international students canada

What international students need to know about studying in Canada this year

For international students hoping to study in Canada, it can be quite confusing to understand what conditions need to be met in order to land a study permit.

This year, traveling is especially difficult due to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic which has also forced post-secondary schools to move most courses online. 

Here's what international students need to know about studying in Canada this year. 

While most non-essential travel to Canada is off-limits, you can still apply for a study permit online. Just be sure to have all the proper documents in place before applying or a letter of explanation for why you couldn't get them (such as certain offices being closed due to COVID-19).

Students who have had their study permit application approved before or on March 18, 2020 are allowed to enter the country. Of course, health checks and a 14-day quarantine are mandatory. 

If you already have a valid study permit and are looking to come back to Canada after some time away, you should be able to return if you plan on beginning your studies after quarantine, if you need to physically be in Canada for your program, and/or if studying online is not an option from you home country. 

Don't forget to have your study permit on you when you arrive though! 

For students with a valid study permit currently in Canada, you'll still be in compliance with the permit's conditions - even if your courses have moved online - as long as you remain enrolled at your school.

Extending your permit if it's expired is also possible if you're continuing your studies.

Despite all the paperwork, what can be most frustrating for students, regardless of the permit they are applying for, is the waiting.

"Filling out forms and waiting for replies is always a little nerve-wracking and tedious," said Maha Waseem, a recent graduate of Ryerson University's Masters of Science in Management program and an international student from Dubai.

Waseem's study permit is set to expire on Aug. 30, but she has now applied for a post-graduate work permit. 

"You need biometrics scans to apply for a work permit and everything was super delayed on that front because Service Canada was closed," she said. "Now that it's open, there are really long waiting lists for appointments."

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