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.

Quarantine and Entry to Canada

Can I travel to Canada right now?

International students who meet the travel restriction exemptions set forth by IRCC can travel.  As of August 12, IRCC’s guidelines are:

You’re exempt from the travel restrictions and are able to enter Canada if you’re travelling for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose AND

  • you’re an international student who has a valid study permit; or
  • you were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020; or
  • you’re coming from the United States with a valid study permit or study permit approval

If you do not meet these guidelines, you are not exempted from the current travel restrictions. See IRCC’s information for international students about COVID.

What does “non-discretionary” or “non-optional” mean?

According to IRCC, a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose includes

  • having classes where you are required to attend in-person or have required in-person components
  • have previously been studying and living in Canada with a valid study permit and are returning to your studies in Canada
  • not being able to study online from abroad (internet restrictions, bandwidth issues, time zone differences)

I would like to be in Canada to have a Canadian educational experience. This is very essential to me. Will this count as “non-discretionary”?

At this time, this is not considered an essential or non-discretionary reason for travel by IRCC or CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency).

Can I quarantine at York when I enter Canada?

York has quarantine accommodation (hotels located off-campus) for international students arriving in Canada for the Fall 2020 semester. Upon entry, you must complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine. For more information on quarantine requirements, please read IRCC’s guidelines.
You must be able to travel to Canada according to IRCC’s guidelines for exemptions to travel restrictions.If you do not meet these guidelines, you should not travel to Canada right now.
If you will be living in York Residences or York Apartments, fill out Quarantine Accommodation Form for Students Living in Residence.

If you will be living off-campus, please fill out the Quarantine Accommodation Form for York Students.

If you are in the School of Continuing Studies, please contact them directly at regscs@yorku.ca.

Once you fill out this form, York will make your reservation at the off-campus hotels we are using for quarantine. You will receive a copy of your quarantine plan to present to the airline and at your port of entry. Please note that this does not guarantee entry to Canada. This decision will be at the discretion of the CBSA officer at your port of entry.If you are denied entry to Canada, you will be responsible for all expenses and arrangements for your return to your home country.

I received an email from York about quarantine accommodation. Does this mean I can travel to Canada?

International students who meet the travel restriction exemptions set forth by IRCC can travel. As of August 12, IRCC’s guidelines are:
You’re exempt from the travel restrictions and are able to enter Canada if you’re travelling for a non-discretionary or non-optional purpose AND

  • you’re an international student who has a valid study permit or
  • you were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, or
  • you’re coming from the United States with a valid study permit or study permit approval

If you do not meet these guidelines, you are not exempted from the current travel restrictions and should not travel to Canada at this time.
See IRCC’s information for international students about COVID

What are the requirements for quarantine?

For full details on what is required of international travellers arriving in Canada for the mandatory 14-day quarantine, please read IRCC’s guidelines on quarantine.


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.

On August 26, 2020, IRCC updated their information for international during COVID-19.

IRCC is providing priority study-permit processing for students who have submitted a complete application online and has introduced a temporary 2-stage approval process for incomplete applications, to ensure that permits are processed as quickly as possible.

In addition, the new measures allow students to count the time spent pursuing their studies online abroad toward their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit, if they submit a study permit application before the program starts and they cannot travel to Canada.To remain eligible for a PGWP, you may complete up to 50% of your studies online for most programs. The rest of your program must be completed in Canada. Students in programs that are 8-12 months starting in May or September 2020 may be eligible to complete more than 50% online. For full details, see how your PGWPP eligibility is affected.

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 do not need a study permit to take online courses. You can have the time spent studying online towards your post-graduation work permit if you submit an application before your program starts, and complete no more than 50% of your program online from outside Canada.

If you are starting in Fall 2020 and your study permit is denied, you are eligible for a refund. 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?

If you have been approved for a study permit, on or before March 18, 2020, and are travelling from a country other than the United States, you 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.

If you have a valid study permit or study permit approval and are arriving directly from the United States, you may enter Canada if you have a non-optional and non-discretionary reason to travel to Canada (effective until Sept. 21, 2020, subject to further notice).

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?

IRCC continues to process applications submitted online, even if the Visa Application Centre in your country may be closed.  On July 14, 2020, IRCC announced temporary policy changes to facilitate online learning for international students. The new measures provide priority study-permit processing for students who have submitted a complete application online, and introduce a temporary 2-stage approval process for incomplete applications, to ensure that permits are processed as quickly as possible.

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.

A study permit is not required to take online courses from abroad. Students can count the time spent pursuing their studies online abroad toward their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit, if they submit a study permit before the program starts.For full details, see how your PGWPP eligibility is affected.

You may also be able to request to defer your admission. Not sure if you should defer? Please connect with our immigration advisors to via email iadvisor@yorku.ca or book an online appointment.


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 must apply online to extend your stay in Canada. If you’re a student, you have 3 options:

  1. If you want to continue studying, you may be able to extend your study permit if you’re eligible. If you are a current student at York, you should be providing proof of enrolment as opposed to letter of acceptance for study permit extension application, and the proof of enrolment should show your enrolment for the next academic sessionTo obtain an enrolment letter, please click here and choose “Standard Confirmation”, then choose the session you enrolled in, and log in with your Passport York to print the “Detailed” version. 
  2. If you’re no longer studying and not applying for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), you can apply to change your status to visitor, as long as your study permit has not expired.
  3. If you completed your program of study, you may be eligible to apply for a PGWP.

