Canada extends online processing of temporary visas, eTAs, adds exemptions

Alexandra Miekus
Published: October 5, 2020

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that the processing of online temporary resident visa (TRV) applications and electronic travel authorizations (eTAs) will continue into the new year.

New categories of applicants have also been added to the list of those who are exempt from submitting TRV applications electronically.

Under the current rules, all applications for temporary resident visas, work permits or study permits from foreign nationals who are outside Canada at the time of application must be submitted electronically.

Those who are unable to submit their application online, due to a disability, were already exempt from this requirement and will continue to be exempt. Starting October 1, 2020, two new groups of applicants for temporary residence from outside Canada will be exempt from the online submission requirement:

  • foreign nationals holding an identity or travel document of the type issued by a country to non-national residents, refugees or stateless persons who are unable to obtain a passport or other travel documents from their country of citizenship; and
  • applicants under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

Find out if you are eligible for Canadian immigration 

TRV applications processing

The government of Canada said that priority will continue to be given to those who can travel under current travel restrictions and that both new and existing applications will be considered.

In order to be approved, even if they meet travel restrictions exemption criteria, all applicants must continue to meet the eligibility requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

People who applied prior to the travel restrictions and wish to be considered on a priority basis are asked to contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) at and indicate how they meet the criteria for exemption, explain the reason for their non-discretionary/non-optional travel and submit acceptable proof.

IRCC also stated that, even though the priority is to continue to process applications from those who meet travel restriction exemptions and those who travel on a non-discretionary basis, "non-priority TRV applications may continue to be processed, and approved or denied, in accordance with normal TRV processing."

IRCC will send notifications to approved TRV applicants informing them that despite their approval, travel restrictions remain in effect and that travel to Canada is not recommended.

Accelerated processing of eTAs

Under the current regulations, applicants will continue to submit Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) applications online, and the processing of eTA applications that require agent review will continue, to the extent possible.

IRCC will however speed up the processing of eTA applications requiring officer review for applicants who meet the criteria for exemption from the current travel restrictions. Eligible individuals are invited to self-identify and submit documentation to show how they meet the exemption criteria through an IRCC web form.

Canada resumed the processing of online applications for TRV and eTAs on July 1.

Two weeks ago, Canada announced it was extending its travel restrictions until at least October 31.

Find out if you are eligible for Canadian immigration 

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