IRCC Loosening Protocols for Incomplete Immigration Applications, Will No Longer Automatically Extend Deadlines

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points

  • The Canadian government is granting flexibility to foreign nationals preparing extensions.
  • Applicants who can’t obtain certain documents due to COVID-19 restrictions may still request extensions.
  • This impacts temporary residence, citizenship, and permanent resident applicants.
  • Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will contact applicants to request either documents or a reasonable explanation for unobtainable items.
  • Important: IRCC will no longer automatically extend deadlines for partial or incomplete applications.


The measure is an effort to expedite decisions on applications. If IRCC requests documents:  

  • IRCC will send a letter or email outlining the missing required application documents and request submission as soon as possible.  
  • Citizenship applicants: If IRCC does not receive items after 30 days (without a reasonable explanation), the citizenship application may be considered abandoned.  

If the applicant or the applicant’s employer cannot provide documents:  

  • IRCC will accept a reasonable explanation. Reasons must cite inconveniences related to COVID-19 and must be submitted within 30 days of their request for additional information. 
  • If accepted, IRCC will grant an additional 30-day deadline extension. 
  • If rejected, IRCC will make an effort to determine a final decision with the previously provided material. This may result in a denial. 

Important Note: Confirmation of Permanent Residence and Visitor Visa holders are still restricted from entering Canada unless they are exempt.   

What are the Changes?

Due to COVID-19, IRCC was previously granting automatic deadline extensions for several Canadian immigration applications. Now, IRCC will collect documents and applicable “reasonable explanations” for unobtainable documents. The IRCC hopes to expedite case decisions as the world starts to reopen.  

Looking Ahead

Employers with Canada-bound talent should review any upcoming, pending, or incomplete immigration applications. If COVID-19 restrictions impede document collection, employers should begin drafting their explanations immediately. Managers should watch for any communications from the IRCC and prepare for additional changes as global immigration systems reopen.   

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.