COVID-19 | Update for International Students

The COVID-19 pandemic may prove especially difficult for international students, and may raise a number of questions. This page is intended to provide responses to the most frequently asked questions. For general information, please consult the section entitled COVID-19: Information and procedures. If you have other concerns, or if you are suffering from psychological or financial distress, please contact Student Services immediately.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ÉTS has adopted an extremely thorough contingency plan and protocols, which have been approved by Québec’s public health authorities. As a result, we are proud to be listed among the Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for welcoming new international students. We do everything in our power to provide the members of our international community with all relevant public health and travel-related information, procedures and requirements, whether they are in Canada or abroad. In addition to this web page, students can consult our Quarantine Guide, contact the service d'aide à la quarantaine (quarantine assistance service) or take part in our webinars on this subject. In addition, our International Student Advisors are always accessible by e-mail or through an individual online meeting.

Please note that this page contains only a summary of the immigration procedures that are currently in effect. For official information concerning special measures related to COVID-19, which take precedence over the information found here, consult the IRCC and MIFI websites on a regular basis.

Last update : January 8, 2021

 
Postponement of admission

Postponement of admission

If you must or wish to postpone your admission, you can submit an application for postponement via the Omnivox portal, which is also where you can access your new admission letter once your application has been processed. Due to the high volume of applications, it may take several days to process your application.

There is no deadline for submitting an application for postponement of admission, but it is preferable to do so before the beginning of session. Otherwise, ÉTS may consider you to have abandoned your studies. It is also best to have your new admission letter in order to begin or continue your immigration procedures.

On May 25, 2020, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) issued the following statement: Students who were issued a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) to start a study program in the 2020 summer semester and who have to postpone the beginning of that program until fall 2020 will not have to apply for a new CAQ for studies. With this measure, students will not have to repeat the administrative steps involved in applying for a new CAQ application now. However, this measure does not change the period of validity of CAQs (Foreign students section).

For all other types of postponement, it is important to remember that only a single postponement from the Fall semester to the subsequent Winter semester is permitted. If you have a CAQ that was issued for Winter 2020 and postponed to Fall 2020, or a CAQ that was issued for Summer 2020 and postponed to Winter 2021, you must obtain a new CAQ for studies (source).

The following is a list of possible scenarios related to immigration documents (CAQ, study permit):
 

  • If you have already received your CAQ but have not yet requested a study permit, submit your request with your current CAQ and your new admission letter.
     
  • If you have already received your CAQ but have not yet requested a study permit, submit your request with your current CAQ and your new admission letter.
    • It is strongly recommend that you submit your request for a study permit online, because many Visa application centres (VACs) are temporarily closed.
       
  • If you have already received your CAQ and are waiting to receive your study permit, send your new admission letter via the IRCC Webform.
    • Due to the closure of VACs or other institutions in your country, you may not be able to complete all of the steps required to obtain your study permit (e.g.: biometric data, medical exam). Your request will not be rejected or closed, but will remain pending until you are able to complete all of the required steps.
       
  • If you have already received your CAQ and your study permit, you are not required to request a new study permit (consult the IRCC website, section E. Deferred enrollment).

If you are already in Canada and you decide to postpone your admission, you must ensure that you meet the study permit conditions in order to maintain your legal status. For example, you are not authorized to work before the official beginning of your first semester, you must begin your studies during the subsequent semester and you must obtain an updated letter of acceptance. If you do not resume your studies within 150 days, you must either change your status (i.e.: to visitor status or worker status) or leave Canada.

If you are a future student

If you are a future student

For the Winter 2021 session, ÉTS prefers to hold in-person exams if public health conditions permit. For international students who are completing the session from their country of origin, ÉTS offers alternate solutions (e.g.: comodal participation).

To validate your registration, please refer to the specific registration procedures for your program, which were also sent to you by e-mail from the Registrar’s Office. The deadline for presenting the required documents is December 14, 2020. If you are unable to meet this deadline, please refer to the “Postponement of admission” tab.

Please consult the specific registration procedures for your program, which were sent to you by the Registrar’s Office:

Even if you begin your studies remotely, you must follow the proper procedures to obtain your immigration documents so that you can travel to ÉTS as soon as health conditions allow for a return to campus.

Upon receipt of your admission letter (whether conditional or definitive), you should begin the procedure for applying for a CAQ and study permit. Some processing times are longer than normal, but immigration authorities in Québec and Canada continue to receive and process applications for CAQs and study permits (online only).

