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Home International Students COVID-19 FAQ for international students

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

COVID-19 FAQ for international students

As the COVID-19 situation is continually evolving, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continue to make updates and revisions to their policies and procedures. While SAIT strives to keep this page as updated as possible, for the most recent updates please continue to monitor the following resources for the latest information as it is made available directly from IRCC and other government departments.

Travel Requirements and Restrictions

Key Updates

What are some key updates on traveling to Canada? (Updated Sept. 21, 2021)

As of July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers who have received the full series of Canada-approved vaccines for at least 14 days prior to travel, might be exempt from quarantine. Fully-vaccinated travelers still need to have a suitable quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine upon arrival until a quarantine exemption is made at the border.

As of Aug. 9, 2021, 3-night government-authorized hotel stopover has been eliminated for all travelers regardless of their vaccination status. Fully-vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents can enter Canada for discretionary (non-essential) purposes.

As of Sept. 7, 2021, fully-vaccinated travelers from all countries will be eligible to enter Canada for discretionary (non-essential) reasons if they meet all the requirements.

What do I need to know about the current travel ban?

The suspension of direct flights from India has been extended to Sept. 26, 2021. Direct flights from Morocco have been banned until Oct. 29, 2021. Travelers via an indirect route will be required to obtain a valid COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.

If you face any challenges to your mental health due to this disruption, please check out our online resources.

Travel Requirements and Steps

I’m fully vaccinated, what are the requirements for me to enter Canada?

Please note fully vaccinated travelers will NOT be automatically exempt from quarantine. Travelers must:

  • be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to enter Canada with a full series, or combination of vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada
  • have a valid pre-arrival molecular test result taken no more than 72 hours before the flight
  • have a suitable 14-day quarantine plan
  • submit all mandatory information into the ArriveCAN app within 72 hours before their arrival in Canada, including vaccination proof and a quarantine plan
  • do not have COVID-19 symptoms
  • take an on-arrival test at the airport, if selected

A final decision on exemption will only be made at the border by a government representative. All travelers still need to have a suitable quarantine plan before they travel regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

What are the documents required for traveling to Canada?

IRCC allows international students with a valid study permit or study permit approval/letter of introduction to enter Canada when their schools have approved COVID Readiness Plans. SAIT has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure students’ safety and is on the list of approved Designated Learning Institutes.

You should carry the following when you travel:

  • a valid study permit or study permit approval letter/Letter of Introduction
  • valid visa stamped on your passport or eTA
  • proof that you have enough money to support you during your stay in Canada
  • valid Immigration Medical Examination (see next question)
  • a Letter of Acceptance from SAIT or a Confirmation of Enrolment if you have already started your program
What is an immigration medical examination and who needs it?

An immigration medical examination (IME) is usually required for any students coming from or living in a designated country or territory for at least 6 months in a row within the last year, or if the student will attend any placement in teaching or medical environment in Canada.

An IME is usually valid for 12 months since the exam date and needs to be valid upon entry to Canada. Usually, it is first taken during the initial study permit application period, therefore, for students who have been studying outside Canada since their study permit approval, they will need to make sure the IME results are still valid when they travel to Canada.

For continuing students with valid study permits who have left Canada, they might need a new IME result if they have stayed in a designated country or territory for more than 6 months in the past year.

If I want to travel to Canada, what should I do next?

Please see below to arrange your travel and know what to expect:

1. Check if you are eligible to travel

You should travel for non-discretionary purposes if you are not considered fully vaccinated. This means you should start to attend SAIT soon after your quarantine period (if it applies) as a study permit holder. See suggested travel windows below for details.

2. Prepare for your travel

  • Gather all required documents and make sure they are all valid
  • Book your ticket and arrange you quarantine plan
  • Inform SAIT about your plan by filling out this pre-travel formAT LEAST 2 weeks before your flight (Fill and sign SAIT Quarantine Plan)
  • Get a COVID molecular test within 72 hours before the flight
  • Submit all your travel plan, vaccination information and quarantine plan through the ArriveCAN app

3. After arriving in Canada

  • Take an on-arrival COVID-19 test (if you are fully vaccinated, you may be still randomly chosen for it)
  • Collect your day 8 COVID-19 test if you are not fully vaccinated
  • Follow your 14-day quarantine plan
What are the travel windows available to me to fly to Canada?

Please note that there are different travel dates for different categories of students. Please make sure you are booking your travel in the window that applies to you.

If you are unable to fly within the travel windows due to extenuating circumstances (eg: travel ban), please do not book your tickets. Please email us at international@sait.ca with your reason for requesting travel outside your window, full name and SAIT ID and we will get back to you with the next steps.

