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Canada Study Permit Processing and Travel Ban: Updates for India

On September 9, 2021, ApplyBoard hosted Elena Balboa of the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi, India for the Canada Study Permit Processing and Travel Ban: Updates for India live webinar. This webinar explored the latest updates for students in India studying at a post-secondary institution in Canada, including:

  • Travel restrictions
  • Exemptions
  • Study permit processing updates for students

The information covered in the webinar was up-to-date at the time of the recording. However, for the latest information on IRCC processes and travel restrictions to Canada, please visit IRCC’s website.

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Travel Requirements for International Students

To enter Canada, international students must meet the following student-specific requirements:

Learn more about travel restrictions and exemptions for international students travelling to Canada.

All travellers entering Canada must also meet the following pre- and on-arrival testing requirements:

  • Travellers must have one of the following laboratory COVID-19 tests, with a negative result, completed within 72-hours of departure in the country from which the direct flight to Canada originated: 
    • A molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR), or 
    • Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP)
  • Undergo a PCR test upon arrival at a Canadian airport

Travellers must also:

  • Submit information via the ArriveCAN app within 72 hours prior to their arrival in Canada
  • Be asymptomatic
  • Present a suitable 14-day quarantine plan
  • Adhere to public health measures, such as social distancing and wearing a mask when in public
  • Keep a copy of their vaccine and test results
  • Keep a list of close contacts for 14 days after entering Canada

Learn more about travel restrictions and exemptions for travellers entering Canada.

Fully Vaccinated Travellers

Fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada may not have to: 

  • Adhere to federal quarantine requirements
  • Take a COVID-19 test on day 8

The Government of Canada considers a traveller fully vaccinated if they “have received the full series of a vaccine—or combination of vaccines—accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada.” 

Vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada at present are those manufactured by: 

  • Pfizer
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) 

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada.

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Travel Restrictions for Travellers from India

Direct flights from India to Canada remain suspended until September 21, 2021. However, travellers from India can fly to Canada by transiting through another country (e.g. one or more stops).

There are four mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers departing from India. You must:

  1. Provide proof of one of the accepted types of COVID-19 tests with a negative result (antigen tests are not accepted)
  2. Keep proof of test results for the 14 day quarantine period, which begins on the day you enter Canada, even if you are not required to quarantine,
  3. Take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of your scheduled departure from India, even if you are full vaccinated
  4. Take a COVID-19 molecular test in the country from which the direct flight to Canada originates, within 72 hours before boarding the flight (e.g. in the country of the final layover)

Learn more about travel advice and advisories for India.

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Travel Arrangements

Students should not make any travel arrangements until they have met all requirements and received all authorizations, e.g., a study permit approval.

Please note that students should not travel more than four weeks in advance of the start date of their classes.

Documents Required For Travel

To board your flight, you must bring:

  • Flight ticket
  • Valid passport
  • Port of Entry (POE) letter
  • Letter of Offer of Admission (LOA) reflecting the start date of your classes
  • Valid molecular COVID-19 test results

In addition to the above, IRCC strongly recommends students bring the following to show the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the port of entry:

  • 14-day quarantine plan
  • Proof of funds for travel (tuition, living expenses, travel costs)
  • English language test results
  • If you’ve already started your studies, evidence that you have completed some of your studies online

In addition to travel requirements, there are quickly evolving public health requirements in your province of destination, including vaccine passports to access indoor facilities and services, mask-wearing, and social distancing. Please refer to provincial/regional public health guidance for your province of destination, or reach out to ApplyBoard for more information.

Learn more about arriving in Canada as an international student.

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Processing Applications as a Result of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on study permit processing:

  • Online applications are the only types of applications accepted at this time
  • Published processing times on the IRCC website are not accurate as IRCC prioritizes applications from individuals who are exempt from travel restrictions
  • Processing delays for incomplete application submissions

Updates on Visa Application Centres (VACs) in India

After being closed for an extended period of time due to COVID-19, there is a phased, incremental approach to restarting visa application centre (VAC) operations.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Students must use the courier service for passport transmission, which can be booked online using the VFS webform
  • VACs in India are booking biometrics appointments for all visa applicants, including students
  • Biometric appointments are free
  • Applicants need to use the VFS biometrics online booking system

Basic Documents Required

For a study permit application to be considered complete, you must submit the following upfront:

  • Application forms
    • Application for a study permit made outside of Canada (IMM 1294)
    • Family information form (IMM 5707)
    • Custodian declaration for minors (IMM 5646), if applicable
    • Use of a representative (IMM 5476), if applicable
  • Fees
    • Processing fee (C$150)
    • Biometrics fee (C$85)
  • Visa application photographs
  • A copy of your passport
  • Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI)

Learn more about documents required to apply for a study permit.

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Documents Required for Eligibility Decision

Student Direct Stream (SDS) Applicants

If you’re applying for a study permit through the Student Direct Stream (SDS), you must include:

  • An LOA from a DLI
  • IELTS test results, demonstrating 6.0 in each band
  • Tuition paid for the first year
  • GIC for C$10,000
  • Most recent school transcripts
  • CAQ (if studying in Quebec)

Non-Student Direct Stream Applicants

If you’re applying for a study permit through the traditional route, you must include:

  • An LOA from a DLI
  • IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE test results
  • Evidence of financial ability to pay for tuition, transportation, and living expenses
  • Most recent school transcripts
  • CAQ (if studying in Quebec)

Post-Graduation Work Permit

The post-graduation work permit (PGWP) allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary to gain Canadian work experience.

Online Courses and the PGWP

For online programs, you’re still eligible for a post-graduation work permit if:

  • Your program was in progress in March 2020; or
  • You started a program between Spring 2020 and Winter 2021, and
    • You have or have been approved for a study permit; or
    • You applied for a study permit before starting your program

You can complete up to 100% of your program online until December 31, 2021.

This also applies when completing two programs if each program:

  • Is at least eight months in length; and
  • Is from an eligible designated learning institute and completed within two years

Learn more about post-graduation work permit eligibility while studying online amid COVID-19.

Please note: This information was current as of the time of writing. We continue to recommend monitoring the Government of Canada website for the latest information. As always, ApplyBoard will continue to relay information and updates as they are made available.