COVID-19 FAQs for International Students

ISS will post updates and answers to frequently asked questions below.  Also consider:

Last updated: Sept. 9, 2021

Campus Advising & Resources

Campus offices may begin to reopen leading into the Fall term. Check websites for services updates before visiting a campus space.

ISS advising is available virtually. The ISS office (MSC 275) has limited study space available. Hours and space rules are posted on the bulletin board. 

Email advising is available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. MST., Monday-Friday. 

  1. Virtual Immigration Advising

    This is for questions related to study and work permits, not Permanent Residence.  

    Drop-in Virtual Immigration advising:

    • Mondays, 9 a.m. - noon MST
    • Wednesdays, 9 a.m. - noon MST

    Appointment-based Virtual Immigration advising:

    • by request; email issimmigration@ucalgary.ca

    Zoom link is available through the ISS advising page

  2. Virtual Transition Support Advising

    Drop-in virtual advising:

    • Mondays, 2-4 p.m. MST

    Appointment-based virtual advising:

    • Thursdays, 9:30- 11:30 a.m. MST 

    Zoom link and Booking Instructions are available through the ISS advising page

  3. ISS Virtual Front Desk

    Available Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays, 1-4 pm MST. 

    Zoom link is available through the ISS Events Calendar

     

Click here for a full list of remote support that Student and Enrolment Services groups are offering. 

Need help with your degree or program progression?

A list of faculty advising contact is available here.

Prospective international students can find answers to Covid-19 related questions on the Admissions website. 

Physical & Mental Health

UCalgary Student Wellness Services website has information remote and in-person mental and physical 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. 

UCalgary COVID-19 Community Support website has resources including webinars, podcasts, online learning guides, and more.

Coping During COVID-19 - a guide on safer substance use

Diversity Calgary has health information in multiple languages. 

The Alberta International Medical Graduate Association website has resource guides, videos, and podcasts in 18 languages to help provide information on COVID-19.

Calgary Local Immigration Partnership's website also has a list of resources and updates about COVID-19 offered in multiple languages.

  1. Healthlink Alberta (811)

    Healthlink Alberta (811): This is a free, non-emergency service available to any resident of Alberta 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dial 8-1-1- to reach a registered nurse for health advice or assistance locating services. Translation services are available.

    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 do not share this information and hang up if you receive suspicious call. 811 will never ask for your credit card details or Social Insurance Number (SIN).

  2. 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. 

  3. 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.  

  4. Free courses for adults with ongoing COVID-19 symptoms

    Alberta Health Services offers free online Zoom courses on breathing, eating, sleeping, stress, and activity for adults living in Alberta who continue to experience symptoms of Covid-19 after diagnosis.

    Learn more here

     

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.  

  1. Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)

    Learn more about eligibility for AHCIP and what services are covered. Direct any questions to Alberta Health, using the contact information found here.  

  2. SU & GSA Health and Dental Coverage

    Undergraduate Students: Visit the Students' Union Health and dental plan website for information about coverage for Covid-19. Direct specific questions to: 

    Graduate Students: Visit the Graduate Students' Association's Frequently Asked Questions page for information about coverage for Covid-19. 

COVID-19 vaccine information is available on the Government of Canada’s website here.

Learn about Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine program and book your free vaccine through the Government of Alberta’s website here.

  • Additional language support: If you or a family member would prefer to book your vaccine using a language other than English, please call Healthlink Alberta (811) for assistance. 
  • Vaccine questions: If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccines in Alberta, you may book a virtual appointment with a physician through Student Wellness Services. Learn more and book here.
  • On-campus vaccine location: I.D.A. Varsity Pharmacy in MacEwan Hall will be offering the Pfizer vaccine. For more information and to book your appointment, please call +1 (403) 282-0100. In addition, Student Wellness Services' medical clinic is offering vaccinations by appointment. Learn more and book here.
  • UCalgary Covid-19 Vaccine website

The Alberta Health Services (AHS) website states: "All those people who are living, working or going to school in Alberta can get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are born in 2009 or earlier. An Alberta Health Care card is not required in order to get the vaccine. Given the high rate of COVID-19 incidence in the province, removing the three-month requirement will ensure that those who are temporarily in the province have access to the vaccine that is available to all people in Canada." Learn more here

  • This means international students and family members are eligible to book a free Covid-19 vaccine, as soon as their group is available to book. 
  • You are not required to bring proof of your residency in Alberta, but you must bring photo identification (such as your passport). 
  • If you are unsure of your eligibility, call Healthlink Alberta (non-emergency line at 811). 
  • You do not need an Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) number to book a vaccine; however, if you are eligible for this provincial insurance, we strongly advise you to register as soon as you have completed your mandatory quarantine. Learn more on the medical insurance page here.

