On July 31, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that the existing travel restrictions will be extended to August 31, 2020. Last Friday, the US/Canada border closure has also been extended to September 21, 2020 in response to growing number of cases south of the border. The government has remained firm with their stance that the travel restrictions will remain in place as long as the pandemic continues and there are no acceptable alternatives to stop the spread of COVID-19.
What does this mean for citizens and foreign nationals who want to enter Canada?
Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents
All Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons are still allowed to enter Canada, subject to health screening measures.
Most foreign nationals are still unable to enter Canada unless they can prove that their travel is essential or for the purpose of reuniting with an immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen/PR or a temporary permit holder. They further have to prove that they do not have any symptoms of COVID and be prepared to provide a quarantine plan at the time of entering Canada.
Who is exempted from the travel restriction rules?
Students who have a valid study permit or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020 may be exempt if they travel for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose, i.e. their physical presence in Canada is required to continue their program in fall.
Permanent Resident Visa Holders
Foreign nationals 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 fall under this exemption. Immigration Canada is lenient with foreign nationals who received their Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) on or before March 18th, but the document is expired and the applicants haven’t been able to land in Canada before the expiry as a result of the pandemic. In this case, foreign nationals are encouraged to contact IRCC to explain the reasons for not being able to travel and let IRCC know when they will be able to make travel arrangements.
The following two categories of temporary workers are exempt if:
- They hold a valid Canadian work permit (including an open work permit). They must have their valid work permit document to present to the air carrier.
- They received a positive decision from IRCC (documented by a letter of introduction) on a work permit application but whose work permit has not yet been issued.
The travel restrictions are reviewed by the Government of Canada every 30 days and as such, we are expecting to hear further updates on potential extension of the restriction in early September.
Please refer to our LinkedIn page to get access to online webinars or articles posted on the most recent Canadian immigration updates. To discuss the details of your situation, please reach out to our office and we will gladly assist you.