I am a current student in Canada, what if my study permit has already expired?

If you are inside Canada and your study permit has expired, you have lost your status. You cannot study or work until you have restored your status. IRCC announced a temporary extension for temporary residents to restore their status. If your status expired after January 30, 2020, you now have until December 31, 2020 to submit your application instead of the normal 90 days.

If your status has expired, please book an appointment to receive advice from an international student advisor before submitting your application.

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?

Applicants in Canada

On July 15, 2020, IRCC announced a temporary biometrics exemption for temporary residence applicants from within Canada, until further notice. You would qualify for the temporary exemption if you are applying for one of the following:

  • an extension of a work permit
  • a new work permit
  • an extension of a study permit
  • a new study permit
  • a visitor visa
  • a visitor record to allow you to stay in Canada as a temporary resident
  • restoration (extension) of temporary resident status
  • a temporary resident permit

If you have not yet submitted your application, do not pay the $85 biometrics fee even if the system asks you to pay for it.

If you have a pending application for which you have paid the biometrics fee, you do not need to give biometrics and will receive a refund of $85 once your application is processed.

Applicants outside Canada

If the site closest to you is closed, you will receive an automatic extension of time to give your biometrics. You don’t have to give your biometrics until the sites start offering collection services again. This applies to you, 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.

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?

If you have been approved for a study permit, on or before March 18, 2020, and are travelling from a country other than the United States, you 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.

If you have a valid study permit or study permit approval and are arriving directly from the United States, you may enter Canada if you have a non-optional and non-discretionary reason to travel to Canada (effective until Sept. 21, 2020, subject to further notice).

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 was only in effect until August 31, 2020.

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

Current students in and outside Canada:

If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19 and if you hold a valid study permit, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). Your online studies will not impact your eligibility for PGWP as long as the online portion weighs less than 50% of your program.

New incoming students outside Canada:

If you are a new student starting in September, you may count your time spent studying online abroad towards a post-graduation work permit if you complete up to 50% of your program online (some exceptions) and:

  • You have a valid study permit and are exempt from travel restrictions, however, you decide to take courses online from your home country;
  • You have a study permit, or have been approved for a study permit for a program starting in the Fall, but can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions;
  • You've received an approval-in-principle (which includes showing that you have been accepted at a Canadian learning institution, have the available funds and are otherwise eligible for the study permit), but not a final approval, and can't travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions; or
  • You have submit a study permit application before your program starts.

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. You must also have a non-discretionary or non-optional reason for coming to 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).

How will the UHIP enrollment process work for Fall 2020?

If you are a new international student starting in September 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 September 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 Fall 2020.  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.

I am a Canadian citizen or PR arriving in Canada from abroad. How do I get health insurance?

Normally, there is a three-month waiting period for OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) eligibility. However, due to COVID, as per https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-ohip-and-get-health-card,

Ontario is waiving the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage. We will also cover the cost of COVID-19 services if you are uninsured and do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage.”

If you are self-isolating and cannot go to ServiceOntario to register for coverage, please contact ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-866-532-3161. INFOline staff will advise on next steps as appropriate.”

For information regarding where to apply for OHIP and which documents you will need to take, click here.

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?

If you are staying in Canada for the Fall term, please fill out our UHIP Survey here to let us know where you are studying from this Fall 2020.  Once you have submitted your survey, you will be enrolled in UHIP.  You’ll receive an email with further information and your UHIP Card.

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 and you will likely not be covered under UHIP if you are not in Canada. 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 graduated in June 2020 and my UHIP expired on August 31, 2020. Can I extend my UHIP?

You can extend your UHIP for two more months after August (Sept and Oct) if your convocation was in June 2020. You will need to fill out an application form and make a payment via debit or credit. You may send a completed and signed copy of the UHIP application form to uhip@yorku.ca.

Once application form is received, you will be sent an instruction sheet for the payment within about two weeks.

Please note that after October, you will need to look into a private health plan.

I will be graduating in October 2020 and my UHIP expired on August 31, 2020. Can I extend my UHIP?

You can extend your UHIP for six more months after August (Sept 2020 to Feb 2021) if your convocation will be in October 2020. You will need to fill out an application form and make a payment via debit or credit. You may send a completed and signed copy of the UHIP application form to uhip@yorku.ca.

Once application form is received, you will be sent an instruction sheet for the payment within about two weeks.

Please note that after February, you will need to look into a private health plan.

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 & Financial Support

How will courses be offered in Fall 2020?

The York Courses website has been updated with course offerings for Fall/Winter 2020-2021. Fall and Winter 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.

I heard there is a new International student award to help with my tuition fees.  How does it work?  Do I have to apply for it?

We’ve introduced three financial awards for international students in the 2020-21 academic year.  All international students enrolled in courses for Fall/Winter 2020 will receive one of these financial awards of $2,000.  With all international students receiving one of these awards based on academic achievement, York hopes to alleviate some of the financial pressures that many international students face, so you can focus your academic and personal success. 

You won’t need to apply for this award.  If you have enrolled in Fall courses, it will be automatically applied to your account near the end of the summer or early in the Fall term.  If you don't see the award on your account by early September, please contact Student Financial Services at rscheck@yorku.ca. 


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.