Consult the procedures for obtaining your immigration documents in your Mon ÉTS portal and on our website, and continue to consult the Immigration websites to keep abreast of the current situation in Montréal and Canada.

Student Services organizes a series of webinars intended for new students. Invitations and presentations will be sent to you via your personal e-mail.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirms that students who started their study program abroad maintain their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit. They must also be registered for full-time studies on a continuous basis. To summarize: 

If you are outside of Canada, you are still eligible for a PGWP if you can’t travel to Canada at this time and:

  • you have a study permit
  • you have been approved for a study permit
  • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program in the spring, summer or fall 2020 semester,
    or
  • you will apply for a study permit before starting your study program in the January 2021 semester

If you are in this situation, you can begin your classes while outside Canada.

Consult the IRCC website for more detailed information.

Insurance

Insurance

During a pandemic, it is more important than ever to remain in good standing with respect to health and hospitalization insurance. The following directives relate specifically to COVID-19.

General information concerning insurance can be found in the Insurance section, and the various health resources available in Montréal in connection with COVID-19 can be found on the Santé Montréal page.

If you are covered by Desjardins insurance, please refer directly to their online FAQ page or the FAQ for international students.
 

New students – Winter 2021

The eligibility period for the Winter 2021 session begins on December 15, 2020. Registration is accessible as of December 1, 2020, subject to an additional fee of $75. To make arrangements to this effect, please contact assurances.etrangers@etstml.ca. Within a few weeks after you register, you will receive your contract number by e-mail. This number enables you to access the mobile Health is Cool 360° platform (insurance card, claims, etc.).
 

Returning students

Desjardins allows international students who are completing their program abroad to maintain their insurability, meaning that they are not required to pay the insurance premium if they are outside of Canada, but can re-register for full coverage upon returning, subject to the applicable premium, unless a pre-existing health condition clause applies. If you have left Canada for good to complete your study program from your country of origin, your insurance coverage ends 15 after your departure, regardless of the expiry date indicated on your membership card. Contact the insurer directly for more information.
 

If you are covered by health and hospitalization insurance through the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), the various treatments related to COVID-19 are covered. Visit the RAMQ Questions and answers page for information concerning exceptional measures.

RAMQ offices are currently closed, and requests for cards must be sent by mail. You can request a renewal form (in French) or contact the client services centre online.

In light of the current exceptional circumstances, an expired card will be accepted for urgent health care, whether it is related to COVID-19 or not.

NOTICE! If you are a student from France and you return to your country of origin, please consult the note d’information sur la protection santé (Health protection information notice – in French). If you are from another country that is a signatory to the agreement, you will be covered in accordance with your country’s social security conditions.

If you are currently attending your session remotely, from your country of origin, you are exempt from paying the Desjardins insurance fees or presenting a valid RAMQ card, because you are not eligible to benefit from this coverage. However, you maintain your eligibility for coverage. Upon your return to or arrival in Québec, the full coverage will resume, with the adjusted premium. When you arrive, you must contact insurance.etrangers@etsmtl.ca for Desjardins insurance, or follow the proper procedures for the RAMQ.

If you receive an invoice that includes insurance fees, please fill out the Formulaire de demande d'exclusion et d'annulation des frais (Application for exemption and cancellation of fees – in French) and return it to accueilbdr@etsmtl.ca as soon as possible.

Current students | Immigration and work

Current students | Immigration and work

International students must maintain legal status at all times during their stay in Canada. Immigration authorities in Québec and Canada continue to operate, but longer than normal processing times can be expected. Therefore, it is critical that you begin your renewal procedures as soon as possible.

You must follow the normal renewal procedure, as indicated in the During your studies tab.

  • If you are unable to provide certain required documents (e.g.: original documents), you should still submit your applications, accompanied by a dated and signed letter of explanation detailing your situation.
     

Official documents and compliance of the student file

The Registrar’s Office continues to produce the official documents required for obtaining your immigration documents.

  • Submit a request for official documents (in French);
  • Request digital copies. Transcripts will be sent to you by mail, to the address indicated in your student file. 

You must then forward your new documents (CAQ, study permit or IMM5739 form as proof of renewal) to accueilbdr@etsmtl.ca as soon as you receive them in order to avoid having your file closed when your current documents expire.

NOTICE! If your study permit has expired and you have not yet received your CAQ, you should still submit your request for renewal and attach a dated and signed letter of explanation instead of the CAQ. This will allow you to maintain implied status. Once you receive your CAQ, forward it to IRCC using the form.