Currently, Covid-19 vaccines in Alberta are free. Any offers to provide vaccination for a fee are not legitimate and should be reported to the police non-emergency telephone line at 403-266-1234.

Travel Requirements and Restrictions

Carefully and regularly review each section below before you plan any travel. Restrictions and policies may change rapidly.

Effective August 9th, fully-vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents of the United States that currently reside in the US will be able to enter Canada for non-essential travel.

The Government of Canada still has in place temporary travel restrictions on discretionary (non-essential) international travel and for travellers who are not fully vaccinated from the US. 

IRCC is 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 of 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.

IRCC Websites:

  1. When to arrive for Fall 2021

    Please time your travel to Canada no earlier than one month prior to the commencement of the Fall term (August 30th, 2021). If you need to come earlier or have any immigration related questions, contact issimmigration@ucalgary.ca to receive guidance from regulated Canadian immigration advisors. 

  2. Planning a Connecting Flight in Canada (Aug-17-2021)

    If you are arriving in a city in Canada other than Calgary, arrange a connecting flight to Calgary (your final destination) where you will quarantine for 14 days unless exempt. You cannot split your quarantine between multiple locations.  

    ISS recommends you give yourself at least a 3-hour layover before your connecting flight to Calgary to account for: 

    • collecting your bags
    • going through Canadian Immigration
    • clearing Canada Customs
    • Completing your arrival PCR test (if required)
    • Transferring to domestic terminal for connecting flight 

    Check the airport websites for updates about any anticipated delays. Some airports are experiencing delays due to current Covid-19 protocols. 

All travelers must submit their travel information in the ArriveCAN app. This is a free and secure app. You must submit information within 72 hours of your arrival in Canada. You must check-in daily on ArriveCAN during mandatory quarantine (if not exempt).

If you are not able to access the mobile app, the online version is available at canada.ca/arriveCAN

Technical Issues

  1. Review the "trouble shooting" section here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/arrivecan/help.html#a6
  2. Submit the "contact-us" webform here if you need additional help: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/arrivecan/contact-us.html#arrivecan-issues

Service disruption to ArriveCAN mobile app

Due to an upgrade on August 14 from 11:59PM EST to August 15 3:59AM EST, travellers may not be able to submit their information in the ArriveCAN mobile app. During this time, please sign in online at Canada.ca/ArriveCAN to submit your information. Additionally, you may face delays at the border.

INDIA:

Direct Flights

Restriction of all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India will be extended until September 21, 2021.

In-Transit Requirements: 

All air passengers who depart India to Canada via an indirect route must obtain a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test result in a third country before boarding their flight to Canada.

It is important for travelers to contact their airlines and/or booking agent to discuss the entry requirements, the travel restrictions and the health guidelines for the country in which they intended to transit through to Canada. 

The requirement to obtain a pre-departure PCR test may result in travelers needing to be granted lawful entry into the country of transit and they may need to comply with established quarantine measures. 

 Press Releases:

MOROCCO:

Direct Flights

The Government of Canada has suspended all flights from Morocco from August 29, 2021 until September 29, 2021.

Indirect Flights

All air passengers who depart Morocco to Canada via an indirect route must obtain a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test result in a third country before boarding their flight to Canada.

It is important for travelers to contact their airlines and/or booking agent to discuss the entry requirements, the travel restrictions and the health guidelines for the country in which they intended to transit through to Canada. 

The requirement to obtain a pre-departure PCR test may result in travelers needing to be granted lawful entry into the country of transit and they may need to comply with established quarantine measures. 

Press Release: 

In general, steps include preparing a quarantine plan, completing pre-departure Covid-19 testing within 72 hours of your arrival in Canada, submitting your information in ArriveCAN app, and registering for arrival Covid-19 testing (if needed).

  • Watch the "How to Prepare for Your Arrival in Calgary during Covid-19" Welcome Webinar or review the detailed slides here

It is your responsibility to be informed of current travel requirements. Detailed instructions are available below for Canadian Government Requirements:

Effective August 9th, travelers are no longer required to complete the mandatory 3-day hotel stopover. However, you must still complete a 14-day quarantine period unless exempted. 

Press release:

The Alberta Provincial Government announced Stage 3 of the Open for Summer Plan. This announcement includes some changes to testing and isolation processes for residents of Alberta. 

  • Effective Sept 27, the 10-day isolation period following a positive test result will no longer be mandatory, but will be strongly recommended. Isolation hotels and quarantine support will no longer be available, as these requirements will be removed. Learn more here
  • Please be aware that these provincial (Alberta) changes do not influence federal (Canadian) government quarantine requirements for international travelers.
  • Travelers must follow all federal government quarantine and testing requirements (unless exempt) and any requirements from the province you are entering.
  • Currently, Alberta has no requirements in addition to the federal requirements.  

