Holders of expired COPR and PR visas may travel to Canada

Alexandra Miekus, Shelby Thevenot, Kareem El-Assal
Published: July 29, 2020

Canada's immigration department has issued new guidelines for holders of expired permanent residence visas.

Individuals who are in possession of Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and Permanent Resident Visa (PRV) but whose documents have now expired may be allowed into Canada depending on their circumstances, according to a new operational bulletin.

Canada has implemented different policies for expired visa holders depending on whether they are coming from the U.S. or other countries.

The scenarios below set out the applicable policies. In all cases, only those who intend to stay and settle will be allowed to travel to Canada at the moment and become permanent residents. Those who intend to come to Canada temporarily and leave should not do so now unless they are otherwise exempt from the restrictions.

Travel to Canada must be non-discretionary. The government offers examples of the definition of non-discretionary travel on its website.

If you’re travelling by air, you need to pass a health check conducted by the airline before boarding a flight. If you show symptoms of COVID-19, you won’t be allowed to board.

As well, if you have dependent family members that were also approved, you should all travel to Canada together.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

Group 1: Valid COPR and PRV and Travelling from any country other than the U.S.

Those travelling from countries other than the U.S. who were issued a COPR and PRV on or before March 18, 2020 which is still valid are:

  • exempt from travel restrictions;
  • allowed to travel to Canada with the COPR and PRV in order to settle and live in Canada as a permanent resident; and
  • required to have an acceptable 14-day quarantine plan.

Group 2: Valid COPR and PRV and Travelling from the U.S.

Applicants may travel to Canada from the US for non-discretionary purposes to settle and reside in Canada if:

  • they received approval for their application;
  • both their COPR and PRV have been received and are still valid; and
  • they have an acceptable plan to quarantine for 14 days.

Group 3: Expired COPR and PRV and travelling from any other country other than the U.S.

Applicants for permanent residence who are in possession of an expired COPR and PRV, that was issued on or before March 18, 2020,  are:

  • exempt from the travel restrictions
  • can travel to Canada for non-discretionary reasons with the COPR and PRV in order to settle and live in Canada as a permanent resident and
  • must have an acceptable plan to quarantine for 14 days in Canada

Group 4: Expired COPR and PRV and Travelling from the U.S.

Individuals travelling from the U.S. with expired COPRs can travel to Canada for non-discretionary reasons to settle in Canada as permanent residents providing :

  • their application was approved;
  • they received their COPR and PRV; and
  • they have a 14-day quarantine plan.

What to do if you hold an expired COPR and PRV and are ready to travel to Canada

Only applicants for permanent residence who are in possession of an expired COPR and PRV and who are ready to travel to Canada are asked to contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) using a Web form. Applicants are asked to provide the expiry date of the COPR and the non-discretionary reason(s) for their travel. IRCC will then refer the Web Form application to the appropriate processing network which will assess the application based on the following eligibility criteria.

You must gather proof that:

  • you have an acceptable plan to settle such as documents to support your living situation in Canada (address, lease agreement, homeownership document) or employment plans in Canada (location of work, letter from employer);
  • you have an acceptable plan to quarantine for 14 days in Canada which includes proof of funds and how you will get groceries, medical care among other essential services; and
  • you have a proposed travel itinerary,  including, for example, travel tickets if they already have been purchased.

You must also make sure that you and your accompanying family members meet the following criteria:

  • you held a valid COPR and PRV on or before March 18, 2020, but these documents have now expired; no specific date for US-based applicants;
  • have a compelling reason to travel to Canada now: such as family reunification, need of immediate medical care, expiring status in the U.S., need to tend to non-discretionary family matters, for economic reasons such as to support economic services and supply chains, critical infrastructure support; and
  • the country where you reside is not subject to exit controls that limit your ability to travel to Canada.

IRCC will give priority to clients with a proposed or confirmed travel plan that is detailed, or clients who demonstrate a willingness to book and confirm travel plans as soon as they are approved.

Processing new permanent residence applications

Canada is currently accepting new applications for permanent residence.

New files that are incomplete due to missing documentation will be retained and reviewed within 90 days.

However, if a new application lacks supporting documentation, an explanation should be added to the application referencing service interruptions due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Providing that explanation is important and may result in the application being promoted and reviewed within 90 days. New applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Completed new applications for permanent residence continue to be processed according to normal procedures.

This story was updated with new information on August 8, 2020.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

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