As of Monday, March 30, the Canadian government released new restrictions and permissions for entry in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. At this time, all passengers listed in the below exemptions will need to pass a health check before they’re allowed to board a flight and anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air, even if they fall into one of the exemptions to the travel restrictions. Additionally, all persons arriving in Canada by air or land are legally required to isolate for 14 days even if they have no symptoms. Self-isolation is mandatory and failure to do so may result in fines or imprisonment.
- International Students: Foreign nationals who held a valid Canadian study permit or were issued a letter of invitation dated on or before March 18, 2020. These foreign nationals can self-identify to airlines at the point of boarding by presenting: a valid study permit or a letter of introduction from IRCC dated on or before March 18, 2020;
- Temporary Foreign Workers: Foreign nationals who hold a valid Canadian work permit or who have received written notice of work permit approval, but who have not yet been issued the permit. These foreign nationals can self-identify to airlines at the point of boarding by presenting: a valid work permit or a letter of introduction from IRCC;
- Permanent resident visa holders: Foreign nationals who have been approved for permanent residence and who were eligible to travel to Canada to become landed permanent residents on or before March 18, 2020. These foreign nationals can self-identify to airlines at the point of boarding by presenting: a permanent resident visa (nationals from visa-required countries only), or a COPR document (all foreign nationals) issued prior to March 18, 2020;
- Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. These individuals will be required to present documentation showing their immediate family member’s Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status (ex. passport, Citizenship certificate, PR Card, PR Travel documents, etc.) and documentation showing their relationship to that family member (ex. marriage or birth certificate, etc.).Travel by these individuals cannot be for an “optional or discretionary purpose”, such as tourism, recreation or entertainment;
- Immediate family members of foreign nationals residing in Canada as workers, visitors, students or protected persons whose travel to Canada is authorized in writing by an officer designated under IRPA or an employee of Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The family member must be in possession of a letter of authorization from a CBSA or IRCC officer or GAC employee in order to be allowed boarding. Travel by these individuals cannot be for an “optional or discretionary purpose”, such as tourism, recreation or entertainment.
- Port of Entry Applications: While CBSA policy seems to indicate that ports of entry will continue to adjudicate new work and study permit applications (i.e. for those not already in possession of a work or study permit approval letter). For those individuals coming from the US, who have been in the US for at least the past 14 days and are TRV-exempt, some ports of entry are nevertheless currently refusing to process any new applications, except for individuals coming to Canada to be employed in critical industries, such as agriculture, food processing, health, transportation, and emergency services.
- Consular Applications: Consular applications can still be submitted online and visa offices are continuing to process new applications, albeit with reduced resources. However, all biometric collections centers and VACs in the US and most other countries are currently temporarily closed, therefore most applications cannot be finalized until the VACs re-open.