COVID-19 FAQs for International Students
ISS will be posting information in response to frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 situation here. As well as by visiting this page, you can stay up-to-date by:
- Signing up for the ISS newsletter for email updates (or to review archived editions)
- Following ISS on Instagram (@ucalgaryiss)
- Following ISS on Facebook (@UCalgaryISS)
Last updated: March 1, 2021
Until further notice, International Student Services advising is available online. To access ISS advising services, contact email@example.com using your UCalgary email account. Our advisors will get back to you during advising hours (9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. MST.).
The ISS office in MSC 275 is currently closed. We are offering online and remote events. Visit the ISS Events Calendar to see what’s coming up.
All UCalgary offices are working to support you during this time.
Click here for a full list of remote support that Student and Enrolment Services groups are offering.
Student Success Centre (SSC)
Looking for grad student support? The SSC's Graduate Writing Community is now available online. You can make a half-hour one-on-one appointment on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. through Zoom. Register for a session.
Women's Resource Centre (peer support available remotely)
Need help with your degree or program?
Review this faculty advising contact list so you know who to get in touch with for support.
UCalgary Updates & Resources
UCalgary COVID-19 website has a Frequently Asked Questions page for students
Mental Health Support
If you're feeling stressed during these times, please visit the UCalgary COVID-19 mental health page. It provides access to strategies, webinars and other resources to help you cope.
Alberta Health Services Text4Hope program: Through a set of daily messages, people receive advice and encouragement helpful in developing healthy personal coping skills and resiliency. Community members simply subscribe to receive ongoing supportive content. There is no cost.
UCalgary students studying remotely from international locations can now access emotional support services, including a mental health counsellor for up to 5 sessions per incident, per year. This service is available 24-hours a day, 7-days week, 365-days a year.
To access these services, please call +1 215-354-5000 (call collect) or download the International SOS app to your phone. You will need the University of Calgary membership number (27AYCA093142) to complete the download.
Learn about how to access Wellness Services mental health services remotely. Visit the FAQ to learn more.
HealthLink (811): As a reminder, you can dial-1-1 to reach HealthLink if you need health advice or help to locate services. It's a free non-emergency service available to any resident of Alberta. Please note that call volumes are high at this time, so you may be on hold. Learn more about Healthlink here.
811 will never ask for your credit card details or Social Insurance Number (SIN). There are reports of individuals receiving scam phone calls from people pretending to be Alberta Health Services (AHS) with test results who as asking for credit card information. Please hang up if you receive a call like this.
Don't hesitate to contact the ISS advising team if you need assistance. We are happy to help make suggestions or referrals to resources.
Alberta 211 (Community & Social Services Help Line)
This is a free non-emergency helpline that connects you to community and social services in your area 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in over 150 languages. You can call 211 or visit the website (www.ab.211.ca) for a growing list of community resources related to the current Covid-19 situation in Calgary. View the resource list here.
Alberta, Canada, & Global Updates (Updated: 11-24-2020)
Update (11-24-2020): - Alberta's government declared a state of public health emergency and released strong restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
You can find helpful information about COVID-19 and the situation in Alberta on the Alberta Health Services (AHS) website.
Check for Twitter updates:
Dr. Deena Hinshaw (Chief Medical Officer of Alberta): @CMOH_Alberta
Dr. Theresa Tam (Chief Public Health Officer of Canada): @CPHO_Canada
World Health Organization: @WHO
The Alberta International Medical Graduate Association has videos in 18 languages to help provide information on COVID-19, including topics:
What is COVID-19?
What is social/physical distancing?
When to seek medical information
How to prevent spread of COVID-19
Calgary Local Immigration Partnership's website also has a list of resources and updates about COVID-19 offered in multiple languages.
To assist people waiting longer for permit extensions at this time, the Government of Alberta is temporarily extending Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) coverage to temporary residents and their families with expired legal entitlement documents. Coverage will be provided until July 31, 2020 or until the public health emergency declaration in Alberta is lifted, whichever is longer.
Learn more here.
Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)
Students' Union Health & Dental Plan
If you're enrolled in the Students’ Union health and dental plan, visit their website for information regarding coverage for COVID-19. You can ask specific questions by contacting the SU Student Inquiries Line at 403.220.3906 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate Student Association Health & Dental Plan
If you're enrolled in the Graduate Students' Association health and dental plan, visit their Frequently Asked Questions page for information regarding coverage for COVID-19.
How COVID-19 is affecting IRCC services (Updated: 3-30-2020)
Temporary policy changes to support international students during the pandemic (Updated: 7-14-2020)
Update on travel restriction exemptions for international students (Updated: 10-2-2020)
Government of Canada announces new mandatory requirements for travellers to Canada (Updated: 11-5-2020)
Government of Canada announces further measures to support international students (Updated: 2-12-2021)
Biometrics (Updated: 7-16-2020)
IRCC has implemented a temporary exemption on Biometrics for in-Canada Applications. In-Canada applications will be fully processed and decisions will be made without Biometrics.
Learn more here.
IRCC is now allowing International students with a valid study permit or study permit approval to enter Canada. University of Calgary has received approval on our COVID-19 readiness plans and is listed on the approved DLI list.
Ensure you have:
- a valid study permit or study permit approval letter
- a valid letter of acceptance from UCalgary and your confirmation or registration letter if you have already started your program.
- proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
Prior to making travel plans, please review the Government of Canada's website links below for travel restriction updates:
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International Students
- Travel restrictions in Canada: Flying to and within Canada
Important Government of Canada travel updates:
- November 2, 2020 (ArriveCAN app requirements)
- December 31, 2021 (Pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement)
- January 29, 2021 (Further travel restrictions)
Mandatory 3-Night Hotel Stopover
Effective February 22, the Government of Canada is requiring travelers entering Canada to stay 3-nights in a designated hotel quarantine location, while awaiting their COVID-19 test results. For more information, please visit:
If you are currently studying at UCalgary on visitor status (you do not have a study permit) and cannot travel back home, you can apply for a visitor record to extend your stay in Canada before your status expires. When you put an application online please ensure you include a letter explaining why you need to extend your stay in Canada.
If you have questions about UCalgary admission requirements as an international student, please visit the admissions FAQ page on Current Students for information.
Study permit application information and advice for newly-admitted international students for Fall 2020 (Updated 5-25-2020)
As we are expecting delays in study permit processing due to the COVID-19 situation, we’re advising students to apply online as soon as possible to get into the queue so as to increase their chance of getting their application approved in time for the start of classes. The Government of Canada has confirmed that they continue to process study permit applications. Biometrics collection deadlines have been extended to when offices are re-opened. Once your application is approved, you will be notified about when you may travel to Canada.
New Student Registration Assistance
Students can access course registration support by booking an appointment which will be attended via Zoom, or by emailing in queries. Support is available Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm MDT, from May 1 to August 28, 2020. Learn more here.
International Students Staying in Residence (on-campus)
If you need to arrange to extend your stay in Residence Services, due to inability to travel home at the end of the term, please contact Residence Services for guidance (email@example.com).
If you are returning to Residence Services from anywhere outside of Canada, please contact Residence Services (firstname.lastname@example.org), as you will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Residence Services will contact you with further information.
Renting in Calgary (off-campus)
The Centre for Public Legal Education in Alberta (CPLEA) has compiled a list of frequently asked questions for Alberta tenants related to COVID-19. https://www.landlordandtenant.org/covid-19-alberta-landlords-and-tenants/
Quarantine information for students travelling to Canada:
Visit UCalgary's quarantine information webpage to learn about what steps to do before, during and after you arrive in Canada.
Review the slides of our presentation on "How to prepare for your arrival in Calgary during the COVID-19 Pandemic," under the Welcome Webinars section of our website.
Support for those in self-isolation:
Are you returning to Canada for your studies? Make sure you are aware of the guidelines for self-isolation upon your arrival.
Visit our resource page for important information and ways to stay healthy while in self-isolation.
