FAQs for International Students about COVID-19

Check the latest information and updates about COVID-19 and York University, visit https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/ for more information.

New International Students

I am a new student and my program starts Fall 2020. Can I take courses online from my home country?

International students do not need a study permit to legally start a program from outside of Canada, however, you will need one to begin studying in Canada once you are able to travel. We strongly recommend that you begin your study permit application process as soon as you can. As stated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, having a valid study permit or study permit approval will also help ensure that your online studies will count toward your Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility.

Our International Student Advisors can help review your initial study permit application or support you if your application has been refused.  Please connect with our immigration advisors via email iadvisor@yorku.ca or book an online appointment.  

I’m a new international student starting York in Fall 2020. What happens if I can’t get a study permit before Winter term starts?

New international students starting in Fall 2020 are eligible for a refund if their study permit is denied. Learn more about the New International Student tuition refund process.

I am a new student and I have a visa. Can I come to Canada?

Effective March 26, 2020, international students who had been approved for a study permit, on or before March 18, 2020, may enter Canada by air or land, with a letter of introduction (LOI) as well as a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

If your visa was approved after March 18, 2020, you are not exempt from the air travel restrictions and you should not travel to Canada until further notice from the Canadian government.

In addition to health screening protocols before travel, all individuals entering from abroad must wear a mask to enter Canada and have a concrete plan to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.

Please refer to the IRCC website for more details.

I am a new student and my study permit application has just been refused. Can I take online courses instead?

International students do not need a study permit to legally start a program from outside of Canada, however, you will need one to begin studying in Canada once you are able to travel.

If you are unsuccessful in receiving a study permit approval, you can book an appointment with one of our immigration specialists at York International, or through Schulich School of Business International Relations for Schulich students, to help you review a second application submission. If your application is still refused, you will be eligible for a tuition refund if you apply by the deadline.  Learn more about the New International Student tuition refund process.

I am a new student and my study permit application is still in process. What should I do?

A study permit is not required to take online courses from abroad.  IRCC continues to process applications submitted online, even if the Visa Application Centre in your country has been closed.  Check with your local Visa Application Centre for details on your application and make sure to keep up to date on COVID-19 updates in your country and in Canada. Visit the York University Coronavirus Information and Update frequently.

You may also be able to request to defer your admission.

Immigration

I am a current student in Canada, do I need a study permit to take courses that have been moved online due to COVID-19?

You are required to have a valid study permit throughout the duration of your program while you are in Canada, regardless of the format classes are delivered. During academic sessions, you would still be required to comply with your study permit conditions.

I am a current student in Canada, how can I extend my status if my study permit will soon expire?

You can apply online to extend your stay in Canada. If you’re a student, you have 2 options:

  1. If you’re no longer studying, you can
  2. If you want to continue studying, you may be able to extend your study permit if you’re eligible.

Will there be any processing delays in my application (study or work permit, permanent residence application, etc.) during COVID-19?

IRCC continues to process applications submitted online, however, disruptions due to COVID-19 may affect processing times. You can check the current processing times to find out how long it will take to process your application.

I need to give biometrics but the collection locations are temporarily closed. What should I do?

Due to COVID-19 concerns, many biometrics collection locations, including Service Canada Offices have suspended collection. If the site closest to you is closed, you will automatically be given an extended deadline to give your biometrics. You don’t have to give your biometrics until the sites reopen even if your biometrics instruction letter (BIL) says you have 30 or 90 days. You don’t have to contact IRCC for this extension, and you don’t need a new BIL to make another appointment when sites reopen. Bring your original BIL to your new appointment to show proof of payment.

See Where to give your fingerprints and photos (biometrics) for locations where you can give your biometrics and specific instructions for your location.

Can I submit visa and immigration applications (study or work permit, permanent residence application, etc.) during COVID-19?

Due to service disruptions, IRCC is experiencing difficulties receiving and processing applications submitted by mail or in person at a VAC. At this time, if you’re applying for a visitor visa, study permit, work permit or permanent residence, apply online.

I'm waiting for a decision on my study permit extension. Can I return home?

Your study permit will be mailed to the Canadian address that you indicated on your application form. Make sure that someone you trust is checking the mail there.

Once your new study permit is approved, you can apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) (if required) from outside Canada.

How can I get a study permit if my study permit will expire while I am outside Canada, and I did not apply for an extension before I left Canada?

You should apply for a new study permit online, but it may be possible to apply at your local Canadian visa office/embassy if they are open. To apply online, please click here to register for an IRCC account, and follow the steps as instructed. To apply with a paper application, you may find and download the instruction and the entire application package here, and click here for the specific visa office you should send your application to.

If I leave Canada, will I be able to return?

