COVID-19 | Update for International Students

As an international student, the COVID-19 pandemic can prove to be particularly difficult and can raise a lot of questions. This section aims to respond to the questions asked most frequently. For general questions, see the section For students. If you have other concerns, suffer from psychological or financial distress, contact the Student Services' team.

The information on this page will be updated frequently as the situation evolves.

Please note that our site offers a summary of the procedures in place in Quebec and Canada which can change at any time and without notice. Please refer frequently to IRCC and MIFI’s COVID-19 special pages which take precedence.

Last update: May 12, 2020

Postponement of admission

Postponement of Admission

Since May 18, the Government of Canada  announced several travel restrictions that will limit travel to Canada for temporary residents.We do not know when those restrictions will be lifted.

If your arrival at ÉTS is compromised by the Coronavirus pandemic, you can request a postponement of admission to a later term by email. You must indicate your name, your program, your permanent code and the later session to which you wish to have your admission applied.

It is recommended that you submit your request as quickly as possible in order to receive your new admission letter via your MonÉTS portal. You will need this letter for the immigration process. Given the elevated number of requests, it may take several weeks for your request for postponement to be processed.

Validity of immigration documents in case of postponement

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

  • If you have not yet requested your immigration documents, wait until you receive your new admission letter before beginning the process;
  • 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 currently 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 for obtaining 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 (see section E. Deferred enrollment on the IRCC website).

IMPORTANT: Validity of your CAQ

The ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI) clearly states that if you obtain a CAQ for studies for the fall semester and you postpone your arrival by one semester, you do not have to submit a new application for temporary selection for studies. For any other postponement, you must obtain a new CAQ for studies. To date, the MIFI has not issued any indication that an exception to this rule will be applied to postponements from the summer to the fall in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage you to consult the MIFI website on a regular basis in order to remain abreast of any future changes.

If you are already in Canada

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 session, you must begin your studies during the subsequent session 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.: change to visitor status or worker status) or leave Canada.

If you are a future student

If you are a future student

Border closures for some Nationals of Foreign Countries

If you have a valid study permit or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, you are exempt from the travel restrictions. Still check with your airline that your flight is maintained and that the rules in place in your country allow you to travel. Note that you must isolate for 14 days even if you have no symptoms. Please read carefully the Travel Arrival tab and  thank you for complying with the public health rules in force in Québec once you arrive.

Summer 2020 semester

  • The session officially begins remotely on May 4th, 2020. Please read ÉTS directives for the summer semester.
  • The deadline to modify your courses and arrive in Canada is May 15th, 2020.
  •  If you have not do so already, send right away your documents (passport, CAQ and study permit) by email to You will be able to bring your original documents at the registrar's office when the school will reopen.
  • Take notice of the Back-to-School information and read the newsletter you received on April 6th (or July 12th for PhD students).

If your arrival at ÉTS for the summer semester is compromised by the current pandemic, please read carefully Admission deferral.

Fall 2020 semester

To date, the Fall 2020 semester is maintained according to the current university calendar. ÉTS will keep in touch with you regularly until this fall to keep you informed of changes that could affect your studies.

If you have already received your letter of admission, it is recommended to start your immigration procedures as quickly as possible, since delays are longer than usual. Immigration Québec and Canada continue to receive and process applications for CAQs and study permits (online only!). However, there are currently travel restrictions for foreign nationals. ÉTS is unable to predict when these restrictions will be lifted.

Refer to the directive to obtain your immigration documents in your online portal - MonÉTS or on our website. Please, keep consulting our website to stay informed of the current situation in Montréal and Canada.



Desjardins insurance

If you are covered by Desjardins insurance, refer directly to their online FAQ or the FAQ for international students. For specific information on your insurance coverage and for claims, log in to your online file. If you don't already have your contract number or insurance card, write to .

Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec

If you are covered by the RAMQ’s health insurance, the various treatments surrounding COVID-19 are covered. For more information, visit their website.

Exceptionally, an expired card will be accepted if you need urgent health care, whether the care is related or not to COVID-19. We still invite you to order your card renewal form or call our client relations centre.

To find out about the various health resources in Montreal related to the COVID-19, refer to the Santé Montréal website.

If you are currently in Canada - Immigration

If you are currently in Canada - Immigration

International Students must maintain a legal status at all times during their stay in Canada. The Quebec and Canadian immigration departments continue to operate, although some services will be interrupted and longer processing times are to be expected. Special measures to help temporary residents affected by the Coronavirus have also been put in place. Visit the IRCC website for full details.

