Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Visitors, foreign workers and students

We recognize that the travel restrictions for those who are outside the US will have an impact on many people who can’t travel to Canada right now. These restrictions stop all non-essentialFootnote 1 (discretionary) travel to Canada.

Travelling to Canada: health check and quarantine

If you’re travelling by air, you need to pass a health check conducted by airlines before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.

When you arrive in Canada, we’ll assess your health before you leave the port of entry. You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. If you don’t have a plan, you should not travel to Canada.

Only people who provide essential services, for example, truck drivers who regularly cross the border to maintain the flow of goods, are exempt from the quarantine requirements.

Last updated: May 15, 2020

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Restrictions and exemptions for travellers to Canada

Visitors

Until further notice, you might not be able to travel to Canada, even if you have a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA).

If you’re exempt or in the US, you can travel to Canada if you’re coming for an essentialFootnote 1 (non discretionary) purpose.

If you can travel to Canada, and you want to apply, note that there are changes to the application process. Find out how to come to Canada.

When you arrive in Canada, we’ll assess your health before you leave the port of entry. You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. If you don’t have a plan, you should not travel to Canada.

If you’re already in Canada, find out what options you may have.

International students

If you’re an international student who has a valid study permit, or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, you’re exempt from the travel restrictions.

Find out what you need before you travel to Canada.

If you’re travelling by air, you need to pass a health check conducted by an airline before you’ll be allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.

When you arrive in Canada, we’ll assess your health before you leave the port of entry. You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms.

If you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t travel to Canada.

Online courses won’t affect your PGWPP eligibility

If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

If you have a study permit, or been approved for a study permit for a program starting in the spring, summer or fall, but you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions, you’re also still eligible for the PGWPP.

If you’re in this situation, you may

If you start your studies in fall 2020, you won’t have time deducted from the length of your post-graduation work permit for studies you complete while outside Canada between fall 2020 and December 31, 2020.

Students with authorization to work

You can continue to work even if COVID-19 has forced you to become a part-time student or take a break in studies if you’re

If you’re working off campus, you can work up to 20 hours per week during an academic session. You can work full-time during scheduled breaks in the academic year.

Letter of support for future applications

If an officer asks you for more information about your time studying in Canada on an application in the future, your designated learning institution should provide you with a letter of support to explain how your studies were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

International students providing essential services

You’re temporarily allowed to work more than 20 hours if you’re

This change is in effect until August 31, 2020.

Find out if your work is considered an essential service or function

Temporary workers

Some temporary workers are exempt from travel restrictions if they’re coming for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose.

Find out how to apply for a work permit and what you need before you travel to Canada.

If you travel by air, you need to

Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.

Before you travel to Canada, you must have a plan to quarantine. Your plan must include a place to stay for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. When you arrive in Canada, we’ll assess your health and your quarantine plan before you leave the port of entry. If you don’t have a plan, you should not travel to Canada.

Visitors, international students or temporary workers in Canada

Due to restrictions on non-essential travel at the US-Canadian border, you can’t travel from inside Canada to apply at a port of entry.

If your visitor status, or study or work authorization hasn’t expired

You must apply online, unless exempt, to extend your stay in Canada.

If you’re a visitor, you can apply for a visitor record to extend your stay in Canada.

If you’re a worker or student, you have 2 options:

  1. If you’re no longer working or studying, you can
  2. If you want to continue working or studying, you may be able to extend your work permit or study permit if you’re eligible.

When you apply, make sure you include a note explaining why you need to extend your stay in Canada.

If you change jobs or employers

If you have an employer-specific work permit and you want to change jobs or employers, you must apply for a new work permit from inside Canada.

However, you don’t need to wait until your work permit application is approved to start your new job or work for a new employer.

As always, open work permit holders can change employers at any time.

Who’s eligible

How to apply

To change jobs or employers, follow these steps:

Step 1: Apply for your work permit

Apply for a new work permit from inside Canada.

Most people must apply online.

If you can’t apply online because of a disability or because there is a problem with the online application, you can apply on paper.

Step 2: Fill out the IRCC Web form

After you apply, fill out the IRCC Web form.

When you fill out the Your enquiry section, you must copy the text below that applies to your situation. Make sure you fill out the sections in square brackets, including the

If you applied on paper and don’t know your application number, include your courier tracking number. This will ensure we can find your application.

If you have other questions, you need to fill out a new IRCC Web form.

Message that work permit holders changing jobs or employers need to paste into the Web form

Priority Code PPCHANGEWORK2020: I am requesting consideration under theTemporary public policy to exempt foreign nationals in Canada from certain requirements when changing employment during the coronavirus pandemic and request that the applicable exemptions be granted until the decision is made on my work permit application or it is withdrawn.

I attest that: I hold/held a work permit valid until [DATE] for employer [NAME] / in occupation [JOB TITLE] and I have received new job offer for [new employer NAME] / [new occupation JOB TITLE].

I have submitted my application for a work permit online OR I submitted my application by paper and the postal/courier tracking number is [NUMBER].

I intend to work for the [new employer NAME] / [new occupation JOB TITLE] specified in the afore-mentioned work permit application.

I understand that providing false, misleading or incorrect information is a violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and may result in enforcement measures against me.

Message that workers who have been work permit exempt need to paste into the Web form

Priority Code PPCHANGEWORK2020: I am requesting consideration under the Temporary public policy to exempt foreign nationals in Canada from certain requirements when changing employment during the coronavirus pandemic and request that the applicable exemptions be granted until the decision is made on my work permit application or it is withdrawn.

I attest that: I am/was authorized to work without a work permit for employer [NAME] / in occupation [JOB TITLE] until [DATE] and I have received a new job offer for [new employer NAME] / [new occupation JOB TITLE].

I have submitted my application for a work permit online OR I submitted my application by paper and the postal/ Courier tracking number is NUMBER.

I intend to work for the [new employer NAME] / [new occupation JOB TITLE] specified in the afore-mentioned work permit.

I understand that providing false, misleading or incorrect information is a violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and may result in enforcement measures against me.

Step 3: Wait for our email

Wait for us to send you an email. It will confirm that you can start your new job or work for your new employer while we process your application.

If you applied online for your work permit, the email should arrive in about 10 business days. If you applied on paper, it may take longer.

If your visitor, study or work status has expired

If it’s been less than 90 days since your status expired

You can apply to restore your status.

To restore your status, use the document checklist and guide for extending your stay as a

When you apply, make sure to:

If your temporary resident status is restored, you’ll get a visitor record or appropriate permit. Your record or permit will outline the conditions of your stay in Canada.

Your temporary resident status in Canada will be extended until a specified date.

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