Travelling to Canada and self-isolation

Updated Dec. 22, 2021

Changing travel requirements to address COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern

Effective December 18, 2021, the Government of Canada has lifted the extraordinary measures for travellers from the ten specific countries initially identified on November 30. Foreign nationals who have been in these countries in the previous 14 days may now travel to Canada.

The Canadian government has also significantly increased on-arrival testing capacity at airports. Fully vaccinated travellers who are selected for an arrival test may be required to quarantine while awaiting results. Please follow all instructions from government officials upon arrival.

As of December 15 2021, the Government of Canada is advising travellers, regardless of vaccination status, to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada.

For more details review: News release


Government of Canada adjusting entry requirements for travellers

As of January 15, 2022, international students (18 years or older) will only be allowed to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved for entry into Canada. Until January 14, 2022, international students can continue to enter the country if unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, as well as take a connecting flight to their final destination that is scheduled to depart within 24 hours of the departure time of their flight to enter Canada.

For more details review: Backgrounder and News release


Vaccination requirements for travel in Canada and departing Canada

If you are 12 years of age plus four months, or older, you will need to be fully vaccinated in order to board: domestic or international flights departing from most airports in Canada, including charter and foreign airlines carrying commercial passengers, and VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.

Foreign nationals who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated and who don’t permanently reside in Canada will be allowed to depart Canada up until February 28, 2022.

For more details review: COVID-19 Boarding flights and trains in Canada

 


Before you travel, if you have questions about the timing of your arrival, you should contact your airline and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for more information. 

While travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are in place, you must meet the following requirements to enter Canada as a student:

  1. You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.
  2. You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan. The University of Victoria is a DLI, and has an approved plan in place.

As a student, you will not be able to travel to Canada if:

  • your study program has been cancelled or suspended
  • you are entering Canada for any reason other than to study

A border services officer (BSO) will make the final decision on whether you're eligible to enter Canada when you arrive. When the border services officer greets you, they consider:

  • your reason for travelling to Canada
  • your ability to complete a 14-day quarantine period (unless you are exempt) as soon as you arrive at your final destination
  • if you either:
    • have time to complete your quarantine before you physically attend classes, or
    • can study online during your quarantine

Please check with your airline and Canada Border Services Agency if you have questions about the timing of your travel to Canada. A Border Services Officer will make a final decision on your eligibility to enter Canada when you arrive.

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.

Students may not travel to Canada for their studies without the necessary documentation. Please ensure you have the following valid (i.e. non-expired) documents:

  • Passport, or other accepted travel document
  • Temporary resident visa or electronic travel authorization (if required)
  • Study permit or letter of introduction that shows you are approved for a study permit. An approval-in-principle is not sufficient for travel.
  • Valid letter of acceptance (If you need a copy of your letter, please email BMT@uvic.ca
  • Registration receipts showing your January 2021 term course registration and tuition payment (if you need a copy of your receipts, please email the Registration Office at uvcsreg@uvic.ca
  • If you are a returning student (have studies previous terms inside or outside Canada) you may also wish to include a copy of your transcript showing your completed study terms (the official transcript is $10 and can be requested by email from the Registration Office at uvcsreg@uvic.ca
  • Valid enrollment letter (An enrollment letter is only issued during a current study term for students actively participating in courses)

As well as:

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 met the travel exemptions.

Unvaccinated travelers to Canada must self isolate (quarantine) for 14 days upon entry to Canada. See details below.

Vaccinated travelers eligible to enter Canada and who meet the Government of Canada requirements of fully vaccinated travellers may not have to self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days. See details below.

Travellers arriving to Canada who are fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine

 

Travellers arriving to Canada who are fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine:

  • Air travellers from everywhere except India must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken within 72 hours of the scheduled flight to Canada.  If you have a connecting flight, the test must be conducted within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your last direct flight to Canada.  You may need to schedule the test in your transit city.  At this time, proof of being vaccinated does not replace a valid test result.
  • Air travellers flying direct to Canada from India must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport. The test must be taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of your direct flight to Canada.  If you’re taking an indirect flight from India to Canada, you’ll still need proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test, within 72 hours of your final flight to Canada. The test must be taken in the country from which your flight to Canada will depart.
  • Land and sea travellers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the US within 72 hours of arrival in Canada. At this time, proof of being vaccinated does not replace a valid test result.
  • You must provide proof of full vaccination and enter it into ArriveCAN.  Please bring proof of vaccination documentation with you when you travel to Canada as you may be asked to present it to the Canada Border Services Agent upon arrival.  Please note that the vaccination documentation must be in English or French.
  • You must have a suitable quarantine plan for 14 days, and enter it into ArriveCAN and the UVic Self Isolation Program form. This 14-day quarantine plan does not include three nights in a Government of Canada authorized hotel. 

You will only be required to do a COVID-19 test when you arrive in Canada if you are randomly selected to complete one. Not all travellers will have to do this.

Travellers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 14-180 days prior to their arrival in Canada must provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test.

