COVID-19 information for international students

ISS posts updates and answers to frequently asked questions below.

Last updated: December 20, 2021

Travel departing a Canadian airport

UPDATED: Dec 20, 2021*

Effective October 30, 2021: 

  • Travellers departing from Canadian airports and travellers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to travel. 
  • For travellers in the process of being vaccinated, there will be a short transition period where they will be able to travel if they can show a valid Covid-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel before November 30, 2021. By November 30, 2021, all travellers must be fully vaccinated. 

Learn more here: Oct 6, 2021 Transport Canada Update

 

Effective November 30, 2021: Unvaccinated foreign nationals who are permitted to enter Canada are able to board a connecting flight as long as it is scheduled to depart within 24 hours of the departure time for their flight to Canada. 

They can continue to their final destination using a valid pre-entry molecular test as long as the scheduled departure time of their domestic flight is within 24 hours of the departure time for their flight to Canada.

Learn more here: Transport Canada Update

Effective December 15, 2021: Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada due to the risk of the Omicron variant that causes COVID-19.  

Important Websites:   

Travel to Canada

UPDATED: December 20, 2021*

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

Effective January 15, 2022: The Government of Canada will require all international students who are 18 years old and older to be fully vaccinated by a Canada approved vaccine to enter Canada. 

International students will likely be allowed to enter Canada if you meet the requirements below. The final determination is made by a government official at the port of entry.

The University of Calgary has received approval on our COVID-19 readiness plans and is listed on the approved DLI list. You must have:

  • A valid study permit or study permit approval letter 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.

Government of Canada websites:

ISS Resources: 

ISS has a presentation to help walk through the steps you'll need to consider. Check our website for a past version to review or an upcoming webinar to attend. 

INDIA:

Direct flights from India have resumed. Please refer to the Travel Advisory requirements on the requirements to enter Canada from India. 

MOROCCO:

Direct flights from Morocco have resumed. Please refer to the Travel Advisory requirements on the requirements to enter Canada from Morocco. 

* Please ensure you read the above information in "Travel departing a Canadian airport" when planning connecting flights inside Canada. 

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. 

Effective December 18, at 11:59 p.m. EST: Travel Suspension Lifted for foreign nationals who may have been in Nigeria, Malawi, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini, within the previous 14 days before arriving in Canada. 

Travel delays

UPDATED: November 26, 2021*

UPDATED: November 5, 2021

There continues to be study permit processing delays due to the COVID-19 impacts. We advise students toapply onlineas soon as possible to get into the queue to increase their chance of getting their application approved in time for the start of classes and to maintain eligibility for a Post Graduate work permit. 

Studying In-Canada 

Students must have a study permit to study inside 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 Winter 2022 (January 2022) term, then you must contact:

 

Remote Studies

Currently, the IRCC has authorized remote studies, outside of Canada, until August 31, 2022, without it effecting your post-graduate work permit (PGWP) eligibility. 

Outside of Canada students are eligible for this temporary policy if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program.
  • were outside Canada and unable to travel to Canada because of the COVID-19 pandemic but were still able to take online courses.
  • began a program in any semester from spring 2020 to summer 2022, or your program was already in progress in March 2020.
  • have a study permit or approval for a study permit, or you have applied for a study permit for which you are eventually approved prior to starting your program.
  • meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria.

 

Remote Studies from inside of 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 post graduate open work permit (PGWP).

Learn more HERE.

Please contact your program. In most cases, a deferral is an option, but please 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 are 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.

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 travellers to Canada

UPDATED: Dec 20, 2021*

Before travelling, you must inform UCalgary of your arrival date and quarantine plans by completing the online arrival form on the page below. During your quarantine, you can also use the quarantine update form if you have any symptoms or need assistance during quarantine. 

Are you a graduate student? 

Visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies Arrival page

Update: December 17, 2021: Government of Canada announces additional measures to contain the spread of the Omicron variant (Public Health Agency of Canada) 

  • Fully vaccinated travelers who have been in any country, other than the United States and Canada, in the 14 days prior to entry to Canada may be selected for arrival testing. If selected, you must quarantine in a suitable place until you receive a negative test result. It can take upwards of 3-days to receive test results. 
  • The Government of Canada is increasing the number of fully vaccinated travellers selected for on-arrival PCR testing to 100% in the coming weeks. 

