Due to social distancing directives, until further notice, ISA appointments will take place by email or a pre-scheduled Zoom meeting. Students can make appointments by emailing international@umanitoba.ca with their name and student number.

International students can also contact these offices for additional support: Student Counselling Centre, Student Advocacy and Case Management, and Spiritual Care.  Please call or email these units directly to determine the best way to access their services.

Information for incoming international students

As of Oct. 20, 2020, designated learning institutions (DLIs) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their province or territory are able to reopen to international students who are currently outside Canada. The University of Manitoba is included on the list of DLIs.

International students with, or approved for, a study permit who will be attending an approved DLI like UM may be able to travel to Canada. For more information visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website and check out their newly released Guide for International Students in Canada Arriving from Abroad

Please note: Summer Term 2021 courses are being delivered primarily remotely, with the exception of a small number of courses that required in-person delivery. UM will be initiating a phased reopening of some in-person activities pending Public Health directives. Information and relevant updates concerning Fall Term 2021 can be found on this webpage.

All incoming international students are required to submit the Arrival Form. Please contact studentarrival@umanitoba.ca for information and questions.

Considerations before you travel to Canada

There are many factors to consider before you travel to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read through the following information carefully and contact the student arrival coordinator to discuss your individual situation if you require further information.

If you are an international student who is exempt from the current travel restrictions, this does not guarantee you entry into Canada as you must still demonstrate that you are travelling to Canada for an essential purpose. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has outlined important information to review before making a final decision to leave your home country. Please review the checklist that applies to you to verify that you meet the new testing and quarantine requirements when coming to Canada.

Please note that it is your responsibility to determine if you are a) exempt from the current travel restrictions to Canada and b) are travelling to Canada for an essential purpose before you depart from your home country. 

If you meet the aforementioned requirements to travel to Canada, there are some important resources for you to review to help you prepare for your arrival in Canada so you know what to expect when you land at the port of entry:

Important note: As of November 21, 2020, travellers coming to Canada by air will be required to use the ArriveCAN before they board their flight. They will need to provide travel and contact information, a quarantine plan, and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. Travellers will need to be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada. Travellers will also be required to confirm within 48 hours that they have arrived at their place of quarantine or isolation and those in quarantine must complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during their quarantine period. They will be able to submit information through the ArriveCAN app or by calling a toll-free number (1-833-641-0343). You can read more information about these new requirements on this website.

Starting January 7, 2021: Air travellers 5 years of age or older will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada. See the news release for air travellers.

Upon arrival in Canada, you will meet with a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer at the Port of Entry (POE) who will determine if you are coming to Canada for an essential purpose.

  • Please note that Summer Term 2021 will be delivered remotely at the University of Manitoba, with the exception of a small number of courses that require in-person delivery. It is important that you confirm if there will be any in-person requirements for the courses that you register for in the Summer 2021 Term. 
  • You will need to have a detailed and confirmed plan regarding how you will be able to meet the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon your arrival in Winnipeg, even if you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Considerations for landing in Canada

Upon arrival in Canada, you will meet with a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer at the Port of Entry (POE), who will determine if you are coming to Canada for an essential purpose.

  • Please note that Summer Term 2021 will be delivered remotely at the University of Manitoba, with the exception of a small number of courses that require in-person delivery.
  • You will need to have a detailed and confirmed plan regarding how you will be able to meet the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon your arrival in Winnipeg, even if you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Travellers must be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada; a border services officer will verify that they have submitted their information digitally. Travellers who do not submit the required information digitally before boarding their flight could be subject to enforcement action, which can range from verbal warnings to $1,000 fine. Exceptions will be made for those unable to submit documents electronically due to personal circumstances, such as disability or inadequate infrastructure.
  • At this time, there are no exceptions for vaccinated travellers; review more information about this.

It is also important to review the general information that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has on its website to help international students prepare for their arrival in Canada.

Considerations for your arrival and quarantine in Winnipeg

Quarantine: 

Current directives from the Government of Canada indicate that, if you are allowed to enter Canada, all international travellers are subject to a mandatory quarantine for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms of COVID-19.

New rules will take effect soon for COVID-19 testing, international flights and mandatory hotel stays for all air travellers arriving in Canada.

All travellers arriving to Canada by air, as of February 22, 2021, with some exceptions, will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period. With limited exceptions, air travellers will be required to reserve, prior to departure to Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel.

