Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for international students
Whether you are a first-year student, a soon-to-be graduating student, an exchange student or visiting researcher, here you will find up-to-date Government of Canada information on study permit-related issues, travel restrictions and exemptions, as well as Government of Canada programs for which international students may be eligible.
We encourage you to consult this page regularly for the latest updates relevant to your situation.
For international students specifically
Consult the following Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) news release announcing the introduction of new processes to support the safe and gradual entry international students (2020/10/02):
- Specifically, these processes will provide for the entry, as of October 20, of international students, if they will be attending a designated learning institution that has been identified by their provincial or territorial government as having a COVID-19 readiness plan in place.
- For more information, consult the IRCC page Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Designated learning institutions reopening to international students.
- Students will continue to be required to provide the necessary documents to study and travel in Canada.
- Detailed information on the process and requirements to be eligible to travel to and enter Canada are available on the IRCC website.
Before traveling, it is essential to review the following IRCC resources to ensure you meet the necessary criteria for entry into Canada:
- Study Permit: COVID-19 program delivery
- New Requirements for Travel to Canada, including travel restrictions and exemptions, as well as details on requirements for international students
As of February 21, 2021, passengers travelling by air (unless exempted) are required to:
- reserve a government-authorized hotel for 3 nights prior to departure to Canada
- take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival in Canada
- stay in the government-authorized hotel while awaiting the results of the COVID-19 molecular test taken on arrival
- pay for the cost of the hotel stay, as well as all associated costs for:
- infection prevention and control measures
Unaccompanied minors or unaccompanied dependent children are exempt from the 3-night hotel stay.
For more information on these requirements and for the list of government-authorized hotels, visit Transport Canada.
Immigration status and related travel
IRCC has published detailed information on how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is affecting immigration, refugees, citizenship and passport services. This includes specific information, questions and answers related to, among others:
- Workers, students and visitors
- Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibilities and changes
- On February 12, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that studies completed outside of Canada up to December 31, 2021, will count towards a future PGWP and potentially allow international students to complete their entire program online from abroad while still being eligible for a PGWP. These temporary changes apply to all international students who are enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program, and meet all other PGWP criteria. Learn more about the measures through the IRCC news release.
- International students providing essential services
- Guidance in situations where an international student’s status has expired, or is about to expire
- IRCC offices and visa application centres
- Applying for a study permit from outside Canada
- For up-to-date information, see IRCC’s special measures to help clients affected by COVID‑19
Consult the following IRCC resources about their new temporary study permit process:
- IRCC’s Backgrounder: Facilitative measures to support international students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
- If you can’t submit a complete application with all the required documents, for more information, please read about the new two-stage approval process announced July 15, 2020
- On January 27, 2021, foreign nationals in Canada with an expired or expiring PGWP will have a one-time opportunity to apply for another work permit with a duration of 18 months. For more information, consult the following IRCC news release announcing the Government of Canada’s new policy to help former international students live in, work in and continue contributing to Canada (2021/01/08)
Eligibility for Government of Canada-funded benefits
- The Government of Canada has introduced a range of measures and programs under its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, including supports for those who have lost income due to COVID-19, as well as measures targeting youth, post-secondary students and recent graduates.
- International students are invited to consult the Plan’s section on Support for individuals, to review measures for which they may be eligible. This could include the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a removal of restrictions on hours worked for students working in essential services, and access for youth to mental health support, among others. Note that some student-focused measures in the plan may not be available to international students.
Information for Government of Canada-funded scholarship students
- Global Affairs Canada (GAC) is in close contact with its scholarship program administrators to identify guidance and support required by scholarship recipients. Individuals with concerns should reach out to their host institutions in Canada as a first point of contact.
- International students that are currently in Canada under one of the Student Exchange Programs, including the inbound portion of the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchange Program (CCSEP), have the option to return to their home countries and finish their studies online (if their school offers that option). There will be no penalties for doing so. If a student wishes to withdraw completely from the program, they will still receive a prorated amount of the scholarship.
- To stay up-to-date with the latest information on Government of Canada funded scholarships, please subscribe to the EduCanada RSS feed and visit our Facebook page @EduCanada.Official.
Health care, including mental health
- Free vaccines will be available to everyone who lives in Canada over the course of 2021. For more information, please visit: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines: Overview.
- The Government of Canada is giving $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone, a 24/7, national support service, offering professional counselling, information and referrals to young people in both English and French. The service is completely confidential and provides much-needed mental health support to youth during this difficult time. You can reach out by phone, text or live chat or dial 1-800-668-6868 to speak with a Kids Help Phone counsellor at any time.
- International students are encouraged to reach out to and remain in contact with their host institutions in Canada, in particular the international students’ office, and their health care coverage providers to receive information on measures and supports in place for international students at this time.
- GAC is in regular contact with Canadian education associations, representing Canadian education institutions across the country. It is our understanding that Canadian institutions are proactively providing psychological and mental health support related to the pandemic to their national and international students.
- Students are also encouraged to regularly consult municipal and provincial/territorial public health resources for information on guidelines and supports that apply to their host communities.
- Date Modified: