International students and travel to Canada


The changes the Government of Canada announced today apply to all of IRCC’s clients. As the fall semester is approaching, we would like to remind international students of what they will need to do to return or come to Canada for their studies.

The Government of Canada recognizes the tremendous social, cultural and economic benefits that international students bring to Canada and acknowledges that there are benefits for students who choose to study in Canada beyond earning a degree or diploma.

That is why, throughout the pandemic, IRCC has striven to accommodate international students by introducing a variety of temporary policy changes, including measures put in place to benefit international students studying online from abroad.

At the same time, the health and safety of Canadians and of those who wish to study here remains our top priority.

While many students will no doubt be excited to begin or resume their studies in Canada, it remains critical that all public health measures are strictly followed.

Here is a guide on what students who are travelling to Canada need to do:

Who may enter Canada to study

To be able to enter Canada as a student, you need to

  • have a valid study permit or letter of introduction that shows you have been approved for a study permit
  • be attending a designated learning institution with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory

It is also important to check if restrictions are in place for your country that may affect your ability to travel. For example, the Government of Canada has suspended flights from India until August 21, 2021.

You must have a quarantine plan

Designated learning institutions’ COVID-19 readiness plans aim to protect the health and safety of all students and the surrounding community. The plans indicate how institutions will manage the quarantine period for international students, including arrangements for transportation to the students’ quarantine location and for access to food and medications during their quarantine.

An international student must have a 14-day quarantine plan in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine. This is still the case even if they believe they meet the criteria for being considered a fully vaccinated traveller.

Students should be in contact with their designated learning institution for assistance in developing quarantine plans in advance of their arrival to Canada.

Information about the quarantine plan must be submitted in ArriveCAN prior to travel to Canada.

Who is considered a fully vaccinated traveller?

Those who are fully vaccinated may qualify for exemptions from some of the quarantine and testing requirements.

To be considered fully vaccinated, travellers will need to have received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine—or combination of vaccines—accepted by the Government of Canada, at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

If you have received a different vaccine, you are currently not considered fully vaccinated in Canada.

Travellers must provide proof of vaccination in English or French (or a certified translation of their document). Travellers can receive their vaccine in any country, but it has to be 1 of the 4 vaccines accepted by Health Canada.

To be eligible for exemptions, fully vaccinated travellers must still meet the pre-entry and on-arrival testing requirements, including being tested within 72 hours pre-departure. They must also be asymptomatic, submit all required COVID-19 information electronically into ArriveCAN prior to travel to Canada, have a paper or digital copy of their proof of vaccination, and have a suitable quarantine plan.

Upcoming changes to public health measures

As of August 9, 2021, new measures will be put in place for travellers to Canada, including international students.

This includes the following:

  • Eliminating the 3-night government-authorized hotel stay requirement for all air travellers arriving after 12:01 a.m. EDT on August 9, 2021. Until that time, non-vaccinated travellers flying to Canada must complete their 3-night hotel stay while they wait for their on-arrival test results.
  • Implementing a surveillance randomized testing regime for fully vaccinated travellers who qualify for entry to Canada at select airports and land border crossings across Canada. Unvaccinated travellers will continue to be subject to mandatory on-arrival and day 8 testing.
  • Allowing individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, but who continue to test positive, to present a positive COVID-19 molecular test result on a specimen taken 14 to 180 days prior to arrival in Canada as part of the pre-entry test requirements.

Stay up to date

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the variants of the virus, the Government of Canada continues to actively monitor the situation and will not hesitate to take further measures as required.

International students wishing to come to Canada should continue to monitor our website for the latest developments, and follow the guidance of their school, the province in which it’s located, and local authorities once they’ve arrived.


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