The 3 days can count towards Manitoba’s 14-day quarantine requirement. The total quarantine time is 14 days, so if you quarantine for 3 days at the port of entry to Canada, you would then quarantine for 11 days once you arrive in Manitoba. Detailed information regarding the current travel and self-isolation protocols is available on the Province of Manitoba website.

All incoming students must contact the student arrival coordinator to confirm an adequate place to quarantine in Winnipeg and to complete a mandatory arrival form.

  • After your arrival in Winnipeg, you must immediately go to the housing that you have arranged.
  • You are not permitted to leave the accommodations where you are quarantining for the full quarantine period, which means that you cannot leave for any reason (except for COVID-19 test appointments - see Testing section below for more information).
  • Many Winnipeg grocery stores offer delivery services, which you can access while in quarantine. Visit the International Centre’s international student resources page for information about grocery delivery.
  • After your period of mandatory quarantine, you may leave your place of quarantine, but you must continue to follow all current public health orders to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Visit the international student resources page for information to help you get settled in Winnipeg, as well as the COVID-19 student resources page for more information about available supports.
  • Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
  • For information specific to Manitoba, please visit the Government of Manitoba website.

The Province has announced that public health orders will be amended on Jan. 29 to specify that anyone entering Manitoba from anywhere in Canada will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This includes those entering from northern and Western Canada, and from west of Terrace Bay in Ontario.

Testing upon arrival in Manitoba:

The Manitoba government recommends that international travelers entering Manitoba receive two COVID-19 tests: one on the day of arrival and another on the seventh day after arriving in Manitoba, regardless of whether you are displaying symptoms, are visiting Manitoba or are returning from out of the country. Please visit the Province of Manitoba COVID-19 website for more information.

You are responsible for making an appointment with a provincial testing site when you arrive, and then a subsequent appointment after seven days. International students can pre-book an appointment to be tested on arrival by calling Health Links toll-free at 1-855-268-4318. University of Manitoba staff cannot make these appointments on your behalf.

Please note: If you do not have access to a private vehicle and cannot otherwise attend to a testing site on your own, call Health Links (204-788-8200) and they will help you develop a plan to visit a health facility safely.

All Winnipeg testing sites are listed here: https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/testing/locations.html

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive your test results via phone call from Public Health.

For eligible international students covered by the Manitoba International Student Health Plan (MISHP) who are required to be tested for COVID-19 in approved testing sites, the medical expenses incurred for testing will be covered under your plan. For more information, please visit mishp.ca.

 

Housing:

You need to know the exact address and location of where you will be in quarantine prior to your arrival in Canada. Options to consider:

Temporary accommodation/hotel/hostel/Airbnb:

  • The University has negotiated a reduced rate at a local hotel; please contact the student arrival coordinator for more information if you are interested.
  • Keep in mind that you will need to arrange your permanent accommodation after you are done with your quarantine. You should plan to stay in these temporary accommodations while you are arranging permanent accommodation. This could take upward of two to three weeks.
  • Many hotels and Airbnb locations may not meet the requirements for individuals who need to quarantine. Before booking any of these accommodations, you must ensure that they meet the government standards for COVID-19 quarantine.

Staying with a friend:

  • Do you have a designated space where you can limit your contact with the other guests of the house? (i.e., separate bedroom, living space/kitchen if needed and washroom)
  • Please review this factsheet prepared by the Government of Manitoba for detailed information and considerations for individuals that are required to quarantine in a shared space.  

Rental apartment or house:

  • This is often difficult to arrange prior to arrival in Canada.
  • Is the space furnished and stocked with essential items that you will need? If not, you need to have a plan for how you will get the essential items that you need for the full 14 days of your quarantine. 
  • It might be difficult to visit and view rental properties in Winnipeg due to social-distancing measures that are being strictly enforced. 

Health insurance:

If you travel to Canada and are not able to register for a minimum of one (1) course in the Winter 2021 Term, then you will not have health insurance from January 1, 2021 – August 31, 2021 (unless you register in courses for the Summer 2021 term, in which case you will have coverage from May 1, 2021 – August 31, 2021).

  • It is mandatory for international students in Manitoba to have primary health coverage. For more information about the Manitoba International Student Health Plan (MISHP), visit the UM International Centre’s health insurance page.
  • All eligible international students are covered by MISHP. Therefore, if you are required to be tested for COVID-19 in approved testing sites, the medical expenses incurred for testing will be covered under your plan. For more information, visit mishp.ca 
  • Please note that newly enrolled international students are covered on an emergency basis for up to one (1) calendar month prior to the start of their first academic term. During this period, medical treatment and testing for COVID-19 will only be covered if symptoms began after departure from your home country.
  • If you are still considering travelling to Canada to start your program, we strongly encourage you to look into purchasing travel insurance from your home country that would cover you until the start of classes. We also recommend you confirm with the insurance provider if they would cover you for any medical costs you may incur related to COVID-19. Not all insurance providers would cover these costs. 

