Under new exemptions to Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions, international students attending approved colleges and universities can travel here from today (October 20, 2020).
To be allowed into Canada, international students approved for a study permit must be attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their provincial or territorial government.
The new exemption applies to all international students, regardless of where they are travelling from. It does not affect those already in Canada.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says it will keep a regularly updated list of approved DLIs here.
IRCC urged travellers not to make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and obtained all necessary authorizations to qualify to come to Canada under the new exemption.
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From October 20, international students coming to Canada to study will be considered non-optional and non-discretionary. However, IRCC warns that if there is evidence they are coming to Canada to an optional or discretionary reason, such as tourism, they will not be allowed to enter.
Family members of international students may be allowed to accompany them to Canada, provided their reason for travel is non-optional and non-discretionary. Getting established in Canada in support of an international student’s studies is considered non-option and non-discretionary.
IRCC says family members may include:
- Spouse or common-law partner,
- Parent or legal guardian (in the case of a minor child who will be studying in Canada).
“With primary responsibility for education and health care, provincial and territorial governments assess COVID-19 readiness plans that schools are putting in place,” an IRCC statement said.
“As part of their plans, DLIs are expected to provide specifics to their provincial or territorial government on how they will provide information to international students on health and travel requirements before they arrive in Canada, help students with their quarantine plans and provide guidance or assistance in acquiring the necessities of life, such as food and medication, during their quarantine.
“Readiness plans also need to establish protocols for the health of students in the event there are suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases at the school.
“Provincial and territorial partners indicated they would like to see a process that allows international students to begin travelling to Canada again, as long as it is done safely and respects health requirements.
“Taking a cautious approach, the federal, provincial and territorial governments have worked together in developing that process.”
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The international student exemption was one of three announced at the start of October by Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.
The others, which came into effect from October 8, 2020 concerned extended family members of citizens and permanent residents, and foreign nationals wishing to travel here for compassionate reasons.
New International Travel Restriction Exemptions
Effective October 8, 2020
1) Certain extended family members of citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to enter Canada. Extended family members include those in a long-term, exclusive dating relationship and their dependent children, plus adult children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents.
The extended family member must be staying in Canada for more than 15 days and observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine. They must have a valid passport of documentation showing their relationship to the citizen or permanent resident, and written authorization from authorities.
2) Foreign nationals will be able to enter Canada for compassionate reasons in specific and limited situations, including to say goodbye to a loved one, to provide care for a loved one or to attend a funeral.
These foreign nationals must observe the 14-day quarantine period, although they may be able to break quarantine in certain situations, such as to attend a funeral.
Effective October 20, 2020
3) International students attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) approved by a provincial or territorial government as having a COVID-19 readiness plan will be allowed to enter Canada. Again, these students must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.