Travelling to Canada and self-isolation

Updated Aug. 10, 2021

Before you travel, if you have questions about the timing of your arrival (e.g., arriving to Canada more than 3 weeks prior to the start of classes) you should contact your airline and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for more information. 

In order to manage the COVID-19 virus, the Government of Canada has put into place travel restrictions that limit travel to Canada, with a few exemptions. Before planning travel to Canada, students should ensure that they meet the exemptions.

Please be aware that this information is subject to change as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. It is strongly recommended that students closely monitor the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for any future updates.

To be able to enter Canada, students must meet two requirements:

  1. They must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows they were approved for a study permit.
  2. They must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory. 

Travel to Canada will be considered essential (non-discretionary) if students have all of the required documents and their DLI is on the approved list.

Students’ travel to Canada will not be considered essential (non-discretionary) if:

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

The University of Victoria (UVic) has been included on the list of approved DLIs with a COVID-19 readiness plan. Please note that this list is subject to change. Before travelling to Canada, students should make sure their school is on the list of approved DLIs.

It is the student’s responsibility to prove that their travel to Canada is non-discretionary. A Canadian border services officer will make the final decision on the student’s eligibility to enter Canada when they arrive.

Students can contact the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for more information before travelling.

We recommend that students should ensure they are not travelling to Canada too early or too late in the study term as the border services officers may question the reason for coming to Canada. If they feel that a student is travelling for purposes other than studying, such as tourism, then the student may be refused entry.

When students meet the border services officers at the port of entry, they will be reviewing several factors, including:

  • Their reason for travelling to Canada
  • Their ability to complete a 14-day quarantine period as soon as they arrive at their final destination
  • If they either:
    • have time to complete their quarantine before they physically attend classes, or
    • can study online during their quarantine

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 September 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:

  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
  • Medical exam results that have not expired, if a medical exam is required
  • A valid COVID-19 molecular test result and a quarantine plan. Depending on your COVID vaccination status and mode of travel, the requirements for these documents may vary. You must follow the appropriate checklist on the Government of Canada website to prepare these documents.

At this time, proof of having a vaccine does not replace a valid COVID-19 molecular test result.

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.

To board a flight to Canada, you will be expected to:

  • Present your travel and study documents
  • Confirm that you are attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. The University of Victoria meets both these criteria. Your study permit information letter and verification of enrollment can be used to demonstrate that you are attending UVic.
  • Present a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada (starting January 7, 2021, for air travellers 5 years of age or older). The test must be performed using a molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) and must be conducted within 72 hours of the scheduled departure to Canada.

You may not be permitted to board an airplane to Canada if you do not have the necessary documents or cannot produce a negative COVID-19 test result.

As of March 25, 2020, it is mandatory that anyone arriving in Canada must self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days upon their arrival whether or not they have symptoms. 

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

Vaccinated travellers 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 on or after August 9, 2021 who are fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine

 

Travellers arriving to Canada on or after August 9, 2021 who are fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine:

  • Air travellers 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.
  • 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 on or after August 9, 2021 who are not fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine

 

Travellers arriving to Canada on or after August 9, 2021 who are not fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine:

  • Air travellers 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.
  • 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. 

International students travelling to Canada and taking courses at the University of Victoria must provide appropriate notification to the university of their self-isolation plans by registering in the UVic self-isolation program prior to their arrival in Canada. 

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 (14 days), starting on your date of arrival

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 48 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

Students must download the ArriveCAN application and complete the application form prior to, or upon arrival in Canada. The ArriveCAN application is available through the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Students without a smartphone may use the web form.

As of Nov. 21, 2020, students must use ArriveCAN (either before checking in at the airport or crossing the border) to submit their:

  • Travel and contact information
  • Self-isolation plan
  • COVID-19 symptom self-assessment

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).

Once you've arrived in Canada, you must use the ArriveCAN system to:

  • confirm that you've arrived at the address you provided for your self-isolation location within 48 hours of your entry into Canada
  • complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessments until the completion of your self-isolation period or until you report symptoms

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.