Important Message for International Students from Global Affairs Canada

Global Affairs Canada Information for International Students



Global Affairs Canada’s International Education Division is pleased to provide the following information and guidance that may be of assistance to international students. The resources listed provide information on study permit-related issues, as well as travel restrictions and exemptions that may affect international students, and Government of Canada programs for which international students may be eligible.


Canada deeply values the international students that have chosen to study in Canada and the contribution they make to our educational institutions, our communities and our country. Although the current circumstances are challenging, we hope that you will feel supported by your Canadian host institutions and the communities in which you live as you navigate your own situation, whether you may be a first-year student, a soon-to-be graduating student, an exchange student or visiting researcher.


Individuals are encouraged to read through all the information available on each government web-site listed and to consult these sites regularly for the latest information relevant to their situation.


The information and guidance from the Government of Canada shared below is the most up to date information available, however, due to the rapidly changing situation, the information provided by the relevant Government of Canada authorities may change or be modified going forward.


  1. Immigration Status and Related Travel





  • For international students specifically:
    • International students who remain in Canada can apply to renew their study permit, and can continue to study and work while their application renewal is being processed.
    • At this time, international students who held a valid study permit granted before March 18, 2020, will be able to travel to Canada.
    • If a study permit was issued to an international student on, or after, March 18, 2020, they are currently not allowed to travel to Canada.


  1. Eligibility for Government of Canada-funded benefits
  • International students who meet the eligibility criteria laid out for either the Employment Insurance (EI) program, or the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program, may qualify to receive these financial supports. International students who are currently in Canada, who have worked the minimum number of hours and who meet the minimum income threshold can apply to these programs.
  • Employment and Social Development Canada has published information on the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) introduced as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. This measure targets workers in Canada whose income from employment or self-employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. More information can be found here:
  • For the most up-to-date information on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), including a list of frequently asked questions, please visit:
  • The aforementioned site includes questions and answers, such as:
    • Can you receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if you are not a citizen or permanent resident?
    • To be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you must reside in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number.
    • Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the Benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements.





  1. Information for Government of Canada-funded scholarship students
  • Global Affairs Canada is in close contact with its scholarship program administrators to identify guidance and support required by scholarship recipients. Individuals with concerns should reach out to their host institutions in Canada as a first point of contact.
  • International Scholarships deadlines: GAC has extended all open scholarship competition deadlines by three weeks. More information can be found at the website here.
  • International students that are currently in Canada under one of the Student Exchange Programs, including the inbound portion of the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchange Program (CCSEP), have the option to return to their home countries and finish their studies online (if their school offers that option). There will be no penalties for doing so. If a student wishes to withdraw completely from the program, they will still receive a prorated amount of the scholarship.
  • To stay up-to-date with the latest information on Government of Canada funded scholarships, please subscribe to the EduCanada RSS feed and visit our Facebook page @EduCanada.Official.


  1. Health Care, including Mental Health
  • International students are encouraged to reach out to and remain in contact with their host institutions in Canada, in particular the international students’ office, and their health care coverage providers to receive information on measures and supports in place for international students at this time.
  • GAC is in regular contact with Canadian education associations, representing Canadian education institutions across the country, and it is our understanding that Canadian institutions are proactively providing psychological and mental health support related to the pandemic to their national and international students.
  • Students are also encouraged to consult regularly municipal and provincial/territorial public health resources for information on guidelines and supports that apply to their host communities.


  1. Housing
  • International students living on campus are encouraged to reach out to and remain in contact with their Canadian host institutions, in particular the international students’ office, to receive information on housing services and supports in place for international students at this time.
  • Each institution makes its own decisions with regard to support and mitigation measures for their students.
  • GAC is in regular contact with Canadian education associations, representing Canadian education institutions across the country, and it is our understanding that the majority of Canadian education institutions are keeping their campus dormitories open for international students and Canadian students who may not have other accommodations. Where campus housing is no longer available, institutions are working closely with international students to help them find housing.


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