International students: Immigration and Health Insurance FAQ on COVID-19

Latest updates

The information on this page is based on information available at the time of publishing and may not always be up to date.

As of November 30, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers who have been in any country other than Canada and the United States in the 14 days prior to entry to Canada may be selected for testing when they arrive and must quarantine in a suitable place while waiting for the on-arrival test result. You may take public transportation, such as connecting flights, to your place of quarantine.

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

On December 15, 2021, the government issued a travel health notice to avoid non-essential travel internationally.

As of January 15, 2022, 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. If you’re a temporary foreign resident permitted entry into Canada without qualifying as fully vaccinated, you may take a connecting flight that is scheduled to depart within 24 hours of the departure time for your flight to Canada.

Last updated Fri, Jan 20

If you are planning to travel to Canada

If you’re an international student planning to come to UBC during the winter term, there are important steps to follow before you plan your travels.

Frequently asked questions

Immigration applications

Study and work permits

STUDY PERMITS

WORK PERMITS AND WORKING IN CANADA

PART-TIME STUDIES AND TAKING A BREAK FROM CLASSES

Health insurance

Academic and financial supports

I am a new student – can I apply for my study permit now?

Yes. As soon as you are admitted to UBC, you should apply online for an initial study permit so that you are in the queue for processing.

If you have not applied for your study permit yet, we urge you to apply as soon as possible.

Be sure to carefully review our step-by-step initial study permit tutorial to prepare your application. After you apply, you may be asked to submit biometrics (photo and fingerprints), complete a medical exam, or provide other documents which may not be possible to do right now, but we are confident that Immigration is aware of these delays and will process study permits as quickly as possible.

If you have registered in courses and paid for tuition, include proof of tuition payment in the ‘proof of means of financial support’ section of your document checklist along with your other financial documents. You can get proof of tuition payment from the Student Service Centre (SSC) by selecting ‘Tuition History’ under Finances. It may take 1-5 days for tuition payment to appear on your account.

It is our understanding that a ‘complete’ application includes all of the required documents in your online application checklist in your MyCIC account, in addition to documents listed in the Visa Office Instructions from the visa office that is responsible for your country/region.

Applications should be complete at the time you apply. If you submitted an incomplete study permit application, as soon as you receive your outstanding document, you should send it to IRCC through a webform and request that the document be added to your application. If IRCC sends you a request for documents after you apply, see the FAQ topic for more details.

The current travel restrictions will not prevent your study permit application from being processed. IRCC is prioritizing applications from people who are exempt from travel restrictions, such as international students.

If you are a US citizen or permanent resident, or a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon, learn about the option to apply at the border or airport on arrival.

 See the latest IRCC updates on study permits.

^ Back to top


I want to apply through the Student Direct Stream (SDS). What should I do?

If you are currently a legal resident of Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam, you have two pathways available for a study permit application – the regular stream and the Student Direct Stream (SDS). At this time UBC does not support pre-payment of tuition before you register for classes, so the regular stream is the option for applicants at this time.

We recommend that you apply for your study permit as soon as you receive your UBC of admission and your study permit application is complete.

Under the regular stream, you can improve your chances of getting a study permit (and avoiding any unnecessary delays) by completing as many of the following as you can:

  • Review our initial study permit tutorial and apply online
  • Complete your medical exam ‘upfront’ before you apply, if you need one
  • Provide a Guaranteed Income Certificate (GIC) for CAD$10,000 that meets the conditions set out by IRCC
  • Provide an IELTS scores of 6.0 or higher in each language skill
  • Provide a valid offer letter
  • Provide a police certificate, if required (check your visa office’s instructions)
  • Provide financial evidence of liquid funds for one year’s worth of tuition (for example, an education loan from a national bank, bank statements showing liquid funds, etc.)

^ Back to top


Can I submit an immigration application now?

Yes – see details below. All applications must be submitted online until further notice.

Study and work permits

Yes. You can submit applications for a study permit and/or a work permit online, both inside and outside of Canada. If you are in Canada and have a valid study or work permit, you can apply to extend it inside Canada. If you are outside Canada and have a study or work permit, you can only apply for a new document, not an extension.

If you are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon, on September 25, 2020 IRCC announced that you can apply for a study permit at the airport/border crossing on arrival in Canada. Visit our Travelling to Canada Guide for details. If you are in Canada, you should apply for a study permit extension online. If you are a visitor or worker in Canada who needs a study permit or your study permit expired and you didn’t apply to extend it, contact International Programs and Services for support.

If you are considering applying for a work permit at the land border or airport, see IRCC’s updated instructions.

