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.

Do I need a study permit to take courses that have been moved online due to COVID-19?

If you have left Canada and will be completing your term remotely, you may continue your studies online. If your study permit will expire while you are outside Canada, please see "If I leave Canada, will I be able to return?" for information.

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

If your study permit will expire soon, you may apply to extend your study permit via IRCC Online Services before the expiry date of your study permit if you need more time to complete your program.

If you are a current student, 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 session. To 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.

Can I work more hours as an international student during the time in-person classes are cancelled?

The number of hours you are entitled to work as an international student remains unchanged during the time in-person classes are cancelled. If you are enrolled as a full-time student in the current term and your study permit allows you to work on- or off-campus or both, you can work up to 20 hours per week off campus. There is no limit on the maximum number of hours you are permitted to work on campus.

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

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. If you will remain in Canada during this time, always plan ahead and be sure to submit your application before your status expires.

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

Effective 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 allowed to enter or 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 isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.

Please refer to the IRCC website for more details.

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?

If your documents will expire while you are outside Canada, you can apply for a new study permit either online or at your local Canadian visa office/embassy. If you plan to do it online, please click here to register for an IRCC account, and follow the steps as instructed. You can also choose 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. 

I'm waiting for a decision on my study permit. 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.

I need to give biometrics. What should I do?

Due to COVID-19 concerns, many biometrics collection locations, including Service Canada Offices have suspended collection. The biometric instruction letter cannot be amended, but 90-day extensions are being granted for those unable to book an appointment.

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

How will the Canadian border closure affect me as an international student?

Effective 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 allowed to enter or return to Canada by air or land.

In addition to health screening protocols before travel, all individuals entering from abroad must isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.

Please refer to the IRCC website for more details.

What must I do during the 14-day self-isolation?

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.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are waiting to hear the results of a lab test for COVID-19, it is expected that you take the following measures.

Limit contact with others

  • Do not leave home unless absolutely necessary, such as to seek medical care.
  • Do not go to school, work, other public areas or use public transportation (e.g., buses, taxis).
  • Arrange to have groceries and supplies dropped off at your door to minimize contact.
  • Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your home, if possible.
  • If you have to be in contact with others, keep at least 2 metres between yourself and the other person. Keep interactions brief and wear a face mask.
  • Avoid contact with individuals with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults.  
  • Avoid contact with pets if you live with other people that may also be touching the pet.

Keep your hands clean

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and dry with disposable paper towels or dry reusable towel, replacing it when it becomes wet.
  • You can also remove dirt with a wet wipe and then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm or into a tissue.

Avoid contaminating common items and surfaces

  • At least once daily, clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch often, like toilets, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes.
  • Do not share personal items with others, such as toothbrushes, towels, bed linen, utensils or electronic devices.
  • Use a store bought disinfectant to disinfect.
  • Place contaminated items that cannot be cleaned in a lined container, secure the contents and dispose of them with other household waste.
  • Put the lid of the toilet down before flushing.

Care for yourself

  • Monitor your symptoms as directed by your health care provider or public health authority.
  • If your symptoms get worse, immediately contact your health care provider or public health authority and follow their instructions.
  • Get some rest, eat a balanced diet and stay in touch with others through communication devices.

For more information on how to self-isolate at home, please visit the IRCC website.

I'm supposed to start at York in the summer. Will my visa/study permit application be rejected?

If you are concerned that you cannot come to York by your admission deadline, you may be able to request to defer your admission. 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.

Will I be able to apply for a post-graduation work permit if I took courses online due to COVID-19?

Courses of study being delivered online on an exceptional basis due to COVID 19 will not affect Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program eligibility.

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.

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 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 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.

What is happening with exams? What does stopping in-person exams mean?

York has cancelled all in-person exams. It will take time to sort out the many details of this decision and further information will be forthcoming from the Provost and Deans regarding alternatives to all in-person exams as soon as possible.

York will be in communication with all students and the York community as more information is available. Please make sure to check your email regularly over the term.

Are summer courses still on?

Plans are underway to provide a robust selection of courses online or through other remote learning approaches for the Summer. York will be in communication with the community as more information is available.

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.

I feel alone since events are canceled on campus, how can I connect with others?

Events on campus are cancelled to help curb the spread of COVID-19. You may want to connect with friends and family online or over the phone more frequently. Currently, public health officials are recommending we take social distancing measures. They recommend that everyone stay home when possible.

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

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.

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 and must 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.

How can I contact the Office of the Registrar?

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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.

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.