IRCC Eliminates Automatic Immigration Application Extensions

IRCC Will Now Only Allow Extensions on Case-By-Case Basis

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is taking back a policy change implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will no longer extend deadlines automatically for incomplete immigration applications, according to CIC News.

This new policy change will affect citizenship, permanent residence, and temporary residence applicants. 

IRCC will, however, continue to be flexible, and will still offer extensions on a case-by-case basis to applicants who cannot produce all the required documentation due to COVID-19 disruptions. 

The goal is to increase the speed at which decisions are made regarding immigration applications.

“Having clients provide the required supporting documentation will allow IRCC to make timely decisions on their applications, where possible,” said IRCC in a press release. “This will also help minimize impacts to future processing times for all applicants by reducing the current inventory IRCC has and expediting people’s travel to Canada when the travel restrictions are eased.”

Over the next few months, IRCC will contact all applicants that are approaching the deadline, and request supporting documents. If they cannot provide the documentation, they must provide a reasonable explanation for how COVID-19 created disruptions that are preventing them from submitting a complete application.

The following are examples of “reasonable explanations,” according to IRCC:

  • A Visa Application Centre or Application Support Centre in your region has been closed, which prevents you from providing your biometrics

  • A provincial or city-wide lockdown is preventing you from undergoing a medical examination or obtaining supporting documents, such as police certificates.

If an applicant’s request for an extension is considered “reasonable” based on their explanation, the application deadline will be extended for another 30 days. 

If they are not eligible for an extension, applicants must then get their documents in order as soon as possible.

“As it can take time to get this information, it’s important to start collecting the documents now, so you will be able to submit them on time when we ask for them,” the IRCC press release said.

Applicants will receive another request a few weeks or months later, and will have 30 days from the date it is received to submit the supporting documents. An immigration officer will then make a decision on your application. 

For citizenship applicants, on the other hand, if your documents are not received after the 30 days, and you have not provided a reasonable explanation, the department may stop processing your application and consider it abandoned.

IRCC will contact you to inform you of their decision, so you will not need to contact them directly.