Visit the student or worker page for the latest updates on applying at the port of entry (flagpoling).

Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) and Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs)

If you hold a study or work permit, you can submit an online application for a TRV or eTA inside of Canada.

If you or a family member applied for a TRV from outside Canada before September 7, 2021, and mentioned you are exempt from the travel restrictions (for example you followed the extra steps and showed proof you are a student) no further action is required. If your situation or your family’s situation has changed and you are travelling for a reason listed on the IRCC website, IRCC recommends you submit a new application – see visitor visa applications for details.

If you have or will apply for an eTA from outside of Canada, you must complete a few additional steps to show you are exempt from the travel restrictions as a study or work permit holder so that processing for your application is prioritized.

See the latest updates on immigration applications.

^ Back to top


What is the impact on processing times?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is continuing to process applications.

The processing times posted on the IRCC website are estimates, and IRCC states that they can’t give accurate processing times for most types of applications. You can also check your application status for more information.

IRCC is prioritizing applications from people who are exempt from travel restrictions, such as international students. We are confident that Immigration is aware of these delays and will process study permits as quickly as possible.

Processing times for a study permit application from outside of Canada varied greatly from country to country. However, IRCC updated their processing times tool for initial study permit applications submitted from outside Canada, which are now the same no matter the location from which you are applying.

If you or a family member have already applied or will apply for a TRV or  before September 7, 2021, and mentioned you are exempt from the travel restrictions (for example you followed the extra steps and showed proof you are a student) no further action is required. If your situation or your family’s situation has changed and you are travelling for a reason listed on the IRCC website, IRCC recommends you submit a new application – see visitor visa applications for details.

You may be experiencing delays with your study permit or TRV application. Unfortunately, there is no option to get rushed processing and International Student Advising is not able to influence processing times or contact IRCC on your behalf.

If your application is past the published processing time, you can send a webform to request an update. You can also mention you have in person courses and request rushed processing so that you can make it in time for classes. After you fill out the first page you can upload documents, such as a current letter of enrolment showing your registration for in person classes in September (you can get this from your Student Services Centre (SSC) by selecting “Proof of Enrolment Letters” under Grades and Records).

Check the IRCC processing times for your application.

^ Back to top


What if I can’t travel to Canada by the start of term?

You may be experiencing delays with your study permit or TRV application (learn how to follow up on your application), or you may have other reasons why you are unable to travel to Canada at this time.

Need to explore your next option(s)?

  • First, check to see if there’s an online version of the course being offered or if there are other online courses you may be interested in.
  • If you take courses online, consider taking enough courses to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). To maintain eligibility for a PGWP you must study full-time for immigration purposes, even if you are outside of Canada. Online courses completed outside Canada can count towards the length of a PGWP until August 31, 2022, if you meet the eligibility requirements. See the FAQ for new students (program start Summer Session 2020 or later) or continuing students (program start Winter Term 2 2019 or earlier) for details.
  • If online courses are not available for registration or are full, connect with an Academic Advisor from your faculty (or, for graduate students, your program advisor or graduate program staff) to discuss if there might be other options for your courses as well as ask about your the possibility of arriving late, starting another term, or deferring. Faculties may have options to support students who cannot come to campus.
  • If you are thinking of withdrawing from courses, make sure to do so before the add/drop deadlines. Be sure to understand the immigration impacts of studying part-time. If you need to withdraw from all courses:
    • If this is not your first term at UBC, you might be eligible for a leave. See our FAQ on taking undergraduate leave in 2021/22 Winter Session  
    • If this is your first term at UBC and you remain registered in 2021 Term 2 but not in Term 1 by the last day to drop courses without a W, you would be considered to have deferred enrolment for immigration purposes. You would not need and would not be eligible for a leave.
  • If you take courses online from outside Canada and are new to UBC, email isa@students.ubc.ca to request that your iMED health insurance be delayed until you arrive in Canada.
  • If you are thinking of taking courses at another institution, check with your academic advising office or graduate program advisor, since it could affect your UBC degree. If the institution is in Canada, change your Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number, then change it back to UBC’s DLI when you return. If you will study at UBC and another Canadian institution at the same time, email isa@students.ubc.ca with proof of your course registration so we can report you appropriately to immigration
  • Arrange for housing outside of Canada and change any housing arrangements in Canada. If you have on-campus housing, contact UBC Housing to ask about your options. If you booked an on-campus self-isolation plan, contact UBC Conferences & Accommodation
  • If you can’t take courses online this term, how can you invest your time to help yourself, family or friends? Can you study a special interest such as a new language or a life skill such as public speaking? Can you gain workplace experience by working or volunteering? Can you help care for your family? Can you make a difference in your community? Can you promote a cause that matters to you?
  • Review the taking time away from studies page and keep supporting documents, such as your flight tickets leaving and returning to Canada or a letter confirming your internship or volunteer experience.

