Immigration Guidance during COVID-19 Pandemic
Last Updated: November 17, 2020
As of November 17th, King’s is an approved institution with a COVID readiness plan. Please read the information below for details on traveling to Canada. In addition, please read and ensure you complete the required steps before travelling indicated in the email that was sent to all King’s international students here.
Below are some frequently asked questions concerning COVID-19:
If I leave Canada, will I be able to return?
To be able to enter Canada as a student, you must meet 2 requirements:
- You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.
- You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory.
You must also:
- Prove that your reason for traveling is essential
- Obtain a negative COVID test within 72 hours of travelling by air and present this at the airport
- Prove that you will be able to complete a 14 day quarantine
- You must also register your quarantine plan with us here
As a student, your travel to Canada won’t be considered essential (non-discretionary) if
- your study program has been cancelled or suspended
- you’re entering Canada for any reason other than to study
It will be up to the border officer to determine if your reasons for wanting to enter Canada are strong enough. You can request a letter from King’s in support of your arrival to Canada. You should also bring any documentation that supports your reason(s) for coming to Canada are for studying, such as your class schedule, proof of residence in Canada, etc. You can see more information about essential travel as a student here.
You can find more information about traveling to Canada and important information on what to bring here.
Stay informed on developments around COVID-19 both in Canada and in your home country. Find out what you need before you travel to Canada.
What should I bring when I travel?
You must bring
- a valid study permit or a port of entry letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit
- a valid letter of acceptance from a DLI with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory
- proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
Before you travel, you can contact the Border Information Service for more information.
A border services officer will make the final decision on whether you’re eligible to enter Canada when you arrive.
If I decide to travel to Canada, what do I need to know or do upon arrival?
You should download the ArriveCAN app to submit your information to the Canada Border Services Agency prior to arriving. You should ensure you have a detailed quarantine plan to present to the border officer. It is mandatory that you register your 14-day quarantine plan with King’s/Western here: https://uwo.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5A0JgtdkBnjHFl3. Quarantine service is available for King’s students through Maple Assist.
Air travellers whose final destination is Canada will be required to submit their information electronically through ArriveCAN before they board their flight. This includes travel and contact information, quarantine plan (unless exempted under conditions set out in the Mandatory Isolation Order), and COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. Travellers must be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada; a border services officer will verify that they have submitted their information digitally.
As of January 7th, 2021, all air passengers five years of age or older will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada. Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test and must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada. Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine.
As of November 21, 2020, travellers who enter Canada by air, land or marine modes, unless exempted under conditions set out in the Mandatory Isolation Order, will also be required to submit information through ArriveCAN or by calling the 1-833-641-0343 toll-free number during their quarantine or isolation period. Within 48 hours of entering Canada, travellers must confirm they have arrived at their place of quarantine or isolation and those in quarantine must complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during their quarantine period.
See more information at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2020/11/government-of-canada-announces-new-mandatory-requirements-for-travellers-to-canada.html
Provincial regulations also deems it mandatory for you to receive a COVID test at the end your quarantine. You must have self-isolated for 14 days, have received a negative COVID test, and not display any COVID symptoms.
If you completing your quarantine in London, you should get a test at Western’s testing site after your 14 day quarantine is complete: https://www.uwo.ca/coronavirus/testing.html.
Those who are completing the mandatory 14-day quarantine outside of London should read and follow the instructions below:
- You will need to arrange for testing at an assessment centre in your city. Testing is provided free of charge at Ontario assessment centres. Some assessment centres may require you to book an appointment first or have certain restrictions (for example, some are unable to test young children) For locations and more information visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-assessment-centres
- You will need to either email a copy of their test to email@example.com; or inform the assessment centre to fax a copy of the results to Dr.Malone 519-661-3380.
- Only those with OHIP are able to access their results electronically, so we recommend that you either request a copy of your results be FAXED to Dr.Sonya Malone, Western Student Health Care at 519-661-3380 OR email a copy of their COVID-19 test results to firstname.lastname@example.org
It is also recommended that you download the Canada COVID Alert mobile app available in Ontario to facilitate contact tracking. If you are feeling ill, you should stay home. Please see the Middlesex London Health Unit’s website for more information on COVID-19 measures and regulations in London.
Do I need a study permit to take courses that have been moved online due to COVID-19?
If you have left Canada and will be completing your term remotely, you may continue your studies online. You are required to have a valid study permit throughout the duration of your program while you are in Canada. During academic sessions, you are still be required to comply with your study permit conditions.
If you are overseas, you may complete your courses online at King’s without a study permit. A study permit, or a study permit approval, is required, however, in order for your studies to count towards PGWP programme eligibility. IRCC’s temporary two-stage study permit approval process was available to students starting a program in the fall semester who submitted a study permit application before September 15, 2020. See the next question for further details.
Will my Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility be affected if I have gaps in my studies or need to drop down to part-time enrolment for reasons related to COVID-19?
