Immigration, Travel, and Employment FAQs

Important Update

University of Alberta International continues to work on the many issues impacting international students, including obtaining clarification on immigration and other policies. International students can contact advising@ualberta.ca to contact an International Student Advisor for help with any questions or concerns.

Ensure that you update your emergency contact information in Bear Tracks.

Please let us know when you will arrive and where you plan to stay during your 14-day self-isolation period. All registrants receive a welcome package and a personalized check-in.

Register Your Travel Information


Updates

Immigration

A. Amended Travel Restrictions and International Students

Updated October 22, 2020
Before October 20, 2020, all "international students who hold a valid study permit (regardless of issue date), had been approved for a study permit, on or before March 18, 2020, OR who applied and were approved for a study permit in the US were exempt from the current travel restrictions to Canada."

IRCC announced that amended travel restrictions took effect on October 20, 2020. The announced amendments allow ALL international students, regardless of when they were approved for a study permit or when their valid study permit was issued, to enter Canada if their Designated Learning Institution (DLI) has a COVID-19 readiness plan in place that has been approved by the provincial government. The Government of Alberta recognizes the University of Alberta as having a comprehensive COVID-19 readiness plan.

As such, all UAlberta international students who have secured final approval on their study permit application outside Canada or who have a valid study permit are now exempt from the travel restrictions.

To be able to enter Canada as a student, you must meet 2 requirements:

  1. Your Designated Learning Institution (DLI) must be on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans.
  2. You must hold a valid study permit or an approved Letter of Introduction for a study permit.

If you meet the two requirements above and have the required documents with you, your entry to Canada is considered essential (non-discretionary).

New students, documents include:

  1. Letter of Introduction
  2. Valid Visa/eTA as applicable
  3. Admission letter
  4. Financial documents used in your application as proof that you will be able to support yourself (and your family in the event you will be entering together)
  5. Approved quarantine plan

Returning students, documents include:

  1. Valid Study Permit
  2. Valid Visa/eTA as applicable
  3. Verification of Enrollment (you can print from Bear Tracks)
  4. Unofficial transcript (you can print from Bear Tracks)
  5. Lease/residential agreement if available
  6. Approved quarantine plan

To comply with the University's COVID-19 Readiness Plan requirements, students should book the University’s Isolation Accommodation Program OR have an approved Off-Campus Isolation plan and register with the University’s Travel Registry.

A letter confirming “essential travel” is no longer needed. Should a student be asked to provide such a letter by the Visa Office and/or the airline, the student is advised to contact the International Student Advisor by emailing advising@ualberta.ca or dropping into one of our daily online advising sessions.It is important to note thatthe border services officer will ultimately make the final decision on whether you are eligible to enter Canada when you arrive.

Visit Travel to Canada During COVID for more information on what to consider when preparing to travel to Canada.

View additional travel-related information:

Canada's Travel Restrictions Measures

Latest information on travelling Alberta

Take the Government of Alberta's Isolation Questionnaire for Returning Travellers.

B. 2-Stage Study Permit Approval Process to Facilitate Online Learning
Updated January 11, 2021

To support international students who will be starting a new program of study online this winter, IRCC has confirmed the following measures:

- Give priority to processing study permits of students who submit a complete online application
- Implement a 2-stage approval process to reassure students that they can enroll and begin their studies online this fall even when they are not able to submit all the required documents due to pandemic-related closures

This means new international students who submit a study permit application online before December 15, 2020:

- Can expect to receive an "approval-in-principle" from IRCC even if their application is missing documents due to COVID-19 closures in home country (this includes missing biometrics)

- As long as applicants can satisfy all other study permit requirements, including admissibility requirements; once they provide the missing documents, they can expect full approval on their study permit application

Students need to be aware that starting studies online following approval-in-principle is not a guarantee that they will secure full approval on their application.

Learn more
C. Biometrics Exemption for Temporary Residence Applicants in Canada

Updated July 15, 2020

As a temporary measure, all in-Canada temporary residence applications are now exempt from the biometrics requirement. This applies to all new applications and well as applications already in progress.

