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Information Guide for Welcoming International Students and Trainees

Last update: November 30, 2021

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The information preceded by the icon has been modified as of the date of the last update of the guide. It is your responsibility to check for updates, especially regarding travel restrictions.

If you are currently outside of Canada and beginning or continuing your studies or research activities at INRS soon, this guide is for you.

How to proceed

1. Check when and how you will be able to enter Canada

To figure this out, please consult the Immigration documents and Obligations for travellers sections which summarize the travel restrictions related to your immigration process and your vaccination status.


2. Get it touch with us

Talk to your supervisor at INRS.

Also, get in touch with the contact person at the center you wish to visit, as identified at the beginning of our checklist. Students should also keep the Registrar’s Office (registrariat@inrs.ca) informed at each stage of their immigration process.

If it is possible for you to come, also consider the following aspects:


3. As soon as you get your immigration documents

A) Review the checklist to ensure that you are well prepared for your arrival.

B) Students only Notify the Service des études et de la vie étudiante about your decision by writing to sve@inrs.ca. INRS will assign a mentor, who can assist you with different things including to facilitate your preparations and to find your feet once you arrive.


Immigration documents

Progress of the immigration file and obtaining the required documents

The synthesis below is based on the instructions given on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.


Short-term internships or studies

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People who are not fully vaccinated still need a study or work permit to enter Canada, or the letter of introduction to be presented at the Canadian border. However, from January 15, 2022, being vaccinated will be required to enter Canada: see the Obligations for travellers section.

Fully vaccinated individuals may come to Canada for an internship or to study for 6 months or less. People in this situation can consult the IRCC website for applicable requirements for students.

Fully vaccinated individuals may also come for a research internship. It might be possible to come without a work permit for a short period of time (less than 120 days), but one must take into account the applicable requirements for workers


Students and postdoctoral fellows

Here is what you can do according to the progress of your immigration process:


A) Students – Valid Canadian Study Permit or Letter of Introduction1 obtained | Trainees – Valid Work Permit

Students and trainees who have these documents can enter the country, subject to vaccination restrictions. However, travel will not be considered relevant if you are entering Canada for a reason other than that for which the permit was issued. Arriving in Canada more than one month before the start of your studies may be interpreted negatively in this regard.

1 The Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction, sometimes called the Correspondence Letter, Introduction or Introductory Letter, is the letter received from IRCC if you have been approved for a study permit or work permit. You must show this letter to officials at the port of entry when you arrive in Canada to get your permit.


B) Students – Application for Study Permit in progress | Trainees – Application for Work Permit in progress

Students and trainees at this stage should consider that the average processing time may be longer due to the pandemic.


C) Application for a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) in progress

Students at this stage should consider that the processing time for the CAQ is normally 20 working days, but delays due to the pandemic are still possible. The best approach is to apply 6 months before the start of the admission semester, as earlier applications are more likely to be rejected.


Obligations for travellers

A set of measures applies for all travellers entering Canada according to their situation. You must check the requirements for persons entering by air. Those arriving by land via the U.S. should note that the requirements checklist is a bit different.

Flight restrictions from certain countries are also expected in the event of an outbreak. For more information, see this Government of Canada webpage.


Requirements for entry in Canada

Please read about the entry requirements. The following is a brief summary.


1. A COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours prior to flight

Any passenger boarding a flight to Canada has to provide a negative COVID-19 test result. Note that the proof must also show at what date the test was done.

The proof also needs to be uploaded into ArriveCAN before your arrival at the Canadian border.


2. Health status at time of flight

Air carriers are instructed by Transport Canada to deny boarding to any person with symptoms related to COVID-19 or not wearing a face covering. Travellers should not forget their face shield and should ideally take out cancellation insurance in case they are denied boarding for health reasons.


3. Proof of vaccination

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As of January 15, 2022, international students and trainees must be fully vaccinated to enter Canada. Approved vaccines are listed here.

Proof of vaccination must be submitted in ArriveCAN within 72 hours prior to boarding.

Until January 14, 2022, students and trainees who are not fully vaccinated may still enter Canada, but will be required to undergo quarantine upon arrival. A functional quarantine plan is required as outlined in the following section.

However, individuals who plan to come to Canada without being fully vaccinated should note that as of February 28, 2022, they will no longer be able to board a flight or train to leave Canada. But they will be able to take advantage of the free vaccination service offered in Quebec to regularize their vaccination status. See the section Vaccination and vaccination passport in Quebec, further down on this page.


4. Quarantine plan

Everyone entering Canada must have a plan to place themselves in quarantine for 14 days, which comply with quarantine guidelines (PDF). See also our checklist.

Fully vaccinated travellers are exempt from quarantine. They must still have a quarantine plan in place in case they test positive for COVID-19 on arrival. However, they do not need to incur any expenses or make a reservation: they only need to have a plan, such as a hotel to book, in case they need to quarantine. If the quarantine exemption is denied, Public Health officials will ensure that a suitable quarantine location is confirmed, and may impose one if not.


5. Immediate family members

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If a member of your immediate family (common-law partner, spouse, children) wants to come with you or join you later, get sure he/she must fully vaccinated.