It is your responsibility to be informed of current travel requirements to enter Canada, as well as any requirements for countries or provinces you connect through. Currently, the province of Alberta has no requirements in addition to the federal requirements.  

To be considered a fully vaccinated traveler when entering Canada you must: 

  • be asymptomatic while travelling 
  • follow public health measures in place, such as wearing a mask when traveling and in public
  • Have study permit and documents prepared
  • Have completed a full series of a Government of Canada-accepted Covid-19 vaccine (or a mix of two accepted vaccines) at least 14 days before you enter Canada
  • Receive negative result from pre-entry Covid-19 molecular test (travelers are responsible for cost)
  • Prepare a quarantine plan 
  • Upload your travel details and proof of vaccination to ArriveCAN app (in English, French, or certified translation) 
  • Complete any required arrival testing and quarantine while awaiting results (pending current requirements) 

Government of Canada websites:

Effective January 15, 2022: all international students 18 years old and older must be fully vaccinated by a Canada approved vaccine to enter Canada. Learn more: 

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Before Jan 15, 2022:

Use the Government of Canada’s checklist for requirements and exemptions based on how you are entering Canada and your specific vaccination status/situation:

It is your responsibility to be informed of current travel requirements to enter Canada, as well as any requirements for countries or provinces you connect through. Currently, the province of Alberta has no requirements in addition to the federal requirements.  

Travellers who do not meet the fully vaccinated traveler exemption must:

  • Have study permit and documents prepared
  • Receive negative result from pre-entry Covid-19 molecular test (travellers are responsible for cost)
  • Register in advance for arrival Covid-19 test (no cost)
  • Prepare a 14 day quarantine plan
  • Upload your travel details to ArriveCAN app within 72 hours of your travel to Canada

While in Quarantine:

  • Monitor yourself for symptoms
  • Use ArriveCAN to complete daily quarantine check-in each day of the 14-day quarantine period
  • Complete Covid-19 test on day 8 of quarantine

Government of Canada websites:

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

Proof of vaccination

UPDATED: Dec 20, 2021

You are responsible to understand vaccination requirements in place for entry into Canada, any transit countries, and Canadian provinces, to meet Alberta Restriction Exemption Program, and to meet UCalgary CovidSafe Campus requirements. 

Regulations may change rapidly. Please consult official websites for most up-to-date information before making any plans. 

To be eligible for the Government of Canada's: 

  • fully vaccinated traveler exemption (until Jan 15, 2022) OR
  • fully vaccinated traveler requirement (after Jan 15, 2022)

You must have completed a full series of one of the following vaccines (or a mix of two accepted vaccines) at least 14 days before you enter Canada: 

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna 
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD 
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson 
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C) 
  • Sinopharm (Beijing) BBIBP-CorV (Vero Cells) 
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc) 

Government of Canada websites:

Currently, the province of Alberta has no entry requirements in addition to the federal quarantine and testing requirements for entry into Canada. However, there are public health measures in place. 

The Alberta Restriction Exemption Program requires that certain business require proof of vaccination or a negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, otherwise health restrictions are in place. The City of Calgary is following similar procedures.

Alberta Restrictions Exemption Program

Calgary Covid-19 Bylaws

Currently, Alberta considers vaccines that are authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as valid. The specific vaccines accepted in Alberta are listed here

Review the accepted vaccine records here

  • Effective Nov 15, the only Alberta-issued proof of vaccine accepted is the Alberta proof with QR code. 
  • Proof from another Canadian province or outside-Canada is still accepted 

By September 14, 2021, all students were required to log in to the Thrive Health app, provide the information requested and, if required, enrol in rapid testing and upload their first test results. 

Effective October 1, 2021, visitors to campus will be required to provide proof of vaccination status

By January 1, 2022, UCalgary will be requiring students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated – or have a legitimate exemption to vaccination.

The University of Calgary will consider you fully vaccinated if you have a full series of a World Health Organization-approved COVID-19 vaccine and upload a valid vaccine record from your country of vaccination to the Thrive Health portal. 

