Back To School: What Foreign Students Need to Know to Get Back to Canada

It is that time of the year again, we are a month way until school starts in Canada. The Canadian Government through various measures, and announcements during the pandemic has made it evident that international students contribute significantly to the Canadian economy. Therefore, it is not surprising that they have put policies/measures in place to ease international students’ travel to Canada while ensuring the safety of Canadians.

To be able to travel to Canada as an international student, they must present the following:

  • have a valid study permit or letter of introduction that demonstrates that they have been approved for studies in Canada
  • an acceptance letter confirming attendance at a designated learning institution with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the school’s province or territory
  • must have a 14-day quarantine plan in place (even if they meet quarantine and testing exemptions) in the event that an officer at the border determines that they do not qualify for exemption from quarantine
  • submit all COVID-19 information through the ArriveCAN app prior to travel, including: the quarantine plan information; proof of vaccination (if applicable) and pre-testing results 72 hours in advance of travel

Special Provision for an immediate family member of an international student:

An immediate family member (for example: spouse or a parent) of international students may be allowed to travel to Canada with the student, if they can demonstrate both to the airline and border officer that their travel is non-discretionary. Normally, immediate family members of foreign nationals travelling to Canada from outside the United States would require an authorization letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) to be able to board a flight and travel to Canada.

For international students, the Government of Canada has made an exemption where if a family member is travelling with a student, they will not be required to obtain an authorization letter from IRCC to be travel with the student. As long as they have the appropriate entry documentation such as an electronic travel authorization document (“eTA) or a temporary resident visa (TRV) and demonstrates that their travel to Canada is non-discretionary (for example they are here to support with the student settling down and they will be here for at least 15 days or more), they should be able to enter Canada. – For family members accompanying an international student, only one family member is eligible for travel without an authorization letter. An authorization letter will be required for the second parent.

Things to remember: 

  • At the time of travel, the individual must be asymptomatic
  • An international student must not book travel to Canada 30 days prior to commencement of classes as they maybe refused boarding
  • To be eligible for a quarantine exemption, they must have received the full series of the COVID-19 vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada; have received their last dose at least 14-days prior to travel; and upload proof of vaccine in the ArriveCAN app
  • Effective August 9, 2021 the mandatory three-day hotel quarantine will be eliminated for air travellers, and fully vaccinated travellers will not be required to complete a test upon arrive unless, they are randomly selected to do so
  • Unvaccinated travellers will still need to quarantine for 14 days and complete the mandatory testing requirements on the day of arrival and day 8
  • Cross border students may be exempt from quarantine upon arrival in Canada if the province or territory is accepting cross-border students. Currently British Columbia is the only province accepting cross border students
  • Ability to travel to Canada may be impacted by specific restrictions in the individual’s home country. For example, the Government of Canada has suspended flights from India until August 21, 2021

If you are planning a trip to Canada, we still recommend that you consult with one of our team members. Our professionals can be reached by phone (416 368 1111) or via email:;;;;;;;