Students who were issued a Biometrics Instruction Letter in the past but haven't provided their biometrics due to Service Canada closures can now disregard this request. They can also expect IRCC to process a refund of the $85 biometrics fee already paid once their application has been processed.

Students who are submitting a new application won't have to pay the $85 biometrics fee even if the online system asks for it. Students who pay this fee anyway can expect to get a full refund after their application has been processed.

Click here for more information.

D. Work Authorization for International Students Affected by COVID-19

Updated October 22, 2020
Usually, to meet the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) requirements, students must continuously study full-time and in-person throughout all academic terms. However, the IRCC has taken into account the possibility of disruptions to students' studies during COVID-19.

As such, interruptions in current students' full-time study status (i.e., part-time status or no enrollment), which may have happened as a direct result of COVID-19 during the spring or summer 2020 terms, does not affect the student's eligibility for the PGWP. So long as they maintain a valid study permit and meet all other program criteria. For situations where the student could not maintain full-time registration status due to COVID-19, a letter of support from their faculty confirming this is needed.

E. Online Program Delivery and Immigration Implications

Updated October 6, 2020

Current Students:

International students whose programs have moved to online delivery due to COVID-19 and maintain a valid study permit, can continue online in their program without any negative implications on their study permit and/or eligibility for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) if they are physically in Canada during the online study period.

If you are doing your program's online component while residing outside of Canada, the online portion will not affect your PGWP eligibility. As long as you have a valid study permit during your online studies, the online portion you complete outside of Canada is less than 50% of the total program length.

New Students:

To reassure students that they can enroll and begin their studies online this fall even when they are not able to submit all the required documents due to pandemic-related closures, IRCC has confirmed that students who have been approved or applied for a study permit before the start of their program that starts in fall 2020 or winter 2021 but cannot travel to Canada due to travel restrictions are eligible for the PGWP, as long as they complete no more than 50% of the program while outside Canada.

While you are eligible to start your program online before a decision has been made on your study permit application; please note:

- You will be expected to pay your tuition fees regardless of the decision on your study permit application.

- Starting your program will not guarantee that your study permit application will be approved.

- Should your study permit application get refused, you will have the option to re-apply for the study permit after addressing the grounds for refusal. There are no guarantees that you will be approved the second time.

- You will not be able to continue in the program once in-person program delivery resumes unless you get full approval on your study permit application.

Travel

A. Travel Restrictions and Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Holders

Updated January 6, 2020
The current travel restrictions do not apply to international students who hold a valid study permit or have been approved for a study permit and are current UAlberta students. Additionally, current travel restrictions do not apply to Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) who hold a valid job offer and will be able to work once they enter Canada.

For students who hold a valid Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) or have been approved for a PGWP outside Canada, please note the following to determine whether entry to Canada is deemed “essential/non-discretionary” or “discretionary”:

Example of non-discretionary travel: A student who applied for and was approved a PGWP in Canada then travels outside Canada. If the foreign national has a valid work permit and ordinarily resides in Canada, whether the foreign national’s employment still exists or if they are currently laid off is not determinative in this case. What is determinative is that the foreign national’s primary residence is in Canada (suggesting their travel is not optional).

Example of discretionary travel: A student who leaves Canada and applies for and gets approved for a PGWP outside Canada. A foreign national who is issued a letter of introduction because they submitted their PGWP outside Canada but has not secured a job contract in Canada and wants to enter Canada simply to search for work opportunities. In that case, their travel is deemed discretionary (non-essential).

As such, students are advised to apply for the PGWP in Canada before leaving. To confirm their exemption from the travel restrictions upon entry, students need to have a valid PGWP and show that they are established and ordinarily reside in Canada. Examples of documents to support their establishment in Canada may include:

- Letter from the bank confirming when they opened their account

- Lease/rental agreement

- Transcript/ Letter of Completion

- Tax documents such as the Notices of Assessment

- Birth certificates of children who were born in Canada when applicable

Important note:At the port of entry, a government representative makes the final determination regarding access based on the information presented to them at the time of entry into Canada. Unless you have a valid offer of employment at the time of entry, entry into Canada as a PGWP holder is not guaranteed.