CAQ renewal and study permit

  • You may not be able to obtain all the required documents for your various procedures (e.g. original documents). However, still send your requests with a dated and signed letter explaining the exceptional circumstances of the situation.
  • Follow the renewal procedure.
  • While ÉTS is closed, Office of Registrar still delivers official documents you might need to renew your immigration papers. Request them online, as usual, and you will receive them by email (no hard copies can be sent out during this period).
  • You must send a digital copy of your CAQ and your study permit (or IMM5739 as proof of renewal) to
  • If your study permit expires and you have not received your CAQ yet, still make your renewal request, and attach a dated and signed explanation letter instead of the CAQ. This will allow you to keep an implied status. Upon receipt of your CAQ, forward it to IRCC by their Webform.

Extending the duration of the Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies

The Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) is extending, until December 31, 2020, the minister’s consent for the duration of the stay in Québec of foreign students whose Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies expires as of April 30, 2020 and before December 31, 2020.

This decision is intended to facilitate the steps that must be taken by foreign students who were in the process of completing their study program but who must extend their stay in Québec due to the current health state of emergency and the temporary interruption of their courses. In short, this concerns only students who will graduate before December 31, 2020. If you need to renew your study permit before this date, you can apply with your actual CAQ and join an explanation letter. The study permit will be issued for the same period, until December 31, 2020.

If you have to extend your stay over 2020 in order to complete your study program or if you begin a new program in fall, you must submit a new application for CAQ and study permit.


International students providing essential services

You are temporarily allowed to work more than 20 hours if you are:

  • a study permit holder in an academic session
  • eligible to work off-campus, and
  • providing an essential service

To see if your work is considered an essential service or function, check the Guide on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Summer semester 2020

The summer semester is mandatory for research programs (master with research profile and doctorate). The rule of maximum 20 hour of work per week continues to apply.

For course-type programs (BAC, DESS, master with project profile), continuous registration is not mandatory, although it is highly recommended. You will be able to work full time during the summer semester if you were registered full time in the previous semester (winter) and in the following semester (fall).

Get or renew your Social Insurance Number

Service Canada Centers still accept SIN applications but will no longer be accepting them in person. You now have the option to apply online or by mail.

Please we aware that processing times can take several weeks. For further details, consult the following link.

Post-graduation work permit (PGWP)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirms that courses offered online on an exceptional basis due to COVID-19 will not affect eligibility for the Post Graduate Work Permit Program to obtain a Post Graduate Work Permit.

”Flag pole” (exiting Canada at a land border to activate immigration document)

In the current context and until further notice, it is forbidden to go to the land border to obtain immigration services or documents. All your requests must be submitted online, according to the procedures that apply.

Return to your country of origin

Return to your country of origin

It is possible and understandable that in the current situation, some students wish to return to their country of origin. This decision is personal, and will vary according to the reality of each student: level of progress in the program, situation in the country of origin, etc. Here are some academic and logistical elements that should be considered.

Academic considerations

ETS has set in place all necessary measures to ensure that the winter semester continues remotely, both for the courses and the final exams. Therefore, we encourage you to continue your studies and complete your exams remotely, even after returning to your country of origin. Communicate with your teachers if there are constraints related to time differences, access to certain platforms, etc.

For research students (interns, masters with research profile and doctorate), it is in suggested to determine, 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;
  • if remote work from your home country is compatible with carrying out the internship project initially planned, or if the project can evolve to be compatible with remote work methods.

Warning! As soon as you are registered for ÉTS credits, you must maintain an active file with the office of the registrar at the immigration level (CAQ, study permit, work permit - if applicable) and insurance (valid RAMQ or billed Desjardins insurance).

Logistical considerations

The situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is changing rapidly and daily. It is your responsibility to read the various information below to make an informed decision:

  • For exchange students: Check with your home institution if instructions have been issued regarding repatriation. If necessary, inform your university and BRECI of your decision.
  • Check with your embassy or consulate for entry requirements and any other guidelines or recommendations of your home country.
  • Check the status of flights between Canada and your home country.
  • If you are in the university’s residences, follow the instructions that have been sent to you to vacate your room.
  • Find out about the conditions applicable once you return to your home country (isolation, insurance, etc.).

Return to Canada

Stay informed of developments in Canada to plan for a possible return, when conditions allow.

Travellers returning to Canada

Travellers returning to Canada

Anyone who has traveled or will arrive to Canada from a foreign country  must comply with the public health guidelines when arriving. Please read these carefully on the Government of Quebec website.

  1. If you’re travelling by air, you need to pass a health check conducted by airlines before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.
  2. When you arrive in Canada, you must quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days. This is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms. Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to 6 months in prison and / or fines up to $1,000,000.
  3. You must have a plan to isolate when you arrive in Canada. If you do not have a plan, you will need to delay travel until you have one.

Be aware that you won’t be allowed to go out to the grocery store, for a walk, use public transport, go to school, receive visitors, etc.

If you are living with other people who have not travelled

If you have a cough or fever, avoid as much as possible contact with other people in your home (eat and sleep alone, do not receive visitors, etc.).

If you don’t have any symptoms, apply strictly the other precautions (ex.: wash your hands frequently and avoid sharing personal items such as towels, utensils and glasses).