The ban, which started on March 18 at 12 p.m. EDT, is in effect until June 30, 2020 at 12 p.m. EDT, according to the government statement.
Initially, officials said the ban applied to all foreign nationals, but excluded Canadian citizens and permanent residents, immediate family members of Canadian citizens, as well as aircrews, diplomats, and U.S. citizens. The exception for U.S. citizens was amended on Wednesday to stop non-essential travel across the border.
However, the new statement issued by the Canadian government today confirms that immediate family members of permanent residents are also excluded from the ban, meaning they are still able to travel to Canada.
Besides Canadians, permanent residents and their families, Canada will allow certain people to be exempt from the travel ban.
The government’s website outlines 16 scenarios that would allow a person to enter Canada, including the following exemptions which pertain to permanent and temporary residents:
There is conflicting information on the status of valid study and work permit holders who are currently outside of Canada and the U.S.
However, recent federal government statements obtained by CIC News via email provide more nuance.
A federal government statement on March 19 reads:
To confirm, a travel ban has been implemented through an order under the Aeronautics Act which requires air carriers operating flights to Canada to deny boarding to any passenger who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (or an immediate family member). The measure came into force on Wednesday, March 18, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT, and applies to travellers arriving by air.
For clarity, what this means is that international students and workers who are outside of Canada and the United States will not be permitted to board an aircraft to return to Canada, unless they are the spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.”
This statement suggests that study or work permit holders outside of Canada and the U.S. who are not the immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident are forbidden from returning to Canada for the time being.
On the other hand, study and work permit holders currently in the U.S., who have not travelled to any other country may be eligible to return to Canada as long as the travel is deemed to be “essential”. The government has yet to define “essential” travel.
“Flagpoling” is a term given to individuals who are currently in Canada who travel to the U.S. border in order to get their Canadian immigration status updated. It is a common method used by individuals to renew their study or work permits or to activate their permanent residence status.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) released a new statement on its website today that travelling to the U.S. border for immigration services is currently defined as non-essential travel and CBSA requests that such individuals do not travel to the border until further notice. Rather, temporary residents who are looking to extend their stay in Canada as students, workers, or visitors can apply to do so on the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
CIC News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available to help clarify issues such as the status of study and work permit holders outside of Canada and the U.S. at the moment.
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