Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International students

New requirements for travel to Canada

As of February 21, 2021 at 11:59 pm ET, you must meet the new testing and quarantine requirements when coming to Canada.

Use the checklist that applies to you:

We recognize that the travel restrictions have an impact on many people who can’t travel to Canada right now. These restrictions stop most discretionary travel to Canada.

Travel exemptions and restrictions for international students

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

Who can study in Canada as a family member

You can come to Canada as a family member to study if

If you cross the border into Canada regularly for school

You’re exempt from the COVID-19 mandatory requirements if

  • you have a study permit, and
  • you live in the United States and cross the border daily or regularly to attend your classes in British Columbia

While in Canada, you must

  • wear a mask in any public setting where you can’t maintain physical distancing
  • follow all public health guidelines for the municipality and province or territory in which you study

If someone will be driving you to and from your DLI

They’re also exempt from the mandatory requirements as long as

  • they only leave their vehicle to escort you to and from your school, and
  • they wear a mask at all times while outside their vehicle

Mandatory quarantine, COVID-19 testing and other requirements

Before you travel to Canada, make sure you know the rules and what you need to do before and after you arrive:

When the mandatory hotel stay is over, you must then follow the COVID-19 readiness plan for your approved DLI.

If you’re an unaccompanied minor, you’re exempt from the mandatory hotel stay for air travellers.


You must use ArriveCAN before checking in at the airport or crossing the border to submit your

  • travel and contact information
  • quarantine plan
  • COVID-19 symptoms self-assessment

Please bring your ArriveCAN receipt (electronic or paper) with you to show the border services officer upon arrival.

When you arrive in Canada

A border services officer (BSO) will make the final decision on whether you’re eligible to enter Canada when you arrive. When the border services officer greets you, they consider

Contact the Border Information Service before you travel if you have questions about travelling to Canada.

If you’re already studying in Canada and you leave the country

You won’t be able to return to Canada if you don’t comply with the mandatory COVID-19 requirements.

If an immediate family member travels with you to Canada

An immediate family member may be able to come with you to Canada if

They don’t need a written authorization from IRCC to travel with you.

If they come with you to Canada

If you’re an adult student with a family member who wants to come with you to Canada, you must submit your applications together when you apply online.

To be able to enter Canada, your family member needs to have one of the following:

  • a study or work permit
  • a letter of introduction showing they’ve been approved for a study or work permit
  • a visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA)

They must also meet all other requirements to enter Canada as a student, worker or visitor.

If they join you later

If your family wants to join you after you’re already in Canada, what they need to travel depends on where they’re travelling from.

Find out what they need to join you in Canada.

If you need help getting settled in Canada

If you need the help of a family member to settle in Canada, your family member does not need a written authorization from IRCC to travel with you.

Only 1 immediate family member can travel with you to Canada to help you to settle.

Your family member must have an essential (non-discretionary) reason for travel. Essential reasons for travel are either:

  1. You’re a minor child and you need a family member to
    • travel with you
    • help you meet your guardian in Canada, and
    • get set up in your new home
  2. You’re not a minor child, but you have supporting documents that prove you need a family member with you to get settled.
    • For example, you submit a medical note as proof that you have a medical condition or disability and need help getting settled.

Your family member may still need an electronic travel authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa to travel to Canada. Find out what document they need to travel to Canada.

If they need a visitor visa

You should include their visa application when you apply online for your study permit.

If they need an eTA

They must apply for an eTA separately. Make sure they follow the special instructions on how to apply for an eTA at this time.

Apply for a study permit

Due to the impacts of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we can’t

Apply online

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

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.

How we process applications

We’ll process your application if you

If you meet the requirements, you may be able to travel to Canada and

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

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.

What to do if you can’t provide required documents

Upload a letter of explanation explaining why you can’t submit the required documents (like your biometrics, proof of enrolment, final transcripts, or others). For example, you may not be able to get these documents because offices are closed.

You must provide a letter of acceptance from a DLI when you apply. We won’t process applications that are submitted without this document.

We won’t reject your application if you can’t submit the required documents, other than your letter of acceptance, because of COVID-19.

When we start processing your application, we’ll ask for the missing documents and give you an extension to provide them, if needed.

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:

  1. You may be able to extend your study permit, if you want to continue studying.
  2. You may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), if you completed your study program.
  3. You can apply to change your status to visitor, if you’re not studying or applying for a PGWP.

You must submit an application for 1 of these options before your study permit expires, or you may need to leave Canada.

COVID-19: Changes to biometrics requirement for in-Canada temporary residence applicants

As a temporary measure, if you’re in Canada and applying to work, study or stay temporarily in Canada, you do not need to give your biometrics. Learn more about the exemption.

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, you should 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 applied for a CAQ. To do this, you can submit either

Complying with your study permit conditions

You’ll still be 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. To stay compliant you must

If your DLI closes permanently due to COVID-19, you have 150 days to

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.

Working as a student

As of September 1, 2020, to work in Canada as a student, you must

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

If you’re working outside Canada, you can work while we process your study permit and co-op work permit applications.

How to apply for a co-op work permit

How your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility is affected

If you’re inside Canada

You’re still eligible for the PGWP if

As of the fall 2020 semester, you must be studying full-time to be eligible.

If you’re outside of Canada

If you can’t travel to Canada at this time and you’re taking your classes online, you’re still eligible for a PGWP.

To be eligible, you must


How much of your studies count toward a PGWP

You can complete 100% of your studies online from outside Canada.

All your time studying online outside Canada between spring 2020 and December 31, 2021, counts toward the length of a PGWP. This applies even if you’re completing 2 study programs.

If you’re completing 2 study programs, you can finish 100% of your studies online if the programs were ongoing or started between March 2020 and fall 2021, and

Time spent studying outside Canada after December 31, 2021, won’t count towards the length of a PGWP.

Apply for a PGWP

To apply for a PGWP, you need to submit

Find out what to do if you’re unable to provide required documents because of COVID-19.

You can start working right away, until we make a decision on your application, if

If your PGWP has expired or will expire soon

Starting January 27, 2021, you may be eligible for an open work permit of up to 18 months under a new public policy. Find out if you meet the requirements for this open work permit.

You can submit applications for this open work permit until July 27, 2021.

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