COVID-19 - 2019 Novel Coronavirus

International Students COVID-19 FAQs

Updated: October 23, 2020

Visit the Academics – Students FAQs for information on assistance accessing class material and meeting with counsellors and faculty advisors.

Visit the Buildings, Events and Services FAQs for information on dining options and facilities remaining open on campus.

Visit the Student Housing FAQs for information on residence supports and services.


Not yet. The University of Guelph has submitted a COVID-19 readiness plan as required and is waiting upon government approval. Once the plan is approved, a message will be sent to all international students confirming that the University of Guelph is on the Approved DLI List for COVID-19 readiness. Until then, international students should not book travel to Guelph.

Learn more about updated travel restrictions.

The University of Guelph’s COVID-19 Readiness Plan has been submitted and is under review. Though the U of G plan was submitted Aug. 26, 2020, the approval process involves multiple agencies at multiple levels of government. As of Oct. 20, only 12 out of 45 publicly funded colleges and universities in Ontario were on the Approved DLI List for COVID-19 Readiness.

International Students will be updated once U of G is on the Approved DLI List.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), any time spent studying online from outside Canada since Spring 2020 now counts toward the length of a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).  You will not have time deducted from the length of your PGWP for studies you complete outside Canada until April 30, 2021.

Please refer to the guidelines set out by IRCC.

If you have additional questions, please reach out to our International Student Advisors by email at

International students can start studying remotely (outside of Canada) while waiting for a decision on their Study Permit application. However, if the study permit is refused,  students can choose one of the following two options:

  1. Students can complete the semester online (if available) and retain their academic record at U of G to pursue further studies at the University in the future or as transfer credits for another institution. No refunds will be issued in this case.  OR
  2. Students can request a full refund of the tuition fee through the Tuition Fee Appeal Process. If the appeal is approved, a refund will be granted and the student’s academic record at the University will be deleted. Refunds will not be granted after the completion of the semester and must be submitted prior to the end of the semester in question. Students will need to attach the IRCC study permit rejection letter to their refund application in order to be considered for a refund.

International undergraduate and graduate students can apply for needs-based financial assistance through the international in-course bursary and the COVID-19 Emergency Bursary.

Please complete and submit an International Student Financial Need Assessment form. Forms for general fall/winter in-course bursaries can be submitted anytime before November 1. Forms for winter-only bursaries are due March 1.

To apply for a COVID-19 Emergency Bursaries after the November 1 deadline, email an international student advisor at

For more information about financial resources for students, visit the Student Financial Services FAQ page.

Travelling to Canada

Once you receive confirmation that U of G is on the Approved Designated Learning Institution (DLI) List for COVID-19 Readiness, you will need the following documents to enter Canada:

  • a letter confirming you are enrolled at the University of Guelph and registered with the Mandatory Quarantine Program. This letter will be provided to you, by the University, once you register for U of G’s Mandatory Quarantine Program
  • a valid or approved study permit (permits must be fully approved, not Approved in Principle)
  • a valid passport
  • an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or an entry visa

Although we know this is a very difficult time, there are travel advisories  in place that affect international travel. Currently, we recommend students remain in Canada over the holidays.  For students to be eligible to return to Canada after the holidays, U of G must be on the government’s approved list of Designated Learning Institutions (DLI List).  In addition, travel restrictions can change at any moment and it is possible that more restrictions could be put into place. If you are outside of Canada at the time and changes are implemented, it is uncertain if you will be eligible to return.

If you decide to leave the country, you will be travelling at your own risk and expense. To re-enter Canada, you will be required to register to quarantine with the Mandatory Quarantine Program, and will not be eligible for the subsidized cost of the program ($690.37). The total cost would be $1,362.72.

No. Unfortunately the new requirements from the government are quite strict and the only acceptable means of transportation is flying to Pearson International Airport, followed by an airport shuttle arranged by the University of Guelph.

Quarantine on arrival in Canada

Yes, all incoming international and domestic students who are arriving from outside of Canada must register with University of Guelph’s Mandatory Quarantine Program. More information about the quarantine program can be found online.

Yes, if you do not have a suitable off-campus location in which to quarantine, the University of Guelph encourages arriving international student to quarantine with U of G on campus. The on-campus option takes care of everything you need: airport shuttle, accommodation, food, bed linens, dishes and other kitchen essentials.

More information about the quarantine program can be found online.

You must have a private accommodation (without roommates) that is furnished and has all the essentials you will need to self-isolate for 14 days (e.g., kitchen equipment, bed linens etc.). Additionally, you must demonstrate that you can arrange for food for yourself during your quarantine period.

No. According to the requirements for the Mandatory Quarantine Program, you can only quarantine off campus if you have private accommodation. You must have a unit with your own bathroom and kitchen that you will not share and where you will not come into contact with others. You can quarantine with co-arriving family members. If you do not have private accommodation, you must register for the on-campus option for the Mandatory Quarantine Program.

Yes. COVID-19 testing is a government requirement for all arriving international students. Once you register and arrive into the Mandatory Quarantine Program, University of Guelph staff will coordinate with Student Health Services to arrange a COVID-19 test.

Yes. The Mandatory Quarantine Program supports co-arriving family members and will provide airport shuttle, testing and tracking for them as well. If you have suitable, private off-campus accommodation, you can quarantine with your co-arriving family members there. The on-campus option can also accommodate you and your family members in the same townhouse for quarantine.

No. The government requires that the University of Guelph provide COVID-19 testing, tracking, monitoring and support to students in quarantine. Therefore, in order to provide this necessary support, you must be at a suitable location within the city limits of Guelph. If you do not have a suitable location in Guelph, you can register for the on-campus option for the Mandatory Quarantine Program.

Yes. Student Housing Services has accessible units available for quarantine. Additionally, the Coordinator of International Student Arrivals will work with Accessibility Services to ensure any other accommodation needs are in place.

Students who break the conditions of the quarantine program can face serious consequences, as they will be in violation of the Quarantine Act. The Quarantine Act is enforced by Guelph Police Services, and students can be arrested, charged and subject to penalties up to $750,000 fines, and six months in jail. In addition, international students can be subject to a removal order from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and be banned re-entry to Canada for one year.

International undergraduate students and exchange students

No, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the University of Guelph is not accepting, or sending, any exchange students for Fall 2020 or Winter 2021.

Learn more on the Centre for International Programs website.

International graduate students

The International Student Adviser has a support letter that can be submitted with your immigration application as an additional support document (not in lieu of other mandatory documents). Please contact Matthew Keefe, International Student Adviser, at or 519-824-4120, Ext. 58698, to obtain a copy of this document if needed.


For more information specific to students living in residence, including staying in residence during the winter break, visit our Student Housing FAQs.

Yes, we are accepting new applications for the Winter 2021 semester. As an international student, you would meet one of the eligibility criteria to live in residence. You can apply now through the Housing Portal.