Effective March 26, 2020, international students who held a valid study permit on or before March 18, 2020, may return to Canada by air or land. To return to your studies in Canada, you need a valid study permit and a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

In addition to health screening protocols before travel, all individuals entering from abroad must wear a mask to enter Canada and have a concrete plan to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.

Please refer to the IRCC website for more details.

Can I work during the Summer if I was a part-time student during the Winter semester?

Normally, international students would have to have full-time status in the semesters before and after the scheduled break in order to work full-time in the Summer (if Summer is a scheduled break for your program). However, you can continue to work if COVID-19 has forced you to become part-time or take a break in studies if you began the Winter session as a full-time student, and if you are authorized to work on- or off-campus while studying.

If an officer asks you for more information about your time studying in Canada on an application in the future, your designated learning institution should provide you with a letter of support to explain how your studies were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Can I work more hours as an international student during COVID-19?

International students providing essential services are temporarily allowed to work more than 20 hours if you’re a study permit holder in an academic session, eligible to work off campus, and providing an essential service.

This change is in effect until August 31, 2020.

Will taking online courses affect my eligibility to apply for work permit after I graduate?

If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

If you have a study permit, or been approved for a study permit for a program starting in the spring, summer or fall, but you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions, you’re also still eligible for the PGWPP.

International students in this situation may begin their classes while outside Canada and may complete up to 50% of their program while outside Canada if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.

If you start your studies in Fall 2020, you won’t have time deducted from the length of your post-graduation work permit for studies you complete while outside Canada between fall 2020 and December 31, 2020. It is not yet clear whether you need a study permit or study permit approval before the start of Fall semester in order for those courses to count towards the PGWP.

We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. We are confident IRCC is working to ensure international students can pursue higher education at Canadian institutions. For more information and updates, visit the IRCC website.

Travel

Should I go home?

All in-person courses and exams have now either moved to alternative formats or have been cancelled. This means students can now leave campus if they choose to.

Where can I find out more information about travel restrictions and IRCC operations during COVID-19?

For more information, please refer to the IRCC website.

Canada just announced that non-residents can’t enter the country. I’m an international student on exchange/international placement and want to return to Canada. What should I do?

As of March 26, 2020, international students who held a valid study permit or had been approved for a study permit when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020, will be able travel to Canada by air or land. Like all travellers, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, international students who are exempt from air travel restrictions will undergo the necessary health checks, must wear a mask to enter Canada and have a concrete plan to isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.

If you are currently out of Canada and wanting to return, you should check the current travel restrictions and advisories from Global Affairs Canada and IRCC. If you are an international student who is on exchange or international placement and are not able to return to Canada, we advise you to consider returning to your home country if possible. If you need any assistance in this matter, please email goglobal@yorku.ca.

Health

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

If you think you have 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-self-assessment.

Does UHIP cover COVID-19 testing?

Students should do a self assessment first following the Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-self-assessment. Students who need to visit an assessment centre for testing should take a paper copy of their UHIP card and a copy of a claim form with them. The claim form can be found here: https://uhip.ca/Content/Assets/_Uploads/en_UHIP_ClaimForm.pdf. If you do not have your UHIP card, please email uhip@yorku.ca with your student number.
UHIP coverage remains the same for all students covered, i.e., UHIP covers doctor’s fees in clinics and hospitals as well as lab tests such as X-rays and blood tests. For more information regarding UHIP coverage, please visit: https://uhip.ca/.

Does UHIP cover COVID-19 treatment?

As per https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-7, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 yet. UHIP will cover emergency fees at hospitals and hospitalization fees, if needed. Drugs dispensed during hospitalization are also covered under UHIP. For more information, please visit: https://uhip.ca/Enrollment/PlanDetails. However, prescription drugs, which you get from a pharmacy, are not covered under UHIP. These are covered through your extended health plan, which is administered by your student union. For more information regarding your extended health plan, please visit: http://www.yfs.ca/health-dental-plan (if you are an undergrad student) or http://yugsa.ca/services/health-plan/ (if you are grad student).

I have decided to stay in Canada. Am I still covered under UHIP? How can I get my UHIP card? Where can I get more information?

To check your UHIP status and get your UHIP card or for any other UHIP inquiries, please email uhip@yorku.ca with your student number.

I am leaving the country. Will UHIP cover fees for COVID-19 testing and treatment outside Canada?

UHIP covers very minimal costs out of country. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you purchase a travel plan for the duration of your stay in the other country. Your extended health and dental plan most likely has a travel component. You may check with them to see if that is sufficient or purchase a private travel plan for additional coverage. For more information regarding your extended health plan, please visit: http://www.yfs.ca/health-dental-plan (if you are an undergrad student) or http://yugsa.ca/services/health-plan/ (if you are grad student).

