which they are seeking entry to Canada:
- An “immediate family member” of a Canadian citizen or of a permanent resident;
- The holder of a valid work permit;
- The holder of a written work permit approval (issued at any time);
- The holder of a valid study permit;
- The holder of a written study permit approval issued before noon EST on March 18, 2020;
- A person whose application for permanent residence was approved before noon EST on March 18, 2020;
- A person who is authorized, in writing, by a consular officer of the Government of Canada, to enter Canada for the purpose of reuniting with immediate family members (most applicable to family members of temporary residents in Canada);
- A person whose presence is in the “national interest” as determined by either the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness;
- There are additional exceptions for those providing medical, emergency, and other essential services.
Despite these exceptions, no foreign national will be permitted entry to Canada if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or if their purpose of travel is optional or discretionary (for tourism, recreation, or entertainment).
Q: Who is an “immediate family member” of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident?
A: The definition of “immediate family member” found in the exception to the travel ban is broader than the definition of “family member” in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Immediate family members include a Canadian citizen or permanent resident’s:
- Spouse or common-law partner;
- Dependent child or their spouse or common-law partner’s dependent child;
- Dependent child of a dependent child;
- Parent or step-parent or their spouse or common-law partner’s parent or step-parent; and
- Guardian or tutor.
Q: How are business visitors impacted by the travel ban?
A: There is no indication as to whether business travelers who do not hold a work permit approval will be exempted from the travel ban (e.g. those intending to work for under 30 days pursuant to the Global Skills Strategy or general business visitors). Please contact our office for more information.
Q: What is meant by the “national interest” exemption?
A: The “national interest” exemption serves as a “catch-all” exemption for any foreign national whose presence in Canada, in the opinion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, is in Canada’s national interest. IRCC’s Case Management Branch will manage these situations in “accordance with existing processes.” There is no further information provided as to how such applications can be made, what they should include, and how they should be submitted. Until clarification is provided, it may be advisable to simply email the Case Management Branch with a request for a “national interest” exemption, including all relevant documentation.
Q: What are my obligations upon entering Canada?
A: All individuals who enter Canada – including permanent residents and Canadian citizens – must self-isolate for a period of 14 days immediately upon admission to the country.
Q: My temporary resident status is about to expire and I am currently in Canada. What should I do?
A: Temporary residents in Canada must continue to maintain valid immigration status. Temporary residents are encouraged to apply to renew their status six months ahead of the expiry of their current status document, in light of the processing delays and any further unexpected delays that may occur.
Q: I am an international student currently studying in Canada. My classes have now been moved to an online format because of COVID-19. Will this affect my eligibility for a Post-Graduate Work Permit?
A: IRCC acknowledges this unique situation and accepts that many educational institutions are now offering online learning on an extraordinary basis due to the spread of COVID-19. This scenario will not affect a student’s eligibility for a Post-Graduate Work Permit.
This is an ever-changing situation. We highly recommend contacting our office before making any arrangements to travel to Canada for the latest updates and requirements.