Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International students
On this page
- Travel exemptions and restrictions for international students
- Apply for a study permit
- Complying with your study permit conditions
- If you want to stay in Canada longer
- Studying in Quebec
- Working as a student
- How your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility is affected
Travel exemptions and restrictions for international students
You need to be eligible to travel to Canada at this time if
- you want to come to Canada to study
- you’re returning to Canada as an international student
- you’re coming to Canada as a family member or support person for an international student
You can find this out by
Apply for a study permit
If you’re applying for a study permit, you should apply online, whether you’re outside of Canada or already in Canada.
When you apply, you should submit
- the letter of acceptance issued to you by the designated learning institution (DLI) you’ll be attending
- as many of the documents needed for a complete application as possible
- a letter of explanation for any documents that are missing due to COVID-19
If you can’t apply online because of a disability or because there’s a problem with the online application, you can apply on paper.
If you plan to study in Quebec, you must provide a valid Quebec Acceptance Certificate or proof that you applied for one.
Applying at the port of entry
In general, you should not apply for a study permit at a Canadian port of entry. You should apply online for a study permit before you travel to Canada.
Only certain people can apply at the port of entry at this time. You may be able to apply at the port of entry if you’re a
- U.S. citizen
- lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
- resident of Greenland
- resident of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
If you meet one of these requirements, you must have all the documents required to apply for a study permit with you when you arrive at the border. The border services officer who greets you will determine if you’re eligible to enter Canada as a student.
Complying with your study permit conditions
If your in-class courses are temporarily moved to an online-only format or suspended completely because of COVID-19, you’re still complying with your study permit conditions if you
- stay enrolled in your DLI, and
- participate in your studies online, if your DLI offers them
Letter of support for future applications
If, on a future application, an officer asks you for more information about your time studying in Canada, your DLI should provide you with a letter of support to explain how your studies were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you want to stay in Canada longer
You must apply online to extend your stay in Canada.
If your study permit is going to expire soon
If you’re a student, you have 3 options:
- You may be able to extend your study permit, if you want to continue studying.
- You may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) or a work permit, if you completed your study program.
- You can apply to change your status to visitor.
You must submit an application for 1 of these options before your study permit expires, or you may need to leave Canada.
If your study permit has expired
If your study permit expires before you apply to extend it, you’ve lost your status as a student in Canada. You may be able to restore your status.
If you’re a visitor who needs a study permit
You can apply online for a study permit if you’re already in Canada as a visitor.
When you apply, you must follow the instructions for applying from outside of Canada. We’ll process your application in the same amount of time as though you’d applied from your home country, outside of Canada.
You can’t start studying until you receive your study permit.
Studying in Quebec
If you want to study in Quebec for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ).
When you apply for a study permit to study in Quebec, you’ll need to show us that you’ve been approved for a CAQ. To do this, you can submit either of the following:
- your official CAQ document (preferred)
- your letter of approval from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration confirming that you will receive a CAQ
After December 31, 2021, you can only submit one of the proofs above to show that you’ll get a CAQ. No other type of proof will be accepted.
If you plan to study in Quebec for less than 6 months, you can apply for a study permit without a CAQ.
Working as a student
As of September 1, 2020, to work in Canada as a student, you must
- be a full-time student
- be enrolled at a DLI
- meet all on-campus and off-campus work eligibility requirements
Co-op work permits
During the COVID-19 outbreak, many international students are studying online from abroad. If your school and employer agree, you can either
- accept a Canadian work placement and begin working remotely from your home country
- work for a company in your home country
If you’re working outside Canada, you can work while we process your study permit and co-op work permit applications.
How your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility is affected
If you’re inside Canada
You’re still eligible for the PGWP if, because of COVID-19, any of the following situations apply to you:
- Your in-person classes in Canada were moved to an online-only format.
- Your program has a mix of online and in-person learning.
- It’s highly recommended that you attend in-class options when offered.
- You had to put your studies on hold, or study part-time, during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters.
As of the fall 2020 semester, you must be studying full-time to be eligible.
If you’re outside of Canada
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