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Quarantine guidelines for international students moving to Canada

As of October 20, the travel restrictions on international students have loosened in Canada, as a result of which international students are now allowed to enter Canada if their Designated Learning Institution (DLI) has an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place.

According to the Canadian government, Coronavirus Readiness Plan is necessary because it;

  • Protects the health and safety of all students and the surrounding community
  • Describes how they will manage the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for international students, including arrangements for transportation to the students’ quarantine location.
  • Provides information and support to international students about how they can get the items they need for their quarantine, like food and medications.

There is a mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed for everyone travelling to Canada.

This article will guide international students who will soon move to Canada about how to prepare for their travel and quarantine in Canada.

Are you eligible to travel to Canada?

  • You’ll be eligible to travel if the university, college, or Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in which you are enrolled is on the IRCC’s approved DLI list of institutes with an approved Coronavirus readiness plan. If your DLI isn’t mentioned on the approved DLI list, you won’t be allowed to board your flight, or you will be turned away at the port of entry in Canada.
  • You should confirm if the required courses you have opted for will be offered online or on-campus and whether travel to Canada is required. 
  • You should have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that proves that you have been approved for a study permit.
  • You should have a valid letter of acceptance (LOA) from the DLI you’re enrolled at.
  • You should be well versed with hygiene standards for COVID-19 in preparation for your quarantine in Canada.
  • You must download the ArriveCAN mobile app as you must be ready to show your ArriveCAN app details when seeking entry into Canada; a border services officer will be stationed to verify whether you have submitted the information digitally or not. You are required to submit your travel and contact information, quarantine plan, and COVID-19 symptom self-assessment on the ArriveCAN app. If you do not submit the required information digitally before boarding the flight, you could be fined $1,000 CAD.

If you are eligible to travel to Canada as an international student, you must plan how you’ll quarantine as you may need to get it pre-approved by your DLI and also as it is mandatory for all international travelers to have a quarantine plan ready before entering Canada.

Your 14-day quarantine plan should include the following:

  • Accommodation: You must provide the address of where you will be staying for the duration of 14 days.
  • Transit in Canada: Traveling to your mentioned accommodation from the airport.
  • Food and other essential items: Getting your groceries or meals while you are quarantining.  
  • Medical assistance: You must state how you will access essential services and medical care in case of an emergency.

If you have a quarantine plan ready and are sure of your arrival in Canada, there are a few things that you should keep in your mind for your arrival in Canada:

Requirements for Arrival in Canada:

  • You should wear a mask or face covering that covers your mouth and nose completely.
  • Should pass two health checks: One will be conducted by the airline before boarding your flight and another will be conducted by a Public Health Agency officer once you arrive in Canada.
  • You must show your ready quarantine plan to the border services officer.
  • You must provide a way of contact once you arrive in Canada in order for the authorities to reach you if required.

Post-arrival protocols to be followed:

First two days: Within 48 hours of entering Canada, you must confirm your arrival at the place of quarantine and submit a complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during your quarantine period.

Why is submitting this information important? It helps travelers reduce processing time at the border and limits physical contact between travelers and border services officers and the Public Health Agency of Canada officers. This protects the health and safety of travelers as well as officers.

Quarantine guidelines for international students arriving in Canada

Before traveling to Canada, you must submit your 14-day quarantine plan, which starts on the day you arrive. Even if you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms, you are required to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days as you’re still considered to be at risk of developing symptoms and infecting others.

If you develop symptoms like worsening cough, not being able to breathe, fever, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of smell or taste, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, or test positive for COVID-19 during your 14-day quarantine, you are required to isolate for an additional 14 days which start from the date of your positive test result.

Where you should not quarantine:

According to the Canadian government, you should not quarantine in places where you will be unable to isolate yourself from those who live with you.

You should not quarantine in:

  • A group or community.
  • A household with large families or many people who are sharing one house,
  • In a shared apartment with roommates who have not traveled with you.
  • Student dorms or any other setting where there is close contact between many individuals and shared common spaces.
  • In a household with potentially vulnerable people such as senior citizens who have a major risk of fatality if infected with Covid-19.

The following is prohibited by the Government of Canada during the period of your quarantine:

  • Leaving your accommodation where you are quarantining without any eligible cause.
  • Inviting guests or having contact with anyone.
  • Using shared spaces such as lobbies, courtyards, restaurants, gyms, or pools.

The following is permitted by the Government of Canada during the period of your quarantine:

  • Living with family or friends who didn’t travel with you.
  • Using shared spaces such as a kitchen.

The above-mentioned activities are permitted provided you avoid contact with others who didn’t travel with you.

The penalties which you can face for not following your quarantine plan once you’re in the country are:

  • A fine of up to $750,000 CAD.
  • Six months of jail time.
  • Being sent back to your home country from Canada and banned from entering for one year.

Immigration aspirants traveling to Canada in this winter intake should be prepared and up to date about all the information and rules regarding travel and quarantine in Canada which is available and regularly updated on Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s website along with the list of DLIs with an approved Coronavirus Readiness Plan.

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