Students who have applied for and were approved for a PGWP outside Canada and wish to re-enter Canada may not be eligible to re-enter under the current travel restrictions if they do not have a current or active employment offer. A student in this situation who decides to travel back to Canada anyway needs to consider the possibility that even if they provide documents that support their establishment in Canada, they may be denied entry.

For more information on this, visit:

IRCC Travel Restrictions Measures Web page
IRCC Non-Optional and Non-Discretionary Travel Web page

B. Travel Restrictions and Dependent Family Members of International Students

Updated October 22, 2020

IRCC defines Immediate family members as:
- Spouse or common-law partner
- Dependent child
- Parent or step-parent
- Guardian

As such, travel restrictions do not apply to spouses or common-law partners of students and their dependent children.

The IRCC confirmed, a foreign national whose travel to Canada is authorized in writing by an officer where applicable for the purpose to reunite with an immediate family member, who is currently a temporary resident in Canada, is exempt from current travel restrictions. See Family reunification

What family members need to show to support their exemption depends on whether they are travelling with you or at a later time.

If they are travelling with you:

They don’t need a written authorization from the IRCC to travel with you. However, they need an approved immigration application (work or study permit and/or visa/eTA), and they need to show that their reasons for travel are non-discretionary. For example, they will help you get established and support you in Canada.

If they will join you later:

If you are already in Canada or plan to travel to Canada by yourself first, and your family plans to follow you later; they still need an approved immigration application (work or study permit and/or visa/eTA) and need to meet one of the following criteria:

- If a family member is travelling from the US: they don’t need written authorization from IRCC; however, they need to show that their reasons for travel are non-discretionary. For example, they’ll help you get established and support you in Canada.

- If a family member is travelling from a country other than the US: they will need to have written authorization from IRCC to fly to Canada. Family members are advised not to book a flight to Canada before they receive written authorization. Learn how to request written authorization from IRCC.

To be able to board a flight to Canada, immediate family members need:

- a valid visitor visa or eTA
- a valid passport
- to tell the airline that they’re exempt from the travel restrictions
- to show an immigration officer that they’re coming for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose, such as to live with their spouse, common-law partner or family member

-An officer can refuse authorization if the family member is travelling for an optional or non-essential (discretionary) purpose, such as tourism, entertainment or recreation.

- to have their health checked by airline officials to confirm that they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough and difficulty breathing

- Anyone showing symptoms will not be allowed to board a flight to Canada.

Visit Travel to Canada During COVID for more information on what to consider when preparing to travel to Canada.

View additional travel-related information:

Get the Latest Information on Travelling to Alberta

Read Alberta's Provincial Requirements for Self-isolation

Take the Government of Alberta Isolation Questionnaire for Returning Travellers

Learn more about travel restrictions and on the quarantine requirement for travellers into Canada.

IRCC Travel Restrictions Measures

IRCC Non-Optional and Non-Discretionary Travel

C. When and How to Contact IRCC to Request Written Authorization for the Purpose of Travel

Updated October 22, 2020
If you are a foreign national wanting to reunite with an immediate family member residing in Canada who is NOT a Canadian or PR (study permit and work permit holders) and you are coming from a country other than the US, you will need to request written authorization from IRCC for the purpose of travel.

When requesting written authorization, you need to provide evidence that you are eligible to travel as an immediate family member of an international student/worker. Documents to use in support of this include:

- proof of your relationship with an immediate family member in Canada
- immediate family member’s status in Canada (copy of their study permit or work permit)

Please see which of the scenarios below applies to your family member that wishes to travel to Canada for the purpose of accompanying you:

If your immediate family members have a valid visitor visa or an application in progress:

Follow the instructions for What to do if you’ve already applied for a visitor visa. The IRCC will assess your family members’ reasons for travel and decide on your written authorization.

