international students in Canada
Indian students will have to face the added hurdle of travelling to Canada from India via an indirect route. Source: Cole Burston/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Indian students are among the largest international students in Canada, but the country announced earlier this month that it is extending its ban on direct flights from India until September 21. This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that Indian students cannot commence their studies in the country. So, what do Indian students need to know about returning to Canada? Here’s a guide:

Flying into Canada

Indian students who would like to join other international students in Canada for the fall semester could enter the country via an indirect route. The government notes: “During that period, passengers who travel to Canada from India via an indirect route will need to obtain a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test result from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.” 

They add: “Travellers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 must provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test conducted between 14 and 180 days prior to departure, instead of a negative COVID-19 molecular test. This proof must be obtained in a third country before the continuation of the journey to Canada. You might need to seek entry and stay in a third country for at least 14 days.”

Indian students should keep in mind that certain countries do not allow entry or transit from passengers arriving from India or from passengers who have previously tested positive to COVID-19. COVID-19 testing for passengers in transit might not be available in all international airports or third countries, and if students test positive during transit, they may be quarantined or sent back to their point of departure.

“Carefully consider your itinerary, transit options and entry requirements for third countries,” said the government on its website. Do note that details could change with little notice. Indian students should always check the respective government websites for the latest details. 

international students in Canada

Indian students are among the largest cohort of international students in Canada. Source: Manjunath Kiran/AFP

Vaccination and quarantining

According to its website, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said international students in Canada will not have to quarantine if it has been 14 days since their vaccine’s final dose. Students, however, must still have a quarantine plan ready, even if they don’t use it. Accepted vaccines in Canada include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca.

Canada does not consider those who have received a different vaccine as fully vaccinated. Students must use ArriveCAN to enter their proof of vaccination, quarantine and travel information. Without this, travellers won’t be considered for the exemption, even if they meet all the other requirements. Proof of vaccination must be in English, French, or a certified translation into English or French. 

Indian international students in Canada 

Canada remains a highly attractive study abroad option for Indian students. Immigration Canada said that although the US population is almost nine times the size of Canada’s, there are more international students from India with Canadian study permits than there are with American study permits.

Canada is widely regarded to have one of the best education systems in the world. There were more than half a million international students in Canada at all levels of study last year, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education. Indian students comprise 34% of inbound students, followed by China (22%).