What to do if you get sick:

Review information on the student resources page.

Banking and access to money:

Do you have a credit card that will be accepted at local stores and online shopping websites to ensure you are able to order the things you require?

  • Commonly used credit cards include Mastercard, Visa and American Express (however, American Express is not always accepted). In addition, some credit cards may not be compatible with Canadian stores online, so please check with your local banking institution.

You will be required to order items online or for delivery, such as food, supplies, housewares, hygiene products or medicine as required.

Keep in mind you will not have the ability to visit a local bank and set up an account while you are self-isolating. International students are required to appear in person to set up a bank account for the first time.

  • Does your budget allow for the increase in expenses that will be expected during your time in self-isolation?
  • Will the funds you bring be able to accommodate any additional costs that come up?

Cell phone and Wi-Fi:

During your 14-day quarantine period, you will not be able to leave your accommodations to set up your cell phone with a Canadian carrier or purchase a new cell phone, if needed.

  • Do you have a cell phone plan (data coverage, long-distance calling, text messaging features) that will last during your self-isolation period before you are able to switch to a local carrier?

Similarly, if your accommodations do not already have Wi-Fi or internet access, then you will not be able to arrange for internet to be connected and activated in the location where you will be quarantining.

  • Do you have access to Wi-Fi? This is critically important if you are planning to start online classes. It might be very difficult, if not impossible, to arrange for internet, phone and Wi-Fi services to be installed and set-up during your self-isolation.

Support:

Having to undergo a 14-day quarantine period will be very challenging, especially if you are moving to a new city and country.

  • Do you have any local supports in Winnipeg already?
  • Do you have friends or family to check in on you, or drop off things you may need?

Though we are not physically located on campus, UM continues to provide many supports, programs and resources for students. Visit the COVID-19 student information page for details. 

Please note: While UM can provide support by sharing electronic information and resources to help you arrange your own accommodations, transportation, options for grocery delivery, etc., we are not able to provide in-person assistance or confirm such arrangements for you.

Please contact an advisor at the International Centre to discuss your individual situation if you require further information. Email international@umanitoba.ca with your name and student number to be connected with an advisor. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Information for current international students

Updates effective February, 2021

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is continuing to update their response to the evolving situation and how that may impact students’ status in Canada as international students. New information is posted on their website on a regular basis. Please continue to monitor the following IRCC webpages as they update information related to temporary residents (e.g., international students) in Canada:  

Compliance with study permit conditions
If your in-class courses are temporarily moved to an online-only format or suspended completely because of COVID-19 you will still be complying with your study permit conditions. To remain compliant, you must:

  • stay enrolled in your designated learning institution (DLI), and
  • participate in your studies online, if your DLI is offering them  

Starting your program online from outside Canada

IRCC recommends that as soon as a student has received their letter of acceptance they should apply for an initial study permit so that they are in the queue for processing. The current travel restrictions will not prevent a study permit application from being processed.

It is strongly recommended that students have an approved study permit before starting courses or research remotely. This is important to ensure that they will be:

  • permitted to study in Canada since not all study permits are granted;
  • ready to travel to Canada once university buildings are reopened and in-person courses and other activities are allowed.

The University of Manitoba does not track the immigration status of international students registered at the institution. IRCC has important information about starting your program online and remaining eligible to apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). Please review the 'If you're outside of Canada' section of the IRCC's COVID-19 information for international students – How your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility is affected.

How your PGWP eligibility is affected

If you're inside of Canada

As per IRCC's website, you are still eligible for the PGWP if:

  • your in-person classes in Canada have been moved to an online-only format and you are taking your classes online because of COVID-19, or
  • you had to put your studies on hold or study part-time during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters because of COVID-19

As of the fall 2020 semester, you must be studying full-time to be eligible.

If you’re outside of Canada
If you cannot travel to Canada at this time and you are taking your classes online, you are still eligible for a PGWP.

To be eligible, you must:

and

  • have been enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020, or
  • have started or will start a program between spring 2020 and fall 2021, and
    • you have a study permit, or
    • you have been approved for a study permit, or
    • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program 
      • your study permit must eventually be approved

How much of your studies count toward a PGWP

You can complete 100% of your studies online from outside Canada.

