International students

Saint Mary’s University continues to support our international student community. We are stronger because we are a large global and connected family that works together.

We understand that studying, living, and working can bring added stress and anxiety to our international students. Adapting to the changing learning environment can be challenging, and we understand you might have questions about how that impacts your university plans going forward.

We will continue to be here for you and help you achieve educational goals as much as possible, encouraging you to use the support available to you during this time.


International students can take courses remotely in their home country in the spring/summer and have it count toward their residency requirements. With 270 courses to choose from, it's never been easier to take an online course during spring and summer 2020!

Whether you are just starting your Saint Mary's experience or continuing your education, there are so many options available to you. You can take courses in one or both terms.

Learn more and register for courses.

Currently, any travel-related activities for students related to courses, academic exchanges, experiential, or service-learning is canceled until August 31.

The Government of Canada announced travel restriction exceptions that apply to international students and permanent residence applicants.  International students holding valid study permits issued before March 18, 2020, or international students who were approved for a study permit before this date can be considered for entry back into Canada as "essential travel."

Under these circumstances, international students will be subject to health screening before travel.  Additionally, they will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.

Learn more about university travel and/or travel restriction exceptions.

The Government of Canada announced a temporary rule change. They removed restrictions that allow students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working an essential service or function such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other vital goods.

This change allows facilities to hire and employ well-trained workers during a critical, unprecedented time.

Learn more about the temporary rule change for students working in essential services.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are unable to provide processing timelines for specific applications due to the impact of the pandemic.  However, IRCC is diligently working on completing applications virtually.  If you have an application in progress, please continue to check IRCC's website frequently for the most up-to-date information on file processing during COVID-19.

I completed my program at the end of the Winter 2020 term. Can I still apply for my Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWPP)?

The great news is that you can still apply for your post-graduate work permit! You can complete applications from within or outside Canada.  However, you must complete applications within 180 days of finishing your program and have/had a valid study permit.  Once you apply, you will be able to start working full-time. Learn more about applying for PGWP.

PGWPP eligibility will not be affected for students whose fall 2020 courses will be online due to COVID-19. It is in line with the guidance provided to students already studying in Canada or whose program had a spring or summer start date. Students in this situation may begin their classes while outside Canada and complete up to 50 percent of their program via distance learning if they cannot travel to Canada sooner. Additionally, students will not have time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for studies completed outside of Canada, up to December 31, 2020. 

If you have applied to IRCC but moved, please update your address by submitting a web form.

Many of the biometrics collection locations, including Service Canada offices, have suspended collection due to the pandemic.  Even though the biometric instruction letter cannot be changed, 90-day extensions are automatically available to those individuals unable to book an appointment. Please refer to IRCC's page for information about biometrics.

If you are considering going home, there are some things you need to think about:

  • What is the chance of contracting the virus in your home country or when traveling?
  • Is it better to practice social distancing here or in your home country?
  • Can you complete or enroll in spring/summer/fall term if you leave Canada?

As long as you have a valid study permit, you can stay in Canada.  However, if your permit expires within the next three to six months, you will need to extend it.

We highly encourage you to contact your consulate, embassy, or diplomatic mission.  Governments from around the world are staying in constant touch with their citizens to keep them informed on measures to help them home or abroad.

For the latest information and special immigration measures, please refer to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website.

For international students that could not get home to their families or not able to facilitate alternate living arrangements, our residences continue to provide a safe and healthy environment for you.

If you are currently living in residence, you must continue to follow public health protocols and self-isolate. Learn more about self-isolation while living in residence.

If you think you may have contracted or exposed to COVID-19, you should first do a self-assessment on the provincial 811 website.

If you have to go to an assessment center for testing, please take your health insurance card with you.

For questions or inquiries regarding your International Basic or Companion Plan, please refer to the Student VIP International Health page.

If you worked in Canada in 2019, you must file personal income tax.  However, the good news is you have until June 1, 2020, to file your return. If you owe money to the Canada Revenue Agency after completing your return, you have until September 1, 2020, to pay.

You will need a T2022A form issued by Saint Mary's University.  Additionally, you will need a T4 slip from an employer if you worked.

As social distancing rules have closed down in-person tax clinics, there are many certified software programs to help you complete your return.  Some of these programs are free, while others charge a fee.

If you need any other documents or information, please refer to the Canada Revenue Agency's CRA website.

During these extraordinary and uncertain times, Saint Mary's University is taking action to support our student community. COVID-19 has disrupted students' lives from not just an academic standpoint, but financially as well.

We will continue to be here for you and help you achieve educational goals as much as possible. Overall, we encourage you to use the university and government supports available. Additionally, please refer to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CIBE) for information on currently available scholarships.

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