Before making travel plans, carefully review the Travelling to Canada Guide.

We understand you are facing many challenges if you cannot travel to Canada to attend classes in person, but no matter where you are, we will do our best to try and support you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need assistance or have questions. We want to help however we can!


I need to provide biometrics. How does this impact my application?

IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE OF CANADA

Biometrics (your fingerprints and photo) have been required for study permit applications since 2018. If you applied for a study permit before 2018 you may not have provided them in the past and will need to provide them if applying for a study permit or work permit from outside Canada – this is different from providing your fingerprints at the airport kiosk. If you are not sure, you can confirm if you have valid biometrics.

You must provide your biometrics within 30 days of when you have received your Biometrics Instruction Letter and should book an appointment as soon as possible.

Some Visa Application Centres (VACs) outside of Canada and Application Support Centers (ASCs) in the US are temporarily closed or an appointment may not be available within 30 days. As of April 12, 2021, applications are no longer being automatically extended if documents are missing.

If you are not able to provide biometrics in time, write a letter of explanation to request more time and provide proof of the reason you cannot provide biometrics, such as a PDF or screenshot of the VAC page indicating it is closed or a screenshot of your appointment confirmation, then combine these together into one PDF and submit them in your online IRCC account by the deadline (or send a webform if you do not have a request in your online portal).

Keep checking the Government of Canada’s updates on biometrics on office closures. Schedule your biometrics appointment as soon as offices return to normal operations.

Since applications are typically not processed until biometrics have been provided, the delay in providing biometrics may cause increased processing times. We are confident that Immigration is aware of these delays and will process study permits as quickly as possible.

If you travel after submitting your immigration application and a VAC near you is open, contact them to confirm if you can provide biometrics there. IRCC advises not to travel to another country solely for the purposes of providing biometrics.

IF YOU ARE IN CANADA

IRCC has temporarily suspended the biometrics requirement for temporary residents who apply from inside of Canada. This applies to both new and previously submitted applications in progress for:

  • Study permit, work permit, and Visitor Record extensions
  • Temporary Resident Visas
  • New study permits, work permits, or Visitor Records
  • Restoration of student, worker or visitor status
  • Temporary Resident Permits

If you are submitting a new application, you do not need to pay the biometrics fee, even if the system is telling you to.

If you have already submitted an application which is in progress and paid for the biometrics fee, you do not need to submit biometrics, even if you got a letter telling you to. Your application will be processed and your biometrics fee will be automatically refunded when your application is finalized. You do not need to take any action steps.

As of November 30, 2020, if you are not exempt from having to give your biometrics and you have your Biometrics Instruction Letter, you can once again book an appointment online for biometrics. There are no walk-in services at this time.

Find updates and information on biometrics collection.

^ Back to top


I need to complete my medical exam. How does this impact my application?

Contact your nearest panel physician’s office to confirm they are still performing medical exams. You may not be able to complete an up-front medical exam at this time.

If you submitted an immigration application and received a request for a medical exam, you must provide a medical exam within 30 days of receiving the request. As of April 12, 2021, you will no longer get an automatic extension of the deadline.

If the panel physician’s office near you is closed or you are unable to get an appointment within 30 days, write a letter of explanation  to request more time and combine this with proof of the reason you cannot complete the medical exam, such as a copy of your future appointment confirmation, into one PDF and submit them online in your IRCC account by the deadline (or send a webform if you do not have a request in your online portal).

Since applications are typically not processed until medical exams have been completed, the delay in your medical exam appointment may cause an increase in processing times. Please schedule your medical exam appointment when your nearest panel physician returns to normal operations. We are confident that Immigration will account for these delays and will process study permits as quickly as possible.

If you travel after submitting your immigration application, you can complete a medical exam in any country regardless of where you applied. Do not travel to another country solely for the purposes of completing a medical exam.

If you completed a medical exam for an application, such as a new study permit, from outside of Canada as a new or returning student, a Temporary Resident Visa, or Post-Graduation Work Permit, note that medical exams are only valid for 12 months from the date you took the exam and should be valid at the time you travel to Canada. If you will travel to Canada more than 12 months after you took your medical exam for your application, you should complete a new medical exam before travelling to Canada.

