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Canada provides exception for U.S. students planning to study north of border

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WASHINGTON — The federal government appears to have relaxed restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border that would have made it impossible for first-year university students from the United States to enter the country.

An update to the government’s guidance for international students, quietly posted Friday, now says students coming from the U.S. may no longer need a study permit that was issued on or before March 18 — the day the border restrictions were first announced.

That requirement had the parents of many U.S. freshmen complaining that it would have been impossible for their children to get into the country to begin their studies.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada now says border officers will accept a “port of entry letter of introduction” that shows the student was approved for a study permit, in lieu of a permit approved before March 18.

Other parents in the U.S. remain wary, since the rules require anyone seeking entry to Canada to be travelling for a “non-discretionary or non-optional purpose” — a description that could include students whose courses are happening entirely online.

And the exception appears only to apply to students from the U.S., where cases of COVID-19 have been steadily rising in recent weeks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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