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International Student FAQ

COVID-19 FAQ (Updated: July 22, 2021)


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STUDY PERMIT QUESTIONS

Can I attend fall term classes online from outside Canada, without affecting my immigration status or Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility?

Yes, attending online courses from outside Canada, up until December 31, 2021, will not affect post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility because IRCC has made temporary changes to PGWP eligibility.

The majority of classes will be offered through online delivery whereas about 35% will be offered in-person for the Fall 2021 term. Select your course carefully from the Timetable. (You will find information about course delivery method after each course title and number).

As an admitted University of Winnipeg student, you are eligible to take online courses from your home country, and will receive university credit for successful completion. The University of Winnipeg recommends that you do not register in courses without a valid study permit, as registering in courses does not guarantee you will be issued a study permit.

If I go home to attend courses online, will I be able to return Canada?

Yes, students with a valid study permit (Visa or an eTA, if applicable) can go home and return to Canada. Please note that the flight ban from India has been extended to August 21, 2021.

After you are registered in courses and have your travel and/or quarantine plans in place, email iirss@uwinnipeg.ca to request a travel support letter or letter of enrolment. Please do not request this more than two to three weeks in advance, as letters are tailored to adhere to the latest guidelines.

When you return, there are health and safety measures in place from the Government of Canada which may require students to complete a mandatory 14 Day Quarantine.

There are other measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread which can affect your travel. Please refer to “Travel/Quarantine section” of this page.

My study permit/visa is about to expire, what should I do?

IRCC recommends submitting applications online (paper application can delay the process).

Processing time may be longer than usual; however, submitting an application before a study permit expires triggers “Maintained Status” (previously called Implied Status) which allows students to continue studies and work under current study permit conditions until a decision is made.

Students are encouraged to consult the reference guide on the IIRSS website for help with online applications.

I have been accepted into a study program but cannot apply for a visa as offices are closed. What should I do?

If you are outside Canada, we encourage you to still submit an online application as soon as you can.

Once the application is submitted, you may be asked by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to give biometrics or medical exam results.

IRCC has stopped issuing automatic extensions for biometrics and other missing documents. Special consideration may be give on an individual case basis, where their office has reasons to believe that the delay is related to COVID-19. However, an application without an official acceptance letter from a DLI would not be accepted.

IRCC recently announced that most study permit applications submitted by May 15, 2021 will receive a decision by August 6, 2021. However, students starting studies in fall 2021 (September) and later can keep submitting applications after the deadline. There might be delays where Visa Application Centres (VACs) remain closed or provide limited services.

The May 15 deadline does not apply to SDS stream (available for countries: India, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal and Vietnam). SDS stream applications are generally processed within 20 days (if eligibility requirements are met and subject to VAC services).

We continue to advise students to submit their application once they have all required documents (Please see our GUIDE). For any temporary changes in processing due to current COVID-19 situations, visit the IRCC website.

Apply online as paper applications could delay the process.

Can I start courses online without a study permit/visa, if I am outside Canada?

In general, a study permit/visa is not required for online courses.

However, studying without a visa could affect your future post-graduation work permit (PGWP), after graduation.

Time spent taking online courses without a valid study permit/visa application that is started/in process/approved, will not be counted towards validity of your PGWP. Therefore, students are advised to start online courses only if they have been approved for a study permit (with Visa or eTA if applicable).

I have applied for a study visa/extension; however I cannot provide required documents (e.g passport) due to office closures. What do I do?

If your study permit or visa is expiring or near expiry and you do not have required documents you may still submit an application with an explanation. (IRCC will not be giving automatic extensions and they will contact you for missing documents with the standard 30-day deadline).

If you have applied before current permit expires, it will trigger “maintained status (formerly called implied status) that allows you to continue studies/work under current conditions. Missing documents must be updated during application process using the IRCC web form (within deadlines provided by case processing centre) .

What are the changes to student employment conditions during COVID-19? Can I work if I'm in Canada with a valid study permit?

As of September 1, 2020 working conditions for international students remain the same as before COVID-19 (i.e. you must be a full time student in  regular terms, Fall & Winter at a DLI to meet on campus and off campus work eligibility). Online courses do not affect study permit conditions, including work authorization.

If you were forced to become a part-time student (not registered during a regular term due to school closure or classes not available) between March and September 2020, you can discuss your situation with an Immigration Advisor at campus.

Note: Students are encouraged to speak to a UWinnipeg immigration advisor before changing their working hours.

If you are a full-time student in the Fall 2021 term (i.e. registered in at least nine credit hours), you will be able to work part-time off campus and full time on campus.

For detailed working conditions please refer to IIRSS reference sheet.

Will online courses affect my Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Eligibility?

Students in Canada will not have their PGWP eligibility affected by taking online courses due to shifts in the course delivery method due to COVID-19, or if they were forced to drop the term or become part-time students in Winter/Spring/Summer term.

Students outside Canada are also eligible for PGWP if:

  • they have a valid study permit or a study permit application that is submitted/in process or has been approved.
  • they are in a PGWP eligible program that was in progress during March 2020 OR
  • a PGWP eligible program that started between Spring 2020 and December 2021
  • they complete 100% of studies online prior to December 31, 2021


Disclaimer: It is recommended that students contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or an IIRSS immigration advisor to review their specific case. Canadian immigration regulations, policies, and procedures may change without notice. For the most current information, please visit the IRCC Website at www.cic.gc.ca. For appointments with an IIRSS immigration advisor contact IIRSS: (204) 786-9469; iirss@uwinnipeg.ca  – Revised June 23, 2021. 