Program start Travel deadline
Continuing student

If you have:

  • started your program at SAIT before Spring 2021 AND
  • do not have a scheduled break in the Fall 2021 semester, please travel to Canada before:
    • blended programs: August 31, 2021 (to allow time for quarantine before the start of class)
    • online programs: September 30, 2021 (to be considered essential travel)
Graduating Students Please note that if you plan to travel outside Canada once you graduate, you can only re-enter Canada with the PGWP approval letter and a valid job offer. For more information on traveling once you graduate or are close to graduation, please email the International Centre at international.advising@sait.ca
Starting your program in Spring 2021 (online)? Travel to Canada before Aug. 6, 2021.
Starting your program in Fall 2021?

Travel to Canada between Oct. 1 – 31, 2021 if your program starts in November 2021.

*Arriving too early before your term might be considered as discretionary travel and lead to a denial of your entry.

If your program has a scheduled break between Sept. - Dec. 2021 Traveling during a scheduled break would be considered non-essential as you are not required to be in Canada over your break.  If you are note fully vaccinated and do not meet the eligibility for traveling for discretionary purpose, w e recommend that you plan your re-entry into Canada no more than four weeks before the start of your next academic semester.
Starting your program in Winter 2022 We are currently reviewing travel windows for Winter 2022. An update will be provided once the information is available.
Cannot travel by the deadlines mentioned? Email international@sait.ca with your full name, SAIT ID and question. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and we cannot guarantee that they can be accommodated.

IMPORTANT: You will need a negative test result to be allowed to board your flight. You need to keep the proof of your test results for 14 days after you enter Canada and you can find the accepted test methods here. If your result is positive, you will not be allowed to board your flight, will need to quarantine in your home country and will only be allowed to travel once you are able to produce a negative test. This could result in delays and disruptions in your travel. Please plan your travel dates considering the information above.

Please continue to monitor your inbox and spam folders for communication from us and please make sure to follow our updates before you travel.

Please note that it is your responsibility to stay informed about the latest updates regarding travel to Canada.

Do I need a support letter to travel to Canada?


Once you submit your online form, we will send you an acknowledgement email in 3-5 business days. The email is approval for your travel plans and will also have information on the travel webinar you have to attend to learn more about crossing the Canadian border. Your travel plan is not approved until you receive an acknowledgment letter from International Centre. Please print this email and carry it with you when you travel.


You will only need additional documents if:

  • Your LOA is expired (eg: You started your program in Spring 2021 outside Canada but are now travelling to Canada for the Fall semester and your LOA mentions Spring 2021). Please tick the “Yes, my LOA is expired” box and upload your Letter of Acceptance to the pre-travel online form. We will get back to you in 4-6 business days.
  • If you are a returning student (studied in Canada, travelled internationally and are now returning home) please apply for the letter of enrolment. This letter will be emailed to you in 5-8 business days. Please check your spam folder too! Please note that you will not be able to apply for the letter of enrolment unless you have started in your program.
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SAIT vaccination mandate

As of September 20, 2021, vaccination verification will be required through the SAITALERT app for students coming to campus.

Learn more


If it’s decided that I don’t need to be quarantined at the border, can I cancel SAIT Residence quarantine package?

SAIT Residence has modified our cancellation policy to accommodate the recent changes established by the Government of Canada and IRCC. It is important to inform residence at SAIT of any changes or updates that might affect your original quarantine stay plan at SAIT.

Please review the current cancellation policy of SAIT Residence for Short Term Stays 2021/2022:

  1. Cancellations made 48 hours before the check-in date will receive a 100% refund.
  2. Cancellations made less than 48 hours before the check-in date to SAIT Residence will be subject to a $150 fee.
  3. Students with an active application who do not arrive on their specified check-in date and don't cancel their application will be subject to a $500 cancellation fee.

For questions related to this policy, please contact residence@sait.ca.

How do I apply for the SAIT Residence Quarantine Quarters?

Please note that all SAIT students, not yet established in Calgary and travelling to Canada MUST quarantine only on the SAIT campus and no alternate quarantine plans will be allowed. SAIT has submitted a quarantine plan to the Federal Government of Canada and is providing an IRCC, Government of Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada-compliant quarantine plan for students flying to Canada. To apply for the SAIT Quarantine package:

  • Please go here.
  • Choose SAIT Short Term Stay 2020-2021 in your application.
Is there any important information I should know about quarantine?

Yes, following the rules of quarantine are VERY important! The quarantine plan is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms.

  • Please note that all new international students MUST quarantine at the SAIT on-campus quarantine quarters. No alternate accommodations are permitted.
  • Please make sure to follow the rules for quarantine at all times and do not leave your room unless you have a medical emergency. As per Government rules, persons who are found to be non-compliant with the quarantine regulations will be:
    • fined $750,000
    • jailed for 6 months OR
    • will be deported and banned from re-entering Canada for 1 year
  • Please note that you will not be allowed to attend in-person classes until you complete your 14-day quarantine. Please make sure you schedule your travel accordingly.
What does the SAIT quarantine package include and what is the cost?

This 14-day plan includes:

  • Taxi from the Calgary Airport to the SAIT campus
  • Accommodation in our state-of-the-art Residence facilities on campus (14 days)
  • Three meals a day delivered to your room
  • Free access to fresh linen and towels
  • 24-hour on-site security
  • Free wifi
  • Special requests can be made by calling the Reception Desk
  • Access to SAIT Safety Ambassadors

The price for 14 days would be approximately $1,555:

  • $855 for accommodation and local transport
  • $700 for food (approximately $50/day x 11 days)

Please note currently SAIT Residence is only accepting the full Quarantine Package for 14 days. If you will not quarantine at SAIT Residence for the full 14 days, please contact SAIT Residence after your stay at residence@sait.ca for your eligibility for a refund and additional details. Request email must include your name, your SAIT ID, and proof of your previous quarantine stay at another location.

If you have previously arranged to start your SAIT Residence quarantine after your 3-day government-approved hotel quarantine, please note SAIT Residence will be expecting your arrival on the 4th day. If you receive your negative COVID-19 test result earlier than 3 days and manage to change your quarantine itinerary (including check out earlier from the hotel and rebook the connecting flight), you need to notify both International Center and SAIT Residence at your earliest convenience. Please note in such an event, SAIT Residence might not be able to reschedule the meal plan for any days before your original intended start date (the 4th day).

If my family members are travelling with me, can we quarantine together?

Yes, you can. If you and your immediate family members are travelling together, you can choose to stay at SAIT residence together. However, room type will be assigned subject to availability.

Why are new students being required to quarantine at SAIT Residence instead of being allowed to plan their own quarantine?

After extensive consultations with a wide range of government and public health bodies, SAIT International Centre designed a robust on-campus quarantine package for students in order to avoid any challenges that could cause an obstacle in international students being allowed into Canada. Some of these challenges are:

  • Inadequate quarantine plan: There are a large number of risks associated with inadequate quarantine plans that could turn into reasons for refusal at the border. For example, students who are travelling to Canada for the first time are unfamiliar with Calgary. This means that once they land, they may need to go grocery shopping for food or run other errands. As part of the quarantine, this is strictly prohibited and can potentially expose the Calgary community and the student to risk. The CBSA officer can deem this to be a risk factor and the student can be turned back from the border. This also applies to students planning to quarantine with friends or family in Calgary, since quarantining with other people automatically increases the risk levels.
  • Threat to the SAIT community: In situations where some students do not take quarantine as seriously as some other students, the health and safety of the entire SAIT community can be jeopardized since students will attend some classes in person in the same physical space. To ensure the health and safety of the entire community, the mandatory on-campus plan has come into place.
  • Reporting to Government: The Public Health Agency of Canada is maintaining records on the quarantine plan of each student coming into Canada and as an institution, we have to have records on the quarantine plan of all our students. Once the Government is convinced that your quarantine plan does not have any issues, it increases the chances of you being allowed into the country. With students quarantining in Residence, we can truthfully report that our students have completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine successfully.
  • Long-term pandemic shifts: SAIT (and all post-secondary institutions across Canada) had to advocate to allow international students to travel to Canada. Currently, border restrictions are lifted for international students depending on whether their DLI has an approved readiness plan. The measures in place must be followed properly and continuously so that SAIT can welcome more international students in Canada.

Please know that each one of us has the responsibility to ensure that this virus does not spread and we are able to go back to our regular, in-person operations at the earliest. Quarantining on campus is one of the ways in which you will be a solution to the issues related to the pandemic.

Where can I learn more about the Fall 2021 Quarantine Bursary?

Please find the Fall 2021 Quarantine Bursary information here.

Feeling overwhelmed? We're here to help.

Students have access to the following support and well-being resources:

Applications and admission

How can I pay my tuition?

SAIT accepts a number of different payment options from students.

There are now more online payment options for students from Canada, most countries around the world, and in most currencies. There are also various payment options for third parties, such as parents, family, friends or others, to pay fees online.

If you have a Canadian bank account, you can pay with pre-authorized debit (PADs) or Online banking. There are no charges to use these systems. If you use PADS please ensure you carefully check your account information before submitting your payment and be sure to leave sufficient funds in your bank account. It may take a few days for this to process through your bank.

If you don’t have a Canadian bank account, you can pay using a credit card, PayMyTuition, or CIBC International Student Pay portal.

You can access instructions on how to use PayMyTuition in 11 languages, instructions on how to use CIBC International Student Pay portal, PADs, and Online banking by clicking here.

How can I take my English Language Proficiency test during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Duolingo English Test has been added to SAIT’s list of acceptable options to demonstrate English Language Proficiency (ELP) for Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 admission. SAIT has also extended the timeline during which it will accept existing ELP test scores to two years.

