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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

What is the new quarantine exemption measure? And who might benefit from it?

On June 21, Government of Canada has announced Phase 1 of easing border measures for travelers entering Canada. Staring from July 5, 2021 11:59 EDT, fully vaccinated travelers who are eligible to enter Canada might be exempt from quarantine and Day-8 COVID test.

To be considered for a fully vaccinated traveler, a traveler must: - Have received the full series of vaccines at least 14 days prior to entering Canada - The vaccines must be accepted by the Government of Canada including: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson&Johnson)

I’m fully vaccinated. What should I do next?

Please note fully vaccinated travelers will NOT automatically be exempt a traveler from quarantine, the mandatory hotel stay, or Day-8 testing. Travelers need to:

  • Submit all COVID-19 related information plus vaccine information into ArriveCAN app within 72 hours before their arrival in Canada (a new version of ArriveCAN app will be available by July 5, make sure you have the most updated one)
  • Carry an acceptable proof of vaccination in either English or French, or a certified translation when you travel
  • Have a suitable 14- day quarantine plan (including the 3-day hotel stopover)
  • Have a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken within 72 hours before the scheduled flight or arrival at the land border
  • Take an on-arrival test at the airport
  • Do not have COVID-19 symptoms

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

I’m fully vaccinated, but my vaccines are not on the list approved by Canada. What is my chance getting an exemption?

Currently only traveler who are fully vaccinated by the acceptable vaccines (manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELF, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)) might be considered for the exemption. For detailed information, please see here.

Can I get vaccinated in Alberta?

Yes. The universal COVID-19 immunization program is in place and individuals who are living, working or going to school in Alberta are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge. International students are part of the phase three vaccination roll out which began May 6.

Source: Q&A for public and health practitioners document, page 12.

Stay informed with these vaccination resources.  

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

You can learn more about the SAIT International Centre's Fall 2021 Quarantine Bursary here.

What do I need to know about the new Government of Canada travel ban for flights from India and Pakistan?

The suspension of direct flights from India has been extended to July 21, 2021. The travel ban from Pakistan has stopped as of June 21, 2021. You can find more information here. If you face any challenges to your mental health due to this disruption, please check out the online resources here.

What do I need to do if my flight is rescheduled or my travel plan is interrupted by the travel ban?

If you had previously filled the pre-travel form but could not fly because of the ban, please fill the form again once you have your new date of travel.

Please read the following information carefully to learn about your next steps.

STEP 1: INFORM US OF THE DISRUPTION

If you were scheduled to travel to Canada from India over the next 30 days and are no longer able to do so because of the travel ban, please let us know of your travel disruption by emailing us at international@sait.ca with the following information: Full name, SAIT ID, program, start semester (Spring/Fall) and delivery (blended/online).

STEP 2: FLIGHTS AND HOTEL

Please contact your travel agent/airline directly to coordinate new dates for travel. Please contact your port of entry hotel to coordinate new dates for travel.

STEP 3: INFORM SAIT RESIDENCE QUARANTINE SAIT

Residence will work with you to postpone the dates of your stay and move your payment to your postponed dates. Please make sure to email residence@sait.ca to let them know you will not be arriving on your original date of travel.

STEP 4: CHECK YOUR EMAILS FOR UPDATES ABOUT YOUR PROGRAM

We are working with your Schools and/or departments within SAIT and other stakeholders to get you further information on starting in your program and inform them of your delayed arrival. You will continue to receive additional information via email.

Please make sure you are checking your inbox and spam regularly for updates!

STEP 5: WAIT AND WATCH

Please continue to monitor Government of Canada announcements about travel, and rebook your trip as per the new Government updates once they are released, and as per the information we send you about your program.

STEP 6: LET US KNOW YOUR NEW TRAVEL DATES

If you are in an online program, you can start/continue your program outside Canada with no impacts on your Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) till December 31, 2021. 

If you are planning to travel to Canada, please:

  • Fill in the SAIT pre-travel form at least 2 weeks before your departure date
  • If you had previously filled the pre-travel form but could not fly because of the ban, please fill the form again once you have your new date of travel
If I want to travel to Canada, what should I do next?

Congratulations on being accepted to a program at SAIT and receiving your study permit approval!

Please fill in this pre-travel form AT LEAST 2 weeks before your date of departure

Please collect PDF files of the following documents BEFORE you start filling the form:

  • Study permit/final study permit approval letter/letter of introduction
  • Filled and signed SAIT Quarantine Plan
  • New flight ticket/revised date flight ticket as per the travel window
  • Receipt from SAIT Residence Quarantine (Book your quarantine by clicking here, create an account, select “short term stay”, and make the payment.) The receipt will be emailed to you in 3-5 working days. If you have questions about the Residence quarantine, please email residence@sait.ca.

