Canadian study visa approval does not mean you can travel now

Canadian study visa approval does not mean you can travel now

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

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Dear Mr Brown,

My study permit was granted and I would like to thank you for your assistance. Based on all that’s going on with COVID-19 and Canada’s travel ban, when will I be able to travel to Canada to begin my programme, which starts in September?

— NC


Dear NC:

Travel restrictions are still in place at all Canadian international border crossings until at least August 21, 2020 at 11:59 pm, and may be extended as needed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 across their respective borders.

All travel of an optional or discretionary nature, including tourism, recreation and entertainment, is covered by these measures across all ports of entry.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents and registered Indians, under the Indian Act, continue to enter Canada by right, and are subject to COVID-19 entry screening measures.

Asymptomatic immediate family members, spouses or common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, who meet the immediate family member definition and are coming to Canada for a minimum of 15 days, will be exempt from the prohibition of entering Canada for a discretionary purpose.

All individuals entering Canada who test positive for COVID-19 or who have symptoms of COVID-19, no matter their country of origin or mode of entry, must isolate themselves for 14 days.

People without symptoms of COVID-19 must quarantine themselves for 14 days.


Study permits

The approval of a temporary resident visa, including visitor’s visa, super visa, study visa, work visa, or transit visa, and so forth, does not necessarily mean you are approved to travel at this time or are guaranteed entry into Canada. Travel to Canada at this time is based on the lifting of restrictions that were put in place due to the pandemic.


Minimum requirements to travel for international students

In order to be able to travel to Canada for the fall 2020 semester, you have to satisfy the following minimum conditions:

• Must have a study permit or study permit approval dated March 18, 2020 or earlier

• Federally compliant quarantine plan (with proof)

• Proof of essential travel (for example blended programme)

• Travel support letter from your designated learning institution (DLI)

• Other documents usually required to cross the Canadian border

Travel is considered essential for blended programmes offered by DLIs, since there are practical components of the programme for which a student would have to attend in person.

Online or e-learning programmes offered by DLIs render travel to Canada non-essential. In this case, I strongly recommend taking advantage of online studies.

The benefits of online studies include:

• Enjoying a world-class education from the comfort of your home

• Saving on living and travel expenses while studying outside Canada

• Continuing to be eligible for the full length of your post-graduation work permit if you get in-principle study permit approval before your programme begins

• No risk of being turned back at the border for non-essential travel

Please note that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has final authority on who can cross the Canadian border. You will be responsible for all costs associated with CBSA’s refusal to allow you to enter Canada.


Please visit for additional information on Canadian Permanent Residence programmes, including Express Entry, the study and work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration and education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to .

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