The visa has been a frequent question for many exchange students who are already at the destination, and need to renew their authorization, and also for those who already have the date of boarding for their exchange. The document has been a complex matter even for embassies and consulates.
With the declaration of the state of pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), the bodies were faced with hitherto new questions: governments and institutions are still evaluating the situation of international students and many countries send different communications daily.
Below, you can check the information we have so far about visas for our main exchange destinations:
According to an official statement from the Australian Embassy, the government is committed to the education sector and is working to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on the plans of students who wish to study in the country.
From 18:00 (local time) on 20/04/2020, only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members will be able to travel to the country.
Also according to the statement, “ The Australian government and educational institutions are committed to ensuring that our international students can have an enriching teaching experience in Australia and that they are not harmed by the measures taken against COVID-19. We understand that students can choose to postpone the start of their studies in Australia and use the flexible study options offered by educational institutions, and still have questions regarding visas that have already been approved. The Australian government is studying a range of options and measures to ensure that students are not harmed by the current crisis .”
The statement reiterates that due to several daily changes, the applicant must remain aware of the changes through the Department of Home Affairs website – https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novelcoronavirus
In addition, on 04/04 it was announced that students with financial problems resulting from the coronavirus and who have been in Australia for at least 12 months, will have access to the superannuation , which would be access to a type of Australian “retirement”. In this way, students who meet the rules for using the resource will be able to enjoy the accumulated value while working in the country.
Another measure announced was that the government will be flexible in cases where the Coronavirus made it impossible for exchange students to fulfill their visa conditions, such as attending classes, for example. It has also been stipulated that international students working in supermarkets must return to work for a maximum of 40 hours a fortnight from May 1st, as more Australians are being recruited to fill these positions as well. Exchange students caring for the elderly or working as nurses must continue with extended working hours.
On 20/07/2020, the Australian Government issued a statement that will support international students who have been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the changes announced by the Prime Minister is the assurance that students who had already applied for a visa and were unable to complete or start their studies, will be able to apply for a new visa free of charge. In the same communiqué, he informs that the Embassies should resume the visa application process soon. Click here to read the release.
Updating on 08/04/2020, on Australia’s official website , the Australian government informs that new applications can be made from 08/05/2020. You will need to attach a specific form, to be signed by your school abroad. If you are an Egali student , don’t worry, we will do it for you . For more information, read this post .
The Embassy made it more flexible for visa re-application without the need to pay the consular fee for students who were affected by the pandemic (those who already had an approved visa at the time of the closing of the borders and, therefore, could not use it).
Egali will make this re-application for affected students eligible for flexibilization.
It is possible to apply for visas, but the processing time for visas has increased. Furthermore, although it is possible, the Embassy itself does not recommend that applications be carried out at this time due to the uncertainties and asks that the need for application be reconsidered. You can find out more here .
The Canadian Consulate has been closed since last week and the agency issued a statement on 03/17/2020 stating that it will not receive new visa applications:
“We inform you that due to the restrictive measures taken by the Canadian government to curb the proliferation of Covid-19, the Consulate will no longer receive any visa applications, and the collection of biometrics is suspended indefinitely. The appointments are currently suspended, with no return forecast”.
The Canadian Consulate informs that the Visa Application Centers will remain closed until April 13th:
“We understand that this decree was passed to protect public health during this pandemic and, in order to comply with local law, our Visa Application Centers will remain closed until April 13th. Make a new appointment for a date later than the one mentioned above. We ask that you regularly check our website for updates on our operations as our operation is subject to authorization from regulatory bodies to act in a pandemic situation.”
Egali is still in contact with the Consulate and has not yet received any feedback on applications that have already started.
Update on 05/18/21:
The Canadian Consulate is accepting applications from students enrolled in Canadian institutions with country-approved DLI ( Designated Learning Institutions ). In the case of a tourist visa, it is also possible to apply.
The US Consulate is closed and all interviews already scheduled.
With no return forecast, the Consulate informs that in cases where the visa fee has already been paid, it will remain valid for up to one year from the date of payment. In other words, if you had your interview cancelled, you can reschedule it free of charge within this period.
According to an official statement, the agency will return to the visa service routines as soon as possible.
Update on 05/18/21:
The US Consulate will reopen the schedule for student visa applications. Regarding the tourist visa, the application places are still blocked for 2021 and it is possible to schedule for 2022.
Therefore, it is possible that vacancies will open for the application of tourist visas in 2021. And it is important to remember that the exchange student who closes an exchange in 2021 to the United States will be supported by the contract to change dates due to the impact of COVID-19.
INIS (Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service), the Irish immigration service, has temporarily stopped applying for new visa applications. According to the department, only emergency cases will be evaluated. These would be: visas for health professionals, health researchers and elderly care professionals and immediate family members of Irish citizens.
Previously scheduled interviews for Nigerian students were canceled – with no return forecast. When the situation returns to normal, times can be re-scheduled.
Students who have not yet registered must wait until Burgh Quay reopens or other alternative arrangements are established.
For those in the country with a visa about to expire: the Department of Justice and Equality informed that immigrants who already have the IRP (Irish Residence Permit) valid between 20/03 and 20/05/2020, will have their permission renewed automatically to stay in Ireland for two months. The measure takes effect immediately.
Students in this situation can be reassured about the documentation. A copy of the permission to expire (IRP or letter of approval) and a simple copy of the official statement may be presented to the employer as evidence of the citizen’s legal status.
If at the end of the period of the new permission the bodies are not yet in operation, a new extension will be evaluated.
For students in Ireland taking online classes, the government has released 40 hours of work per week during this period. In addition, students who have lost jobs due to the crisis can apply for help from the government, which upon assessment, is helping international students with EUR350 per week.
The notice, as well as other questions, can be accessed by clicking here.
As of 23:59 on 03/19/2020, the New Zealand government closed the border to almost all travelers, tightening travel restrictions.
According to a statement from the official website, those who have work, student or visitor visas with expiration between 02/04/2020 and 09/07/2020, will have the authorization automatically extended until 25/09/2020. For this condition, you must be in New Zealand for the entire period. Confirmation, in all cases, will be sent by email to all eligible.
There has not yet been an official statement on any extension to other approved visas, but the government informs that it is working on the best way to reduce the impacts of the crisis.
Egali is committed to getting as much information and updates as possible on all countries. We will act according to the decisions of governments, embassies and consulates, which are sovereign.
If you have any further questions regarding your visa or exchange, please contact us through the student area.