COVID-19 information for international students
The Government of Canada has removed COVID-19 border and travel measures effective October 1, 2022. However, there is a temporary COVID-19 testing requirements for certain travellers.
As of 12:01 a.m. EDT on March 17, 2023, air travellers to Canada on flights originating from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macao will no longer be required to provide evidence of a COVID-19 test result before boarding. This means that there will no longer be any federal COVID-19 border measures in place after that time.
For more information, please refer to the following announcements:
- Government of Canada will remove COVID-19 testing requirement for air travellers arriving from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macao - Canada.ca
When travelling to Canada, please carefully review the Travel Canada website requirements and check with your airline to ensure you will be able to meet all the requirements for travelling to Calgary.
ISS posts updates and answers to frequently asked questions below.
Last updated: March 16, 2023
Travel to Canada
UPDATED: Oct. 3, 2022
Carefully and regularly review each section before you plan any travel. Restrictions and policies may change rapidly.
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 had deferred your program you will need your deferral letter
- proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
- valid immigration medical exam results if you're arriving from a designated country or territory
The border services officer will make a final decision on your eligibility to enter Canada when you arrive.
Government of Canada websites:
If you're 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
- transferring to domestic terminal for connecting flight
Check the airport websites for updates about any anticipated delays. Some airports are experiencing long delays.
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.
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 and 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 and 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, and 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.
Adapted from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/coronavirus-scams-canada-1.5501958
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 (ATB) 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.