COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

Updated April 1st, 3:30 pm

Where can I find important updates regarding the COVID-19 crisis?

Check the links below for important and trustworthy updates from government agencies, health authorities and the BCIT community:

Is Canada restricting entry to foreigners?

On March 16, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada will bar entry to foreign nationals, with some exemptions.

On March 20, Immigration Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that these travel restrictions will not apply to international students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020.

According to IRCC, "If you’re traveling by air, you need to pass a health check conducted by airlines before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air. When you arrive in Canada we’ll assess your health before you leave the port of entry. You must isolate for 14 days even if you have no symptoms. This is mandatory."

We would suggest to review travel restrictions and exemptions issue by the Government of Canada for the most up-to-date information.


Can I choose to travel back to my home country now that all of my courses are being delivered online?

We would strongly advise against doing this since the Canadian government is advising against all non-essential travel outside of Canada and courses at BCIT may eventually return to in-person classroom delivery once the risk level is deemed to be acceptable.


I am currently outside of Canada but I am scheduled to begin a Full-Time program at BCIT this spring or summer. Will I still be able to start my program as planned?

Please be in touch with your Admissions Officer or admissions@bcit.ca and they will be able to provide more information for you.


I am currently outside of Canada but I have registered for Part-Time Studies courses for the spring/summer term. What should I do?

If this will be the first term of your program, we would suggest you withdraw your course registration. You may be able to register for a future term.

If you are a returning student, we would suggest that you remain enrolled and continue to make progress towards your studies via online delivery. However, you should be aware that courses could revert to in-person delivery at short notice should health authorities and BCIT determine that it is safe to do so.

Regardless of if you are new or returning student, you have an option to request a full refund for classroom-based courses for the spring/summer 2020 term by submitting a Part-Time Studies Course Withdrawal form before the class start date.


Does Guard.me medical insurance cover testing and treatment for COVID-19?

Please check Guard.me’s FAQ and Urgent Update re: COVID-19 for details regarding their medical insurance coverage for international students in Canada and COVID-19.


What if my BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage has expired?

It is stated in Medical Services Plan – British Columbia Response to COVID-19 that "In response to COVID-19, individuals who are currently in B.C., who were previously enrolled in MSP as a deemed resident, and their MSP has expired, may be provided temporary MSP coverage... Individuals should contact Health Insurance BC to request this temporary coverage."


I have maintained a full-time academic status throughout my studies at BCIT. Will courses being transitioning online cause me to lose that status?

No, in this case you will not lose your full-time academic status as long as you complete your courses. Courses that were not originally scheduled to be delivered online will be counted as in-person courses when determining your academic status (full-time or part-time). BCIT’s definition of full-time and part-time studies for international students will continue to be in effect as usual.


Will my post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility be affected by my courses transitioning online?

IRCC has announced that “If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19, your eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program won’t be affected."


Has IRCC announced any other special measures for international students that have been affected by this crisis?

Yes. See Government of Canada – How the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is affecting immigration, refugees, citizenship and passport services: visitors, foreign workers and students for details.


I prefer not to study via online delivery. Can I drop my courses?

Regardless of the course delivery format, if you choose to drop, withdraw, or not attend your courses you will be considered as no longer enrolled at BCIT.


Where can I find support if I need it?

You can always contact the BCIT International Student Centre at isc_info@bcit.ca or 604-432-8816 and we will do our best to assist you. You may also contact BCIT Counselling & Student Development or submit an Early Assist referral.