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SAIT has government approval to accept international students during the current COVID-19 Pandemic.   

International students

๐Ÿ‘‰ Additional student information is available in the New Students FAQ.


Classes and delivery

Since classes are now offered online, will the price of tuition be lowered?

Many students have recently inquired about the difference between domestic and international tuition, especially given the recent switch to alternate delivery as a result of COVID-19. The cost to deliver our programs does not change because of the mode of delivery (online vs. face-to-face). International tuition costs are determined in large part to cover off the full cost of an academic program. This includes the cost of instructional staff, administration, equipment and labs, infrastructure and maintenance, as well as ensuring our curriculum aligns with quality standards and industry needs. 

Domestic tuition costs are subsidized for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Both levels of government (through different grant and funding initiatives) subsidize post-secondary education in Canada. These subsidies are drawn from taxes Canadian citizens and permanent residents pay. International tuition is not subsidized. 

As part of its annual international tuition review process, SAIT conducts a pan-Canadian analysis of SAIT’s programs against comparable programs in other Canadian institutions to ensure our international tuition rates remain competitive and international students receive high value for their tuition dollars while continuing to receive a world-class education. 

For these reasons, tuition for international students is remaining as listed on our website. However, some of our auxiliary services and their associated fees for the upcoming semester have been suspended — this includes UPass and recreation fees.  

Please don’t hesitate to connect with SAIT’s International Centre through email international.advising@sait.ca.  

Instructors have been asked to deliver their courses in real time and also record their presentations, so a student in any time zone has the option to watch live and/or and replay.

Instructors have been asked to deliver their courses in real time and also record their presentations, so a student in any time zone has the option to watch live and/or and replay.


Can I leave Canada now that my classes are delivered online?

All temporary residents who are already in Canada and unable to depart are encouraged to apply for an extension to maintain their temporary resident status in Canada. International students are considered to be temporary residents.

Once the application is submitted, you may remain in Canada until a decision is made on your application or until any required documents can be submitted.

As of March 16, it can be assumed that international students registered with a Canadian institution but currently abroad — either in a third country or in their home country — will not be authorized to re-enter Canada. Please keep in mind that this could be the case for an extended time and could disrupt your future studies. At this point, we discourage you from leaving Canada.

I’m an international student currently in my home country, can I return to Canada?

Please get in touch with International Centre if you are currently away from Canada and would like to return. We will get in touch with current students in May with an update about travel to Canada.

International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020 will be allowed to enter the country. 

This exemption is to accommodate students who are in the middle of their course of study or who have just been approved to study in Canada but were outside Canada when the travel restrictions took effect. 

Incoming May 2020 intake students will need to fill in this mandatory survey to let us know their plans for the Spring 2020 semester and are expected to inform us of any changes to their situation by emailing us at international@sait.ca

Study permit and Post-Graduation Work Permit

When will I receive my letter for the post-graduation work permit?

Completion of studies letters for current international students will be ready by approximately the third week of May.

With classes now online, can I work extra hours or full time at my job?

Effective immediately, international students in Canada are able to work more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session if they are working in an essential service or function such as health care, the supply of food or other critical goods. Read the full update here.

For students working in non-essential services, you are still subject to your authorized number of work hours. You can continue working part-time off-campus if you are already eligible to do so — up to 20 hours/week during an academic session — and you can work full-time during a regularly scheduled break.

Given the extreme nature of the COVID-19 situation, if you were eligible to work on or off-campus, you can continue to work even if you have to drop to part-time studies or take a break in your studies.

Can I drop classes and go to part-time studies? If so, can I still work?

If you need to drop classes because of a direct result of the COVID-19 situation — such as, you’re sick or your class has been cancelled — you can do so. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will require SAIT to provide a letter explaining this change for you to include with your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) application.

If your decision to drop from full-time to part-time studies is not related to COVID19 and is not supported by a letter from SAIT, this would be considered as not fulfilling conditions to qualify for the PGWP program.