TRAVEL/QUARANTINE QUESTIONS:

Can I travel to Canada for my studies?

Travel and border restrictions are determined by the Government of Canada

To be able to enter Canada as an international student, you must meet 2 requirements:

  1. Attend a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with an approved Covid-19 readiness plan, AND
  2. Must have a valid study permit, or have been approved for study permit (applies to all students, including those coming from the US)

You may also be asked by airlines to show proof that you are exempt from travel restrictions. Therefore, students are advised to request a travel support letter from International Immigrant and Refugees Student Services 2-3 weeks before departure by contacting iirss@uwinnipeg.ca. The letter will mention your enrolment in the current/future term, health insurance coverage through The University of Winnipeg and confirm that you are coming to attend a DLI that is approved for COVID-19 readiness plan.

The University of Winnipeg is on the Approved DLI list, and is eligible to welcome international students. You must be registered for  full-time (nine credit hours) for courses in the in the upcoming term to travel Canada at this time. If you have deferred your start date, do not make any travel plans yet. Students starting studies in Fall term (September) should not plan to travel earlier than August 7, 2021.

A border services officer will make the final decision on whether your reason for travelling to Canada is non-discretionary or non-optional. For more details, visit their website.

What are the requirements for COVID testing and quarantine for international students who are travelling?

All travelers, whether you are flying or driving to Canada, must show proof of negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before departure (by air) or entering Canada (by land). Test should be of an approved type (e.g. PCR/LAMP) from a reputable laboratory recognized by the government authority in your country.

International students (new and returning) are subject to a mandatory 14 day Quarantine or self-isolation (with exemptions for fully vaccinated travellers – see below). A border officer at port of entry to Canada may ask you about an adequate plan for quarantine. It is important travelers are aware of  guidelines provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Failure to follow quarantine procedures can result in imprisonment and/or fines.

As of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test. Unvaccinated travellers will be required to give a post-arrival COVID-19 test after entering Canada, as well as on their 8th day of quarantine. There will no longer be a mandatory three-day stay at Government-authorized hotels, so students should book travel through to the final destination (Winnipeg) to complete the entire 14 day quarantine.

What vaccination should I get?

Always follow the advice from your local health authority regarding vaccine eligibility, availability and timing, to choose the vaccine that is most suitable for your personal circumstances.

However, for travel purposes, travel changes announced on July 5, 2021 may exempt you from some travel and quarantine requirements if you have received the full series of a vaccine — or combination of vaccines — accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada.

Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). 

What if I am a fully vaccinated traveller?

Travel changes announced on July 5, 2021 may exempt you from 3 day stay at Government-authorized hotels and mandatory 14 day Quarantine or self-isolation if you have received the full series of a vaccine — or combination of vaccines — accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada.

Travellers can receive their vaccine in any country, and must provide documentation supporting their vaccination in English, French or with a certified translation.

Fully vaccinated travellers must also be asymptomatic, have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation, and provide COVID-19-related information electronically through ArriveCAN prior to arrival in Canada.

They must still present a suitable quarantine plan, and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine.

Use ArriveCAN app, online at Canada.ca/ArriveCAN or call 1-833-641-0343 to enter travel information / quarantine plan / COIVD-19 symptoms within 48 hours of entering  Canada. This is mandatory as screening officer designated by PHAC will be checking your compliance with quarantine throughout the 14 days.

Use Flying to Canada checklist or Driving to Canada checklist to plan your trip. 

Are international students eligible to be vaccinated in Manitoba?

The Government of Manitoba will administer vaccines to non-Manitoba residents who have been isolating in Manitoba for at least 15 days, and who will remain in Manitoba for a further 15 days minimum, resulting in a total stay of no less than 30 days. 

Non-residents must meet the minimum age requirement for each drug as listed in its eligibility criteria. Temporary residents must provide proof of date of entry to Manitoba, as well as documentation to support the reason and anticipated length of their stay (ie: student visa, work visa, immigration documents, etc.).

When attending their appointment, non-Manitoba residents (who live in Canada) must present valid photo ID and a Health Card issued by their home province/territory. 

Non-Canadians must present a valid Passport ID. 

All persons must complete the required consent form prior to their appointment, and bring it with them.  Please note that certain areas of the form will not apply to non-residents, and should be left blank. 

Immunization staff will collect alternate information as required, during the appointment.    


 When will the university campus residence be available?

For the most up to date information on residence, please visit Campus Living’s website.

I have a class that requires a textbook, but the book is not available in my country (I am studying from outside of Canada).  What do I do?

Please visit the UWinnipeg Bookstore's online textbook search tool to see what materials are required for each class.

If you are studying outside of Canada, we recommend ordering an e-book if it is available for your classes. Shipping costs to countries outside of Canada can be expensive, and is charged as an extra fee for any physical textbooks.

Where can I get more information?

If you have questions about travel restrictions, immigration rules, health coverage, or anything else related to your studies, please contact iirss@uwinnipeg.ca.

Do the above answers also apply to students applying to the English Language Program or PACE?

If you are a prospective student in our English Language Program, the answers may be different for you. Email ELP at infoelp@uwinnipeg.ca or PACE at applytopace@uwinnipeg.ca to confirm details relating to your studies.