March 24, 2020
The Government of Canada has implemented new travel restrictions. Below is an overview of some of the travel restrictions, exemptions and immigration impacts.
PLEASE NOTE: New information is being updated daily, so we can only confirm accuracy of this document to the last update. It is important for readers to confirm accuracy of this information.
1. Leaving Canada
The Government of Canada has issued an official advisory to Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. Many countries across the globe are issuing similar advisories and closing their borders to international travelers.
Click here to find out more information about travelling outside of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html
2. Entering Canada
NOTE: If you arrive in Canada from international travel you MUST immediately go into social isolation for 14 days!
All Canadian borders (including airports) are now closed to all travelers who are not Canadian citizens or not permanent residents of Canada. However, there are some exemptions to the travel ban, which are listed below.
Travel Ban Exemptions (people who can come into Canada):
- foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Canadian government for a purpose related to the containment of COVID-19
- close family members of Canadian citizens
- close family members of Canadian permanent residents
- a person who is authorized, in writing, by a consular officer of the Government of Canada to enter Canada for the purpose of reuniting immediate family members
- a person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act
- accredited diplomats and family members (including NATO, those under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, other organizations)
- air crews
- any foreign national, or group of foreign nationals, whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Minister of Public Safety
- members of the Canadian military, visiting forces and their family members
- transiting passengers
NEW Travel Ban Exemptions (March 20, 2020)
- seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers
- international students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020
- permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada
NOTE: Those affected by these new exemptions should not try to travel to Canada immediately! The Federal Government will announce when the exemptions are in place the week of March 23. Check of Immigrant, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for updates.
3. Canadians Currently Outside of Canada
If you are already outside of Canada, think about returning as soon as possible and find out what commercial travel options are still available to you. There are fewer remaining options and you may experience a sudden hike in prices.
NOTE: Canadian abroad must register with Global Affairs Canada, online at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration
Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad: You should attempt to use your own financial means to arrange your return to Canada. For Canadians who have no available source of funds to return home, Canada has announced the creation of the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. These Canadian abroad will be able to apply for an emergency repayable loan up to $5,000 to facilitate their return to Canada and to cover basic essential needs while they work towards their return. Each application will be assessed according to their specific situation and needs.
4. Temporary and Permanent Residency Applications
The Government of Canada has put in special measures to help temporary and permanent residents and applicants affected by COVID-19. For more information, click here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-special-measures.html
5. Refugee Claimants
There are many changes to the procedures for those intending on claiming asylum in Canada and those who have already made claims and are awaiting their hearings: Please check out the UNHRC's website on the most up to date information: https://www.unhcr.ca/newsroom/key-information-asylum-seekers/