Remember to submit evidence to show your family members’ eligibility to travel. Along with their visitor visa application, the evidence includes:
- proof of a relationship with an immediate family member in Canada
- immediate family member’s status in Canada (copy of their study permit or work permit)

If your immediate family members need a visitor visa but haven’t applied for one yet:

Follow the instructions on How to apply for a visitor visa. The IRCC will assess your family members’ reasons for travel and decide on their visitor visa and written authorization requests at the same time.

Remember to submit evidence to show they are eligible to travel at this time.

If your immediate family members have an eTA or need one to travel:

If your family members have an eTA, or they are applying for one, contact IRCC through their Web Form to inform how your family members meet the eligibility requirements to travel at this time. The IRCC will assess reasons for travel and decide on the eTA if your family members don’t have one yet, and the written authorization request at the same time.

View instructions for eTA applicants.

Remember to submit evidence to show you’re eligible to travel at this time.

If your immediate family members don’t need a visitor visa or eTA (for example, US citizens):
Suppose your family members don’t need a visitor visa or an eTA to travel to Canada and are from any country other than the US. In that case, they still require written authorization to unite with an immediate family member who is in Canada temporarily.

Note: If your family members are coming from the US to unite with an immediate family member, who is in Canada temporarily, you do not need written authorization.

Written Authorization Process:

Send your request for a written authorization to this email address: IRCC.COVID-TravelExemptions-Exemptionsdevoyage-COVID.IRCC@cic.gc.ca.

Make sure to include the following information about your immediate family members who wish to enter Canada to accompany you:

- full name
- date of birth
- passport number
- detailed reason for travel (to be deemed essential, reason has to be “to support an immediate family member in Canada” and not for tourism)
- planned travel dates
- current country of residence
- your supporting documents to show eligibility to travel to Canada at this time:
- proof of relationship with an immediate family member in Canada and
- copy of immediate family member’s status in Canada (copy of their study permit or work permit

IRCC will usually respond within 14 business days of getting your complete request. If your request is missing required information, it may take longer to respond.

If IRCC approves your request for a written authorization, they will send it to the email address used to contact IRCC.

D. Travellers Without Symptoms Entering Canada During COVID-19

The Mandatory 14-Day Quarantine Period for All Travelers Entering Canada

Updated October 22, 2020
International students exempt from the current travel restrictions and wish to come to Canada are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Quarantine Requirements:
- Completed Alberta Isolation Questionnaire
- Quarantine arrangement details, you will get a confirmation letter from Residence Services when you book the Isolation Accommodation Program. Students who decide to make their own quarantine arrangements are advised to submit their quarantine plan to isolationoffcampus@ualberta.ca for approval and register their travel plans on the Off-Campus Isolation and Travel Registry to comply with the University’s COVID-19 Readiness Plan
- Transportation details from the airport to your quarantine location. If you are not symptomatic, you are allowed to travel by taxi from the airport to your quarantine destination (note: this service is included in the University’s Isolation Accommodation Program)
- Arrangement details for getting groceries and other essential needs during self-isolation
- Be aware of the penalty for non-compliance with the mandatory quarantine requirement.

NOTE: The University of Alberta's Isolation Accommodation Program is offered for a fee and sets you up with airport-to-accommodation travel and provides you with support during the mandatory 14 day quarantine period. This package includes:
- Confirmation of your Isolation Accommodation booking with Residence Services (to support your quarantine plan upon arrival)
- Transportation: from Edmonton International Airport directly to your isolation destination
- Accommodation: single room with private bathroom (linens, garbage collection & laundry included)
- Meal delivery
To book this package contact, Residence Services.

