Processing of TRVs and eTAs to resume on June 9
Note: see important update regarding this post below.
On June 8, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that the processing of Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) and electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs) will resume on June 9. This will take place once the "Ministerial Instructions 39 (MI39): Ministerial Instructions with respect to the processing of certain new and existing applications for temporary residence" expire on that same day.
It appears from the government announcement that the Ministerial Instructions and its accompanying temporary suspension on the processing of non-essential visitor applications will not be renewed again. Prior to the announcement, the Ministerial Instructions had been renewed twice since their introduction on April 9, 2020.
This is certainly good news for temporary residence applicants and an indication that the processing of immigration applications may be coming one step closer to what it used to be before the rapid propagation of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This is not to say that the current travel restrictions under the government's Orders in Council have been lifted or will be eliminated come June 9. In fact, IRCC advised that while it will resume TRV processing online “to the extent possible”, applications will be prioritized only for individuals who are currently eligible to come to Canada due to exemptions to the travel restrictions. Similarly, the expedited processing of eTA applications that require manual review will only take place if applicants are currently allowed to travel to Canada.
TRV and eTA applications from individuals who applied prior to the institution of the March travel restrictions will not be prioritized automatically. Instead, applicants must contact IRCC directly and advise why they are eligible to travel to Canada at the moment, providing any relevant supporting documentation.
June 10, 2020 UPDATE: Two days after this initial announcement, the government modified its online instructions to specify that ONLY applications from individuals who qualify under the current travel restrictions will be processed. The suspension for other TRV/eTA applicants was in fact renewed under Ministerial Instructions 40 released on June 10.
Andrew Carvajal is a Toronto lawyer, partner and Head of Economic Immigration at Desloges Law Group. He specializes in immigration law, administrative law and professional discipline litigation.