If you are a current student outside of Canada with a valid study permit and have lived in a designated country for more than 6 months in the past year, you must complete a medical exam before travelling to Canada, as well as apply to change conditions to work in jobs which require a medical exam, if required. If IRCC or a CBSA officer specifically requests that you complete a medical exam it is important that you submit a copy of your e-medical by the deadline provided.

Find out more about medical exams for your immigration application. 

^ Back to top


I am a new student starting between May 2020 and August 2022. If my classes have moved online due to COVID-19, can I start my program online from outside Canada? Will I be eligible for the PGWP?

You can begin your program online starting between May 2020 and August 2022 from outside of Canada, even if your study permit application has not been processed yet, since you are not technically required to have a valid study permit for the purposes of studying online outside Canada.

However, if you intend to apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after you complete your studies, in order for your online courses completed outside of Canada to count towards the PGWP, you must have one of the following before your courses start:

If you have one of the above, online courses completed outside of Canada before August 31, 2022 can count towards length of your PGWP and you can complete up to 100% of your studies outside Canada. You do not need to wait for a study permit approval-in-principle for your studies to count towards the PGWP, but you must continue to meet the other PGWP requirements, such as maintaining full-time enrolment, even while outside of Canada.

To search for online courses for Winter Term 1 2021, visit 2021/22 Winter Session Courses. Please contact an Academic Advisor or graduate program staff to discuss if there are options to study online outside Canada or postpone/defer your start date if you are a new student. If you are thinking of withdrawing, be sure to check the add/drop deadlines and understand the immigration impacts of withdrawing from courses.

For updates on UBC’s approach to Winter Term 1 2021 (September – December, 2021) please see COVID-19 and UBC’s response. To search for online courses see 2021/22 Winter Session courses

If you began online studies before IRCC received your study permit application, your studies will only count towards the length of your PGWP after your application was received.

If you applied for a study permit before your program started but it was refused, your studies will count towards the PGWP starting from your first study permit application if you reapply for a study permit and IRCC receives your application before your program ends and it is later approved.

If you meet the above criteria and you are in a program which will end before December 31, 2021, you can now complete 100% of your program online outside of Canada and be eligible for the PGWP.

If your program will finish after August 31, 2022, online courses completed outside of Canada after August 31, 2022 will not count towards the length of your program, based on the current policies. For programs undertaken and ongoing between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, you are not required to complete 50% of the program in Canada.

Furthermore, you could combine your program completed online with another PGWP-eligible program and request a longer work permit, so long as:

  • your program was in progress or started between March 2020 and August 2022 and
  • you complete the second program within 2 years of finishing your first program.

If you will complete your program online from outside of Canada and are eligible for a pgwp

See options to apply for a PGWP inside or outside of Canada.

See the latest IRCC updates on the impact of COVID-19 for international students. 

^ Back to top


My study permit will expire soon, but my program is not finished. What should I do? 

IF YOU ARE IN CANADA

You can apply to extend your study permit online as usual. You must submit your study permit extension application before your study permit becomes invalid.

When you apply for a study permit extension in Canada, after you’ve received your new study permit, you must submit a separate application for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), if required, since it is not issued automatically when you apply for a study permit in Canada. In general, if you will be abroad when your current TRV expires, it is best to get your new TRV before leaving Canada so that you can return with your new documents.

If you will leave Canada after you apply

You may use the Canadian mailing address of a trusted friend in your application. Once your study permit is received, ask them to send you a digital copy and mail the original to you.

If you need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and it expires before you plan to return, you can apply for a TRV online from outside of Canada with a digital copy of your study permit. Review our step-by-step TRV tutorial, then review the TRV from outside of Canada guide since your application will be slightly different. Be sure to upload any additional documents required by your visa office in the ‘Client Information’ section — select your country under the ‘apply on paper’ section then see the visa office instructions PDF. Make sure to write a letter of explanation and make it clear that you are applying for a TRV in order to return to Canada to continue to study. Note that processing times for a TRV outside of Canada may be very long and could delay your return to Canada.

If you have already or will apply for a TRV or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) from outside of Canada, you must complete a few additional steps.

IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE OF CANADA

You can apply online for a new study permit from outside of Canada. Review our step-by-step initial study permit tutorial for applications from outside of Canada. If you have not applied yet, it’s important to submit a complete study permit application as soon as possible.

For the ‘letter of acceptance’ document request, you should include a current letter of enrolment – see the ‘letter of enrolment’ section of our study permit extension tutorial for details. In addition, you should include your initial letter of acceptance from when you were first accepted to UBC and combine these in one PDF, with the current letter of enrolment as the first page. Furthermore, you should order a PDF transcript and include it in your ‘client information’ section. You will need to provide proof of funds for one year of tuition fees plus a minimum of $10,000 for living expenses (more if you have dependents).

