International student FAQ

COVID-19 FAQ (Updated: June 24, 2020)


If Fall term is online, can I leave Canada to go home to attend course online?

Yes, as per IRCC temporary changes, international students can leave Canada to attend courses online until 31st, December 2020 without affecting their study permit or future work permit (PGWP). However, there is limit to 50% courses that can be completed online while outside Canada.

If I go home to attend courses online, will I be able to return Canada with a study permit and visa?

Students with a study permit issued on or before March 18, 2020 can enter Canada. However, if you go home and your study permits expire while outside Canada, you may not be able to return until travel restrictions are lifted for all international students.

What are the changes with student employment conditions during COVID-19?

Working conditions remains same except in two situations:

  1. If you were forced to become part time students / not registered during a regular term due to school closure or classes not available, you may continue to work under current conditions i.e. part time or full time if you were authorized. You would need to request a support letter from International Immigrant and Refugees Student Service (IIRSS)
  2. International students working in essential services/functions related to Covid-19 are exempt from 20 hours per week limit while full time student in a regular term. This is effective from 22nd April by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada until August 31st, 2020 Example of such services /functions include health care workers, caregivers, and food suppliers. However, students must be authorized to work first.

How do you know if the work comes under this exemption? You can confirm this with your employer or from the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada’s website or from your employer.

Note: Students are encouraged to speak to an Immigration Advisor at campus before changing their working hours.

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

IRCC is still accepting online applications. Processing time may be longer than standard, however applying a new visa/study permit before expiry triggers “implied status” which allow students to continue studies and work under current conditions. Student are encouraged to make use of reference guide from IIRSS website for online applications.

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

If you are outside Canada, you can still make an online application, which does not require going to any visa office (VAC). Once application is submitted you may be asked by IRCC to give Biometrics or medical results. Time to provide biometrics and medicals has been extended from 30 to 90 days and still further where offices remain closed. However, not applying now, could further delay your visa, once offices re-open and your application gets in que. For in process application with IRCC, use Web-Form to update information.

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, this could affect your future work permit, that students can apply after graduation (PGWP). Time spent taking online courses without a study permit/visa approved, will not be counted for validity of your PGWP.

Also, students who start online courses while their visa/permit is refused may not be able to get tuition refund for the courses they have already started/finished. Therefore, students are advised to start online classes after their study visa has been approved.

I have applied for a study visa/ extension; however I cannot provide required documents (e.g Passport/ Medical results/ Bio-metrics) due to office closures. What do I do?

If your study permit/visa is expiring or near expiry and you do not have required documents (Passport/medicals/biometrics), you may still submit application with an explanation. This will trigger implied status that allow you to continue studies/work under current conditions. Required documents can be updated during application process using Web-Form. IRCC has allowed these changes to facilitate student in Canada, who cannot submit these documents for reasons linked to office closure due to Covid-19.

How many hours can we work in one week over the summer break?

International students can work full time (there is no limit of hours) in scheduled breaks i.e. Spring and Summer regardless course load. However, you must be full time student both before and after the break i.e. registered in at least 9 credit hours. So, you may register in courses or take a complete break from studies while working full time during the break.

There are also some exceptions to working hours during Covid-19 (see # 3). Please also see work guides page on international student for more information


What are the requirements for travel right now?

Travel requirements are from Government of Canada, mentioned on their website. We do not encourage students to travel Canada to start studies until travel  restrictions are in place, as IRCC has allowed student to take online courses outside Canada without affecting their study permit conditions or future work permit (PGWP) until 31st December, 2020.

Can I travel to Canada when the Canadian border opens to foreign travelers?

Canada's border is already open to some foreign travellers including some international students who have study permit issued on or before March 18th, 2020. If you come under exemption e, you may travel to Canada subject to Quarantine requirement.

These updates are as of June 10, 2020. Students are encouraged to keep latest updates from IRCC websiteon Students/Workers/visitors situation during Covid-19. This include changes to new application process, visa applications outside Canada, Biometrics requirements in and outside Canada as well medical results for online applications to mention some.

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?

Students should contact instructors to see if there are alternatives to textbooks or if they could suggest methods of obtaining books.

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

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

If you are a prospective student in our English Language Program, the answers may be different for you. Email to confirm details relating to your studies.