Online processing extended

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Online processing extended to temporary visas, eTAs

Online processing is now looking to include even more categories and classifications. Canada wants to extend online processing of temporary visas, eTAs and also to add exemptions. The IRCC has therefore announced that processing of online temporary resident visa (TRV) applications and electronic travel authorisations (eTAs) will be simplified. The IRCC is also planning to add new categories of applicants. Canada will exempt these categories from submitting TRV applications electronically.

The current rules specify that any foreign national looking to apply for temporary resident visa or a study permit must submit their application electronically. However, Canada has decided that two new groups of applicants will be exempted from these rules. These are:

  • 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.

The changes to TRV and eTAs

Canada resumed its processing of TRV and eTAs on July 1. Current regulations regarding the eTAs highlight applicants must submit online. IRCC, however, is planning to significantly speed up processing of eTA applicants requiring officer review. The agency is particularly concerned for applicants meeting exemption criteria. Any eligible individual must self-identify and submit documentation to show they meet exemption criteria. The IRCC web form can be accessed here.

But the most exciting news come for TRV applicants. The federal government has reiterated its commitment to welcome temporary residents. All applicants must continue to meet eligibility requirements under the IRPA, as well as, of course, meet travel restriction exemption criteria. The IRCC asks anyone who wishes to be considered on a priority basis to contact them at IRCC.COVID-TravelExemptions-Exemptionsdevoyage-COVID.IRCC@cic.gc.ca.

Any applicant must explain how and why they meet exemption criteria. In other words, you must explain the reason for your non-optional travel and submit acceptable proof. Furthermore, the IRCC has confirmed that it is continuing to process ‘non-priority TRV applications’, approving or denying them in accord with normal TRV processing. The agency will then send notifications to approved TRV applicants, reminding about travel restrictions.

Both the IRCC and the federal government of Canada remain committed to welcoming immigrants in years to come.