If you have not previously provided biometrics, you will need to provide them when applying from outside of Canada (see question above). If you require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), it will be issued automatically after your study permit application has been approved.

If you plan to return to Canada, if you are currently enrolled and meet the requirements to travel you could return to Canada before your study permit and Temporary Resident Visa expire then apply for a study permit extension from inside of Canada before your study permit becomes invalid (see the ‘if you are in Canada’ section above).

If you have finished your studies, you may not be able to travel to Canada as a student based on the current travel restrictions, even if your study permit is still valid. You could apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit from outside of Canada (see question below) and meet the requirements to travel as a worker before returning, which could delay your return. Alternatively, if you are fully-vaccinated you might be able to travel as a visitor if you have a valid TRV or eTA.

If you have been in a designated country for more than 6 months, intend to work in certain jobs, or are a medical student, you will require a medical exam for your study permit application, whether you apply from outside or inside of Canada. Be sure to add a section to your letter of explanation to request conditions allowing you to work in these jobs, if applicable.

Check travel restrictions to learn about your eligibility to return to Canada and what to prepare.

^ Back to top


I want to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). What are my options?

IF YOU ARE IN CANADA

You can apply for a PGWP online as usual. See our PGWP page for important information on timing to apply, eligibility to work before and after applying, and more.

After you’ve received your PGWP, you must submit a separate application for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), if required, since it is not issued automatically when you apply for a work permit in Canada. Your TRV you received as a student will remain valid until the expiry date and you can continue to use it. In general, if you will be abroad when your current TRV expires, it is best to get your new TRV before leaving Canada so that you can return with your new documents.

If you will leave Canada after you apply

You may use the Canadian mailing address of a trusted friend in your application. Once your work permit is received, ask a friend to send you a digital copy and mail the original to you. If you apply while inside Canada, note that your work permit start date will typically be the same day it is approved. After finishing studies you will not be able to travel to Canada as an international student and will need to meet the current travel restrictions for workers before returning to Canada, which could delay your return.

If you require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada, you can continue to use your TRV you received as a student until it expires. If your TRV expires before you plan to return, you can apply for a TRV online from outside of Canada with a digital copy of your work permit. Review our step-by-step TRV tutorial, then review the TRV from outside of Canada guide since your application will be slightly different. Be sure to upload any additional documents required by your visa office in the ‘Client Information’ section — select your country under the ‘apply on paper’ section then see the visa office instructions PDF. Note that processing times for a TRV outside of Canada may be very long and could delay your return to Canada.

If you have already applied or will an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) from outside of Canada, you must complete a few additional steps.

IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE OF CANADA

You can apply for a PGWP online from outside of Canada within 180 days after your letter of completion first became available, even if:

  • Your study permit is no longer valid
  • You received a Letter of Introduction for a study permit and have not travelled to Canada to get your study permit

Review our step-by-step PGWP tutorial, then review the IRCC work permit outside of Canada guide since your application will be slightly different. Be sure to include any additional documents required by your visa office in the ‘Client Information’ section — select your country under the “apply on paper” section then see the visa office instructions PDF. If you have not previously provided biometrics, you will need to provide them when applying from outside of Canada. If you require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), it will be issued automatically after your application has been approved.

If you have been in a designated country for more than 6 months, or intend to work in certain jobs, you will require a medical exam for your PGWP application. Be sure to add a section to your letter of explanation to request conditions allowing you to work in these jobs, if applicable.

After you receive your PGWP approval (letter of introduction), your letter will indicate the date by which you need to travel to Canada, which is typically the length of the PGWP for which you are eligible. Once you travel to Canada and present your letter of introduction for your work permit to the officer on arrival in Canada, your work permit should be issued for the full length of PGWP for which you are eligible.

The travel restrictions for work permit holders are different from those for current international students. You might need to wait for your PGWP application to be processed and will not be able to travel until you meet the requirements to travel as a worker, which could delay your return – see travel restrictions for work permit holders for more information. Considering the rapid change of travel restrictions in Canada and around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly recommend that you use caution when making travel plans, be prepared to make last-minute changes and check the IRCC website for the latest updates.

If you are someone who does require a Temporary Resident Visa and you are fully vaccinated with a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or are a US citizen, you might be able to apply for a work permit at the Canadian border or airport. You will need to bring all original documents and an outside of Canada application with you to apply upon arrival. Please be advised this may change at any time.

See the latest updates on work permit applications. 

^ Back to top


Can international students who are abroad travel to Canada?

As of October 20, 2020, international students enrolled at institutions with provincially-approved readiness plans, such as UBC, may travel to Canada if they have the right documents. Their travel is considered essential.

Before arranging any travels, carefully review all pages of the Travelling to Canada guide for more detailed information on how to prepare for your trip. We will continue to keep this up-to-date as travel restrictions change and more information becomes available.

^ Back to top


I am in Canada as a visitor or worker. Can I start my studies in Canada online without a study permit?

If your course or program is normally offered 100% online, you are not eligible for a study permit and can study anywhere in the world. Programs normally offered 100% online are not eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

If your course or program is normally offered in-person but has moved online due to COVID-19, whether or not you can study in Canada without a study permit depends on the total length of your studies.

STUDIES LESS THAN 6 MONTHS

You can study in Canada without a study permit if your entire program of studies will be completed within 6 months and before your original status in Canada expires.

If you were previously a student and have applied for or hold a PGWP, you can also study in Canada for up to 6 months without a study permit, such as taking a course as an unclassified student for one term.

STUDIES LONGER THAN 6 MONTHS

If you are planning to study for longer than 6 months, you must have a study permit before you can begin your program in Canada, even if your first course is less than 6 months. Since study permits are required for studies longer than 6 months in Canada, you must receive your study permit before you can begin studies, even if your courses are completely moved online due to COVID-19. If all of your courses for a particular term were normally offered online, you may study in Canada for that term without a study permit.

If you were eligible to apply for a study permit inside of Canada and you applied as a visiting or exchange student while studying in Canada or a secondary school student in Canada, you can study after you apply for a study permit. If you applied for the study permit as the dependent of a study or work permit holder or a work permit holder in Canada, you can study after your study permit application has been approved.

If you are in Canada and applied for a study permit at a visa office which is outside of Canada, you cannot start studying with a Letter of Introduction (study permit approval) and must not study until your study permit is issued. Also note that applications submitted through the outside of Canada process do not give you status in Canada, and you must always ensure you have valid status in Canada, such as applying to extend your stay as a visitor before your status ends.

After you get your Letter of Introduction, contact IRCC to inquire how to get your study permit.

Some students are study permit exempt.


I am an exchange, Visiting International Research Student, unclassified student, or visiting student. Do I have to apply for a study permit if I will study for less than 6 months?

Under normal circumstances, if you will study for less than six months and your program will end within the time for which you are authorized to stay in Canada, you do not need a study permit to study in Canada and could study as a visitor.

As of January 15, 2022, all travelers must be fully vaccinated to travel to Canada, with limited exceptions, such as students under 18 years old. Based on the current travel restrictions, even if you are fully vaccinated, you may not be permitted to travel to Canada as a visitor for studies without a study permit.

If you are a US citizen you can apply for a study permit at the airport or border when you enter Canada.

If you are not a US citizen and do not have a study permit, please contact Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for advice on traveling. The officer you meet in Canada upon arrival will make the final decision.

^ Back to top


I received a request from IRCC to provide another document for my application. What should I do?

If you receive a request from IRCC to provide additional documents after you have submitted your application, it is very important to upload the document by the deadline as well as make sure to follow the steps to successfully submit them to IRCC.

PROOF OF TUITION PAYMENT

If you are unable to register and have not paid for tuition, you should write a letter of explanation and combine this with the Confirmation of Tuition Payment Policies (pdf) and upload them together in one PDF.

If you have paid for tuition, get proof of payment from your Student Services Centre (SSC) by selecting “Tuition History” under Finances.

UPDATED LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE

If you receive a request for an updated letter of acceptance, contact International Programs and Services and send a copy of the request you’ve received.

If you are enrolled in classes, download a current letter of enrollment from your Student Services Centre (SSC) by selecting “Proof of Enrolment Letters” under Grades and Records. Then, combine your updated letter of acceptance and letter of enrollment into one PDF and upload them together.

MEDICAL EXAM

See the FAQ on medical exams.

BIOMETRICS

See the FAQ on biometrics.

Contact International Programs and Services if you receive a different type of request or have any questions.

^ Back to top


I have applied for a co-op work permit but I have not received it yet. Can I start working?

If you are waiting for your co-op work permit to be processed, usually you cannot work until your co-op work permit is approved. However, if you are eligible to work on and off campus with your study permit, then as a temporary measure due to COVID-19, you can start your co-op, internship, or practicum placement, with your on- or off-campus work eligibility from your study permit. You can do this during regular academic sessions (to a maximum of 20 hours per week for all positions off-campus), and you can work full time during scheduled breaks.