Finding accommodation for self-isolation:
Visit our housing website here for information about your options.
There have been reports across Canada of scams related to Covid-19. It’s normal to feel vulnerable or uncertain right now; however, it’s important to stay vigilant about protecting your personal information.
In particular, watch out for fraudulent communication such as:
Texts or emails that include links to make payment for delivery of masks or supplies, tomake a donation, or receive informational updates
Phone calls or voicemails pretending to be from a public health agency (such as Alberta Health Services or 8-1-1) with test results, asking that you share credit card or health card numbers. AHS will never ask for your credit card information.
Door-to-door scammers trying to sell fake testing kits or supplies
It’s always best to visit official websites for up-to-date information, not through unsolicited links sent to you. If you have any concerns, reach out to the ISS advising team (email@example.com).
If you think you have been targeted by a scam, please report it to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (learn more here: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm).
If you are experiencing financial insecurity, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. An ISS advisor will make recommendations to resources or supports available through the UCalgary community such as emergency bursaries (through the SU or GSA), short-term emergency loans (through Enrolment Services), and food insecurity resources. Please contact us—we are here to help.
Contact your consulate
Many countries are providing support (financial or otherwise) to their citizens who may be abroad. We recommend that you contact your country’s embassy or consulate to inquire about any important updates or to receive assistance.
The different levels of the Canadian government are sharing updates about plans to support individuals financially disadvantaged due to COVID-19. As more details become available, links will be updated.
Read this helpful article: Managing financial health in challenging times (Financial Consumer Agency of Canada)
Canada Federal Government
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): international students who have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) and reside in Canada may be eligible for this benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements. Learn more here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html
IRCC has translated frequently asked questions about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) into multiple languages so that international students and others can get the information they need, in the language they are most comfortable with. (updated 5-14-2020)
Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) -updated 5-13-2020: International students are not eligible for this benefit. The government has announced that eligible recipients are limited to the following groups: Canadian citizen, registered Indian, permanent resident, or protected person. Learn more here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit/cesb-who-apply.html.
Alberta Provincial Government
Calgary Municipal Government
Check with your service providers to see if they are able to work with you to provide flexibility at this time:
Cell-phone providers: some are providing long-distance or other perks for free to help you stay in touch with friends & loved ones from a distance
Internet, electricity: some providers are providing payment flexibility, including installment plans, extending payment deadlines, or suspending disconnection of services for non-payment at this time
Bank or insurance provider: many are working with clients on a case-by-case basis to provide flexibility with credit and payment deadlines
University of Calgary Student Peer Assistance Bursary (undergraduate students only)
The Student Peer Assistance Bursary program is designed to help those students with an unexpected financial burden or those who have more financial need than anticipated. Undergraduate students must meet both financial need and academic eligibility requirements. Learn more here.
The Canada Revenue Agency has announced that the due date for individuals filing taxes is deferred to June 1, 2020. However, they advise any individuals who anticipate receiving GST tax credits or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay filing taxes to ensure any payments for 2020-2021 are properly determined. Learn more here.
The earlier you file your return, the earlier you may receive your tax refund (if eligible). Especially now, when personal funds may be limited, getting a tax refund sooner, may be especially helpful.
The Students Union Tax Clinic is currently closed. In lieu, we recommend reviewing the information on our taxes website and considering these resources:
Contacting a free clinic in Calgary
Using UFile Online: free student code is CFS1981 (this may not be an option for international students filing for the first time)
Using a service like H&R Block or filing at your bank (these options usually require a small fee)
Review the ISS Taxes in Canada page here.
If you will be travelling to Calgary from an international destination, you are required to complete a mandatory isolation period. Please review the Government of Alberta’s self-isolation requirements and the Government of Canada’s self-isolation requirements.
To help you settle your journey in Canada faster and save your time for later, do your research in advance to find a bank that meets your needs and allow remote banking setup options during your quarantine. Many banks are providing remote services at this time.
On-campus, there are two banks- ATB Financial and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Both offer remote banking setup with certain conditions: