Updated Aug. 5, 2020

The following provides information on some of the key questions for international students who are planning to study at Mount Allison this fall.

If you cannot find the answer to your question below, please contact our international student advisor at intadvisor@mta.ca 

For specific questions about entry into Canada, parents/students should contact the Canadian Border Services Agency directly: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/contact/bis-sif-eng.html

For more information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on entry into Canada visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/travel-restrictions-exemptions.html

Travel restrictions 

Travel restrictions remain in effect that limit travel to Canada for most individuals. To be eligible to enter Canada at this time, travellers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be exempt from travel restrictions (not required for travel directly from the U.S.)
    • For international students, this means you must have a valid study permit, or have been approved a study permit, on or before March 18, 2020
  • You must be traveling for essential purposes  
  • You must have an adequate plan in place to self-isolate for 14 days upon your arrival in Canada

The Province of New Brunswick has also introduced border controls in response to COVID-19. Currently, non-essential travel into the province by individuals coming from outside Atlantic Canada is restricted. The Province has stated that entry for post-secondary studies is permitted for the fall term if all other entry requirements are met. 

Entry/self-isolation requirements for international students

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released further details on what factors Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers will consider when assessing if an international student's entry to Canada will be considered "essential" (view the full list on the IRCC site).

Factors that will be considered include:

  • whether your presence in Canada is necessary for participation in your program of study (i.e. for courses with in-person elements)
  • if you are expected to begin studies after completing your quarantine

Province of New Brunswick mandatory requirements

Additionally, the Province of New Brunswick has laid out mandatory requirements for universities and colleges that must be met under the provincial state of emergency.

  1. Self-isolation plans & MtA Letters of Acknowledgement  
    • International students arriving from outside Canada (or Atlantic Canada) must submit their self-isolation/arrival details to Mount Allison by submitting a self-isolation registration form  
      • Residence students will be issued a residence self-isolation support letter upon completion of the self-isolation registration form. The registration form must be completed first so we have confirmation of your arrival plans. 
      • Off campus students should contact intadvisor@mta.ca for guidance on the creation of your self-isolation plan.
    • Upon submission of the self-isolation registration form, Mount Allison will issue you a  Letter of Acknowledgement  which will be required for your entry to Canada/New Brunswick.
      • This letter will confirm your registration at Mount Allison, that MtA's campus will be open for in-person classes and services for fall 2020, and that your plan for self-isolation has been approved by Mount Allison. 
      • Please ensure your fall 2020 course registration includes  at least one course with scheduled, on-campus elements (noted under the "Location" heading when registering for courses in Connect@MtA).
  1. Monitoring requirements  
  • Daily check-ins will be performed throughout the 14-day self-isolation period to monitor your health and provide support and guidance with any questions you may have. These check-ins will primarily be done by MtA staff, but students may also be contacted by representatives of New Brunswick's Department of Public Safety. These check-ins will be done by phone or video chat.
  • Students may want to consider exploring the option of ordering a SIM card/phone plan prior to your arrival. Companies like PhoneBox will issue phone numbers in advance of your arrival and mail the SIM card to you at home (or to MtA so that it is waiting for you upon your arrival). 
  1. Testing for COVID-19  
  • On day 10 of your 14-day self-isolation, you will receive a COVID-19 screening test. We have been advised that swabbing will take place at a student's place of self-isolation. More information regarding testing will be communicated to students upon their arrival.  
  • Only students arriving from outside of Canada will be required to have the COVID-19 screening test.

Preparing for your arrival

Upon your arrival at a port of entry (or the New Brunswick border), an officer will examine your request to enter Canada/New Brunswick. It is a student's responsibility to ensure they have the required documentation on hand to support their travel to Canada/New Brunswick. This includes:

  • A copy of your self-isolation plan
    • Residence students will receive a residence self-isolation support letter by e-mail upon submission of the self-isolation registration form. This letter can be presented to border officials as proof of your self-isolation plan.
    • Off-campus students: please contact intadvisor@mta.ca
  • Letter of Acknowledgment from MtA
    • You will receive your Letter of Acknowledgment by e-mail attachment from Registrar's Office staff upon submission of your self-isolation registration form. Please allow two business days to receive the letter. 
  • Travel registration
    • Submit your travel info via the IRCC ArriveCAN app prior to your departure (at least five days in advance of travel is recommended).


I have been admitted to Mount Allison. Can I apply for my study permit now?
Yes. As soon as you are admitted to Mount A, you should apply online for an initial study permit so that you are in the queue for processing. After you apply, you may be asked to submit biometrics (photo and fingerprints) which may not be possible to do right now, but we expect that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will account for these delays and will process study permits as quickly as possible.

