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Covid-19 rules for International Students in Canada

Canada has been a dream destination for studying abroad for most students from all over the globe. Covid-19 affected the dreams of many students who wished to come to Canada to do a course in one of its prestigious colleges or universities.

Vaccination has been introduced in most countries to protect citizens against any further outbreak of Covid-19, many things have been moving towards normalcy. Also, Canada has introduced many changes in its policy towards allowing students and citizens from other countries into its borders for education and travel.

In this article, we will look at the new rules and regulations that Immigration has introduced, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for International Students to enter Canada and study on the campus of various colleges and Universities.

Impact of Covid-19 on International Students in the UK

Canada’s Travel Exemptions and Restrictions for International Students

International Students coming to Canada, whether by land or air, have to comply with the following conditions to enter Canadian soil:

  1. Study Permit should have been approved (regardless of the date of their letter of introduction), they hold a valid study permit, or are authorized to apply for a study permit upon entry to Canada (US Citizens and Canada Permanent Residents only),
  2. They are attending an educational institution that is on the list of institutions with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place, 
  3. They do not have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, and
  4. They have a plan to quarantine for 14 days.

These entry requirements for International Students are in force as of October 20, 2020. 

Impact of Covid-19 on International students

In case travelling by air to Canada, the following steps need to be followed:

Step 1: RT-PCR Report 72 hours before

Take pre-departure Covid-19 Test within 72 hours of the flight’s scheduled departure to Canada. Students need to carry an unfavourable report of the RT-PCR test done within 72 hours of the flight’s departure time to board the flight.

Step 2: Download the ArriveCan App

Download the app and submit the required information before your departure to Canada. Students need to give the following information in the ArriveCan App before boarding the flight:

  • Their travel and contact information
  • Their quarantine plan
  • A Covid-19 symptom self-assessment

Step 3: Collect the travel documents:

International Students should gather the following documents to avoid hassles entering Canada.

  1. A valid study permit 
  2. Proof of enrollment from the college or university
  3. Proof of funds
  4. Passport
  5. Immigration medical examination results
  6. All other supporting documents mentioned in the study visa application

Step 4: Take a Covid-19 test upon arrival in Canada

Except for some exemptions, all international students are required to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival in Canada. As of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers are exempted from the requirement of taking a Covid-19 test upon arrival unless randomly selected to do so at the Port of Entry (POE). Students are advised to check the requirements that should be met to consider as fully vaccinated. 

Official Guidelines by Canadian Government for International Students

Step 5: Share information after arriving

Within 48 hours of arriving in Canada, submit the required information through ArriveCan App. The following information has to be submitted to the Canadian Government through the ArriveCan App: 

  1. Confirmation on arrival at the place of Quarantine or Isolation and
  2. A daily Covid-19 symptom self-assessment during the quarantine period

As of July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated International Students are exempt from this condition. The students should check the Quarantine exemption for fully vaccinated travellers.

Step 6: Second Covid-19 Quarantine Report

Submit a second Covid-19 test towards the completion of the fourteen-day Quarantine period.  

On the 8th day of the quarantine period, the student will need to submit another Covid-19 test as per the instructions. The student should wait for the result of the Covid-19 test and leave the facility after completing the fourteen days if the test results are negative. In case the test results are positive, then the student has to undergo another fourteen-day quarantine period.

As of July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated International Students are exempt from this condition. The students should check the Quarantine exemption for fully vaccinated International Students.

Quarantine Exemption for Fully Vaccinated International Students

As of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated International Students are exempt from:

  1. The federal requirement is to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.
  2. To take a Covid-19 test upon arrival unless randomly selected to do so at the Port of Entry (POE),
  3. To take a Covid-19 test on Day-8 of arrival to Canada

Note: To be fully vaccinated, International Students should have received the required dosage of vaccine or combination of vaccines approved by the Government of Canada at least 14 days before entering Canada. At this time, the vaccines approved by the Government of Canada include those made by Pfizer/Moderna, AstraZeneca/Covishield, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

In order to be exempt from the mandatory federal quarantine requirement, fully vaccinated International Students must meet the following Public Health Agency of Canada requirements:

  1. Should meet all other mandatory requirements, including pre-arrival testing,
  2. Be asymptomatic when entering Canada.
  3. Have a digital copy of their proof of vaccination document in English or French (or accompanied by a certified translation)
  4. Please continue to submit their Covid-19 related information electronically through ArriveCan.
  5. Present a suitable quarantine plan, or be prepared to quarantine, should the border officer determines they do not meet the conditions to be exempt from quarantine.

Latest Update as of September 8, 2021, for International Students arriving in Canada

The purpose of international students is to enter Canada to study; they should not be entering Canada as a visitor (i.e., without a valid study permit or study permit approval letter). Entry to Canada will likely be denied. 

For Fully Vaccinated International Students

  • Will not have to take the Covid-19 test upon arrival unless randomly selected at the Port of Entry (POE).
  • Will be exempt from the federal requirement to undergo a 14-day quarantine. 
  • Will be exempt from the 3-night Government-authorized hotel stay.
  • Must take RT-PCR test within 72 hours of the flight’s scheduled departure
  • Must continue to submit information and Quarantine plan through ArriveCan app before travel
  • International Students who have previously tested positive for Covid-19 should produce a negative test result report or a positive Covid-19 molecular test taken 14-90 days before arrival in Canada as part of pre-arrival test requirements.

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