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Immigration: Service disruption and temporary closure of Visa Application Centres (VACs)

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the newly implemented restrictive measures now in place in several countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, please note that the Migration Office of Canada in Mexico is offering essential services only.

Special measures – COVID-19

IRCC has implemented special measures to help temporary and permanent residents and applicants affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

A FAQ has been developed to answer your questions regarding the Implications of travel restrictions on IRCC clients. Please continue to visit this website for further updates.

Visa Application Centres (VACs)

Some Visa Application Centres in Mexico, and Central America are currently closed. You will not be able to submit an application or make an appointment for biometrics.

For more information, please monitor the website of VFS Global.

Embassy closed to the public

The Embassy does not receive the public on matters related to immigration procedures. You cannot provide biometrics to the Embassy. The Embassy does not accept applications in person, by e-mail or by mail. Please refrain from sending any documents or applications to our office.  You can still submit an online application for a visitor visa or for a work permit or study permit.

Entry restrictions

Effective January 7, 2021, regardless of citizenship, all travellers five years of age or older must provide proof of a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19 to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada.

All travel to Canada for discretionary reasons (non-essential), such as for tourism, recreation or entertainment is currently prohibited. Travellers who do not have a non-discretionary (essential) reason to travel to Canada, will be denied entry by a border services officer.

Foreign nationals who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are not permitted to enter Canada, regardless of their reason for travel.

To enter Canada, foreign nationals must prove they are:

Before you travel to Canada, you must have a plan to quarantine. Your plan must include a place to stay for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. When you arrive in Canada, we’ll assess your health and your quarantine plan before you leave the port of entry. If you don’t have a plan, you should not travel to Canada.

For more information and for official updates, please visit IRCC’s website: Implications of travel restrictions on IRCC clients.


Until further notice, most travellers are not able to travel to Canada, even if you have a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA).

International students

If you plan to come to Canada as an international student on or after October 20, 2020, your DLI must be on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans before you travel to Canada. This change will apply to all international students, whether you’re travelling from the United States or from any other country.

The list of DLIs with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place will be posted on IRCC’s web page for international students affected by COVID-19 restrictions and updated regularly as provinces and territories identify additional schools.

This change to travel restrictions affects all international students, regardless of where they are travelling from or when their study permit was approved. Travellers should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and received all necessary authorizations.

Like all travellers to Canada, international students and any eligible accompanying family members will be subject to all public health measures, including the mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in Canada.

Temporary Foreign Workers:

Some temporary workers are exempt from travel restrictions if they’re coming for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose.

Your travel is essential (non-discretionary) if you’re in either of these situations:

  • You have a valid work permit and normally live in Canada. This applies even if you’ve been laid off.
  • You’re a worker who
    • has a letter of introduction for a work permit (open or employer-specific), and
    • has a valid job offer, and
    • can work once you’ve completed your 14-day quarantine in Canada (unless you’re exempt)

Transit through Canada to another country

Canada currently denies boarding to all foreign nationals, unless exempted, on flights to Canada from all countries. In accordance with the Interim Order to Prevent Certain Persons from Boarding Flights to Canada due to COVID-19, passengers in transit to a third country are exempt from these restrictions. Please note that leaving the airport will not be permitted and that passengers will be subject to any travel bans and restrictions in force in the country of final destination. For more information, see Implications of travel restrictions on IRCC clients.

My application for permanent residence has been approved and I currently hold a valid permanent resident visa. Can I travel to Canada?

Being in possession of a permanent resident visa does not make a person a permanent resident of Canada. Permanent residence is only conferred upon arrival in Canada.

However, foreign nationals with valid permanent resident visas issued prior to the implementation of the travel restrictions on March 18th may be able to travel to Canada subject to the availability of flights in their country of origin.

Applicants already in possession of valid permanent resident visas and intending to book their own travel to Canada may proceed to do so.  Neither the International Organization for Migration (IOM) nor Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can provide assistance to book plane tickets.

Applicants booking their own flights must remember that they must adhere to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) guidelines on self-isolation and Covid-19

Pending applications

In the meantime, individuals who have applied for a visitor visa, a work permit, a study permit or for permanent residence, but who cannot complete the next steps in the process on time due to the current situation in their country of residence, will not have their application refused solely on the basis of not completing these requests. More time (extensions) will automatically be provided to applicants in these situations. 

Biometrics deadline extension

Some biometrics collection sites are still closed. If the site closest to you is closed, we’ll automatically extend your deadline to give your biometrics. You don’t have to contact us for this extension, and you don’t need a new Biometrics Instruction Letter (BIL) to make another appointment when sites reopen. Bring your original BIL to your new appointment to show proof of payment. Your application won’t be refused or closed if you can’t give your biometrics due to COVID-19 closures.

Request for passport return

If your passport is at the Embassy or at the VAC, and that you need to recover your passport for urgent travel, please write to and indicate in the subject line « Passport return », including your email, your complete name, date of birth, file number and reason for return.  

Other questions

Find quick and direct answers to frequently asked questions, including technical questions about your online application, at IRCC`s Help Centre.


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