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The border is now open to international students

By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, November 2 2020—
with files from Sophia Lopez

International travel was halted throughout the world affecting millions of students as a result of the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the federal government recently communicated that Canada was resuming activities at its border by welcoming international students as early as Oct. 20. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) updated the restrictions imposed upon international students after months of uncertainty. The government website noted that many Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) will open to those that are currently outside the country, and for as long as their DLI has a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the provincial or territorial governments in advance. 

“This change will apply to all international students, whether you’re travelling from the United States or from any other country,” stated the announcement. 

The IRCC’s list will allow students to be able to check if the DLI they’re enrolled in has an approved readiness plan. In a conversation with the Gauntlet, the International Student Services (ISS) Immigration Advisors at the University of Calgary, mentioned that “the travel exemption for international students that comes into effect [Oct. 20] includes UCalgary international students, as our University’s COVID-19 readiness plan was approved by the Government.”

The information posted on the IRCC web page continues by stating that students must have the necessary documents to enter Canada, such as a valid student permit regardless of when it got approved. It also asserts that “[International Students] must be travelling for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose.” 

Student travel may be considered non-discretionary if your learning institution doesn’t provide online-classes, or if you live in an area where there’s a wide time difference with the Canadian city you’re hoping to study in. As well as if there are internet restrictions taking place in the country you currently live in, among other purposes.

It is essential that students that are interested in flying over to Canada beginning this fall or onwards follow the specifications set by the IRCC. Once you arrive at the port of entry you’ll be required to prove that you’ll follow the 14-day quarantine period along with all the necessary documentation.

It is worth noting that not following the mandatory quarantine requirement could lead to a fine of up to $750,000, six months in jail and even be banned from entering the country for over a year. 

Immediate family members such as a spouse or dependant will also be allowed to enter the country if “their reason for travel is non-optional or non-discretionary, such as getting established in Canada in support of the principal applicant’s study program.” 

All students are advised to continue checking the IRCC website for any further updates. 

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