Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that it will no longer automatically extend deadlines for submitting supporting documents required for citizenship, permanent residence and temporary residence applications.

Previously, IRCC had automatically extended these deadlines because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most IRCC offices, visa application centers (VACs) around the world, and application support centers (ASCs) in the United States have reopened, however, and many applicants are now able to provide the required supporting documentation. IRCC will consider extensions on a case-by-case basis.

Key Points:

  • Applicants should start collecting supporting information as IRCC resumes the processing of in-progress applications.
  • IRCC will continue to provide deadline extensions to applicants who are unable to provide required documentation because of disruptions related to COVID-19.
  • Applicants should not travel to another city or country to obtain required documentation. As long as applicants provide a reasonable explanation about how a COVID-19 disruption has affected their ability to meet the deadline, IRCC will provide an additional 30-day extension.

In-progress applications. IRCC said that in the coming months it will contact citizenship, permanent residence and temporary residence applicants to request supporting documentation or a reasonable explanation of how COVID-19-related disruptions continue to make it difficult to obtain the required documentation.

From the point at which IRCC contacts them, applicants will have 30 days to (1) submit the missing documentation or (2) request an extension with a reasonable explanation about how a COVID-19 disruption has affected their ability to meet the deadline.

For applications with missing medical exams or biometrics, the IRCC will generally consider 30 days a reasonable amount of time to complete the exam or provide biometrics. Officers may consider extensions in cases where they determine that medical exams or biometrics appointments are not available in an applicant’s region. More information is available on this IRCC website.

New applications. Applications received on or after April 12, 2021, must be submitted with (1) all required supporting documents or (2) reasonable explanation with proof why the applicant cannot obtain the document in question at this time.

Analysis & Comments: Applicants with in-progress or new applications are encouraged to work closely with their immigration professional at de Lint or Deloitte to make sure they are gathering the supporting documents they need in a timely manner. While automatic extensions will no longer be provided, IRCC has indicated it will be flexible in cases where an applicant cannot get a document because of a COVID-19 disruption.

This alert was prepared by de Lint LLP, an independent immigration law firm, allied with Deloitte LLP in Canada.