COVID-19 Information for Exchange Students

Last updated: March 2, 2021 at 3:12pm

In line with the University of Lethbridge's COVID-19 guidelines, the Education Abroad team has moved to online service only.  Your exchange coordinators are available online during normal office hours (9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday).  Please allow 2 to 3 business days for response.

We will continue to update this page on a regular basis, so please check back regularly.

Coming to ULeth for an exchange



Campus Questions

Classes will be delivered in a combination of online and in-person modalities.  The list of courses will be available on March 1, 2021. 

Access to the Main Campus in Lethbridge is currently limited.

  • Learn about what is accessible in Anderson Hall, the Students' Union Building and the 1st Choice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness, as well as about accessing outdoor spaces: Fall 2020 Updates
  • Find out about accessing other parts of campus.

Yes, you can take University of Lethbridge online courses while remaining in your country.

Yes, there will be an online New Student Orientation for the Fall 2021 term, including specific sessions for international students.  Attending New Student Orientation is a wonderful way to learn what to expect, to gain valuable information and to set yourself up for success in your studies.  There will also be an online orientation specifically for exchange students.

Details on how to register and participate will be provided closer to the start of the Fall 2021 term.

Applying for a Study Permit

Yes, we recommend that you apply online for your study permit as soon as possible.  We anticipate that there will be processing delays.   

There may also be delays in your ability to provide biometrics due to the temporary closure of many Visa Application Centres (see below). You may also experience delays due to the availability of an IRCC panel physician to conduct your medical exam, if required.

Once you receive your Letter of Acceptance from uLethbridge, you should apply for your study permit.  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is recommending that you apply as soon as possible for your study permit, even if you are not able to provide all required and/or recommended documents.  If there is a document you are unable to obtain because of the current pandemic, you should include with your application a note of explanation as to why you have not be able to access that document, and if possible, a timeline for when you will be able to.  Once you are able to access the document, you should provide it to IRCC to be considered with your application by using the IRCC Webform. This will allow IRCC to process study permit applications more efficiently. 

All students (except U.S. citizens) who apply for a study permit are required to provide biometrics (i.e. fingerprints and photo). Usually, this is done at a Visa Application Centre abroad. However, many Visa Application Centres are temporarily closed.  

After submitting your study permit application online, you will receive a biometrics instruction letter, with a deadline of 30 days or 90 days. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) your application will not be refused or closed if you cannot provide biometrics due to COVID-19 service disruptions.  When the VAC closest to you re-opens for biometrics appointments, you can use the same Biometrics Instruction Letter you received, even if it has "expired".

Normally, exchange students who are coming to Canada for just one term of study have the option to apply for an entry document instead of a study permit. An entry document is either a temporary resident visa (TRV) or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) - the correct document would depend on your citizenship.

Because of travel restrictions that are currently in place, only students who apply for and receive approval for a study permit will be allowed to enter Canada to study.  When an application for a study permit is approved, the appropriate entry document (TRV or eTA) is issued automatically by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

Travelling to Canada

As of February 22, 2021, changes will be made to travel restrictions for international students.

You can now travel to Canada if:

  • Your Designated Learning Institution has a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the provincial authority (you can find uLethbridge on the list here)
  • Your study permit is valid, or your application to study in Canada has been approved, and you have a valid Letter of Introduction indicating that approval, along with the required entry document: TRV or eTA (U.S. citizens do not require an entry document)

Travel to Canada to attend the University of Lethbridge (or any school on the approved list) will be considered non-discretionary or essential, and additional letters or documents will not be required to indicate essential travel. Travel to Canada for other reasons (example, for tourism) will not be considered essential.  Students should plan their arrival date accordingly.

Additional Requirements for Travellers:

  • As of February 22, 2021, air travelers will need to have reserved a 3-night stay at a government-authorized hotel prior to their departure to Canada and all travelers will need to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival at the airport. Hotel bookings can be made starting February 18, 2022. Please see the recent update and news release for more information.
  • All travellers to Canada are required to present a detailed quarantine plan upon arrival. Please see here for guidance on creating your quarantine plan.
  • A negative COVID-19 test from within 72 hours of scheduled departure is required for all travellers 5 years and older, as of January 7, 2021. Additional details can be found on the Government of Canada website.
  • You must submit your travel and contact information, quarantine plan and COVID-19 self-assessment information via the ArriveCan app before checking in at the airport.