Once we receive your submission, you will be sent an acknowledgement email in 3-5 business days with further instructions. Please check your spam folder if you do not receive it in your inbox in 5 business days.

*Note that your pre-travel form submission will NOT be assessed unless all mandatory documents and information have been included*

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 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 24, 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 Aug. 1 – 24, 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 May- August 2021 Traveling during a scheduled break would be considered non-essential as you are not required to be in Canada over your break. We recommend that you plan your re-entry into Canada no more than four weeks before the start of your next academic semester.
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-day 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.

How do I book my 3-day stay at a Government-approved Port of Entry hotel? Am I exempt?

For the first 3-night hotel quarantine, please go here to check for government-approved hotels and book them by calling:

  • 1-800-294-8253 (tool-free within North America)
  • 1-613-830-2992 (collect outside of North America)

Regular hours of operation: 8 am to 11 pm ET, 7 days a week. The website is being constantly updated, and some hotels might be available to book online.

For any new or unestablished students in Calgary, you need to book the rest 11 days of your quarantine at SAIT Residence as per the SAIT Readiness Plan here (click on “Apply for housing”, create an account and select “short term stay”). Please note that completing your quarantine in SAIT Residence is mandatory if you are a new/unestablished student.

Exemptions:

If you are a minor traveling alone, you might be exempt from the 3-day hotel quarantine.

  • If your port of entry is Vancouver and you are under 19 years of age on the date or your travel

or

  • If your port of entry is Toronto, Calgary or Montreal and you are under 18 years of age on the date of your travel

In this case, you will need to book a 14-day stay at SAIT Residence. You can do so by clicking here, creating an account, select “short term stay” and pay via a credit card. You will then receive an email asking for dietary preferences and other information. Please note that it is your responsibility to inform the Canadian Border Services Agency via email that since you are exempt from the hotel quarantine you will be doing a 14-day quarantine at SAIT Residence instead.

Do I need a support letter to travel to Canada?

SAIT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT EMAIL

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.

SAIT LETTER OF APPROVAL

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.
Am I able to travel to Canada as a current student?

On October 2, 2020, IRCC has announced a new update on travel exemptions for international students: From October 20, 2020, international students can enter Canada if their designated learning institution (DLI) has an approved COVID – 19 readiness plan in place. This update will apply to all international students no matter where they come from or when their study permits were approved. SAIT Pandemic Readiness Plan has been approved by the Government and you can find it on the list here.

Students must travel for a non-discretionary purpose – to come to Canada to study. Students are expected to have a booked approved quarantine place in Canada upon arrival and will begin their study after completing the quarantine.

Can my family travel together with me?

Currently, only some of your immediate family members may be able to come with you to Canada, including:

  • spouse or common-law partner
  • dependent child
  • parents or step-parents
  • guardian or tutor

If one of these family members travels with you for non-discretionary reasons, they don’t need written authorization from IRCC. Their application for a study/work permit or visitor visa should be included in your study permit application.

If they are joining you later for non-discretionary reasons, they will need written authorization aside from their regular travel documents, e.g. visitor visa or eTA.

I can’t dial through the government-approved hotel booking number, what should I do?

As required by the Government of Canada, you can only book the government-approved hotels by calling GB Travel Canada Inc, and cannot book directly with the hotels unless they have indicated the booking access on the Government of Canada’s  website. As the phone line is receiving a high volume of calls, a longer wait should be expected.

If I receive my negative COVID-19 test result in less than 3 days, can I leave the hotel quarantine sooner?

It depends on the individual hotel whether a partial refund can be issued if you receive your negative COVID-19 result and want to check out earlier than 3 days. If the hotel is able to issue you the partial refund, and you are also able to change your connecting flight to an earlier date, please update International Center as well as SAIT Residence immediately should you require an earlier check-in date of your SAIT Residence quarantine period. However, your total hotel and SAIT quarantine period should be 14 days and would not be shortened whether you receive the negative test results earlier.

What is the International Border Testing Pilot Program and what impact will it have on 14 days self-isolation period?

Please note the Alberta COVID-19 Border Testing Pilot Program will be suspended on February 21 at 9:59 pm MST when new travel rules (post-arrival tests plus mandatory 3-night hotel quarantine) come into effect.

My program will be delivered in a Blended/Online Format, is my travel to Canada considered essential? Do I need a support letter from SAIT?

Under the new travel exemption, we expect all international students with required documents can travel no matter their program delivery is online or blended.

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.

Who do I contact if I have questions regarding the quarantine package?

If you have questions regarding the accommodation, meals or payment please email Tori at Tori.Stavenjord@sait.ca

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 Residence is approved by the Federal Government of Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada. It has been designed not only to keep the health and safety of our incoming students but also to ensure an all-encompassing quarantine package for students who are unfamiliar with Calgary.