What to Carry with You During Your Trip:

- Quarantine details from Residence Services if you had booked the Isolation Accommodation Program
- Completed Alberta Isolation Questionnaire
- Disposable masks and gloves to use as needed during flights and transit (avoid reusing same mask/gloves when possible)
- Travel-sized hand sanitizer
- Thermometer

What to Expect Upon Arrival:

- A health assessment will be done by the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officer upon arrival at the Port of Entry. If it is determined that you have symptoms of COVID-19, you will be provided with a 14-day mandatory isolation order and will not be permitted to board a public conveyance for onward travel, be it a plane, bus, or train
- If you do not display any symptoms you will present your quarantine plan details. If you have booked the Isolation Accommodation Program you will get confirmation of your quarantine plan from Residence Services
- You will be expected to follow public health directives until you reach your quarantine destination

What to Expect During Quarantine:

- You will be required to remain in your residence during the quarantine period - if this is within University housing you will be required to remain in your assigned room for the full 14 day period.
- Your compliance may be subject to verification and enforcement by the relevant Government agencies during your quarantine period
- Monitor your health. If you notice any COVID-19 related symptoms complete the Alberta COVID-19 online self-assessment to find out what you need to do (if unable to use the online self-assessment tool, call 811)
- Monitor your mental health. If you experience symptoms such as stress, anxiety, and/or panic please access the support services available or call the Mental Health Help Line, available 24/7, at 877-303-2642
- Stay connected to university advisors within your faculty and International Student Services
- Stay connected with friends and family through social media, video calls, texts, etc.

Penalties and Fines:

- Students need to be aware that penalties for failure to comply with Canada’s Quarantine Act include:
- Up to $750,000 in fines and/or
- Imprisonment of up to 6 months
- Being found inadmissible, removed from Canada and banned from entry for 1 year

What to Expect After Quarantine:

Students will be expected to follow public health guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus by practicing good hygiene, physical distancing and monitoring symptoms

Learn more on Travel to Canada During COVID-19.

Employment

A. SIN / EI / CERB / Tax Filing / CESB

Updated April 29, 2020

Social Insurance Number (SIN): In-person services are currently unavailable at Service Canada Centres.To apply for your first SIN or to extend or renew your SIN, you can apply online or by mail. If your SIN application meets the requirements, you will be sent a letter with your SIN by mail within 20 business days, from the date the application is received.


Employment Insurance (EI): International students are eligible for the Employment Insurance (EI) providing all eligibility criteria are met. Eligibility and application information is available on the Employment Insurance website. You are eligible for EI Regular Benefits if you:

- Were employed in insurable employment

- Lost your job through no fault of your own

- Have been without work and pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks

- Have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter

- Are ready, willing and capable of working each day

- Are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them)


Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): International students are eligible for the CERB providing all other eligibility criteria are met. Main eligibility criteria, including:

- You are residing in Canada

- You have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19

- You had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months before the date of application

- You have not quit your job voluntarily

When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim. When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.

Eligibility and application information is available on the CERB website.


Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

Updated May 14, 2020

International students are not eligible for this benefit.


Tax Filing: The deadline for individuals to file tax has been extended to June 1, 2020. Students can file taxes at no cost using UFile Online service. ISS is providing online tutorials and support sessions. They are available on the ISS web page.

B. Graduate Students and CERB

Updated May 6, 2020

Students who have lost their funding as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) program. If you are a student who was funded through a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) or Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) and you meet all the other CERB requirements, you can apply under this program.

If you are a student who was funded through a Graduate Research Assistantship Fellowship (GRAF) you may not be eligible to apply for the CERB.

This is due to the GRA and GTA being an employment relationship between the student and the supervisor; whereas the GRAF is not considered an employment relationship. Please refer to the information below that highlights this difference between GRA and GRAF as per the Graduate Research Assistantship Collective Agreement:

Graduate Research Assistantship (GRAs)

- The duties of a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) are primarily in support of a faculty member's academic research. Such duties may include, but are not limited to: collecting/coding/analyzing data, literature reviews, library research, writing reports, designing conference presentations, and preparing materials for submission to funding agencies. A GRA's duties are to help prepare the Graduate Assistant for further academic and professional opportunities (Article 9.01).

