Before you travel to Canada
As of January 15, 2022, most international students and work permit holders must be fully vaccinated to travel to Canada. Exceptions include international students under the age of 18 studying at approved institutions such as UBC.
As of June 20, 2022, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is no longer required to board flights and trains in Canada. Learn more about boarding flights, trains, and cruise ships in Canada.
As of July 19, 2022, mandatory random arrival testing resumes for air travellers arriving in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto airports. Testing will take place outside of airports. See the July 14 news release for details.
Travel restrictions, testing, and quarantine requirements may change without notice. Visit COVID-19: Travel, testing, and borders for updates.
Last updated July 21, 2022
Travelling to Canada: step by step
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.
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 email@example.com.
See Step 4: While travelling to Canada, for a list of recommended documents to bring when you travel.
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:
- A professionally administered or observed negative antigen test taken no more than 1 day before your scheduled flight or land border crossing
- A negative molecular test taken within 72 hours of your scheduled flight’s departure time to Canada or land border crossing
- 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.
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.
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 2021 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 months, contact 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.