COVID-19 information for international students
ISS posts updates and answers to frequently asked questions below.
Last updated: June 13, 2022
Travel to Canada
UPDATED: April 27, 2022
Carefully and regularly review each section before you plan any travel. Restrictions and policies may change rapidly.
If you are fully vaccinated students 18 years of age or older, you must bring:
- a valid study permit, or a port of entry letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit
- a valid visa or eTA
- a valid letter of acceptance from the University of Calgary 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
- proof of vaccination
- Valid immigration medical exam results if you are arriving from a designated country or territory
- Download the ArriveCAN app and provide your travel and vaccination information to Border Services within 72 hours before your arrival to Canada.
The border services officer will make a final decision on your eligibility to enter Canada when you arrive.
Learn more here: Government of Canada - Foreign workers and students
Government of Canada websites:
If you are arriving in a city in Canada other than Calgary and are taking a connecting flight to Calgary (your final destination), we recommend that 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.
UPDATED: June 13, 2022
Study permit processing delays due to the COVID-19 impacts continue. We advise students to apply online as soon as possible. This allows you to get into the queue to increase your chance of getting your application approved in time for the start of classes, and to maintain eligibility for a post-graduation work permit.
Studying in Canada
Students must have a study permit to study inside Canada.
Exception: Fully vaccinated exchange students may enter Canada without a study permit if they'll a) study for a period of less than six months and b) won't work while they're in Canada.
Processing delays and refusals
If your study permit has been refused or a delay in processing may result in you not being able to attend your program for the start of the spring/summer 2022 (July 2022) term, then you must contact:
- Faculty advisors - learn more
- Students should determine if there are alternate ways to maintain their program progression.
- ISS regulated immigration advisors - learn more
- Regulated immigration advisors can provide guidance on immigration status and impacts. They may also discuss potential alternate options for international students.
Currently, the IRCC has authorized remote studies, outside of Canada, until August 31, 2022, without it effecting your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility.
Outside of Canada, students are eligible for this temporary policy if they meet all of the following criteria:
- they're enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program
- they were outside Canada and unable to travel to Canada because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but were still able to take online courses
- they began a program in any semester from spring 2020 to summer 2022, or their program was already in progress in March 2020
- they have a study permit or approval for a study permit, or they've applied for a study permit for which they're eventually approved prior to starting their program
- they meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria
Remote studies from inside Canada
It’s highly recommended that you attend in-class options when offered. If your courses were moved online due to COVID-19 impacts, the time you spend studying online from within Canada will count towards the length of your PGWP.
Please contact your program for details. In most cases, a deferral is an option. But be aware that deferring your program may impact your funding/scholarships. Some programs follow a cohort-based model, which may restrict your options for a deferred start date.
If you're a current student, you also have the choice of taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from your program. A deferral may also carry the risk (though slight) of losing your admission due to unexpected changes in budget or supervision resources.
Testing and quarantine requirements for unvaccinated travellers to Canada
UPDATED: June 13, 2022
Unvaccinated students aged 18 years or older are not allowed entry to Canada.
If you'll be 17 years old or younger when you arrive in Canada, you may be allowed to enter. Meet these requirements if you are eligible to enter Canada, and do not qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption, or other special exemptions for your situation (such as those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine):
- Find out if you can enter Canada
- Follow the checklist of pre-entry testing and quarantine requirements
- Assess your quarantine plan before you travel
- Get your pre-entry test result
- Register in advance for your arrival test
- Use ArriveCAN to submit your travel and vaccination information
- Have your ArriveCAN receipt, test results, and vaccination information ready for assessment by a Border Services Officer
If your child (under 18 years old) will be coming with you to Canada and you are fully vaccinated, they don’t need to qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller.
- Children 5 through 11 years old don't need to provide a valid pre-entry test result. However, they do need to come to Canada at the same time as you.
- Youth 12 to 17 years of age must complete the 14-day quarantine and all testing requirements, even when they are accompanied by you.
Refer to the requirements for children accompanying you.
Dependents aged 18 years of age or over who are unvaccinated because of mental or physical limitation may enter Canada but they must follow all testing and quarantine requirements even when they're accompanied by parents/guardians who qualify as fully vaccinated.
Proof of vaccination
UPDATED: June 13, 2022
You're responsible to understand the vaccination requirements in place for entry into Canada, any transit countries and/or Canadian provinces you may visit. You must also meet the requirements of Alberta Restriction Exemption Program, and meet UCalgary's COVIDSafe Campus requirements.
Regulations may change rapidly. Please consult official websites for the most up-to-date information before making any plans.