Otherwise, note that someone who is not fully vaccinated has to travel for a non-discretionary purpose. This is the case when a study or work permit is approved for him/her. If not, see in which cases and how a written authorization for family reunification should be requested.

Students may refer to the If immediate family members want to be with you in Canada section on the following page. As for postdoctoral fellows, the following page may be consulted: see the If your immediate family members need to come to Canada section.

In all cases, you must follow the instructions on the immigration website. Here is what applies to family members if you are from a country other than the United States.

If you are unsure, you can contact the Canadian government’s COVID-19 Information Line at 1-833-784-4397. From outside of Canada, you can also call the Border Information Service at 1-800-461-9999 and request a transfer to the Information Line.


If a quarantine is required

Quarantine site

A person coming to Canada must have a suitable place to isolate himself/herself until the 14th day following arrival: he/she must not be in contact with anyone unless someone is quarantining with him/her. Options of quarantine sites are suggested in the checklist.


Transportation to the quarantine site

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Non vaccinated people traveling to another region will not be able to take a domestic flight or train after November 30, 2021. However, interregional and local travel to the quarantine site must be done by bus or using private transportation. Some transportation options are proposed in our checklist.


Obtaining essential goods and credit card

The persons in quarantine cannot go out. They must be able to obtain the essential goods they will need through a third party. In addition, they should be able to reach their mentor in case of a problem. Having a credit card is also useful to buy food and other goods online.


What to consider during your stay?

International students and trainees can quickly find themselves in a precarious situation in the context of a pandemic. It is important to anticipate the risks and plan accordingly.


A. The hazards of quarantine and pandemic

Psychological impacts and isolation

A person arriving from abroad often does not have a network of contacts in Quebec. The resulting lockdown and isolation can quickly become an issue. In addition to student mentorship, which helps breaking the isolation, the INRS offers different psychological support resources. Insurance coverage also allows for a few consultation sessions with a psychologist.


Computer and internet connection

Even if they are in Quebec, students and trainees may have to take distance classes and work from home. It is their responsibility to ensure that they have the necessary computer equipment and Internet service. If this proves to be an obstacle, students should talk to their supervisor to see if equipment or support might be available.


B. In case of illness

It should be considered that students and trainees may be infected with the virus.


Health insurance

Students from some countries are covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). The normal waiting period (in French) does not apply to tests and care related to COVID-19, which are free as of Day 1.


Students

Those who do not benefit from RAMQ have Desjardins’ health and hospitalization insurance for international students (Desjardins insurance) as soon as they register. An individual who develops symptoms of COVID-19 is then covered for testing and care. For a start in the fall semester, insurance coverage begins on August 15. For a start in the winter semester, it starts on December 15. If you arrive earlier, you must purchase a private health and hospitalization insurance for the days leading up the dates.

However, with Desjardins insurance, if COVID-19 is contracted before arriving in the country and before coverage begins, it will be interpreted as a pre-existing condition. In this case, coverage will be limited to $10,000, which is not much in the event of hospitalization. Therefore, the student is advised to take, upon arrival, a picture of his/her study permit and send it to registrariat@inrs.ca, then to finalize registration in order to be insured quickly.


Postdoctoral fellows

All of them are required to take out private health and hospitalization insurance. Those who will benefit from the RAMQ must also have private health insurance for the first three months.

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C. Vaccination and vaccination passport in Quebec

Take note of the information on vaccination and the vaccination passport introduced by the Government of Quebec.


Use of the vaccination passport

As of September 1, 2021, the Quebec government has introduced a vaccination passport that is required to access certain non-essential places or services:

  • Sports and physical activities
  • Outdoor events and festivals
  • Performance venues, cinemas, sports venues
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Arcades, theme parks, amusement parks and centres, recreation centres, and water parks
  • Other events, such as conventions and conferences

In Quebec universities, the vaccination passport is only used for extracurricular activities. However, it will not be required for the general assembly of your student association.

  • You wish to participate in extracurricular activities? Make sure you have your vaccination passport as soon as possible, if you don’t already have it.
  • Want to organize an extracurricular activity? Inform Student Life Services (sve@inrs.ca) of your activity and follow the rules that will be recommended.

For more information on how the vaccine passport works, visit the Quebec government website.


Vaccination campaign

The Quebec government offers the vaccine free of charge to all the residents from the province of Quebec, including foreign students and other temporary residents. If you have not yet been vaccinated, you can make an appointment on Clic Santé. People who have been partially vaccinated outside of Quebec can have their first dose registered.

If you have any question about the effectiveness and security of the vaccines, do not hesitate to consult the Government of Canada website or the COVID-19 section of the Rumour Detector website (in French only), a joint initiative of the Agence Science-Presse and the Fonds de recherche du Québec.


Registering a vaccine received outside of Quebec

The Quebec government recognizes vaccines received outside of Quebec. This recognition is necessary in order to obtain the vaccination passport and to receive another dose to complete your vaccination status. To find out how to proceed, consult the Quebec government’s web page.

Contact us: sve@inrs.ca


Last update: November 30, 2021

Questions? Please contact the Student Life Services.