All of your time studying online outside Canada between spring 2020 and December 31, 2021 counts toward the length of a PGWP. This applies even if you are completing 2 study programs.

If you are completing 2 study programs, you can finish 100% of your studies online if the programs were ongoing or started between March 2020 and fall 2021, and:

Time spent studying outside Canada after December 31, 2021, will not count towards the length of a PGWP.

Extending your status
IRCC is still processing applications, including applications for extension of study permits. For international students who are in Canada and whose study permits will expire soon, IRCC advises to apply online to extend your study permit before it expires. For more information on extending your study permit, visit IRCC’s page about the process.

Medical

Students can call University Health Services at 204-474-8411, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. for telephone consultations. Staff will assess and advise the student with respect to addressing their health-care needs. Virtual appointments can also be booked during these times.

What to do if you get sick: Review information on the student resources page.

Canada’s COVID Alert App is a free exposure notification app designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks. UM is recommending that students, faculty and staff subscribe to the app. This app provides important COVID-19 related information, notifies individuals if they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive and provides advice.

International students can book vaccination appointments immediately after arrival as long as their stay in Manitoba is at least 30 days. The vaccine will be provided at no cost and some form of government-issued ID such as a passport will have to be presented to receive the vaccine.

International students covered under the Manitoba International Student Health Plan (MISHP)  must call 1-844-626-8222 to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Unfortunately, online booking is not available for international students in Manitoba at this time.

For the latest updates on Manitoba’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, please check the provincial government’s website regularly, which also includes a helpful list of frequently asked questions.

Health plan

For eligible international students covered by MISHP who are required to be tested for COVID-19 in approved testing sites, the medical expenses incurred for testing will be covered under your plan. For more information, please visit mishp.ca.

Please note that newly enrolled international students are covered on an emergency basis for up to one (1) calendar month prior to the start of their first academic term. During this period, medical treatment and testing for COVID-19 will only be covered if symptoms began after departure from your home country.

Resources available (groceries etc.)

Many grocery stores offer delivery and pick-up options. For a list of grocery stores, please visit the international students page under the ‘Living and Learning in Winnipeg’ tab. Note that many retail stores, shopping malls and restaurants have changed their hours or have temporarily closed. Please check their websites or social media accounts, or call them directly, for the latest information.

We also understand that money may be tight, and you may need to look to a food bank, please visit the student information page under 'Personal support.'

International graduate students

International graduate students who are concerned with potential delays in completing their program due to approved adjustments to scheduling, are encouraged to contact an advisor at the International Centre (IC) to discuss some important considerations. You can reach an advisor at the IC by sending an email, with your full name and student number, to international@umanitoba.ca.

Travelling outside Canada

In this time of uncertainty, as always, we respect your autonomy and personal decisions. If you are considering going back to your home country in the near future, you should be aware that there are some very important considerations amidst the COVID-19 concerns. These considerations could include possible impacts on your Manitoba International Student Health Plan (MISHP) coverage if you leave Canada and return, what documentation you require to return to Canada, and when you may be able to return to Canada. Please contact an advisor at the International Centre to discuss your individual situation, as there are many factors to consider before booking a flight out of Canada. Please email the International Centre’s reception desk at international@umanitoba.ca with your name and student number to book an appointment with an advisor by email or pre-scheduled Zoom meeting.

Financial support for international students

If you are concerned about your finances during this time, here are some resources that may be helpful to you:

  • The Financial Aid and Awards Office is offering remote service during normal office hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call 204-474-9531 or email awards@umanitoba.ca for information. For questions about government student loans, visit the Financial Aid and Awards website.
  • Please see the Financial supports page for general information on financial support for all students.
  • Find support after CERB: The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has ended; however, if you continue to need income support, you can find out if you are eligible for Employment Insurance or other recovery benefits.
  • Explore more resources from the Money Matters section of the international student resources guide.
  • Read more about working while you study under the “While you are in Canada” section on the International Students Immigration Information webpage.

Virtual support chat for all students

The International Centre invites all UM students to join the Virtual Support Chat, a weekly video chat on Zoom. The virtual space is a place to make friends, build community and participate in fun activities like games, trivia and quizzes. Students can also learn about UM, community resources and supports while connecting with students from different parts of the world.

The Virtual Support Chat will take place every Thursday in May from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Please register using your @myumanitoba.ca email address.