Since July 15, 2020, IRCC has exempted temporary residents from the obligation to provide biometric data if they apply for an extension or change of status from within Canada. This measure is temporary, and is intended to allow for faster processing of pending applications.

On an exceptional basis, students whose legal status has expired have until December 31, 2020 to apply for renewal of their status, rather than the usual 90 days, if their study permit expired after January 30, 2020.

If this applies to you, please contact an International Student Advisor immediately, at etudiantsetrangers@etsmtl.ca.

Information concerning authorization for working in Canada as an international student can be found in the Working in Canada section.

A temporary measure adopted by IRCC allows you to continue to work even if you have been forced to become a part-time student or postpone your studies as a result of COVID 19, if you meet the following conditions :

NOTICE! You must document your situation properly in order to adequately justify your part-time status within the context of ÉTS offering all courses online.

In-person SIN applications have not been accepted at Service Canada centres since the beginning of the pandemic. You have the option of submitting your application online or by mail.

Please note that this procedure may take several weeks. For more information, consult the Service Canada website.

Eligibility

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirms that courses that are offered online on an exceptional basis because of COVID-19 do not affect eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. However, students must be registered for full-time studies, unless they are in their final study session, regardless of whether they are studying in Canada or from abroad, because active pursuit of studies is a condition of the post-graduate work permit (PGWP). If you were unable to study on a full-time basis during the Winter or Summer 2020 session because of COVID-19 (e.g.: due to a course being cancelled), you must document the situation and attach a letter of explanation.

For more information concerning the PGWP, consult the section entitled After your studies.
 

Completion of program and expiry of study permit on December 31

If you will be completing your program with the Fall 2020 session and your study permit expires on December 31, 2020, it is crucial that you do not allow your legal status to expire, and that you take the appropriate measures in accordance with on your situation:
 

  • If you are able to obtain your official documents (transcript, Attestation of Completion of Studies): Submit your application for a PGWP online BEFORE December 31. You will be authorized to work on a full-time basis while the application is being processed.
  • If you have received confirmation by e-mail from the Registrar’s Office (BDR) that your program is completed, but you have not yet obtained the official documents: Submit your application for a PGWP BEFORE December 31 and attach a letter of explanation along with the e-mail from the BDR. Send your official documents using the IRCC Webform as soon as you receive them. Approval of your application is at the discretion of the immigration officer. You can work on a full-time basis while the application is being processed.
  • If you do not have documentary proof of the completion of your studies: Request an extension of your stay in Canada as a visitor BEFORE December 31, and attach a letter of explanation. You are not authorized to work before receiving approval of your PGWP. 
  • If time allows, you may choose to extend your CAQ and your study permit in order to give yourself 90 extra days following the completion of your program. This option involves considerable administrative procedures and extra fees, but may enable you to obtain a study permit that will expire on March 31, 2021, and thus allow you to submit the application for your PGWP with a valid study permit, which will give you the right to start to work on a full-time basis while the application for your PGWP is being processed.

Consult the IRCC information concerning the PGWP here and contact an International Student Advisor if you still have questions.

Persons who are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a temporary resident visa (TRV) are usually permitted to present an application for a work permit at a point of entry, including an airport. However, due to the situation related to COVID-19, the currently applicable travel restrictions do not allow for this type of application. In order to enter Canada, a worker must obtain a work permit or a valid letter of introduction, in addition to a job offer OR proof that Canada is their place of habitual residence (source).
 

Flag-poling or submitting a request at the United States border

Within the current context, and until further notice, going to a land border to obtain immigration services or documents is strongly discouraged. All requests should be submitted online in accordance with the applicable procedures. The mandatory 14-day quarantine also applies to anyone who still chooses to go to a border entry point to submit an immigration request.

Return to your country of origin

Return to your country of origin

Given the current situation, it is possible, and understandable, that some students may wish to return to their country of origin. This is a personal decision that will vary according to each student’s specific reality: their level of progress in the program, the situation in their country of origin, etc. The following are some academic and logistical elements that should be taken into consideration.

ETS has implemented all necessary measures to ensure that the Winter session can be delivered remotely, in terms of both the courses and final exams. Therefore, we encourage you to continue your studies and complete your exams remotely, even after returning to your country of origin. If there are constraints related to time differences, access to certain platforms, etc., please communicate with your professors.

