Canada updates COVID-19 travel exemptions for int'l students


Canada updates COVID-19 travel exemptions for int'l students

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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Dear Mr Brown,

Thank you for assisting me with my school admission and study permit. When will I be able to travel to Canada to study there in person? How is Canada doing with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic?

— CM

Dear CM:

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has released an update on travel restriction exemptions for international students.

COVID-19 plans for Designated Learning Institutions (DLI)

Canadian borders and ports of entry are now open for international students with a valid study permit who are studying at a DLI with an approved COVID-19 plan. This recognition permits travel to Canada to study at a DLI as non-discretionary, or necessary, even if the programme is being delivered entirely online during the pandemic.

Please note that international students cannot travel to Canada if they have an approval-in-principle; students must have a letter stating that their study permit has been approved or have a valid study permit. Students who were approved for a study permit prior to March 18 will not be allowed to travel to Canada until their DLI is on the approved list.

DLI COVID-19 plans provide the Government with details on how they will help students with their quarantine, including assistance in acquiring food, medicine, general academic and mental health support. The plan also outlines protocols for the health of students in the event there are COVID-19 cases at the school.

These institutions have submitted their COVID-19 readiness plans to provincial governments which have either already approved them or are expected to approve them in due course. Upon approval, the DLI will appear on IRCC's list. The list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans is being updated, with the next publication expected to be early November.

Quarantine period

Please note that, in addition to providing your quarantine plan to the Government, students will also have to submit their DLI quarantine plan prior to travelling to Canada. Students, and any accompanying family member, will be required to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

The Canadian Government also requires students to possess a valid study permit or port of entry letter of introduction.

The update to welcome international students does not impact any other temporary Government policy changes that are still in effect. For example, students can continue to study online from their home countries, with the time counting toward the Post-Graduate Work Permit, until April 30, 2021.

Even with the DLI approval, all students attempting to enter Canada do so at their own risk and should ensure that all IRCC pre-arrival steps are followed. International students should not make any travel plans until they have met all the requirements.

COVID-19 vaccine preparation

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced another contract to buy 76 million doses of a promising COVID-19 vaccine, now in development, from the Quebec City biotech company, Medicago. The move is part of a plan to secure millions of vaccine doses to inoculate Canadians against the virus.

If the vaccine also performs well in a clinical setting, it could be made available in the first half of 2021.

Canada had already signed six other contracts for tens of millions of vaccine doses with other pharmaceutical giants.

Please visit for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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