Before you travel to Canada

Before you travel to Canada, you need the right documents and a self-isolation plan for when you arrive.

Latest updates

On August 25, 2022, IRCC announced an extension of temporary policies allowing online courses outside Canada to count towards the Post-Graduation Work Permit until August 31, 2023, if meeting eligibility requirements.

Travel restrictions, testing, and quarantine requirements may change without notice. Visit COVID-19: Travel, testing, and borders for updates.

Last updated Thurs, Aug 25, 2022

Travelling to Canada: step by step

Step 1: Check if you’re eligible

Step 2: Before you travel
Before you travel to Canada, make sure you prepare the right documents supporting essential travel, get a COVID-19 test if unvaccinated, and have valid health insurance coverage for when you arrive.

Step 3: Prepare your quarantine (self-isolation) plan

Step 4: While travelling

Step 5: After you arrive

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Gather documents supporting essential travel

As proof you are a current, enrolled UBC student, you will need a Letter of Enrolment which has been recently issued, ideally within a week of your travel date. You can download this in your Student Services Centre (SSC) under “Grades and Records”. If you are not able to get a Letter of Enrolment from the SSC, contact an Academic & Career Advisor or graduate program staff for a customized letter of enrolment.

Furthermore, you must show that you have sufficient proof of funds for yourself and any accompanying dependents, according to the amount required for your study permit application.

You do not require a letter from UBC confirming you need to come to Canada for in-person studies. If you receive such a request from an airline or other organization, please send a copy of the request to geo.ubco@ubc.ca.

See Step 4: While travelling to Canada, for a list of recommended documents to bring when you travel. 

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Get a pre-arrival COVID-19 test if you are not fully vaccinated

As of April 1, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers do not require a pre-arrival COVID-19 test.

A pre-arrival COVID-19 test is required before you can travel to Canada if you are unvaccinated and are exempt from the travel restrictions. Children under 5 years old are exempt.

There are three options for test results:

  1. A professionally administered or observed negative antigen test taken no more than 1 day before your scheduled flight or land border crossing
  2. A negative molecular test taken within 72 hours of your scheduled flight’s departure time to Canada or land border crossing
  3. A positive molecular test result taken at least 10 days and no more than 180 days before entering Canada

Visit COVID-19 testing for travellers for details.

Some travellers are exempt from testing.

Get a new medical exam, if required

If you applied for a study permit or TRV outside Canada

Immigration medical exam results are only valid for 12 months. If you completed an immigration medical exam for your application and you will be entering Canada more than 12 months after completing your medical exam, you may receive a notice from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to advise you to take a medical exam again. Even if you do not receive a notice, you will need to take another medical exam before travelling to Canada and bring both e-medicals with you. 

If you get a request in your online IRCC account for a medical exam it is important to complete the medical exam or provide an explanation by the deadline. See our medical exam FAQ for details.

If a medical exam was not required for your application, you do not need to complete one, unless your situation has changed since you applied and you now require a medical exam.

If you are a continuing student with a valid study permit who has been outside Canada for more than 6 months

If you’ve been in a designated country for 6 months or longer in the past 12 months, you will need to complete a medical exam with a panel physician before travelling to Canada and bring a copy of your e-medical with you when you travel to Canada. In addition, if you are a medical student or will work in jobs that require a medical exam, check that your study and/or work permit conditions allow you to work in jobs that require a medical exam. If you do not have the conditions, take a medical exam and apply to change conditions on your study and/or work permit.

Confirm your Health insurance coverage

If you’re new to UBC

As a new international student, you have temporary health insurance coverage for your first three months through iMED. Once you’ve arrived in Canada, if you will stay in the province for more than 6 months, you must apply for the BC Medical Service Plan (MSP) to cover your remaining time at UBC. Learn more about health insurance.

STUDENTS WHO STARTED THEIR PROGRAM IN WINTER SESSION 2020 TO SUMMER SESSION 2021 (SEPTEMBER 2020 TO AUGUST 2021) – CONFIRM YOUR ARRIVAL DATE

You should have received an email from David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) with information related to your temporary iMED health insurance and instructions on how to confirm your arrival date in Canada. You must confirm your arrival date with DCIS. 

We strongly recommend that starting 3 weeks before your travel date, you confirm your arrival date before travelling by providing your scanned flight tickets to DCIS.

You can also confirm your arrival with DCIS up to 3 weeks after you’ve arrived in Canada by providing your scanned flight tickets, boarding pass(es), study permit, passport stamp, or landing documents.

Once you confirm your arrival with DCIS, you will receive your iMED card by email.

STUDENTs starting THEIR PROGRAM IN WINTER SESSION 2021 (September 2021 – April 2022) OR LATER

You will automatically receive your iMED card by email.

If you are beginning studies in Winter Term 1 (September to December), your coverage will automatically start on August 1. You should purchase advanced coverage if you will arrive earlier or apply to change your coverage dates if you will arrive in September or later. Learn about changing coverage dates.

One-term exchange students have distinct coverage dates that cannot be changed. If you are arriving before your coverage begins we strongly recommend that you purchase advanced coverage.

GET YOUR VIRTUAL IMED CARD

If you don’t receive your iMED card, please email DCIS at imed@david-cummings.com.

Confirm the iMED coverage period on your iMED card is correct. iMED coverage should start from the month you arrive in BC plus two months to cover the BC MSP waiting period. One-term exchange students and VIRS students are covered for the entire duration of their program studies.

IF YOUR PLANS CHANGE

If your travel plans change, request an adjustment of your iMED coverage period as soon as possible by contacting DCIS to inform them that you will come to Canada at a later date. Once you know your new arrival date, submit an Arrival Date Confirmation / Coverage Dates Change Form by email. If you started your program in Winter Session 2020 to Summer Session 2021, you must do this before July 21, 2022. You will then receive a new iMED card with your new coverage period.

Returning students

Before you travel, check whether you have valid BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage.

IF YOU’VE BEEN OUTSIDE OF CANADA FOR SIX MONTHS OR LESS

If you have been outside of Canada for less than six months and you did not cancel your MSP, ensure your MSP coverage has not expired. You should be able to be covered under MSP, however you must contact BC MSP to confirm. You may be asked to pay MSP fees for the time you were covered.

IF YOU’VE BEEN OUTSIDE OF CANADA FOR MORE THAN SIX MONTHS

If you have been outside of Canada for more than six monthscontact BC MSP to confirm your eligibility for coverage. If you can still be covered under MSP, no further action is required until your MSP expires. You may be asked to pay MSP fees for the time you were covered.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE MSP

Before you travel to Canada, contact BC MSP to check if you are eligible for temporary coverage if you are currently in BC and your MSP expired, were previously enrolled in MSP, or your previous study or work permit expired on December 1, 2020, or later.

If you are not eligible to be covered under MSP, you will need to get private health insurance, such as the Global Campus Health Plan, to cover the three-month MSP waiting period. Make sure the private health plan you choose has adequate coverage as some private health insurance companies are no longer covering COVID-19 testing and treatment.

As soon as you re-enter BC, apply for MSP online. See the Medical Service Plan Response to COVID-19 for the latest updates.

This information is accurate as of April 12, 2022, and is subject to change. Follow the latest updates on travel restrictions due to COVID-19. See also CBSA’s updates on travel for non-Canadians.