For research students (interns, Masters with Research and Doctorate), it is worthwhile to determine the following in consultation with your home institution and your supervising professor at ETS:

  • The extent to which the activity can be maintained, or whether it should be temporarily suspended;
  • Whether remote work from your home country is compatible with carrying out the internship project as initially planned, or whether the project can be modified in order to be compatible with remote work methods

Warning! From the time when you register for ÉTS credits, you must maintain an active file with the Registrar’s Office with respect to immigration (CAQ, study permit, work permit, if applicable) and insurance (valid RAMQ or billed Desjardins insurance).

The situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly on a daily basis. It is your responsibility to become familiar with the information presented here in order to make an informed decision:

  • For exchange students: Check with your home institution to see whether instructions have been issued regarding repatriation. If necessary, inform your university and the BRECI (Student Recruitment and International Coordination Office) of your decision.
  • Check with your embassy or consulate for information concerning entry requirements and other guidelines or recommendations that apply to your home country.
  • Verify the status of flights between Canada and your home country.
  • If you are in residence at the university, follow the instructions that have been sent to you with respect to vacating your room.
  • Find out about the applicable conditions once you return to your home country (isolation, insurance, etc.). Returning to Canada

Keep yourself informed of the changes in the situation in Canada in order to plan for a possible return when conditions allow.

The Canadian government has implemented a number of travel restrictions. You are responsible for keeping yourself informed of the changes in the situation in Canada in order to plan for a possible return when conditions allow. Consult the section entitled Travellers returning to Canada and the various hyperlinks it contains.

Arriving in or returning to Canada

Arriving in or returning to Canada

Since March 2020, the Government of Canada has restricted the arrival of foreign nationals into the country. Travel restrictions vary depending on each traveler’s status. Therefore, it is crucial to consult the webpage entitled Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Visitors, temporary workers and students to understand the rules that apply to your specific situation or that of a member of your family.

Regardless of status, everyone is subject to the Quarantine Act, is obliged to present a quarantine plan and undergo a strict 14-day quarantine, and must present a negative COVID-19 test before departing for Canada. Read all of the information presented below carefully, and consult the recommended external links.

Measures aimed at relaxing travel restrictions for international students were announced as of October 20, 2020. Even though ÉTS appears on the official list of Designated Learning Institutions, it is important to familiarize yourself with all of the required elements and obligations, before and after your arrival, along with the documents required upon entry into Canada.
 

Before you arrive in Canada

  • Obtain an acceptance or a letter of introduction for your study permit, along with the accompanying electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or visa;
  • Find ÉTS on the official IRCC list of Designated Learning Institutions;

Other requirements: 

  • Familiarize yourself with the specific procedures for international students for the Winter 2021 session; 
  • Prepare a quarantine plan for yourself and any members of your family who are travelling with you; 
  • Use the ArriveCAN application to provide your travel and contact information, your quarantine plan and your COVID-19 symptom self-assessments;
  • Present the airline with documented proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours prior to boarding.
  • Familiarize yourself with all of the current health procedures in effect at ÉTS and in the Province of Québec, along with the specific resources that are available in Montréal.
     

Arriving in Canada

In terms of allowing you entry into Canada, the final decision always rests with the Canada Border Services Officer. Since March 18, 2020, there is no more discretionary requirement with respect to essential presence in Canada. However, you must still present the required documents to prove that studying is the real reason for your travel. Arriving in Canada for reasons other than studying, or arriving too far in advance of the beginning of your session, may be considered non-essential or discretionary by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Please note that you must also wear a face covering or mask at all times.

  • Immigration documents: TRV or eTA, letter of introduction for study permit, letter of introduction for Co-op/internship work permit (as applicable), CAQ;
  • Documents related to quarantine: ArriveCan confirmation, quarantine plan;
  • Documents from ÉTS: Admission letter and confirmation of registration;
  • Health status: Not be experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, namely fever, cough or difficulty breathing, and not have COVID-19. 

You must also have all of your supporting documents (e.g.: proof of financial resources and, if you are a current and returning student, transcripts, proof of residence, etc.) with you.
 

After arriving in Canada

As indicated on the Government of Canada website, you must provide information throughout your quarantine period, either through ArriveCan or by phone (1-833-641-0343).

  • Confirm your arrival at your quarantine location within 48 hours following your entry into Canada;
  • Fill out a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment every day.

Travellers who do not submit to these conditions may receive phone calls or be subject to follow-ups from public health authorities.

The October 20, 2020 measures aimed at relaxing travel restrictions apply to those who hold a study permit. Other foreign nationals must carefully read the procedures that apply to their specific status. The mandatory 14-day quarantine applies in all cases.
 

