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International Student Guides

Travel to Canada Guide

COVID-19 arrival testing update

The Government of Canada is re-establishing mandatory random COVID-19 testing offsite of airports for air travellers beginning on July 19, 2022. See the news release for more details.

International Student Guide - Travel to Canada

Updated: July 15, 2022

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions for entering Canada continue to affect travelers. Whether you are a new student or returning to BCIT, we advise you to carefully review all of the information in this guide and at all of the links provided. Regulations may change with little notice, so continue to regularly check all of the relevant information until your departure.

Do NOT travel to Canada if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.

The steps of the Travel to Canada Guide:

  1. Check your travel eligibility
  2. Make a quarantine plan
  3. Use ArriveCAN & prepare required documents
  4. Arrival in Canada

Step 1: Check your travel eligibility

According to the Government of Canada, to be able to enter Canada as a student, you must meet 3 requirements:

  1. You must qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller unless you’re a minor student (under the age of 18 years).
  2. You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit, unless you don’t need one.
  3. You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI).

The above information is sourced from:  International students: Travel restrictions and exemptions. That page contains additional information for minors under 18 years old and for those traveling with family members. For your reference regarding point #3 above, BCIT is a DLI.

We would advise you to use the Find out if you can enter Canada online self-assessment tool for additional information.

If you have questions about your eligibility to enter Canada, you may contact Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) directly if you would like a confirmation before your trip. A border services officer will make a final decision on your eligibility to enter Canada when you arrive.

Note: If you change your DLI before traveling to Canada and don’t inform IRCC, you won’t be allowed to board your flight. Make sure to follow the procedure to change your school or program if necessary.

Exchange and Study Abroad students

Note that Exchange or Study Abroad students planning to study for only 1 term at BCIT may be able to enter Canada as a visitor without needing to apply for a study permit. Exchange or Study Abroad students planning to study for 2 terms at BCIT must have a study permit. Find out if you need a study permit.

Step 2: Make a quarantine plan

Even if fully-vaccinated, travelers coming to Canada must have a suitable quarantine plan. You will need to provide details about your quarantine plan through ArriveCAN and you may be asked additional questions about it by a Border Services Officer at the port of entry.

We suggest to arrange for an accommodation where it could be possible for you to isolate yourself from others and to get food and other necessities delivered to you for at least 14 days upon arrival in Canada in case that were to become necessary. If you will be renting accommodation, we would advise you to check with the owner/manager of the property to make sure it could be possible for you to isolate there if necessary before making a reservation. See below for some local accommodation options.

Use the online Assess your quarantine plan tool for more information. If your plan is not considered acceptable, you may be required to make alternative arrangements at your own expense or stay in a federal quarantine facility.

Step 3: Use ArriveCAN & Prepare for your trip

The Government of Canada requires international travelers to provide certain information including documentation of COVID-19 vaccination through ArriveCAN. For more details, see Use ArriveCAN if you are travelling to Canada by plane.

Visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada and COVID-19 Travel: Checklists for requirements and exemption for more important information.

Step 4: Arrival in Canada

Once you arrive in Canada you may be required to do arrival testing for COVID-19. Travelers do not need to quarantine while waiting for their test result. However, you would be required to self-isolate for 10 days if your test result were to come back positive. If this happens know that there are several companies companies that deliver prepared meals and groceries inluding:

If you might have to depend on delivery services it is important to have access to a credit card that you can use in Canada.

Make sure to review BC’s Province-wide restrictions for details about current public health orders. We encourage you to continue taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when around other people.

If you are new to BC, apply for BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). It is legally required for all international students studying in BC for over 6 months. Note that Exchange or Study Abroad students studying at BCIT for only 1 term (less than 6 months) are not eligible for MSP and must have alternative medical insurance.

If you are new to BCIT make sure to register for upcoming International Orientation events and also check out our online International Student Guides including:

Please feel free to contact us at the International Student Centre for additional support!