International students are now coming to Canada for January intake. Most of their classes are starting in the beginning of January 2022. However, some students are booking the air tickets for travelling in beginning of December 2021. Today, we called Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to confirm when students can travel to Canada. As per our call, CBSA agent said that study visa holders can travel at maximum of 3 weeks prior to start of their classes to get study permit at the airport.
Furthermore, they explained that if student is travelling prior 3 weeks of their first class, then they will be allowed to enter Canada as a tourist. But, they will not get study permit at the airport. To get the study permit, student will have to again exit Canada and then reenter to get study permit at the port of entry.
Example: A student is coming with a valid study visa and his/her classes are starting on January 10, 2022. Such a student can only travel on or after December 20, 2021. If he/she travel prior to that, then they will not get study permit at the airport and will have to exit and enter Canada again to get a study permit on a later date.
Other important information that CBSA shared with us was waiting times. Students should expect delays at the airport. If they have a stay at a Canadian airport before reaching their final destination, then they should book a ticket giving ample time for completing all the formalities at the immigration check. Students should know that immigration check is done at the first port of entry into Canada, even if they are transiting through that airport to their final destination. CBSA agent suggested to book a ticket that gives around 3-4 hours of stay at transiting airport in Canada.
Example Discussed with CBSA agent: A student is traveling from Delhi to Calgary having a stay at Montreal airport. Then all the immigration check will be done at Montreal airport, before they can proceed to Calgary. So, they should have at least 3-4 hours of time at Montreal airport to complete all the checks.