Travellers arriving to Canada who are not fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine

 

Travellers arriving to Canada who are not fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine:

  • Air travellers from everywhere except India must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken within 72 hours of the scheduled flight to Canada.  If you have a connecting flight, the test must be conducted within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your last direct flight to Canada.  You may need to schedule the test in your transit city.  At this time, proof of being vaccinated does not replace a valid test result.
  • Air travellers flying direct to Canada from India must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport. The test must be taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of your direct flight to Canada.  If you’re taking an indirect flight from India to Canada, you’ll still need proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test, within 72 hours of your final flight to Canada. The test must be taken in the country from which your flight to Canada will depart.
  • Land and sea travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the US within 72 hours of arrival in Canada. At this time, proof of being vaccinated does not replace a valid test result. You must keep proof of your test results for your first 14 days in Canada.
  • You must take a COVID-19 test on arrival to Canada. At the same time, you will be provided with a COVID-19 At Home Specimen Collection Kit to take a test on day 8 of your mandatory self-isolation (quarantine). If you are arriving by air, you can pre-register for your COVID-19 test.

 

 

  • You must enter a suitable quarantine plan for 14 days into ArriveCAN and the UVic Self Isolation Program.  The 14-day quarantine plan does not include three nights in a Government of Canada authorized quarantine hotel.
  • You must self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days in suitable accommodation. Please see here for UVic recommended hotels for self-isolation (quarantine) in Victoria. Airbnb is also an excellent accommodation option.  If you are planning to self-isolate (quarantine) in Victoria, it is advised that you book your accommodation as early as possible as the summer months may be very busy.  Please identify yourself as a UVic student requiring self isolation (quarantine) accommodation when you book to get the best possible rate.  Please note that UVic does not have any accommodation on campus that is suitable for self-isolation (quarantine). 
  • You must take a COVID-19 molecular test on day 8 of your 14-day self-isolation (quarantine). You will be provided with a COVID-19 At Home Specimen Collection kit and instructions before leaving your point of entry.
  • You must complete the daily check-ins with ArriveCAN and the UVic Self-isolation Program each day throughout the 14-day self-isolation (quarantine).

Travellers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 14-180 days prior to their arrival in Canada must provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test. 

Before travelling to Canada, all students must create a 14-day quarantine plan. Your submissions will cover your travel arrangements, locations of self-isolation (quarantine), and arrangements for necessities (food). This applies to both fully vaccinated travellers who meet the Government of Canada requirements of fully vaccinated exemption, as well as those who are not vaccinated.

Continuing Studies students must submit the Self-Isolation Registration form provided below so that we can correctly track students arrivals and self-isolation plans. I understand that some students may have submitted the Self-Isolation Registration through the International Student Services (ISS) Office. Please be aware that the ISS form will not be able to connect to your student file as the Continuing Studies and ISS systems are completely separate.

All international students must:

  1. Complete a self-isolation registration form prior to arrival
  2. Complete a daily check-in form, starting on your date of arrival.
    • Unvaccinated students must complete a daily check-in form for each day while in self-isolation (quarantine), starting on your date of arrival in Canada.
    • Fully vaccinated students only need to submit the daily check-in on the day of their arrival in Canada.

UVic's self-isolation program is designed to support you, as a UVic student, make the necessary arrangements for arriving in Canada, self-isolating on arrival, and ensuring a successful start to your studies in Canada.

  1. Review the information on travelling to Canada
  2. Submit their self-isolation plan to the Division of Continuing Studies
    • Once students submit their study location form and indicate that they will be travelling or have recently travelled to Canada, they will receive an email with further information to provide their self-isolation plan as a Division of Continuing Studies student.
  3. Download the ArriveCAN application and complete the form within 72 hours before arriving in Canada*
  4. Have appropriate health insurance in place. Students who have questions about optional Guard.me medical insurance should contact uvcsreg@uvic.ca
  5. Complete their daily check-in form with the Division of Continuing Studies throughout their self-isolation period.

Students must bring their ArriveCAN receipt (electronic or paper) with them to show the border services officer upon arrival.

It is highly recommended that students complete and submit the form online before they begin travelling to British Columbia. Please note, the online form is not compatible with the Internet Explorer browser.


*Submitting required information to the federal government

Within 72 hours of boarding your flight or crossing the land border to Canada, you must use the Government of Canada ArriveCAN system to submit your:

Once you submit your information through ArriveCAN, a receipt will be displayed. Be ready to show the receipt to a Canadian border services officer. You can show your receipt from the app as a screenshot or printout. 

For those entering Canada who are not fully vaccinated, once you've arrived in Canada, you must use the ArriveCAN system to:

  • complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessments until the completion of your self-isolation period or until you report symptoms.

For more information or registration and requirements, refer to the ArriveCAN site.

Please note that you will be asked for a phone number on which you can receive calls from ArriveCAN while in self-isolation (quarantine).  The ICE Currency booth at the airports sell both prepaid credit cards and SIM cards, and are accessible to arriving passengers before taking their COVID-19 test.  Watch for signage.

Alternatively you can make arrangements for a phone and/or SIM card before arriving in Canada through PhoneBox. Phone calling can also be set up through your laptop computer using Call2Friends, Skype or Google Voice.

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.

It is important to be aware of the local policies and recommendations that are in place by the provincial government and the public health authority. This includes, but is not limited to, washing hands and using hand sanitizer frequently, keeping a physical distance of about 6 feet (2 metres) apart, limiting social circles or ‘COVID bubble’ and the requirement to wear a face mask when in a public place.

There may also be travel restrictions or lockdowns in the area that students will be living. Students may wish to monitor the local news for updates on health policies. Some British Columbia and Victoria news stations include Global News BC, Chek News and CTV News BC.

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 winter term.

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.