Travel to Canada for International Students: New Mandates!

The Government of Canada has recently announced new mandates for international travel. With the fall semester due to start, here’s what you international students will need to do when planning their travel to Canada for their studies.

Overseas students bring immense benefits to Canada in the form of social, cultural and economic exchanges, and they also stand to benefit as they will get globally recognised degrees and diplomas and can get very rewarding career opportunities that will hold them in good stead for the rest of their life. Some temporary policy changes have been put in place by IRCC for the benefit of overseas students, and include measures that will benefit students who are studying online from abroad.

The health and safety of Canadians and of those who wish to study in Canada remain a top priority, and to safeguard this, all public health measures must be strictly followed.

Keep these mandates in mind:

Who may enter Canada to study?

As an international student, to be able to enter Canada you need to

  • possess a valid study permit or letter of introduction that shows you have been approved for a study permit
  • plan to attend a designated learning institution with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory

Also check whether your own country has any restrictions in place that could affect your ability to travel to Canada. If you’re from India, for instance, the Government of Canada has suspended flights from India until September 21, 2021.

Have a quarantine plan in place

Each institution will have a COVID-19 readiness plan that aims to protect the health and safety of all students and the surrounding community. These plans will outline how institutions will manage the quarantine period for international students. There will be specific arrangements for transportation to the students’ quarantine location and also for access to food and medications during their quarantine period.

Every international student must strictly have a 14-day quarantine plan, if the border decides that they do not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine. Even if the student is fully vaccinated, this plan must mandatorily be followed.

Well ahead of your travel plans, please connect with your designated learning institution for assistance in developing quarantine plans. Prior to travel, you must submit information about the quarantine plan in ArriveCAN.

Can you be considered to be a fully vaccinated traveller?

If you are fully vaccinated, you might qualify for exemptions from some of the quarantine and testing requirements.

The Government of Canada is currently accepting certain vaccines, including those manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). In order to be considered fully vaccinated, travellers will need to have received the full series of any of these approved COVID-19 vaccines, or a combination of vaccines.

If the vaccine you have received is not in this list, then you are currently not considered fully vaccinated in Canada.

It is required to provide proof of vaccination in English or French (or a certified translation of the document). Regardless of the country where you have received the vaccine, ensure that it has to be 1 of the 4 vaccines accepted by Health Canada.

In order to be eligible for exemptions, fully vaccinated travellers must still strictly meet the pre-entry and on-arrival testing requirements, including being tested within 72 hours pre-departure. You must also:

  • be asymptomatic,
  • submit all required COVID-19 information electronically into ArriveCAN prior to travel to Canada,
  • have a paper or digital copy of the proof of vaccination, and
  • have a suitable quarantine plan.

New changes to public health measures

From August 9, 2021, there were new measures in place for travellers to Canada, including international students.

This includes the following:

  • The 3-night government-authorized hotel stay requirement for all air travellers arriving after August 9, 2021 is no longer required.
  • There will be a surveillance randomized testing regime for fully vaccinated travellers who qualify for entry to Canada at select airports and land border crossings across Canada. Those who are unvaccinated will be subject to mandatory on-arrival and day 8 testing.
  • Those who have recovered from COVID-19, but who continue to test positive, must present a positive COVID-19 molecular test result on a specimen taken 14 to 180 days prior to arrival in Canada as part of the pre-entry test requirements.

Stay updated!

The Government of Canada continues to actively monitor the pandemic situation and will not hesitate to take further measures as required. Please keep checking the official website for the latest updates at this link, and keep in touch with the school guidance counsellor, province and local authorities on arrival.

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