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 section contains responses to the most frequently asked questions. For general information, please consult the section entitled For students. If you have other concerns, or if you are suffering from psychological or financial distress, please contact Student Services.

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: June 16, 2020

Postponement of admission

Postponement of admission

If your arrival at ÉTS has been compromised by the Coronavirus pandemic, you can request a postponement of admission to a later semester by e-mail. Please indicate your name, your program, your permanent code and the semester 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 your immigration procedures. Given the elevated number of requests, it may take several weeks for your request for postponement to be processed.

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

Border closures for some Foreign Nationals

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.

  • The Summer semester will run from May 4 to August 15 and will be delivered exclusively via remote training. Please consult the ÉTS procedures for the Summer semester for more information.
  • Post-graduate students have until July 12, 2020 to arrive in Canada and validate their admission.
  • Please send all of your documents (passport, CAQ, study permit) by e-mail to immediately. You can submit your original documents to the Registrar’s Office when ÉTS reopens.
  • Consult the Back-to-school information page and the back-to-school newsletter (in French).

If your arrival at ÉTS for the Summer session has been compromised by the Coronavirus pandemic, please consult the Postponement of admission section.

On May 22, ÉTS issued a Press Release concerning the Fall 2020 session, which will follow the existing Academic Calendar. However, despite the partial reopening of the campus, the majority of courses will be delivered remotely.

Registration procedures for international students - graduate and postgraduate studies (PDF, see second part)

ÉTS will communicate with you on a regular basis until you return to campus to keep you informed of any changes that may impact your studies.

If you have already received your admission letter, it is recommended that you begin your immigration procedures as quickly as possible, because some processing times are longer than normal. The 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 MonÉTS portal or on our website, and continue to consult our website and 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 registered for the Fall session. Invitations and presentations will be sent to you via your personal e-mail.

If your arrival at ÉTS for the Fall session has been compromised by the Coronavirus pandemic, or if you have questions concerning the validity of your immigration documents, please consult the Postponement of



Please visit insurance for international students for general information. To find out about the various health resources in Montreal related to COVID-19, consult the Santé Montréal website.

Desjardins Insurance

If you are covered by Desjardins insurance, please refer directly to their online FAQ page or the FAQ for international students. For specific information concerning your insurance coverage or to submit a claim, 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 the RAMQ website.

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. However, you are encouraged to request a health card renewal form or call the client services centre.

Immigration documents and work authorization

Immigration documents and work authorization

International Students must maintain a legal status at all times during their stay in Canada. The immigration authorities in Québec and Canada continue to operate, although some services have been interrupted and longer processing times may be in effect. Special measures to help temporary residents affected by the Coronavirus have also been implemented. Visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for more detailed information.

  • You may not be able to obtain all the required documents for your various procedures (e.g. original documents, photographs, etc.). However, you should still send your requests with a dated and signed letter explaining the exceptional circumstances of the situation.
  • Follow the procedure for renewing your immigration documents.
  • The Registrar’s Office continues to produce the official documents required for renewing your immigration documents while ÉTS is closed. Requests must be submitted online (in French), and your documents will be sent to you by e-mail or by mail.
  • You must send a digital copy of your CAQ and your study permit (or the IMM5739 form as proof of renewal) to
  • 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 Webform.

Extending the duration of the Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ)

The Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) is extending the Minister’s consent for the duration of stay in Québec to December 31, 2020 for foreign students whose Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies expires between April 30 and 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. This measure only affects students who will be graduating before December 31. If you your study permit will expire before this date, you can renew it by sending your old CAQ along with a letter of explanation, in keeping with this MIFI decision. The study permit will be issued for the same period of validity, namely until December 31, 2020.

If you must extend your stay beyond 2020 in order to complete your study program, or if you are beginning a new program in the fall, you must submit a new application for a CAQ in accordance with the regular procedure.

International students who are providing essential services

You are temporarily authorized to work more than 20 hours per week under the following conditions:

  • You hold a study permit for the current study semester;
  • You are authorized to work off campus;
  • You are providing an essential service.

To determine whether your work is considered an essential service or function, please consult Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Summer 2020 semester

The Summer semester is mandatory for research programs (Master with Research and Doctorate). You are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week.

For course-based programs (Bachelor, DESS, Master with Project), continuous registration is not required, although it is strongly recommended. You are permitted to work full time if you were registered full time for the previous semester (Winter) and are for the following semester (Fall).

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.

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-Graduation Work Permit Program. For more information concerning the PGWP, consult our website.


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.

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.

Travel to Canada

Travel to Canada

Are you exempt from the Government of Canada travel restrictions, and plan to come to Canada in the upcoming months despite the situation? You need to comply to different conditions:

  • Hold study permit approved before March 18, 2020.
  • Have a confirmation letter from ETS / your supervisor saying that you MUST be on campus.
  • Pass a health check conducted by airlines before you’ll be allowed to board your flight
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering during travel (including to the place you’ll quarantine)
  • Have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada.

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.

You plan needs to include several aspects:

  • a place to stay
  • how you’ll get to your destination
  • how you’ll get your groceries
  • how you’ll access essential services and medical care.

The quarantine 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 a and could lead to up to 6 months in prison and / or fines up to $1,000,000.

Quarantine Guide

Warning! The final decision to admit you in Canada is up to the border agent. He or she could, despite all these elements, deny your entry if it’s not considered as essential.