Given the extreme nature of the COVID-19 situation, if you were eligible to work on or off-campus, you can continue to work even if you have to drop to part-time studies or take a break in your studies.

I don't have my study permit or my study permit approval notification. Can I start the classes and am I still eligible for the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)?

You don’t need to have a valid study permit to start online classes for your Spring 2020 semester. However, based on the latest updates from IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), students who don’t hold a study permit or have their study permit approved are not considered eligible for Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) program while they study outside of Canada. This means that, if you start a program without a study permit/study permit approval, you will likely not meet the eligibility requirements for a PGWP, or may not get the full length of your PGWP. Please review the  latest updates from IRCC to help you make your decision.

If you are still waiting for your study permit to be processed and intend on starting in May 2020, please take this risk into consideration while making a decision about starting your semester in May 2020 without a study permit/study permit approval.

What happens when we return to in-class delivery?

All international students will need to have a study permit by the time SAIT returns to in-class delivery. Please note, it’s the student’s responsibility to make sure they’re eligible to apply for a study permit. You won’t be able to continue in your program when it resumes in-person if you don’t have your permit.

If I attend classes online in my country of residence/outside of Canada, will that time count towards the length of my Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)?

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

If you  have a study permit, or 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 PGWPP. If you’re in this situation, you may:

  • begin your classes while outside Canada, and
  • complete up to 50% of your program while outside Canada, if you can’t travel to Canada sooner.

If you start your studies in  fall 2020, you won’t have time deducted from the length of your post-graduation work permit for studies you complete while outside Canada between fall 2020 and December 31, 2020.

Please note that you still have to fulfill  all other conditions for PGWP eligibility. Read the full IRCC update  here

Health care and insurance

My study permit is close to expiring. Will I still be covered by Alberta Health Care?
  • Alberta Health will extend health coverage for international students for up to 90 days or until they leave Alberta, whichever happens first.
  • Alberta’s regular process is to extend coverage for international students for 90 days from when their study permit expires, if they have applied to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to change or extend their study permit. Alberta Health will re-assess this situation in 90 days. 
  • To receive the extension, international students can call 780.427.1432 (the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) general Inquiries line). The call centre is open from 8:15am-4:30pm, excluding holidays. 
  • All international students will be covered for COVID-19 related medical assistance regardless of whether or not they have health insurance coverage.
  • Treating international students with symptoms/illness related to COVID-19 is in the public interest, and these health costs will be covered by Alberta’s pandemic response.
  • Advanced Education is in communication with Alberta Health regarding the needs of international students.  
Study Insured update for new and continuing students

Continuing international students (Academic programs and ELF)

All continuing international students, in both academic programs and English Language Foundations (ELF), are covered under the Study Insured health insurance plan. In order to provide consistent coverage and support, your Study Insured plan coverage will continue through Aug. 31, 2020. There is no option to opt out of this plan regardless of your location.  Review your Study Insured coverage details here.

Graduating students are also covered through Aug. 31, 2020.

For more information visit the  SAIT Study Insured website or email Study Insured at  sait@studyinsured.com.

New international students starting in Spring 2020 (Academic programs and ELF)

The current pandemic situation and consequently the Government of Canada's decision to close the borders has directly affected students' ability to be in Calgary. New international students spending the spring semester outside of Canada, and who responded to the location survey from the International Centre, will not be charged the Study Insured fees for the Spring 2020 term.


Can I apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?

If you have lost income because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide you with temporary income support. The CERB will provide you with $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents — including temporary foreign workers and international students — may be eligible to receive the benefit if they meet the eligibility requirements.

The CERB will be available to international students: 

  • residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old
  • who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits
  • who had an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
  • who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period — for subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income
  • who have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). 

Final decisions on eligibility will be made by the Government of Canada. Please read the information  here on how and when to apply. Please note CERB payments are a taxable benefit, and you may have to repay it if you are found to be ineligible. Read more about it here or here.

Please refer to the  official CERB page and the SAIT International newsletter for more updates .

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