Students – Travel to Canada: COVID-19 program delivery

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

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Before entering Canada

To limit the spread of COVID-19, travellers, including international students, entering Canada must follow the rules set out in the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act. International students who enter Canada must undergo the necessary health checks and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.

As of October 20, 2020, international students who have a valid study permit or have been approved for a study permit and received a letter of introduction from IRCC may be authorized to travel to Canada if attending a designated learning institution (DLI) that

Note: DLIs are expected to provide information to the provinces and territories about the public health readiness of their institution before students arrive. Institutions have been asked to support students in meeting quarantine requirements, help them plan for their transportation to their place of quarantine after they arrive, and provide guidance or assistance in acquiring the necessities of life, including food and medication, during their quarantine.

Foreign nationals are prohibited from travelling to and entering Canada if they are symptomatic. Commercial airline restrictions may also prevent travellers from boarding if they are sick. A pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirement is in place for individuals 5 years of age or older who are travelling to Canada. However, Canadian citizens, persons with status under the Indian Act and permanent residents who have COVID-19 symptoms are allowed to return to Canada.

Students are encouraged to travel via the most direct route possible and be aware of rules if they are transiting through airports. The International Air Transport Association’s website has a great tool to see what restrictions and measures are in place internationally.

In addition, all travellers are required to provide specific information upon entry into Canada. Travellers must use ArriveCAN before boarding their flight to Canada. They can use ArriveCAN up to 365 days before their flight. ArriveCAN is available as an app for iOS or Android and as a website.

Once they have submitted their information through ArriveCAN

If they are not travelling with a smartphone

International students travelling to Canada from outside the United States

As of October 20, 2020, international students who hold a valid Canadian study permit or who received a letter of introduction from IRCC may be authorized to enter Canada from outside of the United States for a non-discretionary purpose if they attend a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan that has been approved by their province or territory.

IRCC will send letters (push notifications) every 2 weeks to principal applicants whose study permit applications have been approved or their authorized representatives advising them about

The letter also instructs students to confirm with their DLI that their course or study program is still operating.

Mandatory documents for students travelling to Canada from outside the United States

Border services officers will ask students to provide additional information to facilitate the immigration process, and students are required to have the following documents ready when arriving in Canada:

Before considering travelling, all travellers to Canada must plan for their mandatory 14-day quarantine period, which starts on the date they arrive. Government of Canada representatives will conduct health screenings at the time of entry to Canada and verify their quarantine arrangements.

Students will also be asked if they have a suitable place to quarantine, where they will

Students are strongly encouraged to make housing arrangements for quarantine before arriving in Canada. Students will also be given instructions about the actions they must take under the emergency order and the penalties for non-compliance.

Border services officers will make a final determination on the foreign national’s eligibility to enter Canada at the port of entry.

International students travelling to Canada from the United States

As of October 20, 2020, international students who hold a valid Canadian study permit, who received a letter of introduction from IRCC or who are eligible to apply for a study permit at the port of entry may be authorized to enter Canada from the United States for a non-discretionary purpose if they attend a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan that has been approved by their province and territory.

Foreign nationals who are eligible to apply for a study permit at the port of entry may be able to do so, provided

IRCC will send letters (push notifications) every 2 weeks to principal applicants whose study permit applications have been approved or their authorized representatives about

The letter also instructs students to confirm with their DLI that their course or study program is still operating. Like all travellers, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, international students who enter Canada will undergo the necessary health checks and must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.

Mandatory documents for students travelling to Canada from the United States

Border services officers will usually ask students to provide additional information to facilitate the immigration process, and students are required to have the following documents ready when arriving in Canada:

Before considering travelling, all travellers arriving in Canada must plan for their mandatory 14-day quarantine period, which starts on the date they arrive. Government of Canada representatives will conduct health screenings at the time of entry to Canada and let people arriving know if they need to quarantine or isolate.

Students will also be asked if they have a suitable place to quarantine, where they will

Students, like all travellers, are strongly encouraged to make housing arrangements for quarantine before arriving in Canada. Students will also be given instructions about the actions they must take under the emergency order and the penalties for non-compliance.

Border services officers will make a final determination on the foreign national’s eligibility to enter Canada at the port of entry.

Non-discretionary purpose of travel

Note: The decision to allow entry into Canada will rest with border services officers at a Canadian port of entry.

Students who have been approved for or hold a valid study permit and who are destined to study at a DLI with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their provincial or territorial government may be able to enter Canada if they are travelling for a non-discretionary purpose. Travel will be deemed discretionary or non-discretionary depending on individual circumstances. Prior to boarding, air carriers are instructed to conduct an assessment of foreign nationals’ ability to travel to Canada based on the Canada Border Services Agency’s guidance for the travel restrictions. Border services officers will assess the circumstances surrounding the student and their accompanying family members’ travel and may consider, for example, whether any of the following apply:

Under current travel restrictions, foreign nationals who are study permit exempt under paragraph R188(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (those who are taking short-term courses) are not considered to be non-discretionary travellers and may not be permitted to enter Canada unless they apply for and obtain a study permit for a DLI with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory.

Note: Accompanying family members of international students who are exempt from travel restrictions must also be travelling for a non-discretionary purpose (that is, to establish themselves in Canada).

Immediate family members may be eligible to travel to Canada if they will be

Family members will need to show that their travel is non-discretionary. Parents or custodians requesting to travel with a student who is attending post-secondary studies (no longer a minor) would be considered discretionary unless they can provide proof that the student requires their care (for example, disability, doctor’s note).

All travellers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.

Cross-border students

If students cross the border into Canada regularly for school, to be able to enter Canada, they must be eligible to obtain a study permit and be attending a DLI with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory.

Cross-border students may also be exempt from having to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada if

If the province or territory in which the DLI is located isn’t listed above, they will be required to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.

While in Canada, students must

If someone will be driving the student to and from a DLI regularly, they also don’t need to quarantine for 14 days, as long as

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