IRCC is gradually resuming some in-person services for citizenship, permanent residence, asylum, and biometrics collection. IRCC is only offering in-person services by appointment only and they will contact you to schedule the appointments.
This gradual reopening of in-person services is part of a testing phase for IRCC. The services being offered, effective September 21, are for applicants who have faced significant disruptions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canadian citizenship services
The Vancouver Expo is reopening for limited citizenship-related services, including citizenship knowledge re-testing and citizenship hearings.
There is no indication regarding whether Canadian citizenship tests will be offered, which many applicants have been advocating for.
Permanent resident services
The IRCC offices in Etobicoke and Montreal will be reopening and offering limited services for Canadian permanent residents. These services will include permanent resident card pick ups or for those who need permanent residence determinations.
A permanent residence determination interview is when an immigration official evaluates if a permanent resident has met the residency obligation to maintain their status. To maintain your permanent residence status in Canada, an applicant must reside in Canada for 730 days in a five year period.
Effective September 21, IRCC will begin contacting applicants who require biometrics for their Canadian immigration applications. This will be a very gradual process taking months. If you live in a densely populated area where many applicants are waiting to give biometrics, expect this process to take even longer.
Collecting biometrics to support your Canadian immigration application has been a source of frustration for many. IRCC has relaxed the biometrics requirements for some applicants. In other cases, candidates have been granted extensions but for many to complete their applications, they still need to provide them.
The IRCC offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, and Niagara Falls will offer limited services for asylum seekers. If the gradual reopening goes well, IRCC plans to open additional offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Etobicoke.
Safety of IRCC staff and clients top priority
The safety of IRCC staff and clients are the top priority for the Canadian government. IRCC is only offering in-person services by appointment only.
Applicants contacted will have to complete a health questionnaire prior to arrival. They will then be asked the same health-related questions when they arrive at their appointment to determine if the client is exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19. All IRCC staff and clients will also require a face mask, adhere to social distancing, and follow signs directing foot traffic during any in-person appointments at IRCC.