The current travel restrictions will not prevent your study permit application from being processed.

See the latest IRCC updates on study permits.

What impact is the pandemic having on processing times?
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is continuing to process applications. The processing times posted on the IRCC website are estimates based on the average processing time for an application; however, they do not accurately reflect disruptions caused by COVID-19. We expect that IRCC will account for these delays and will process study permits as quickly as possible.

Check the IRCC processing times for your application.

I need to provide biometrics. How does this impact my application?
All biometrics collection services in Canada and the U.S. are suspended until further notice, and some Visa Application Centres (VACs) outside of Canada are temporarily closed. If you haven't been able to give your biometrics due to a service disruption, IRCC is giving applicants an extension until the biometrics collection sites reopen — you do not need to request a new Biometrics Instruction Letter.

Some visa application centres (VACs) are starting to reopen, so be sure check the  VAC website closest to you  so you can book an appointment to give biometrics as soon as you're able.

Find out more on giving biometrics.

I am a new student starting in September and my courses are all online. If I am unable to travel Canada due to travel restrictions, can I start my program online from outside of Canada?
You may begin your program online from outside of Canada, even if your study permit application has not been processed yet. We are working on offering as many courses as possible in an alternative delivery format. Please see the Registrar's Office webpage for a list of all courses without prerequisites (open to first year students) and the corresponding delivery method. If you need assistance with your course selection, please contact one of Mount Allison's academic advisors at advisor@mta.ca

As outlined on the IRCC website: "If you have a study permit, or have been approved for a study permit for a program starting in the spring, summer, or fall, but you can't travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions, you're also still eligible for the PGWP." (updated June 11, 2020)

Due to COVID-19, there are frequent changes in Canada's immigration policies, which may have different implications for new and current international students. It is important that you fully understand the COVID-19 Updates from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and how the new rules are affecting you and your studies in Canada. Contact our international student advisor, Christa Maston, for personal assistance with your immigration situation: intadvisor@mta.ca  

Will international students be required to self-isolate for 14 days?
According to current federal and provincial regulations, students arriving in New Brunswick from outside Atlantic Canada will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. The Province of New Brunswick offers more information on requirements for international and interprovincial travellers

The University will support residence students to enable them to safely self-isolate on campus. Find out more information for residence and off-campus students on the residence and off-campus housing information page.

Currently, international students with study permits approved prior to March 18, 2020, are allowed to travel to Canada. Students with study permits approved after March 18, 2020, are currently subject to the Canadian travel restrictions. Please stay informed with travel restrictions:

Can international students who are abroad travel to Canada?
If you have a study permit, or if you have a Letter of Introduction (study permit approval) that was issued on or before March 18, 2020, you are able to travel to Canada by air or land and be exempt from the current travel restrictions. Students entering Canada from the United States have been exempt from the March 18 study permit requirement. They do still need to demonstrate that their travel to Canada is for “essential purposes” and that they have plans in place to self-isolate for 14 days once they arrive.

You'll need to present the following at the airport or land crossing:

You should not travel if you are planning to come to Canada for purposes other than studies, even if you have valid documents.   

Additionally, you'll still need a valid  Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)  or an  Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)  to travel to Canada (U.S. citizens are exempt). 

Like all travellers to Canada, international students exempt from travel restrictions must travel with a non-medical mask or face covering if arriving by air and must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.

My initial study permit was approved after March 18 — can I travel to Canada?
If your Letter of Introduction (study permit approval) was issued after March 18, 2020, or you do not have a valid study permit, you are not exempt from the travel restrictions and will NOT be considered essential travel to Canada. 

You should not travel to Canada until further notice from the Canadian government.   

Follow the latest updates on travel restrictions due to COVID-19.  

My study permit will expire soon. What should I do?

You can apply to extend your study permit online as usual. You must submit your study permit extension application before your current study permit expires. Contact Mount Allison's international student advisor for more information on preparing your online study permit extension application: intadvisor@mta.ca

You will have "implied status" if you've applied for a new study permit but your old study permit expired while you are waiting for a new one. In this case, you'll be able to remain in Canada until a decision is made on your new application.

You can apply online for a new study permit from outside of Canada. Review our step-by-step initial study permit guide for applications from outside of Canada. Contact Mount Allison's international student advisor for more information on preparing your online study permit application as a returning student: intadvisor@mta.ca. If you require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), it will be issued automatically after your application has been approved.

See the IRCC's latest updates on immigration applications.