Visitors

Students in exchange programs lasting less than 6 months are not affected by these restrictions, because they come to Canada under visitor status. Consult the IRCC website for updated information for visitors to Canada on a regular basis. Contact the International Relations Service if you have questions concerning your exchange program.
 

Workers

Temporary workers may be exempt from travel restrictions if they come to Canada for essential purposes (non-discretionary). The rules vary depending on each worker’s situation. Therefore, it is crucial to consult the IRCC website for foreign workers. To summarize: 

  • If you hold a valid work permit and normally live in Canada: you can return to Canada even if you do not have a valid job offer or if you have been laid off.
  • If you are a new worker, namely a graduating student with a post-graduation work permit, you must meet the following conditions: have a letter of introduction for a work permit (open or employer-specific) AND have a valid job offer.
     

Family members

Family members who travel with you or who wish to join you in Canada must also hold the legally required documents (temporary resident visa or eTA, approval of work or study permit, etc.) AND must ensure that they are authorized to enter into Canada in compliance with applicable travel restrictions.

  • If they are travelling with you: Written authorization from IRCC is not required. The purpose of their travel must be non-discretionary. A parent who wishes to assist a student child in establishing themselves must convince the Border Services Officer that they are here to assist the child in getting established, and not for touristic purposes. A spouse must prove that they have been established in Canada with the main applicant. 
  • If they are not travelling with you at the same time: Written authorization from IRCC is required (unless coming from the United States). The purpose of their travel must be non-discretionary, and not for touristic purposes (e.g.: establish themselves in Canada, provide support).

You can find more information on obtaining authorizations for family members on our Immigration webpage.

The Government of Canada has implemented emergency measures to slow down the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Downloading the ArriveCAN application on Google Play for Android or the App Store for iOS will help to meet a number of these conditions.

The Quarantine Act stipulates the following obligations:

  • Use the ArriveCAN application to provide your travel and contact information, your quarantine plan and your COVID-19 symptom self-assessments at least 48 hours BEFORE your departure;
  • Undergo a strict and mandatory 14-day quarantine, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms;
  • Confirm your arrival at your quarantine location within 48 following your entry into Canada;
  • Fill out a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment every day. Consult the section below for the procedure to follow If you are experiencing symptoms;
  • Submit to the possibility of additional telephone or at-home verification by IRCC or public health authorities.

NOTE: Failure to comply with these conditions constitutes a violation of federal law, and may lead to inadmissibility, a 6-month prison sentence or fines of up to $1,000,000.
 

Quarantine plan

You must prepare a quarantine plan before your departure. This document must be presented to a Customs Agent upon your arrival in Canada. Your plan must include the following elements:

  • Transportation: From the airport to your housing location (the wearing of a mask or face covering is mandatory!)
  • Housing: Location and proof of address, precautionary measures if you will not be living alone
  • Food and basic items: Home delivery, support network, method of payment Consult the ÉTS quarantine guide for more detailed information.

Consult the ÉTS quarantine guide for more detailed information.

Procedure to follow if you begin to experience symptoms of COVID-19 during your quarantine:

  • Report your symptoms via the ArriveCAN application;
  • Carry out a self-assessment of COVID-19 symptoms on the Santé Québec website.
  • Call 1 877 644-4545 to be directed to the appropriate screening resource.;
    • Inform the staff that you have traveled from abroad.
  • Find the testing clinic closest to your location,;
    • If you must travel there, wear a mask or face covering at all times and inform the staff that you have traveled from abroad.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms (breathing difficulties, severe pain, etc.), call 911 (emergency services) immediately.

NOTE: If, during your quarantine, you begin to experience signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or are exposed to an individual who presents with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or who has received a positive result to a COVID-19 screening test, the 14-day isolation period must be restarted.

If you have not experienced any symptoms and your 14-day isolation period is over, and if you have carefully read the section entitled COVID-19: Information and procedures, you can now go to the ÉTS campus. For any other questions concerning the campus (e.g.: administrative procedures, student card, etc.), consult the Back-to-school information webpage.

If you are in a research program, contact your Director, who will give you all of the information you require and advise you of the procedures for accessing your laboratory.

We also invite you to contact Student Services at any time, before departure or after your arrival, so that we can arrange to follow-up with you or discuss any concerns you may have with respect to immigration, borders, quarantine or your integration upon arrival.

Thank you for contributing to the health of our community. We look forward to seeing you soon!