New Travel Exemptions for International Students in Canada

Travel to Canada has been restricted for over six months due to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus. People who had not previously been approved for student or work visas were unable to apply for one.

This is great news for students from around the world who had their eys on Canadian universities.

In this post, we’re going to discuss the updated rules for international students applying to come to Canada to study.

Previous Travel Restrictions

Until the recent update with the travel exemption for students, Canada’s borders were not easy to enter unless you already had a work visa, study permit, or an immediate family member who is a permanent resident.

Of course, there were some exceptions to these travel restrictions, but unless you had a real need to enter the country, your chances of getting in were slim.

International students who already had visas before the border shut down were able to return, but new visas were not being issued.

The foreign nationals who were permitted to enter were required to come equipped with a 14-day quarantine plan that outlined where the person would be staying, how they would get food, and which doctor they’d use in case they were sick.

Many of these restrictions are still in place, but updates to study permit requirements are opening doors to international students.

New Travel Exemptions for International Students

As of October 20th, some Canadian universities have been given the okay to accept new international students with new visas. Even though there are still restrictions, this is a very positive step.

In order to accept applications, the university must have a COVID-19 health and safety plan in effect.

There are currently around 135 schools across the country that have been approved to accept applications. At this time, no schools have been approved in North West Territories, Nunavut, and Nova Scotia, but each of the other providences has great options.

Please check Canada’s list of Designated Learning Institutions to make sure your school is, in fact, approved.

What is a DLI and Why is it Relevant?

A Designated Learning Institution, or DLI for short, is a school that has been approved by the Canadian government for issuing study permits. Essentially, the school must be nationally accredited and meet other qualifications to make DLI status.

For the most part, only international students who have been accepted by a DLI are eligible for a Canadian study permit.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule that are applicable to institutions.

Some universities don’t have a specific DLI status because their applicants automatically qualify for a study permit. This holds true for some schools in Quebec.

In order to even board a plane to Canada, students must have been accepted to a qualifying school.

Who Needs a Study Permit?

There are some loopholes on the students’ end that may allow foreign nationals to go to school in Canada without a study permit.

Students who fall into the following categories do not need a study permit:

  • A family member or staff member of a foreign representative
  • Protected by the Indians in Canada Act
  • Member of a Foreign Armed Force

If you are not sure whether or not you need a visa to study in Canada, please fill out the student questionnaire on the government website.

Please note that students who still have an active study permit from previous years do not need to worry about these rules. They are good to go until their visa expires.

Final Thoughts

If your heart is set on one of Canada’s great universities, do not fret. This new travel exemption means applying to a Canadian school as a foreign national is possible finally possible again.

When you travel to Canada for school, you will still be expected to abide by COVID-19 related rules, especially the 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

The goal is to keep everybody safe by slowing the spread of this treacherous virus. As long as everybody does their part, we will reach the end in due time.

Related Articles