Notice – Update on Situation in Syria

April 17, 2013 — Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) wants to remind Syrians in Canada of the steps they need to take to maintain their temporary status in this country.

Syrian nationals whose status in Canada is due to expire and who are unable to leave Canada because of the current situation in Syria must apply to extend their status. Applications to extend status should be submitted at least 30 days in advance of expiration and may be submitted online or in paper format to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta. The in-Canada application forms allow applicants to:

  • extend their status as a visitor, student or worker;
  • change the type of permit held (for example, from a student to a work permit); or
  • change a condition of a permit (for example, to change employers or jobs).

If your visitor visa expires after you have submitted your application for an extension of your authorization to remain in Canada, you will be considered in status as a temporary resident (visitor) until a decision is made on the application. This is known as implied status.
Please note that normal eligibility requirements and fees continue to apply.

CIC continues to work in close partnership with other federal departments on the Government of Canada’s (GoC) response to the developing situation in Syria. Since March 15, 2012, the Canada Border Services Agency has had in place an administrative deferral of removals for Syrian nationals in Canada due to the civil unrest in Syria. This deferral excludes those who are inadmissible and subject to removal on grounds of criminality, international or human rights violations, organized crime or security.
Despite the closure of our office in Damascus, CIC continues to process applications for Syrians as quickly as possible, while ensuring that the necessary security and admissibility checks are performed. Between December 2011 and December 2012, 616 temporary residents entered Canada from Syria. Between December 2011 and January 2013, 1,105 permanent residents were admitted to Canada from Syria. The processing time as of March 23, 2013, for visitor visa applications at the visa office in Lebanon (Beirut) was 17 days and 29 days at the visa office in Jordan (Amman). This means that 80% of applications are processed within these time frames. More complex files or those missing information may be delayed.

Syrians inside Canada with questions may contact CIC by email at question@cic.gc.ca or at the Call Centre from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (local time) by calling 1-888-576‑8502.

Further updates will be posted on the CIC website as they become available.

Background

On December 15, 2011, the GoC initiated a 30-day voluntary evacuation for Canadians in Syria. During that period, Canada urged Canadian citizens, their spouses and their dependent children to apply for travel documents and to leave Syria immediately. CIC expedited visitor visas for spouses and dependants of Canadian citizens during that period and fast-tracked family class cases that were nearing completion.

While the Embassy of Canada in Damascus, Syria, was closed on January 31, 2012, CIC continues to provide visa services to Syrians in the region. Those Syrians seeking temporary resident visas to visit, work or study in Canada can apply to our offices in Lebanon (Beirut) or Jordan (Amman). Syrian nationals outside of Syria can submit their application to any other Canadian visa office. Normal eligibility requirements and fees continue to apply. Syrian family class cases are now processed in Jordan (Amman). Applicants should regularly monitor the CIC and visa office websites for information and updates. For questions related to applications processed in Lebanon (Beirut) or Jordan (Amman), applicants may contact the relevant visa office.

The closure of the visa office followed an announcement made by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the GoC’s reduced diplomatic staff in Syria.

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