Immigration Guidance during COVID-19 Pandemic
Last Updated: April 14, 2021
Below are some frequently asked questions concerning COVID-19:
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.
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 (King’s is an approved institution with a COVID readiness plan as of Nov. 17th, 2020).
You must also:
- Be traveling for a reason that is deemed essential (e.g. to study)
- 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
- Submit your information on the ArriveCAN app prior to crossing the border of boarding your flight
- Undergo a PCR test upon arrival at a Canadian airport (as well as receive a test at the end of your quarantine)
- As of Feb. 22, 2021, while waiting for test results, quarantine for up to three days at a government-authorized hotel at your own expense
- Complete the remainder of your 14-day quarantine at your home (or other arranged quarantine accommodations) in Canada
Those arriving to Canada by land must also:
- Provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival.
- As of February 22, 2021, travellers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.
As a student, your travel to Canada will not be considered essential (non-discretionary) if
- your study program has been cancelled or suspended
- you are 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.
Prior to arrival, you must take the following steps:
- Download the ArriveCAN app to submit your information to the Canada Border Services Agency prior to arriving. 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, 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.
- Ensure you have a detailed quarantine plan to present to the border officer. It is also 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.
- As of January 7th, 2021, all air passengers five years of age or older are 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.
After you arrive, you must take the following steps:
- Upon arrival, you must receive a COVID test. If you travelled by air, you will be required to wait up to three days for the results at Health Canada approved hotels. All together the costs of the test and the hotel stay will be up to $2,000. If the test returns negative, you will be able to continue the rest of their mandatory quarantine period at home under strict measures with increased surveillance. If you test positive, you will need to stay at a designated government quarantine facility.
- Within 48 hours of entering Canada, you must confirm you have arrived at your place of quarantine or isolation and must complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during you quarantine period. You can do this through ArriveCAN or by calling the 1-833-641-0343 toll-free number
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.
As of Feb. 22nd, all air travellers to Canada are mandated to quarantine for up to three days in a government-approved hotel while awaiting a negative COVID test result. Financial support for up to $2000.00 per international student is available to assist with this new policy, as per the guidelines below:
- Expense Claim to be submitted upon return. Hotel receipts and proof of flight are required to be attached
- Expense Claim is only valid for hotel quarantine taking place at a government approved hotel until April 30, 2021
- Expense Claim submission deadline: April 30, 2021
- Status as a King’s University College, degree-seeking student arriving between February 22 and April 30, enrolled for Academic Term Winter 2021 who underwent quarantine in a government-approved hotel.
- Includes new students coming to study in Canada for the first time since January, as well as students who were not living in Canada/Ontario in Fall 2020 and/or Winter 2021 and are now travelling to Canada for their studies
Please click here to submit a claim.
The Government of Canada has provided specific recommendations for travel to your quarantine destination, once you arrive at the airport/your port of entry.
King’s/Western students must book travel to London with RobertQ Airbus to bring you safely to London and directly to your residence or other quarantine destination. The cost will be 50% of the regular fare. Please see information on booking your Robert Q airbus here: https://iesc.uwo.ca/internationalarrival2020/transportation_from_the_airport.html
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. See the next question for further details.
If you’re inside Canada
You’re still eligible for the PGWP if
- your in-person classes in Canada have been moved to an online-only format and you are taking your classes online because of COVID-19, or
- you had to put your studies on hold, or study part-time, during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters because of COVID-19
As of the fall 2020 semester, you must have been studying full-time to be eligible.
If you’re outside of Canada
If you can’t travel to Canada at this time and you’re taking your classes online, you’re still eligible for a PGWP.
To be eligible, you must
- meet all the other PGWP requirements
- have been enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020, or
- have started or will start a program between spring 2020 and fall 2021, and
- you have a study permit, or
- you’ve been approved for a study permit, or
- you applied for a study permit before starting your study program
- your study permit must eventually be approved
How much of your studies count toward a PGWP?
You can complete 100% of your studies online from outside Canada.
All your time studying online outside Canada between spring 2020 and December 31, 2021, counts toward the length of a PGWP. This applies even if you’re completing 2 study programs.
If you’re completing 2 study programs, you can finish 100% of your studies online if the programs were ongoing or started between March 2020 and fall 2021, and
- both study programs are from an eligible DLI and are completed within 2 years
- each program meets all PGWP eligibility requirements and is at least 8 months long
Time spent studying outside Canada after December 31, 2021, won’t count towards the length of a PGWP.
As of September 1, 2020, to work in Canada as a student, you must
- be a full-time student
- be enrolled at a DLI
- meet all on-campus and off-campus work eligibility requirements
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’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.
Previously, IRCC automatically extended all biometrics deadlines. As most IRCC offices, visa application centres (VACs) around the world, and application support centers (ASCs) in the United States have reopened, many applicants can now provide the supporting documents needed for IRCC to process their application. As a result, IRCC will no longer be automatically extending deadlines for submitting the required supporting documentation. However, IRCC will continue to provide deadline extensions to clients who are still unable to provide required documentation due to COVID‑19 disruptions. Please read detailed information on what applicants need to do to submit the required information or to request an extension here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/notices/supporting-information-applications-in-progress.html
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
IRCC has implemented an extension for temporary 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.
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