- The relationship between the Graduate Assistantship Supervisor and the GRA is an employment relationship. (Article 9.03).

Graduate Research Assistantship Fellowships (GRAFs)

- Graduate Research Assistantship Fellowship (GRAF) is a form of financial assistance provided to graduate students to aocus on their education and training, relatedto their own thesis or directed research project. (Article 10.01).

- The relationship between the Assistantship Supervisor and GRAF is not an employment relationship. (Article 10.02).

C. Off-Campus Work in Essential Services

Updated October 8, 2020

Between April 22 and August 31, 2020, you were temporarily allowed to work more than 20 hours per week during an academic session if:

- you worked in an essential service or function, and

- you had a valid study permit that allowed you to work off-campus

This change no longer applies.

If, on a future application, an officer asks you about work you performed during this time, let them know what essential service or function you worked. You could ask your employer for a letter of support to confirm this.

Find out if your work was considered an essential service or function.

View the Government of Alberta list of essential business/services/functions to determine whether a specific job or service is deemed essential.

Frequently Asked Questions: Immigration

A. How do I start my study permit application? Are they still processing applications even though Visa Application Centres are closed and I can't provide my biometrics?


You will need to have your official offer of admission before you can submit a study permit application. You will then be required to apply online by creating an account with the Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Learn more on the IRCC website.

While many Visa Application Centres and Panel Physician Offices abroad may be shut down or have limited service due to COVID-19, applications will continue to be processed with the expectation of delays in processing. Your application will remain open for 90 days, IRCC will automatically extend your deadline to give biometrics; you will not need to contact IRCC for this extension.

No application in progress will close or be refused due to a lack of documentation. Once you're able to, you are instructed to complete the biometrics/medical exam as soon as possible to avoid delays. You will be able to use your original Biometrics Instruction Letter (BIL) once sites resume biometrics services.

Click here for more information.

B. How does the new 2-stage processing of study permits work? What do I have to do to get an "Approval-in-Principle"?

The IRCC realizes that students may not be able to provide certain documents such as biometrics, medical exams and/or police certificates when they apply for a study permit outside of Canada due to partial or complete closure of relevant offices in their home country.

As a result, the IRCC developed a 2-stage process that allows students' applications to be assessed for "Approval-in Principle: AIP" as long as applications were submitted before December 15, 2020, and provided all other documents. Once the missing documents can be provided, the student can expect a final decision on their application.

Approval in Principle (AIP) refers to "approval of the student's eligibility assessment," which considers whether the student meets the following criteria:

- Is a "genuine" student
- Has been accepted by a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
- Has sufficient funds to pay for studies, living expenses and transportation (without working in Canada)
- Can show that they will leave Canada by the end of their authorized stay

Once the student can provide the missing documents (biometrics, medical exam and/or police certificate), the student's admissibility will be assessed based on:

- Security
- Criminality
- Medical admissibility
- Authenticity of information and documents provided

If the student is deemed admissible on all these bases, they can expect a positive final decision on their application.

Important Note: While getting an AIP increases your chances of getting a positive decision on your study permit application, it is not a guarantee that you will.

C. Do I need a study permit to start my courses online?

You do not need to have a valid study permit or have been approved for a study permit to start your program online in the Fall.

While you are eligible to start your program online before a decision has been made on your study permit application; please note:

- Study permit processing is now a 2-stage process. First stage is getting "approval-in-principle" after submitting an online application; then once biometrics and other missing documents are provided a final study permit decision is made on your application

- Any period of online study time spent after submitting your online study permit application will be considered when assessing your eligibility under the PGWP as long as you had applied for the study permit prior to the start of your program and the online study period outside Canada is less than 50% of the total program length

- Starting your program before an Approval-in-Principal or final approval will not guarantee that your study permit application will get full approval

- Should your study permit application get refused, you will have the option to re-apply for the study permit after addressing the grounds for refusal. There are no guarantees that you will be approved the second time.

- Suppose your application is refused after you start your program and you decide to re-apply. In that case, the time already spent studying may not be considered under the PGWP program since your second application will not have been submitted before the start of your program.