Documents you must bring:

  • Valid passport with TRV or eTA
  • Port of entry letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit
  • A valid letter of acceptance from a DLI with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
  • ArriveCAN app receipt – you can show this receipt on your phone or bring a printout.
  • Negative COVID-19 molecular test result
  • Your quarantine plan documentation

If you do not have a valid study permit or final approval of your application for a study permit, you cannot travel to Canada at this time.

We only recommend booking your flight if you meet the requirements to be able to travel to Canada (see above).

If you have not received final approval of your study permit application, you should not book flights.

We ask that you please contact our office so we can review your quarantine plan before you make plans to travel to Canada.

Yes, all international travellers are required by law to quarantine for 14 days after arriving at their destination.  This means having a plan in place for where you will safely quarantine and minimizing all contact with others en route to your location of quarantine. 

You should take into account the quarantine period when booking your flights. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will look to see that you either have time to quarantine before the start of any in-person classes, or that you will be able to study online during the quarantine period. Read about the University's plan to offer classes maily online with an increase in in-person classes for the Spring 2021 term here.

Please review our Quarantine Requirements page for further guidance and instructions on creating your own quarantine plan. You can also find more information on quarantine requirements from the Government of Canada here

When you travel to Canada, you should bring the following documents:

  • Your valid study permit or letter of introduction from IRCC indicating approval your study permit application
  • Your valid passport that you used to apply for your study permit (and temporary resident visa, if applicable)
  • Your quarantine plan
  • Your Letter of Acceptance to uLethbridge
  • A Verification of Enrolment from the Bridge showing your full-time registration at uLethbridge
  • Proof of finances, demonstrating that you have sufficient resources to support yourself and any family members accompanying you to Canada

The Canada Border Services Agency always make the final decision on who is permitted to enter Canada.

  • They may be able to travel to Canada with you, but will need to demostrate that their reason for travel is non-discretionary (essential).
  • They may be able to travel to Canada to join you if you are already here, but may need to have authorization from IRCC.
  • They may not travel to Canada before you do.

In all cases, your accompanying family members will need to have their applications to come to Canada (either as a worker, student or visitor) approved by IRCC before they travel.

See here for additional details. Contact your International Student Advisors if you have any questions.

Once you have determined that you are eligible to travel to Canada, you should consider your arrival date.

If you have any in-person classes or labs, you should plan to arrive in time to complete your 14 day quarantine period prior to the start of classes.

You should plan to arrive no earlier than 3 - 4 weeks prior to the start of classes, which should be sufficient time to complete your 14-day quarantine period, and take care of essential settlement tasks.

If the border services officer determines that you are entering Canada for any reason other than to study (for example, for tourism), you may be refused entry to Canada.

If you are registered in all online courses, you may begin your studies from your home country.

For students on the Emerging Leaders of Americas Program and Study in Canada scholarships, you must be in Canada for the full duration of the term, and you must be registered in all in-person classes.

The content of this FAQ has been prepared by a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA).

Going out on an exchange


Please apply by March 1 2021. There are a number of Infomation Sessions set up for February prior to the deadline. Please register via your portal.

The application deadline for Fall 2021 is March 1. We will make a decision and let you know within 8-14 days after the deadline. If you do not hear from us, please email 

You most likely can. As soon as you decide whether you would like to do a Fall 2021 or a Spring  2022 exchange please let us know and we will make the necessary arrangements with our partner school.

Some of our partners might offer virtual exchanges. We will find out more details by the end of March/early April. If you are interested in a virtual exchange please let us know!

The government has their official travel advisory in place to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.  


Yes,  many of our current partners are offering virtual exchanges bringing cross-cultural learning and engagement with the global community into an accessible online format. Please send us a message if you are interested in taking an online class from a partner.