If you will be outside of Canada, contact your faculty’s co-op staff or your graduate program staff to learn about impacts to your placement.

Once your co-op work permit is approved, as an exception, you can start working full-time without waiting to receive the original co-op work permit.

Refer to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) May 27, 2020 update on your co-op work eligibility and coop page for officers.

See the latest IRCC updates on the impact of COVID-19 for international students.

^ Back to top


Can I come to Canada if I have a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

See the COVID-19 foreign workers page for information on current impacts. A PGWP is an open work permit.

Temporary foreign workers need to meet certain requirements to be exempt from the travel restrictions. Check the latest requirements. As of January 15, 2022, you will need to be fully vaccinated to travel to Canada.

If you are fully vaccinated, as of September 7, 2021, you can travel to Canada for non-essential purposes and do not require a job offer before travelling to Canada. Considering the rapid change of travel restrictions in Canada and around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly recommend that you use caution when making travel plans, be prepared to make last-minute changes and check the IRCC website for the latest updates. If you do not require a Temporary Resident Visa and you are fully vaccinated, you might be able to apply for a work permit upon arrival in Canada. You will need to bring all original documents and an outside of Canada application with you to apply upon arrival.

Like all travellers to Canada, you must get a COVID-19 test and quarantine upon arrival in Canada, unless exempt. In addition, you’ll still need a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada (US citizens are exempt). If you received a TRV as a student you can continue to use this TRV until the expiry date, even if you are no longer studying. Although some of the information is international student-specific, carefully review our Travelling to Canada Guide which has important details which apply to all travellers.

You should also confirm if your Medical Services Plan (MSP) is valid. If not, purchase private, temporary health insurance which covers COVID-19 testing and treatment for your 3-month MSP waiting period, then apply for MSP when you return to BC. Bring proof of health insurance when you travel to Canada.

See the latest IRCC COVID-19 updates for foreign workers.

^ Back to top


My Post Graduation Work Permit has or is about to expire. Am I eligible for an extension due to COVID-19?

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is usually only available to you once in a lifetime. IRCC created a temporary policy allowing certain PGWP holders to apply for another open work permit valid for up to 18 months. However, the application deadline has now passed.

^ Back to top


Can you tell me more about the new permanent residency pathway for international students?

On April 14, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced new pathways to permanent residency (PR) for essential workers and international students.

If you graduated from UBC as an international student after January 2017 and you are interested in this new pathway to PR, see the temporary public policy for detailed information. There is also a temporary public policy for French-speaking foreign nationals.

International student advisors at UBC advise on temporary residence immigration issues related to your studies at UBC. We do not advise on permanent residence however, we can share some helpful online resources you may want to consult to begin your process.

See the recording and slides from the latest presentation by IRCC and BC Provincial Nominee Program representatives, as well as tips on finding an authorized immigration representative.

^ Back to top


I was enrolled in my program in Winter Term 2 2019 (January-April 2020) and my courses have moved online due to COVID-19. Will this affect my eligibility for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP)?

Courses delivered online due to COVID-19 from March 2020 to August 31, 2022 will count towards the length of your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) if you have been enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020 and:

  • You study in Canada and you hold a valid study permit, or
  • You study in Canada and you held a study permit, applied to extend it and are under maintained status, or
  • You study outside of Canada and you hold a valid study permit, or
  • You study outside of Canada and submit a study permit application prior to beginning your program and it is eventually approved.

You must continue to meet the other PGWP requirements, such as maintaining full-time enrolment, even while outside of Canada.

IF YOU ARE INSIDE CANADA

If your classes were moved online due to COVID-19, as a temporary measure, you are still eligible for a PGWP even if you complete more than 50% of your program online. Make sure to keep a valid study permit at all times (see question above). IRCC recommends that you take in-person courses when they are available.

IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE OF CANADA

You can study online outside of Canada, even if your study permit has expired or your application for a new study permit inside or outside Canada has not yet been approved, since immigration regulations requiring a valid study permit are only for studies undertaken within Canada. As such you are not required to have a valid study permit for the purposes of studying online outside Canada. However, if you intend to apply for a PGWP, you must fall into one of the above bulleted categories in order for those online courses completed outside Canada to count towards the PGWP.

However, if you intend to apply for a PGWP, you must fall into one of the above categories in order for those online courses completed outside Canada to count towards the PGWP.

If your study permit will expire while you are outside of Canada, consider applying for a new study permit out of an abundance of caution. See what to do in the question above if your study permit will expire soon.

If you are in one of the above bulleted categories, online courses completed outside of Canada until August 31, 2022 will count towards your PGWP. If you complete your program by August 31, 2022, you are no longer required to complete at least 50% of your program in Canada.