SAIT advises international applicants that if they are unable to produce documentation to confirm their ELP, they will be tested on campus when operations once again support in-person attendance, and their program/academic completion date may be adjusted accordingly. Please see the temporary adjustments to AC.3.1.1 Grading and Progression procedure for more information.

I can't attend my upcoming term due to personal/travel/study permit reasons, what should I do?

We understand how life can happen and affect your study plan. If you would like to attend SAIT in a future intake, we recommend you read and review the Deferral process. Please note, timing is important when it comes to a refund request. If you are not planning to attend SAIT in the future, please review our refund policy here and cancel your program.

Study and work permit

My study permit is still under processing, can I start my program online outside of Canada for Fall 2021? Will it affect my future PGWP application?

Yes, you can.

According to IRCC COVID–19 International Students page, as long as you have applied for your study permit before your program starts and it’s eventually approved, you will still be eligible for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program.

The current policy also allows your overseas study time to count towards your future PGWP length until Dec. 31, 2021. Therefore, if you choose to study online overseas in Spring and Fall 2021, your future PGWP won’t be shortened, provided your study permit is approved.

Should you wish to start your program while your study permit is still under processing, please also familiarize yourself with the  SAIT Refund policy.

What if my study permit is refused after I started my online program? How will it affect my PGWP application?

If your first study permit application is submitted before your program starts and gets refused, and your subsequent application is received before the end of your program and is eventually approved, your study time taken since your first application submission will be still counted towards your future PGWP. Please find more information on COVID-19 PGWP delivery.

I need to provide my biometrics. How does it work under COVID-19 impact?

If you are located outside of Canada, please note currently some Visa Application Centres (VAC) are still closed. Please check on the website whether the VACs close to you are open before you go there.

If the time exceeds the 90 days on your biometrics letter and the VACs are still not available for you, you do not need to request a new biometrics letter as the deadline will be automatically extended and your application will not be refused because you can’t provide your biometrics.

If you are located in Canada, please note that IRCC has recently removed the biometrics requirement for temporary residents who apply from inside of Canada. Types of application include:

  • A study permit, work permit and visitor record extension
  • Temporary residents status restoration
  • A new study permit, work permit or visitor visa application
  • Temporary resident permit application

For the newest biometrics information, please check the government website here.

I have applied for my coop work permit, but I haven’t received it yet. Can I start working?

If you are currently outside of Canada and have an approved practicum opportunity to work either for a Canadian employer or a company in your home country, you can work while your coop work permit is still under processing.

If you are currently inside of Canada and have secured a remote working practicum opportunity, you will still need an approved coop work permit to start your work.

Before receiving your coop work permit approval, you might be able to work full-time on the campus if you are a full-time student at SAIT. You might also be able to work up to 20 hours per week for off-campus opportunities during any academic terms and full-time during the scheduled breaks, provided you meet all the  eligibility requirements.  Please note the 20 hours limit includes both the hours of your co-op work and any regular paid job if you have.

If the co-op application is refused, you must stop working immediately.

Taxes and SIN number

What is SIN and who needs it?

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number that you need to work in Canada or to access government programs and benefits. SIN number is a piece of sensitive personal information so you should protect it. Usually, except for your school or your employer, you should not share it with anybody else.

Who can apply for a SIN as an international student?

You can ONLY get your SIN after you’ve arrived in Canada and you retrieved your study permit. In addition, your study permit needs to list your eligibility to work on or off-campus if you meet certain eligibility, e.g. “may work 20 hours per week off-campus or full time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in paragraph 186 (v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations”.

How can I apply for my SIN?

You can apply for a SIN online, by mail or in person at Service Canada. You will mainly need the following documents:

  • Your study permit
  • Your passport
  • Proof of in-Canada address (e.g. bank statement, phone bill or your tenancy agreement)

For detailed instruction, please see here.

What do I need to do after I get my SIN?
  1. Update it at mySAIT (choose “my Student” tab, under “Finance Information”, click “Update SIN”)
  2. Keep it safe
  3. Keep it valid (extend it if your temporary resident status in Canada is extended)
What is tax filing? Do I need to do it?

Residents of Canada are required to file taxes to determine their tax status. International students might have tax credits from their paid tuition (reflected on T2202) and it can be carried forward to use in the future. If you have studied or worked in Canada in 2020, you’ll need to file your taxes.

What if I’m currently studying outside Canada? What should I do with the tax filing?

If you have not arrived in Canada since your study permit was approved, you do not need to worry about your tax filing as you are not considered a resident of Canada yet.

If you were studying in Canada before and currently studying outside Canada due to COVID-19 interruption, you can choose to file your tax retroactively in the future as long as you don’t owe income tax to the government of Canada. If you have other income sources from outside Canada or any other questions, please see the Canada Revenue Agency website to learn more about your tax obligation.

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