- You will not be able to continue in the program once in-person program delivery resumes unless your study permit application has received final approval.

Please note, that students are expected to pay tuition fees when they start their program regardless of whether oheir study permit is approved.
D. I am applying for my study permit but I cannot provide my biometrics or do my medical exam due to closures in my home country; will my application be refused?

If you have or will be applying for a temporary residence application (study or work permit or visa) outside of Canada or extending your temporary residence status in Canada, your application will not be refused if you cannot complete the next step due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Examples of the following steps include:

- Submitting your passport or supporting documents, such as a police certificate
- Completing an immigration medical examination
- Providing your biometrics

In the event you are unable to provide the required documents within the 90 days, IRCC will automatically extend your deadline to give biometrics; you will not need to contact IRCC for this extension.

No application in progress will close or be refused due to a lack of documentation. Once you're able to, you are instructed to complete the biometrics/medical exam as soon as possible to avoid delays. You will be able to use your original Biometrics Instruction Letter (BIL) once sites resume biometrics services.

Click here for more information.

E. If my study permit is approved, can I come to Canada even if my classes will continue to be delivered online?

As of October 20, international students attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with an approved UAlberta COVID-19 readiness plan; and hold a valid study permit or a Letter of Introduction showing they are approved for a study permit; are exempt from current travel restrictions.

Your entry to Canada will be considered essential (non-discretionary) if you meet the above requirements and have the required documents with you upon entry.

New students, documents include:

- Letter of Introduction
- Valid Visa/eTA as applicable
- Admission letter
- Financial documents used in your application as proof that you will be able to support yourself (and your family in the event you will be entering together)
- Approved quarantine plan

Returning students, documents include:

- Valid Study Permit
- Valid Visa/eTA as applicable
- Verification of Enrollment (you can print from Bear Tracks)
- Unofficial transcript (you can print from Bear Tracks)
- Lease/residential agreement if available
- Approved quarantine plan

You will need to have a quarantine plan in place before entry. As part of the University's COVID-19 Readiness Plan, all international students wishing to travel to Canada on or after October 20, 2020, need an approved quarantine plan either by booking the Isolation Accommodation Program or by signing up to the Off-Campus Travel Registry.
See Travel Update D. for more information.

Read Travel to Canada During COVID for more information.
.

F. When I submitted my study permit extension application in March, I got a Biometrics Instruction Letter (BIL). It has been over 90 days with biometrics services closed in Canada; what do I do?
As of July 15, 2020, IRCC has confirmed that all new and in progress application for extension of temporary residence status in Canada (study or work permit extension, TRV, PGWP applications, etc.) are now exempt from the biometrics requirement.

If you have already paid the $85 biometrics fee, you can expect a refund. For students submitting new applications, you are no longer to pay the $85 biometrics fee when you apply online even if the system asks you to pay it. Those who pay it anyway can expect a refund for that amount from IRCC.

This temporary measure only applies to IN-CANADA applications. All applications submitted outside Canada are not exempt from the biometrics requirement.
G. My temporary residence status in Canada is about to expire, but I cannot leave due to the current travel restrictions; what should I do?

If you are a temporary resident who is unable to leave Canada and your status has not yet expired, you can apply online to extend your stay in Canada.

If you are a visitor, you can apply to extend your stay as a visitor in Canada.

If you are a worker or student, you have a few options:
- If you are no longer working or studying, you can apply to change your status to "visitor," as long as your study or work permit has not expired
- If you want to continue working or studying, you may be able to extend your work permit or study permit if you're eligible.

In both cases, when you apply, make sure you include a note explaining the reason you need to extend your stay in Canada.

H. My temporary residence status expired less than 90 days ago. What should I do?
You can apply to restore your status.

When you complete the application form, make sure you do all of the following:

- Select Restore my status under section 3 at the top of page one of the applicable form.
- Include a note explaining the reason you need to extend your stay.
- You must also pay the restoration fee.

