If you have been granted your Canada Student Visa, many congratulations!
Now what remains is to board the flight to your dreams. But seems like the pandemic doesn’t end the troubles.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly halted the routine across the globe. The plans of so many people to make a better future for themselves have been delayed and crippled. With the onset of vaccines, the situation is now a little more in control, but there is still some way to go. Embassies of various countries are quite back on track and the visa approvals have come in the books for many.
Countries like UK and Spain have eased their restrictions for people from India, Canada has extended the ban on direct flights from India to September 21, 2021. But don’t worry, there is still a possibility that you could travel from India to Canada, through a third country route.
Which routes are available?
While direct flights from India are not allowed currently in view of pandemic driven restrictions, Canada allows direct flights from many other countries which have a lower pandemic impact. So, you could if you wanted to reach Canada through Maldives or Qatar. This means that you will first need to take a flight to a third country (transit location) from where the Canadian government has allowed direct flights and then board a flight to your end destination from that country.
How to travel?
As per the Minister of Transport of Canada, Omar Alghabra;
- Passengers who travel to Canada from India via an indirect route will need to obtain a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test result from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.
- Travellers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 must provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test conducted between 14 and 90 days before departure, instead of a negative COVID-19 molecular test. This proof must be obtained in a third country before the continuation of the journey to Canada. You might need to seek entry and stay in a third country for at least 14 days.
Please do not be confused with the term “Molecular Test”.
Molecular COVID-19 tests are designed to detect an active COVID infection and what we know in India as RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) is a molecular test. A rapid test that we are used to from the various municipal corporations because it provides results in minutes is not considered a valid test.
Things to Note:
If you want to travel from India to Canada, you need to take care of the following things:
- You should have a valid visa to travel.
- You will need to take a COVID test at the transit destination and it must come out with a negative result. If positive, you are likely to be deported back to India.
- Some countries from where you will travel further to Canada themselves have pandemic related restrictions like a mandatory quarantine as in the case of Qatar.
- In case a mandatory quarantine is necessary, you should look for countries that allow for a visa on arrival else you will add another layer of complexity to your travel.
- If you are vaccinated, the vaccine should be approved by the country you are travelling to. COVISHIELD is acceptable in most cases.
- The Canadian government needs a COVID negative test that has been carried out in a third country and not in India, so you will have to take a test at your transit point. The RT-PCR test takes hours, so you should plan for the time in your itinerary. You should budget about 12-24 hours in such a case.
Since you are travelling through a third country route which means that you might have to spend time and money on a molecular test including, if necessary, a quarantine. This means that the cost of such travel will be more than the normal direct route under normal conditions. Thus, the decision of reaching Canada is not a small one and needs to be taken with utmost care.
We understand that studying abroad is one of the most important decisions that you will take in your life and this decision impacts your future as well as your finances.
There may be other options available in front of you that could be more advisable at this juncture but those can only be evaluated by a professional.
Get in touch with us, so that we can guide you in the best way possible.