Note: UCalgary students must also update UCalgary with their plans. More details below in “UCalgary Quarantine Processes & Resources”

UPDATE: Effective August 9th, fully vaccinated travelers will no longer need to complete a post-arrival test, 14-day quarantine, and day-8 testing. However, travelers may still be randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival.

Press release:

Fully-vaccinated travelers must still: 

  • complete pre-departure testing 
  • be asymptomatic while travelling 
  • have digital or paper proof of an authorized Covid-19 vaccination (in English, French, or certified translation) 
  • prepare a quarantine plan in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine 
  • follow public health measures in place, such as wearing a mask when in public, keep a copy of their vaccine and test results, as well as a list of close contacts for 14 days after entry to Canada 

Please review the links below for more details while planning your travel: 

Note: If you intend to live in UCalgary Residence Services, you must also follow any current quarantine and resident health measures. For more details, please visit Residence Services' website.

UCalgary Processes

UCalgary students must adhere to all Canadian government travel restrictions and requirements. Students must also follow university quarantine processes and rapid testing/vaccination status program requirements. Review the processes and resources below.

Review the guidelines on the UCalgary Quarantine Information for Students Travelling to Canada website. 

Review: 

The Faculty of Graduate Studies, through the support of the Graduate Students' Association (GSA), is offering logistical and financial support to graduate students starting their studies in Spring 2021 or Summer 2021 for their Government required 3-night mandatory hotel stay. For more information about this support, visit here. For questions, please contact gradarrival@ucalgary.ca.

If you are a graduate student who has already booked or finished your hotel stay, the GSA has an emergency bursary available to help financially support you with the costs you incurred.

 

Visit the ISS website for a review of helpful websites and places to stay off-campus. 

Attend upcoming Welcome Webinars

  • How to Prepare for Your Arrival in Calgary during Covid-19 Pandemic
  • Choosing Accommodation in Calgary
  • Finding Off-Campus Accommodation 

If you have a spot in on-campus accommodation for the term (Residence Services), you must follow all current Residence Services policies. 

Carefully review their FAQ pages. Direct questions to campusservicecentre@ucalgary.ca.

The University of Calgary's COVIDSafe Campus strategy starts Sept 1 and includes measures to enable return to campus and help community members feel safe. The strategy includes: 

  • vaccination status, 
  • rapid testing, 
  • masking, and
  • access to vaccines 

Carefully review the COVIDSafe Campus website and pages below for specific details: 

If you have not yet arrived in Calgary or are presently in quarantine, you will not be able to pick up your rapid testing kit. Please log into Thrive and book an appointment to pick up your rapid test kit once your quarantine period is complete.

Newly-Admitted Students

ISS expects delays in study permit processing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We advise students toapply onlineas 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 and to maintain your eligibility for a Post Graduate work permit. 

Studying On-Campus (In-Person)

You must have a study permit to take in-person courses.

If your study permit has been delayed (or refused) and you have in-person courses, you must contact:

  1. Faculty Advisors (https://www.ucalgary.ca/registrar/registration/advising): can determine if there are online courses you can take before the add/drop date (Sept 16) or alternate ways to maintain your program progression
  2. ISS Regulated Immigration Advisors (https://ucalgary.ca/student-services/iss/advising/international-student-services-advising): can review your study permit application if you have received a refusal. If your study permit is delayed, you can study online while your application is in process. 

Studying Online

IRCC has said you can study outside of Canada until Dec. 31, 2021 if the option for online study is available within your program, without it effecting your Post Graduate Work Permit eligibility provided that you apply for study permit before you start your program and receive a study permit approval later on.

September 16 is the last date you can drop a Fall 2021 course without financial penalty; Sept 17 is the last date you can add or swap a Fall 2021 course.

Review the University's updates about fall course delivery. 

Orientation will take place virtually. New and returning students are welcome to sign up for ISS events. 

International Student Services events take place on Sept 1-3. Learn more below. 

Financial Wellbeing

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. 

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 (iss@ucalgary.ca).

To learn more about possible scams or if you think you have been targeted by a scam, please visit the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre website. (learn more here: ). 

Adapted from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/coronavirus-scams-canada-1.5501958 

To help you get settled in Canada faster and save you time later, do your research in advance to find a bank that meets your needs and allows remote banking setup options. Many Canadian 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:

Note: ensure you know how you will pay for expenses while completing any required quarantine. 

If you are experiencing financial insecurity, please contact iss@ucalgary.ca. 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 us

Do you have a question that isn't answered here?

Email our team at iss@ucalgary.ca.

Related Topics

ISS Webinars

Join the ISS team for presentations that will answer many of your questions. New and returning international students can register. 

ISS Webinars

SSC Webinars

Prepare for your UCalgary academics. Attend a webinar through the Student Success Centre. 

SSC Event Calendar

International Student Orientation

Attend orientation events. You'll get valuable information to help you succeed in your UCalgary studies. 

Learn more here!