If you graduated or will graduate from a DLI that offers PGWPP-eligible programs, you’re still eligible for a post-graduation work permit if
- your in-class courses in Canada are moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, or
- you had to put your studies on hold or study part-time because of COVID-19 during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters (if you decide to drop to part-time studies or take a gap year, please contact email@example.com for further information)
If you’re outside of Canada
You’re still eligible for a post-graduation work permit if you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions 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 semesters, 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 and
- complete 100% of your program online if
- your program is between 8 and 12 months in length, and
- you started your studies between May and September 2020
- complete up to 50% of your program online (until April 30, 2021) if you complete the other 50% of your program in Canada
- complete up to 50% of your studies online (until April 30, 2021) if
- you’ll graduate from 2 different eligible study programs within 2 years of each other
- 1 of the programs started between May and September 2020
- each program is at least 8 months long, and
- you complete at least 50% of the combined length of the programs in Canada
If you apply 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 post graduation work permit. (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 post-graduation work permit for studies you complete outside Canada until April 30, 2021.
If my full-time enrolment is impacted due to circumstances beyond my control (i.e. COVID-19), will I continue to be authorized to work on a study permit?
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.
What should I do if my study permit is about to expire?
If you’re a student, you have 3 options:
- You may be able to extend your study permit, if you want to continue studying.
- You may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), if you completed your study program.
- You can apply to change your status to visitor, if you’re not studying or applying for a PGWP.
You must submit an application for 1 of these options before your study permit expires, or you may need to leave Canada.
I am required to give biometrics, but biometric collection services are unavailable. What should I do?
IRCC will automatically extend all biometrics deadlines and no application will be refused or closed if you aren’t able to give your biometrics within the period indicated on your Biometric Instruction Letter (BIL).
As biometrics collection resumes, you’ll have to make a new appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or Application Support Centre (ASC). You won’t need a new BIL. Check the VAC or ASC website the day of your appointment to make sure it’s open.
When biometrics collection resumes, you can give your biometrics, even if you can’t travel to Canada yet. VACs and ASCs are starting to reopen slowly.
Keep visiting canada.ca/biometrics for updates on when biometrics collection will start again. You should book an appointment as soon as the site closest to you starts offering the service again.
Due to COVID-19, anyone in Canada applying for temporary residence is exempt from giving biometrics. This temporary measure applies to you if you’re both of the following:
- in Canada
- applying or have an application in progress
- to extend your stay as a student, worker or visitor
- to restore your status as a student, worker, or visitor
- for a work or study permit
- for a visitor visa
- for a temporary resident permit
I am a graduating student who is applying for my PGWP. Can I apply for my PGWP and have implied status (ability to work) even if I don’t have all the required documents?
Due to school closures, many international students may be unable to obtain a letter of completion or final transcript. As a temporary facilitation measure, applicants who apply for a post-graduation work permit will be allowed to submit an application without their letter of completion or final transcript. Applicants should submit a letter of explanation indicating that they are unable to submit the requested documents due to school closure. Once these documents become available, applicants should submit the documents using the IRCC Web form. If no documents are submitted by the time the case processing centre is ready to process the application, the documents will be requested by the processing officer as per the above procedures.
Applicants who need to restore their status will also be eligible to apply without their letter of completion or final transcript.
Applicants who submit their application before the expiry date of their study permit but without their letter of completion or final transcript are still eligible to work without a work permit until a decision is made on their application. Applicants may start working full time as soon as they submit their application. Applicants who need to restore their status are not eligible to work while IRCC processes their application.
My status expired more than 90 days ago, but I am unable to go home. What should I do?
Residents applying to restore their status. Under the public policy, visitors, students and workers whose valid temporary status expired, or expires, between January 30, 2020, and May 31, 2021, will have until August 31, 2021, to restore their status.
See more information on restoring your status here.
International students may experience the disruption of their immigration and academic status due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19):
- Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has implemented special immigration measures for certain countries. Therefore, we encourage international students to monitor their website for the most up to date information.
- In order to renew travel documents outside of Canada, we encourage international students to consult their Embassy/Consulate for alternatives. For example, issuance of an alternative travel document instead of a passport, or the remote request of a new passport using an Embassy located outside of Canada.
- International students who are not able to return home may extend their stay in Canada by changing their status to visitor or worker.
- International students who are at the end of their studies and are planning to return home or planning to travel abroad in general, should visit the travel information page of this website for more details.
If you have questions regarding your immigration status, we encourage you to contact King’s International at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students may also contact IRCC directly.
Does UHIP Cover COVID-19 Testing?
Students should do a self-assessment first following the Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-self-assessment.
Students who need to visit an assessment centre for testing should take a paper copy of their UHIP card and a copy of a claim form with them. The claim form can be found here: https://uhip.ca/Content/Assets/_Uploads/en_UHIP_ClaimForm.pdf
Reminder: What should you do if you start to have symptoms of COVID-19?
If you start to develop symptoms of COVID-19, please isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible. Immediately call a health care professional or the public health authority.
Once in contact with health authorities, you will be asked to describe your symptoms and travel history. Health care professionals will provide you with advice on what you should do.
DO NOT GO TO THE HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED TO DO SO BY RELEVANT PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITIES.
Student Health Contacts & Resources
- Getting a COVID test
- King’s COVID-19 updates
- IRCC COVID- 19 updates
- Weekend health-related inquiries
Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000 or Toll-free TTY: 1-866-797-0007.
- Health-related inquiries:
Student Health & Wellness, Western Student Experience at 519-661-3030 email@example.com
Mon - Fri, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Middlesex London Health Unit
- ArriveCAN app
- Canada COVID Alert mobile app
If you are not sure where to direct your questions, please contact us at King’s International at firstname.lastname@example.org