Please note that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has final authority on who can cross the Canadian border. In the unfortunate event that you are not allowed to enter the country, SAIT will refund your quarantine package fees (minus the $50 application fee).

What is SAIT doing to increase our chances of being allowed to enter Canada?

SAIT is working hard behind the scenes to provide pandemic-informed support to students who have to travel to Canada. We have been consulting with:

  • Federal and Provincial Governments
  • Government bodies like IRCC (Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
  • Calgary Airport authorities
  • CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) at the Calgary Airport and others

to ensure that we are meeting the requirements as an institution, that we are advocating for our students and at the same time ensuring the safety of the student and the community that they will be joining.

Quarantining at SAIT will considerably remove most of the obstacles international students face when trying to enter Canada during a pandemic.

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.

What is the new mandatory Covid-19 test for coming to Canada?

The government of Canada has announced  new requirements for travelling to Canada: Starting from Jan 7, 2021, all air travellers will need a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours before they are allowed to board the flight to Canada.

  • This test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR)
  • The test must be taken within 72 hours before the scheduled flight
  • This mandatory requirement applies to anyone who’s five years old or older
  • Travellers will only be allowed to board the flight with a negative test result
  • Travellers who tested negative will still need to complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine after entering Canada (if not participating in the Alberta Border Testing Pilot Program)

Please see all the information from IRCC regarding COVID-19 testing here.

I’m a current student who’s graduating this term. Can I travel outside of Canada after my graduation?

If you are planning to work in Canada after graduation, it is not recommended for you to travel internationally at this stage.

Based on the most recent travel exemptions, international students with valid study permits can enter Canada only when they are coming to study (provided their DLIs have approved readiness plan) as it would be considered as a non-discretionary travel reason. However, if you want to re-enter Canada after you graduate even with a valid study permit, this would be questionable by the border officer for your travel reason – no matter whether you have applied for your PGWP.

If you plan to enter Canada with an approved PGWP, based on the travel exemptions on work permit holders, you would need a valid job offer to enter Canada and would be able to work after quarantine as a non-discretionary travel reason. For more information regarding non-optional or non-discretionary travel for temporary work, please see here.

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.

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.

What should I do if I have deferred my intake to Fall 2021?

You should update IRCC regarding your intake change. You can do so by uploading your Fall 2021 Letter of Acceptance on the  IRCC Webform.

Study and work permit

My study permit is still under processing, can I start my program online outside of Canada in Spring 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 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.

I don't have my study permit or my study permit approval notification. Can I start classes online 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 from outside of Canada. However, please note this might affect your future ability to attend the program in person once it is required, as well as your future eligibility for Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Based on the current Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) COVID-19 delivery for international students, if you meet the following items, you will be still eligible for PGWP Program:

and

  • You received a study permit approval (or Letter of Introduction), or
  • You have a valid study permit, or
  • You have applied for a study permit  before your program starts and your study permit is approved eventually

If your program started or will start between Spring 2020 and Fall 2021, you can complete 100% of your studies online from outside Canada and will still be eligible for future PGWP. All your study time online outside Canada between Spring 2020 and  December 31, 2021 counts towards the length of your future PGWP.

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.

What is the temporary 2-stage study permit approval process?

For Winter 2021, based on the IRCC website, study permit applications might be assessed in 2 stages to accommodate COVID-19 interruptions to certain services. Depending on each application submission situation:

1. If an application was submitted:

  • Before December 15, 2020
  • Missing biometrics or medical because of COVID-19 interruptions
  • For Winter 2021 intake

The application will be assessed in two stages: Stage 1 for Eligibility, Stage 2 for Admissibility and any changes to your eligibility.

In Stage 1, IRCC will assess whether the application has met the eligibility to study in Canada (being accepted in a Designated Learning Institute like SAIT, having enough funds, and etc.). If you pass the Eligibility assessment, you will be notified either on your IRCC account or by email. This is normally called first-stage approval, or Approval in Principle (AIP). If you receive such notice, please inform SAIT by emailing international@sait.ca.

Please note, first-stage approval or AIP doesn’t guarantee the final study permit approval and you can not travel at this time.

In Stage 2, IRCC will assess your admissibility to Canada, including your medical exam, police certificate and biometrics, as well as if there are any changes to your eligibility.

If you pass the second stage assessment, you may be able to travel to Canada at a later date.

2. If an application was submitted:

  • with a complete package
  • your DLI has been approved for the COVID-19 readiness plan (SAIT has)

Your application will be assessed normally and you will receive the result in time.

If you choose to begin your study online from outside of Canada without a full study permit approval, please familiarize yourself with the SAIT refund policy.

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.

Can I drop classes and go to part-time studies due to COVID-19? If so, can I still work? Will it affect my PGWP eligibility?