To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to Canada, you must:
- have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted for travel, or a mix of two accepted vaccines
- have received your second vaccine dose at least 14 calendar days before you enter Canada
- have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19
- follow pre-entry testing and entry requirements
- upload proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN
- complete your ArriveCAN submission and have ArriveCAN receipt with letter I, V, or A beside your name
- complete arrival test (if selected)
Government of Canada websites:
Starting June 15, isolation is not legally required in Alberta and will become a recommendation only. Quarantine is no longer legally required for close contacts of positive cases, unless you're directed to quarantine by public health officials. International travellers must still comply with federal requirements.
Alberta travel: Alberta doesn't require proof of vaccination from visitors arriving from another part of Canada.
Fully vaccinated Albertans must still follow public health measures.
Learn more here: Government of Alberta - After your vaccine
Effective June 15, 2022, the provincial mask mandate has been lifted for most settings, except at all AHS operated and contracted facilities. For more information, review the isolation page.
Starting May 1, 2022, masks are still required in some settings and they are strongly recommended for use on campus. Everyone should feel comfortable continuing to wear a mask at UCalgary. Learn more.
If your proof of vaccination is not in English or French, you need a certified translation in English or French. Your certified translation must include the stamp or membership number of a professional translation association.
Keep both the original proof of vaccination and the certified translation with you while you travel. If your proof of vaccination doesn't meet all of the requirements, it will be considered invalid. You won't qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller.
The ISS team is not able to provide medical guidance on this matter.
Vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel to and within Canada include:
- AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
- Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
- Moderna (Spikevax, mRNA-1273) including for children aged 6 to 11 years
- Novavax (NVX-COV2373, Nuvaxovid, Covovax)
- Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2) including for children aged 5 to 11 years
- Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
- Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)
To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you must have received, at least 14 calendar days by the day you travel:
- at least two doses of a vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel
- or a mix of two accepted vaccines
- or at least one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine
If you're 18 years of age or older and don't meet the requirements above, you aren't eligible to enter Canada.
Physical and mental health
UCalgary's Student Wellness Services website has information about remote and in-person support for mental and physical health.
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's COVID-19 community support website has resources such as webinars, podcasts, online learning guides, and more.
You can also view Coping during COVID-19 - a guide about 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.
Health Link Alberta (811)
Health Link Alberta (811): This is a free, non-emergency telephone service available to any resident of Alberta - you can contact them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dial 8-1-1 to reach a registered nurse for health advice or to get 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). The scammers say they have test results and ask for credit card information. Please don't share this information and hang up if you receive suspicious call. Health Link will never ask for your credit card details or your Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Alberta Health Services Text4Hope Program
Through a set of daily text messages, people receive advice and encouragement that's helpful in developing healthy personal coping skills and resiliency. Community members simply subscribe to receive ongoing supportive content. There is no cost for this service.
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. They're available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The service can be accessed in more than 150 languages. You can call 2-1-1 or visit the website (ab.211.ca) for a growing list of community resources related to the current COVID-19 situation in Calgary. View the resource list.
Free courses for adults with ongoing COVID-19 symptoms
Alberta Health Services offers free online courses on breathing, eating, sleeping, stress, and activity for adults living in Alberta who continue to experience symptoms of COVID-19 after diagnosis.
Expired study permits or visitor records
If your study permit or visitor record is expiring soon/has expired, you may be provided with an extension of your Alberta health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) coverage while you wait for your new document from IRCC. You must:
- be currently living in Alberta
- be recently enrolled in AHCIP coverage
- have not received a denial from IRCC regarding your application to extend
- be able to provide the date of application and the application number from IRCC that confirms you applied to extend your work or study permit or visitor record before the expiration date
Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)
Learn more about eligibility for AHCIP and the services that are covered. Direct any questions to Alberta Health, using the contact information found here.
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:
- Phone: the SU Student Inquiries Line at 1.403.220.3906
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate Students: Visit the Graduate Students' Association's frequently asked questions page for information about coverage for COVID-19.
There have been reports across Canada of scams related to COVID-19. It’s normal to feel vulnerable or uncertain right now but it’s also 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, to make a donation, or to 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 that ask you to share credit card or health card numbers. Public health agencies won't 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, rather than clicking on unsolicited links sent to you. If you have any concerns, email the ISS advising team (email@example.com).
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.
To help you save time and get settled in Canada faster, 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:
- ATB Financial: Email the Campus ATB team at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more here.
- RBC: Email an RBC advisor at email@example.com or learn more here.
Note: ensure you know how you will pay for expenses while completing any required quarantine.
If you're 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're here to help.
Join the ISS team for presentations that will answer many of your questions. New and returning international students can register.
Prepare for your UCalgary academics. Attend a webinar through the Student Success Centre.
International Student Orientation
Attend orientation events. You'll get valuable information to help you succeed in your UCalgary studies.