Canada international students – visa application, work and travel update
September 26, 2020
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has updated its COVID-19 visa and travel information for international students. IRCC continues to process study permit and work permit applications submitted online and permanent residence applications. However, paper applications for visitor visas, study and work permits will not be processed until further notice.
ready to travel to Canada and begin your studies, or
able to continue your studies in Canada, if you’ve already started studying online
Applying at the port of entry
In general, you should not apply for a study permit at a Canadian port of entry at this time. You should apply online for a study permit before you travel to Canada.
If you’re already in Canada and you try to apply at the port of entry, you will likely need to quarantine for 14 days if the border services officer approves you to re-enter 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
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.
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. IRCC won’t process applications that are submitted without this document.
IRCC won’t reject your application if you can’t submit the required documents, other than your letter of acceptance, because of COVID-19.
When IRCC starts processing your application, you will be asked for the missing documents and IRCC will 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 you submit a CAQ that expires between April 30 and December 31, 2020, with your study permit application, your new study permit expiry date will be December 31, 2020, unless your passport expires before this date.
This doesn’t apply if your CAQ expired before April 30, 2020.
you plan to continue studying after December 31, 2020
Submit proof that you applied for a new CAQ when IRCC asks you to upload your CAQ. If you receive a new CAQ before IRCC is ready to process your application, you can submit it using IRCC Web form.
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
stay enrolled in your DLI, and
participate in your studies online, if your DLI offers them
If your DLI closes permanently due to COVID-19, you have 150 days to
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
You can continue to work, even if COVID-19 has forced you to become a part-time student or to take a break in your studies, as long as
you’re registered as a full-time student, and
your study permit says you’re allowed to work while you study
If you work 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.
If you worked in an essential service or function
Between April 22 and August 31, 2020, you were temporarily allowed to work more than 20 hours per week during an academic session if
you worked in an essential service or function, and
you had a valid study permit that allowed you to work off campus
This change no longer applies.
If, on a future application, an officer asks you about work you performed during this time, let them know what essential service or function you worked in. You could ask your employer for a letter of support to confirm this.
your in-person classes in Canada have been moved to an online-only format and you had to begin or will continue your classes online because of COVID-19, or
you had to put your studies on hold or study part-time during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters because of COVID-19
If you’re outside of Canada
You’re still eligible for a PGWP if you can’t travel to Canada at this time and
you have a study permit
you’ve been approved for a study permit
you applied for a study permit before starting your study program in the spring, summer or fall 2020 semester, or
you will apply for a study permit before starting your study program in the January 2021 semester
If you’re in this situation, you can begin your classes while outside Canada.
If you applied for your study permit before starting your program
Any time spent studying online from outside Canada since spring 2020 now counts toward the length of a PGWP. (Before, only the time spent studying online after you were approved for a study permit counted.)
You won’t have time deducted from the length of your PGWP for studies you complete outside Canada until April 30, 2021.
How much of your program you can complete online depends on when you started studying and how long your study program is.
You’re taking a short-term program that started between May and September 2020. You can complete 100% of your program online. Your program must be between 8 and 12 months long, and you must have started your studies between May and September 2020. If you’re studying in a Quebec vocational program, your program must be between 900 and 1,348 hours.
You’re taking a program that is 12 months or longer, or you started a short-term program before May 2020. You can complete up to 50% of your program online (until April 30, 2021). You must complete the other 50% of your program in Canada.
You’re completing 2 study programs. You can complete up to 50% of your total studies online (until April 30, 2021). To be able to do this
you must complete both study programs from an eligible DLI within 2 years
one of the programs must have started between May and September 2020, and
each program must meet all PGWP eligibility requirements and be at least 8 months longYou must complete at least 50% of the combined length of the 2 programs in Canada.If you’re studying in a Quebec vocational program
a diploma (DVS program) must be at least 900 hours long
an attestation of vocational studies (AVS) can be less than 900 hours if it’s combined with a DVS