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

You can send questions about uploading proof of your WHO-approved vaccination for the UCalgary  CovidSafe policy to covidsafe@ucalgary.ca.

  1. How do I pick up a rapid testing kit if I am in the mandatory 14-day isolation?

    You must still create an account, complete an attestation and identify if you are going to be on campus or attend in person activities in 2021. While in quarantine, you can indicate you are not coming to campus. Once your quarantine period is complete, you can complete a new attestation and make an appointment to pick up your rapid test kit.

    If you are in quarantine and a student, please contact vpse@ucalgary.ca so you can be added to the September exemption list.

    Upcoming requirements:

    UCalgary will be requiring students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated – or have a legitimate exemption to vaccination – by January 1, 2022. Additionally, visitors to campus will be required to provide proof of vaccination status, effective October 1, 2021.

    Read more. 

  1. Government of Canada

    Effective Nov 30, 2021: the list of approved vaccines to meet requirements for the fully vaccinated traveler exemption from testing and quarantine when entering Canada has expanded:

    Students should contact Alberta Health Services for guidance on what vaccinations and timeline would meet federal travel requirements to board flights from a Canadian airport moving forward. 

    The ISS team is not able to provide medical guidance on this matter.

  2. Province of Alberta

    As of November 15, 2021, Alberta's vaccine record with QR code is the only valid proof of Alberta-issued vaccination accepted by operators participating in the Alberta and Calgary Restrictions Exemption Program.

    New to Alberta/Short-term Students

    The Alberta Restriction Exemption Program requirements indicate that out-of-country vaccine records or other provincial vaccine records with a QR code are still acceptable for entry to participating businesses.

    Current Alberta Residents

    You can upload your proof of WHO-approved vaccination to the Alberta Vaccine Registry. Out-of-province and out-of-country immunizations can be uploaded to the Immunization Record Submission Online Portal

    AHS will review your proof and, if approved, add it to your health records (2-3 weeks processing time). You do not need an Alberta Health Number to upload your proof of vaccine; however, if you are intending to live in Alberta for a year or more, we do strongly advise that you also apply for your Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan coverage as soon as you have your Alberta mailing address

    Alberta Vaccine Records QR Code

    Once you've uploaded your proof of WHO-vaccine and it has been approved, you can download the Alberta vaccine records QR code. You will use this QR code proof to access businesses that adhere to the Alberta/Calgary Restrictions Exemption Program.

    For further questions, review the Frequently Asked Questions page (sections “immunization records” and “immunization & travel”): https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17389.aspx.

    If you still have any concerns or challenges uploading proof of vaccine for Alberta's requirements, contact Health Link Alberta (811).

  3. University of Calgary

    You will be considered you fully vaccinated if you have a full series of a World Health Organization-approved COVID-19 vaccine and upload a valid vaccine record from your country of vaccination to the Thrive Health portal. 

    By January 1, 2022, UCalgary will be requiring students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated – or have a legitimate exemption to vaccination.

After Nov 30, 2021: travelers departing a Canadian airport must be fully vaccinated

Until Jan 15, 2022: unvaccinated international students who are eligible to enter Canada may do so, following all quarantine and testing requirements. 

After Jan 15, 2022: unvaccinated international students (who are 18 or older) are not eligible to enter Canada.

Once in Alberta, students should contact Alberta Health Services for guidance on what vaccinations and timeline would meet federal travel requirements to board flights from a Canadian airport moving forward. 

The ISS team is not able to provide medical guidance on this matter.

International students and family members are eligible to book a free Covid-19 vaccination appointment, as soon as their group has completed their quarantine period. 

If you do not yet have an Alberta Health Care card, you can contact Health Link at 811 to make an appointment. International students are encouraged to apply for medical insurance (to receive their Alberta Health Card) after arriving in Alberta.

You are not required to bring proof of your residency in Alberta, but you must bring photo identification (such as your passport). 

If you have an Alberta Health Care card, can book at Varsity Pharmacy or Student Wellness Services

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.

Visit our Student Wellness Services website for more information.

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. 

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

Note: ISS is closed for the Winter Break Dec 24- Jan 2, 2022. Emails will not be monitored during this time. 

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

Email our team at iss@ucalgary.ca.

 

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