I am not living in Canada while completing my courses. Will I be enrolled under UHIP?

If you are a new international student starting in May 2020 and studying from outside of Canada, you do not need to be enrolled in UHIP.  If you are a new international student starting in May 2020 and studying in Canada, you are required to be enrolled in UHIP.  Please fill out our UHIP Survey here to let us know where you are studying from this Summer.  Once you have submitted your survey, you will be enrolled in UHIP.  You’ll receive an email with further information and your UHIP Card.

 

If you are unsure if you are enrolled in UHIP, do not have access to your UHIP Card or have any other questions, please email uhip@yorku.ca and include your student number.

 

Further information for Fall UHIP will be available later this summer.

What must I do during the 14-day quarantine?

Isolation means staying at home when you have symptoms of with COVID-19 and avoiding contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease to others in your home and your community.

For more information on how to quarantine, please visit the IRCC website.

Academics

How are courses delivered in Summer 2020?

In light of the ongoing pandemic situation and in order to allow students to keep progressing in their programs, the University is proceeding with a Summer 2020 term and plans to offer as many summer courses as possible through online/remote delivery formats.

Academic program planning is underway to determine which summer courses can be offered through online/remote learning, in order to be able to inform students by no later than April 17, 2020 about the final suite of offerings for the summer term. Instructors will be contacted shortly by their Dean/Chair/Director/GPD to discuss planned and possible summer course offerings.

To allow more time for instructors to plan and prepare to deliver summer courses online/remotely, and following consultation with Senate Executive, the SU and S1 terms will start one week late, on May 11, 2020. The S2 term will start on June 29, 2020.

How will courses be offered in Fall 2020?

The York Courses website has been updated with course offerings for Fall/Winter 2020-2021. Fall term courses will be offered, for the most part, through online/remote delivery. To the extent possible and in accordance with expert guidance from our public health authorities, we may be able to offer selected in-person smaller classes and tutorials, experiential activities such as studio and labs, and re-establish access to our research facilities. When you are looking at a course in the York Courses website, assume that it is being offered online and that you do not need to commute to campus unless you see a notation otherwise in the Notes section.

Please visit the York University's Response to COVID-19 page for more updates regarding the fall academic term.

Support

I feel alone, how can I connect with others?

York International is hosting daily Coffee Breaks where you can meet domestic and international students on Zoom. Every day there are different topics and themes, you can find out by visiting the York International Events Calendar for virtual events and workshops. Currently, public health officials are recommending we take social distancing measures. They recommend that everyone stay home when possible. You may want to connect with friends and family online or over the phone more frequently.

If you need support for mental health or would like to talk to a counsellor, Student Counselling and Development is available to support over the phone. Please call 416-736-5297.

You can also access a variety of supports online and over the phone:

  • Good2Talk: Call 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868
  • Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 416-863-0511
  • Burlington Distress Centre: 905-681-1488
  • Distress Centers of Greater Toronto: 416-408-HELP (4357)
  • Durham Crisis and Mental Health Line: 905-666-0483
  • Gerstein Centre Crisis Line: 416-929-5200
  • Oakville Distress Centre: 905-849-4541
    Scarborough Health Network Community Crisis Line: 416-495-2891
  • Spectra Distress Line: 905-459-7777
    York Community Crisis Response Services: 1-855-310-COPE (2673)
  • 24/7 Crisis Support Peel Dufferin: 905-278-9036

How can I contact the Office of the University Registrar?

Contact email Questions

study@yorku.ca

Live Chat also available 10am-noon and 1-3pm at https://futurestudents.yorku.ca/contact-admissions

Prospective or new students
rscheck@yorku.ca Registrarial services, Student Financial Services

Yorknow@yorku.ca

This email is monitored M-F 8:30am-4:30pm

Anything to do with Student Records (enrolment, grades, program changes, immigration changes, reactivations, etc)

 

As an international student do I qualify for any benefits from the Government of Canada?

International students may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If you are living in Canada and lost your job due to COVID-19, see https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html for full details. Make sure to carefully read when you can apply. It is based on the month you were born.

We encourage you to look for support through your home country as well.

I’m not receiving email updates from York. How can I fix this?

Make sure your contact information is up to date on your student account. Check that your email is correct as this will be one of the main ways we contact students.

Graduate Students

What information and support is available for graduate students?

The Faculty of Graduate Studies is committed to completing the term and will support faculty and graduate students through the transition related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the regular functions of the Faculty of Graduate Studies are fully operational. 

  1. Information about Grad Studies matters relevant to COVID-19 can be found on their page here.
  2. Information about how to book a wellness consultation available to graduate students can be found on the wellness page here.  The Wellness Consultation Service continues to be available to graduate students through phone and videoconferencing options.