If your temporary resident status is restored, you'll receive the appropriate permit, which will outline the conditions of your stay in Canada. Your temporary resident status in Canada will be extended until a specified date.
I. My temporary residence status expired over 90 days ago, but I cannot leave Canada due to COVID-19. What should I do?

You have until December 31, 2020, to apply to restore your status if

- your status expired after January 30, 2020, and

- you're still in Canada

This applies even if it's been more than 90 days since your status expired.

Learn more on how to restore your status.

J. How can I make sure that I can access all the relevant updates and information during the COVID-19 pandemic?
International students should register with their home country's government. This ensures you receive relevant updates from your consular services representatives in Canada.

Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is responding to the many issues that are arising as a result of Canada's response to COVID-19.

IRCC policy updates are posted online, see:

- How COVID-19 is affecting immigration, refugees, citizenship and passport services

- COVID-19: Visitors, foreign workers and students

Read information for travellers entering Alberta from outside Canada.

Read the University of Alberta's COVID-19 updates.

Questions? Email advising@ualberta.ca with your concerns.

K. If I am outside of Canada and wish to come back with a valid study permit and visa, can I enter Canada?

As of October 20, international students attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with an approved UAlberta COVID-19 readiness plan; and hold a valid study permit or a Letter of Introduction shows they are approved for a study permit; are exempt from current travel restrictions.

Your entry to Canada will be considered essential (non-discretionary) if you meet the above requirements and have the required documents with you upon entry.

New students, documents include:
- Letter of Introduction
- Valid Visa/eTA as applicable
- Admission letter
- Financial documents used in your application as proof that you will be able to support yourself (and your family in the event you will be entering together)
- Approved quarantine plan

Returning students, documents include:
- Valid Study Permit
- Valid Visa/eTA as applicable
- Verification of Enrollment (you can print from Bear Tracks)
- Unofficial transcript (you can print from Bear Tracks)
- Lease/residential agreement if available

You will need to have a quarantine plan in place before entry. As part of the University's COVID-19 Readiness Plan, all international students wishing to travel to Canada on or after October 20, 2020, need an approved quarantine plan either by booking the Isolation Accommodation Program or by signing up to the Off-Campus Travel Registry

See Travel Update D. for more information.
Read Travel to Canada During COVID for more information.

Learn more about what to consider when preparing for your travel to Canada.

L. What do I need to be able to work on- or off-campus in Canada?
Once you are able to travel to Canada, you will need to get your study permit issued upon entry with the required work conditions that clearly state your eligibility to work on- and off-campus. You will then be required to apply online for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). You will need to have your passport and your study permit with the required work conditions to apply for a SIN.

You should be aware that you will need to maintain full-time registration during academic terms and not work more than 20 hours/week off-campus during academic terms. There is no limit to the number of hours you can work on-campus.
M. If I am studying online while in Canada, will I be eligible to work on- or off-campus?

Program delivery is now being offered online due to the current COVID-19 situation. As a result, if you meet the following requirements, you will be eligible to work during your online studies:
- Hold a valid study permit with required work authorization remarks,
- Hold a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and
- Meet all the other conditions for working on- and off-campus as per Immigration

Refugee Protection Regulations 186(f) and 186(v) which include:
- Full-time registration
- Registered in a degree-seeking program
- Work no more than 20 hours/week during academic terms

N. I scheduled my co-op placement for winter 2021, and I applied for a co-op work permit; however, I may not get the co-op work permit in time due to the current COVID-19 delays. Can I still begin my co-op placement in January if my co-op work permit has not been issued by then?

In normal circumstances, international students are required to have a valid co-op work permit when they start their co-op placement. As a facilitation measure during COVID-19, IRCC has confirmed that study permit holders may use the off-campus work authorization for co-op if the work is less than 20 hours/week while waiting for their co-op application. If the co-op application is refused, they must stop working immediately.

O. How can I connect with an advisor for my immigration questions?

You can email: advising@ualberta.ca

You can also drop into one of our daily online advising sessions