Travelling to Canada and self-isolation

Studying abroad is a very exciting opportunity, but it’s important to be organized and prepared. Make sure you review travel requirements and have all appropriate documentation before arriving in Canada.

Updated Jan. 6, 2023

Government of Canada reinstates some COVID-19 border and travel measures for air travellers from China

As of January 5 at 12:01am (EST) all air travellers, 2 years of age and older, arriving from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macao must show a negative COVID-19 test result, taken no more than 2 days before their departure to the airline in order to board their flight.

For more information:

All other COVID-19 emergency border measures have ended

With the exception of the above measures which will soon be reinstated, all federal border testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements ended on October 1, 2022

Travel restrictions may change with little warning. Please visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders website for the most up-to-date information on planning your travel.

Step 1. Confirm entry requirements for Canada

Before you travel, you should ensure that you meet the requirements for entry to Canada.

International students must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit, unless you are exempt (for example, if your program of study is six months or less).
  2. Depending on your country of citizenship, you may require a valid temporary resident visa (also known as a visitor visa, student visa, or TRV) or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to enter Canada.
  3. Effective January 5, 2023, at 12:01am EST: if you are travelling to Canada on a flight originating from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macao, you will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result, taken no more than two days before your departure, to the airline prior to boarding.

Although COVID-19 emergency border measures have ended, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should not travel to Canada. For more information, including what to do if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 while in transit, please visit the Government of Canada COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders website.


Step 2. Submit travel information via ArriveCAN, if applicable

ArriveCAN is a federal government app you can use to submit travel information if you are flying into select airports in Canada. Use of ArriveCAN is no longer mandatory.

  • If your initial flight into Canada will arrive at one of the following airports, you can use ArriveCAN to complete an advance customs and immigration declaration, which may help you save time upon arrival:
    • Vancouver international airport (YVR)
    • Toronto Pearson international airport (YYZ) (Terminals 1 and 3)
    • Montreal-Trudeau international airport (YUL)
    • Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG)
    • Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)
    • Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB)
  • Using ArriveCAN is free! Do not engage with any websites or apps that demand payment for using ArriveCAN. For more information, see use ArriveCAN to enter Canada.

Step 3. Ensure you have the necessary documents for travel

You must carry supporting documents to demonstrate you meet the requirements for entry to Canada.

Please ensure you have the following documents with you for travel:
  • Valid passport, or other accepted travel document
  • Valid temporary resident visa or electronic travel authorization (if required)
  • Valid study permit or letter of introduction that shows you have been approved for a study permit.
  • Valid letter of acceptance from UVic 
    • If you require a copy of your letter of acceptance, please contact your program area.
    • Please note that this letter may take multiple business days to process, so if you would like one for travel you should request it well in advance.
  • Verification of enrolment (VOE) at the University of Victoria for the current or upcoming term
    • As soon as you have course registration with Continuing Studies, you will have access to your term-by-term VOE through Continuing Studies My Account > Online Request Forms.
  • Proof of a valid immigration medical examination (if required)
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
  • ArriveCAN receipt, if you have submitted information via ArriveCAN

If you have any concerns before you travel, you can email uvcsimmigration@uvic.ca or you can contact the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) for more information.

You should also:

  1. Arrange for appropriate travel insurance, as circumstances and restrictions may change.
  2. Ensure you have appropriate health insurance in place. If you have questions about registering for guard.me@UVic medical insurance plan, please contact uvcsreg@uvic.ca.

Students whose study permit application is still being processed will need to wait to travel to Canada until they receive confirmation that their study permit application has been approved, and they receive the letter of introduction. Students should wait to make any travel arrangements until they have received their letter of introduction showing study permit approval and can meet any travel requirments or exemptions.

At the port of entry – immigration documents

When you arrive at the port of entry to Canada, a border agent will assess your eligibility to enter Canada and make a final decision on whether to allow entry. If you were approved for a new study permit from outside Canada, your study permit will also be issued (printed) at this time.

Make sure to check your study permit when it is issued to you, to ensure all the details are correct and the appropriate conditions have been imposed.

  • Check that all details in the client information section are correct.
  • If you are a full-time student at UVic, make sure your study permit includes a statement that you “may work” or “may accept employment”. If it does not, this can significantly delay your ability to begin working in Canada.

If you notice any errors on your documents, request changes before you leave Immigration. Be prepared to demonstrate your eligibility to work (for example, by showing the officer a Verification of Enrollment from UVic confirming your full-time student status), if needed.

If students or family members travelling with them develop COVID-19 symptoms during their self-isolation, please call 8-1-1 to talk to a nurse at HealthLinkBC. 8-1-1 has translation services in 130 languages. You can also find more information at HealthLinkBC.

Getting vaccinated in BC

International students are eligible to be vaccinated in BC!

If you are unvaccinated, see how to get vaccinated for COVID-19. If you don’t have a Personal Health Number (PHN) yet, you will need to register by phone. A PHN will be created for you when you register. (*Important: This temporary PHN is not medical insuranceYou still need to apply for the BC Medical Services Plan [MSP] as soon as possible).

If you are partially vaccinated or were vaccinated outside BC, see do I need another vaccine in BC?

  • If it is recommended that you get another dose, follow the instructions to submit your current vaccination record and register for your vaccination.
  • If you do not need another dose, follow the instructions to submit your current vaccination record, register in BC’s immunization registry, and download your BC Vaccine Card or Canadian Proof of Vaccination document.

Requirements for travel within Canada and leaving Canada

Proof of vaccination is no longer required to board an airplane or train in Canada. Wearing a mask during travel is strongly recommended but is no longer required. For more information, see COVID-19: Travel, testing, and borders.

You do not need a COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to board a plane or train in Canada unless you are flying to a country that requires it. Make sure to research the entry requirements of your destination before you travel.

Please check with your travel provider to confirm any documents (such as identification documents) required for boarding.

Proof of vaccination documents

Canadian Proof of Vaccination document
  • The Canadian (federal) proof of vaccination can be used when travelling within and outside of Canada.
  • To get your document, go to and use your Personal Health Number (PHN) to download your document. Save a digital copy to your phone and/or print a paper copy.
  • If you plan to use this document for travel to other countries, be sure to research whether or not it will be accepted in your destination.
  • See About the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination for current information.
BC Vaccine Card (proof of vaccination) 
  • As of April 8, 2022, there is no requirement for events, services or businesses to check proof of vaccination. Individual businesses and event organizers may opt to continue to require proof of vaccination for entry to their premises. For information about this program, see Proof of vaccination.

UVic self-declaration (vaccination status)

UVic students, staff and faculty coming to campus are no longer required to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status.

We know that the impact of this global pandemic has made starting, and continuing, student studies more complex. Please know that we are here to support students and look forward to welcoming them to the the Division of Continuing Studies at UVic.

Isolating in a new and different country may present challenges and raise questions. If students have questions, or need assistance, please email uvcsimmigration@uvic.ca.