IRCC has allowed students to drop to part-time studies or take a break in their studies due to COVID- 19 for the winter, spring and summer 2020 semesters to continue work on or off-campus. However, this is no longer applying for the fall 2020 semester, as most course delivery has resumed normally.

If fall 2020 is not the last semester of your program, you cannot work off-campus while only studying part-time.

For the winter, spring and summer 2020 semesters, when a student’s status dropped from full-time to part-time due to the course delivery that was impacted by the Covid-19, their eligibility for PGWP will not be impacted.

For fall 2020, if a student is studying part-time only (no matter inside or outside of Canada) and it is not the last semester of their programs, they might not be eligible for future PGWP.

What happens with my study permit 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.

I’m currently studying online from my home country. Can I apply for PGWP outside of Canada and come back later for work?

If you have finished more than 50% of your program in Canada, and are considering finishing the rest of it online from your home country, please note that you can apply for your PGWP outside of Canada. However, under current travel restrictions, you cannot enter Canada on an approved PGWP WITHOUT a valid job offer as the scenario is not considered as a non-optional or non-discretionary travel reason.

What is the new PGWP extension measure?

On Jan 8, IRCC has announced a new program allowing international students with an expired or expiring post-graduation work permit to apply for a new open work permit that will valid for 18 months. The following PGWP (previous) holders will benefit from this measure:

  • Have a PGWP expired on or after Jan 30, 2020, or expires in 4 months or less from the date they apply
  • Still in Canada
  • Have a valid temporary status, or will restore their status
  • Application submitted between Jan 27 – Jul 27, 2021

Details on how to apply will be announced on January 27, 2021, by IRCC.

Why is this temporary extension measure important?

PGWP is an important part of the international student immigration pathway is only allowed once in a lifetime and was not allowed to extend previously. Commonly, PGWPs are issued according to the completed program length, and up to 3 years. In response to the pandemic impacts on the job market, this temporary measure will help students who couldn’t gain enough working experience for certain immigration programs.

Refund of tuition

What is the Stage 2 refusal refund policy?

We’ve modified our tuition refund policy to accommodate the increased uncertainty in obtaining a study visa due to COVID-19. The revised process will enable students who have received Stage 1 approval in their study permit application process to start their program remotely from their country of residence and be eligible for a refund in the unfortunate event that their Stage 2 application gets refused.

Please familiarize yourself with the refund policy should you decide to start your program without a fully approved study permit.

  1. If the student’s study permit is refused (no matter Stage 1 or Stage 2), and a refund request is made before the program start date indicated on the Letter of Acceptance, the student will be eligible for the refund of the tuition deposit less a $250 administration fee.
  2. Sep 7 – Sep 17: If a student with Stage 1 approval starts their program online and then receives a refusal in Stage 2, they will be refunded the full tuition (excluding ancillary fees and the non-refundable tuition deposit). The refusal must be received no later than the add/drop deadline for Fall 2021, which is Friday, September 17, 2021.

Sep 18 – Oct 6: If a student with Stage 1 approval starts their program online and then receives a refusal in Stage 2, they will be refunded 75% of tuition (excluding ancillary fees and the non-refundable tuition deposit). The refusal must be received no later than Wednesday, October 6, 2021.

What happens if I receive my Stage 2 refusal after I start my program?

Please see the refund policy above.

If you started your program in Fall 2021 with Stage 1 approval, no refunds are available for students who receive their Stage 2 refusal after Wednesday, October 6.

How do I apply for a refund?

If you cancel prior to the program start date, please request your refund and forward a copy of your IRCC denial letter to Freshdesk.

  • Under the option “Please choose the type of inquiry”, select “Finance Inquiries”
  • Under the option “Finance inquiry type”, select “refund request/follow up” from the drop-down menu.

If you receive a refusal in Stage 2 of your study permit application after you start your program, email us immediately at  international@sait.ca  with the following information:

  • your full name
  • your SAIT ID
  • your program
  • proof of Stage 1 approval and Stage 2 refusal

 The International Centre will respond to you with options to either:

  • move your admission to the next available intake
  • request a refund.

Please note that the decision that you communicate to us will be final. If you wish to apply to SAIT in the future, you would submit a new application.

When will I receive the refund?

The refund takes up to 8 weeks to process and will be issued by e-Transfer directly to the student.

Refunds will no longer be issued by cheque or to the original method of payment.

Is there anything else I need to know about the refund process?

Yes! Please make special note of the following:

  • This revised refund is only available for Stage 2 refusal. We are unable to provide a refund for refusals in Stage 1 of your study permit application.
  • The deadlines listed above are non-negotiable.
  • The percentage of refund depends on the date of your Stage 2 refusal.

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.

I’m currently in Canada, where can I seek help for tax filing?

Please refer to this page for your tax information for 2020. SAITSA will have an Online Tax program between Mar 14, and Apr 16, 201 and you can find more information here.

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