ArriveCan Appis now mandatory for all travelers arriving by air to Canada, including Canadian permanent residents and citizens. If you are flying to Canada, be ready. Download the app before you travel and complete the mandatory travel and contact information, quarantine plan (unless you are exempt) and the COVID-19 symptom self-assessments. Usage of the app is not mandatory for travel by land and sea, but it is strongly encouraged.
Schedule your Biometrics:In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person biometric collection was paused by Service Canada. It was been reintroduced by appointment only, with Service Canada calling clients to schedule appointments. As of November 30, clients who have not been contacted can use the online scheduling tool to schedule their own appointment, as stated in their biometrics instructions letter.
Online Citizenship Tests:IRCC is launching a new platform for online citizenship tests. The platform is being tested over the next few months, and IRCC will be begin to invited applicants to use the platform once it is ready for a full rollout. Once invited, applicants will have 21 days to complete the test.
Permanent Residence Confirmation Portal:IRCC is moving to an online portal solution to confirm permanent residence. This innovative change allows for confirmation of PR status without in-person interviews and has the potential to decrease the time required for confirmation of PR at the end of application process.
Extension of Travel Restrictions:Canada will extend the travel restrictions and Mandatory Isolation Order for all travelers seeking entry into Canada from a country other than the US until January 21, 20201. Travel restrictions for US citizens and foreign nationals arriving from the US remain in place until December 21, 2020 and may be extended at that time.
US:Resumption of Routine Visa Services: On November 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of State announced that U.S. Embassies and Consulates will begin providing additional services, eventually leading to a complete resumption of routine visa services. The resumption of services will occur on a post-by-post basis. In March 2020, routine visa services were suspended around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with only emergency and mission-critical visa services being offered by most U.S. Embassies and Consulates. A return to routine processing will allow for visa issuance to workers, business visitors, travelers and family members
December Visa Bulletin:Each month the U.S. Department of Status releases its Visa Bulletin which summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers. The December Visa Bulletin was released on November 20, 2020 and provides valuable insight into the timelines for immigrant visas in the EB1, EB2, EB3, EB4 and EB5 categories.
Update to the Naturalization Test:USCIS has revised the civics portion of the naturalization Test. Naturalization applications with a filing date of December 1, 2020 later will be required to take the 2020 version of the civics test.
On November 6, 2020, we saw 4500 invitations being issued to candidates with CRS points of 478 and higher. On November 18, 2020, 5000 invitations were issued to candidates with CRS points of 472 or higher, and on November 25, 2020, with 5000 invitations being issued to applicants in the pool with a CRS points score of 469 or higher.
The larger amount of invitations issued in a single draw is allowing IRCC to start to chip away at the more than 25,000 applicants who are in the Express Entry pool with CRS points of between 451-500.
As a reminder from our October newsletter, there are now more points allocated to French language abilities for the Principal Applicant under Express Entry's Comprehensive Ranking System ("CRS"). The CRS system is the application intake system that sets out who is invited to apply for Permanent Residence based on their individual points allocation and their ranking in the pool of eligible candidates.