COVID-19 International Student Guide

by | Feb 3, 2021

Please read it all carefully before traveling to Canada!!

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of challenges worldwide. Canada’s approach aims to protect the health of Canadians and residents, while minimizing the economic and social impact of health and travel restrictions.

International students may travel to Canada only if they:

  • Have a valid study permit or letter of introduction(approval letter)
  • Will be attending a DLI with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the province or territory where the school is located
  • The school is included on the list of DLIs with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website

You need to know what to expect upon arrival and during your studies, and you should ensure that you have a suitable quarantine plan before you travel to Canada.

Accompanying family members

International students and their accompanying family members must be entering Canada for non-discretionary/non-optional purposes. Travel to Canada is considered essential (non-discretionary) if an international student has a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows they were approved for a study permit and their DLI is on the approved list.


If you travel with family members, a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will assess whether your purpose of travel is for non-discretionary purposes.

airport canada, international student

Mandatory documents for travelling to Canada

When you arrive in Canada, you will be asked to provide the following documents by the CBSA officer:

  • a study permit or a copy of your letter of introduction (approval letter)
  • a copy of a valid letter of acceptance
  • ArriveCAN receipt (electronic or paper) to show the border services officer
  • Self-quarantine plan
  • Provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test to the airline. The test must be conducted within 72 hours of scheduled boarding

Starting November 21, 2020, the use of the ArriveCAN app will be mandatory for those travelling to Canada.

As part of Canada’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, all travellers are required to provide specific information upon entry into Canada. The recently launched ArriveCAN app enables you to submit contact information and details of your plan for quarantine, as required under current emergency orders under the Quarantine Act, up to 48 hours prior to your arrival.

Before you travel to Canada:

  • Avoid spending time in large crowds or crowded areas.
  • Avoid contact with sick people, especially if they have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  • Be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice.
  • Be sure to monitor your health, and if you become sick before or during your trip, avoid contact with others except to see a health-care professional.

Do not travel to Canada if you feel sick. If you are sick, delay your travel plans until you are feeling well and no longer present symptoms.


You will need to pass a health check before you’re allowed to board your flight. Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to travel to Canada.


In coordination with your DLI, you should have a plan for how you will obtain medical care if you become sick during your quarantine period, including getting mandatory medical insurance. While in quarantine, you will be unable to leave your quarantine location unless it is medically necessary to do so.


If you do not have a plan for quarantine, including how you will buy groceries and access other essential services, please delay your travel until you have made one, as failure to do so may result in you being refused entry to Canada by the CBSA.

When you arrive in Canada

Your health will be assessed when you speak to a CBSA officer. You must quarantine for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms. This is mandatory for all travelers to Canada, and there may be serious consequences under the Quarantine Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for non-compliance with the quarantine requirement.

  • If you develop symptoms during your flight to Canada, tell a CBSA officer when you arrive in Canada. This is required under the Quarantine Act. If you fail to do so, you may face consequences under the Quarantine Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • If you do not have symptoms, but believe you were exposed to someone who was sick with COVID-19, under the Quarantine Act you must report this to a CBSA officer when you get to Canada. The officer will give you instructions to follow.
  • Help limit the spread of the virus and protect your safety and the health and safety of Canadians by downloading the Canadian COVID Alert exposure notification application. It will notify you when you have been near someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.
  • We encourage you to review the IRCC website to receive the most up-to-date information affecting international students.

After you arrive in Canada

All B.C. residents must enrol in the Medical Services Plan (MSP).


If you are new to Canada, apply for MSP as soon as you arrive. Your coverage may start three months after your arrival date in British Columbia. You should get private health care insurance while you wait.


Apply Online – The online application takes about 15 minutes to complete. CLICK HERE

Check FAQ for health care coverage

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