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February 15, 2010 — The January 12 earthquake in Haiti caused significant damage to the Embassy of Canada in Port-au-Prince, which limited visa and immigration services for the past month. The government’s first priority has been to provide consular assistance and help evacuate Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced special immigration measures on January 16. Shortly after, a unit was set up in Canada to provide support to the visa office in Port-au-Prince by identifying and prioritizing adoption and family class sponsorship applications.
CIC begins to issue permanent resident visas
CIC recently began issuing permanent resident visas to some people whose applications were close to being finalized before the earthquake struck Haiti.
As of February 14, a total of 22 permanent resident visas have been issued. More visas will be issued in the coming weeks and months. CIC has set up a unit in Ottawa which is supporting CIC’s office in Haiti by identifying and expediting existing adoption and family class sponsorship applications. The office in Ottawa has responsibility for processing these applications until Port-au-Prince resumes operations.
Priority processing is being given to family class applications for people who self-identify as having been seriously and directly affected by the earthquake.
All applicants must continue to meet all standard admissibility requirements, including security and medical screening. CIC is working closely with its partners to expedite applications while respecting the Government of Canada’s commitment to protect the safety, security and health of Canadians.
Existing sponsorship applications
N.B.: This information is no longer accurate.
If you had a family class sponsorship application already in process before the earthquake, you should ask your sponsor in Canada to contact CIC if they haven’t already done so. Sponsors and applicants presently in Canada should notify the CIC Call Centre (in Canada only, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday) or by email to identify your existing applications, if you or the family you sponsored have been significantly and adversely affected.
New sponsorship applications
New sponsorship applications should be started in Canada by the sponsor. Once you have completed the sponsorship application, be sure to write “Haiti” prominently on the mailing envelope to receive priority handling. Sponsors are responsible for demonstrating that his or her family member is significantly and adversely affected by the situation.
Applicants should not to go the Embassy of Canada unless instructed
If you have already applied, you should not go the Embassy of Canada in Port-au-Prince unless you have been specifically instructed to do so by CIC officials. Showing up at the Embassy will not cause your application to be expedited.
Please note that only sponsored spouses, partners and dependent children of Canadian citizens and permanent residents may take their medical exams when submitting an application for permanent residence.
All others should only schedule a medical examination when instructed to do so by CIC officials. If you take your medical examination before receiving instructions from CIC officials, you will have to take another medical examination at your own expense.
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