If you are in a program which will end before August 31, 2022, you can now complete 100% of your program online outside of Canada and be eligible for the PGWP.

Furthermore, you could combine your program completed online with another PGWP-eligible program and request a longer work permit, so long as:

  • your program was ongoing or started between March 2020 and August 31, 2022 and
  • you complete the second program within 2 years of finishing your first program.

To search for online courses for Winter Term 1 2021, visit 2021/22 Winter Session Courses.

Under the current policy, if your program will finish after August 31, 2022, online courses completed outside of Canada after this date will not count towards your PGWP and will be deducted from the length of your work permit. For programs undertaken or ongoing between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, you are not required to complete at least 50% of your program in Canada.

If you will complete your program online from outside of Canada and are eligible for PGWP

See options to apply for a PGWP below for details.

See the latest IRCC updates on the impact of COVID-19 for international students.

^ Back to top


Will Credit/D/Fail grading or a late withdrawal with a ‘W’ impact my student status, work eligibility or eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

CREDIT/D/FAIL GRADING

Your grades do not directly impact your enrolment status, therefore Credit/D/Fail grading will not impact:

However, if you have many failed courses over several terms, an officer may question if you are making reasonable progress towards completing your program.

Late withdrawal with a ‘w’

Withdrawing with a ‘W’ impacts your enrolment status.

If you withdraw for reasons unrelated to COVID-19 and you are no longer full-time for immigration purposes as a result, you cannot work on and off-campus, and your future eligibility for the PGWP may be impacted. Learn about the immigration impacts of withdrawing from courses.

If you withdraw from all your courses, learn about taking a break from studies.

If you withdrew due to COVID-19 in Winter Term 2 20219 or Summer Session 2020 and dropped to part-time for immigration purposes or took a break from studies as a result, see the relevant term in the questions below for more details.

^ Back to top


If I had to drop to part-time studies or take a break due to COVID-19 in Winter Term 2 2019 (January – April, 2020), how will this impact me?

As an exception, if you were full-time for immigration purposes during winter term 2, and had to drop to part-time studies or take a break in studies due to COVID-19, you can work in Canada unlimited hours on campus and up to 20 hours per week off campus, if eligible. This applies regardless of whether you have a UBC-approved leave of absence.

You must still hold a valid study permit or have applied to extend it before the old study permit expires.

Normally, as an international student, you must maintain full-time status in each term to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).  However, if you are a current student and could not meet this requirement due to COVID-19, Immigration will take this into consideration and this will not affect your PGWP eligibility. At the time you apply for PGWP and your program was not available online during COVID-19, please contact an Academic Advisor or graduate program staff to request a letter, then contact International Programs and Services for support with your application.

GRADUATE STUDENTS, DIPLOMA IN ACCOUNTING OR LAW STUDENTS

If you have a UBC-approved leave of absence, you can remain in Canada for 150 days after:

  • The day your leave was approved, or
  • The first day of classes of the term in which your leave started, whichever comes last.

Before the 150 day period is over, you will probably need to:

See the latest IRCC updates on international students’ eligibility to work on- and off-campus.

^ Back to top


If I had to drop to part-time studies or take a break due to COVID-19 in the summer session 2020 (May – August, 2020), how will this impact me?

You could remain in Canada so long as you hold a valid study permit or applied to extend it before the old study permit expired.

Normally, as an international student, you must maintain full-time status in each term to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). However, if you are a current student and could not meet this requirement due to COVID-19, Immigration will take this into consideration and this will not affect your PGWP eligibility. At the time you apply for PGWP and your program was not available online during COVID-19, please contact an Academic Advisor or graduate program staff to request a letter, then contact International Programs and Services for support with your application

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

You can work full-time during summer if:

  • You studied full time for immigration purposes at the start of winter term 2, and
  • You had to drop to part-time studies or take a break in studies in winter term 2 due to COVID-19, and
  • You will return to full-time studies in winter term 1.

GRADUATE STUDENTS OR DIPLOMA IN ACCOUNTING AND LAW STUDENTS

Summer session is not considered a scheduled break for you. As an exception, if you have to take a break in studies due to COVID-19 in the summer session, you can work the same amount as during a full time semester, which is unlimited hours on campus and up to 20 hours per week off campus. This applies regardless of whether your leave is formally authorized by UBC.

If you have a UBC-approved leave of absence, you can remain in Canada for 150 days after:

  • The day your leave was approved, or
  • The first day of classes of the term in which your leave started, whichever comes last.

Before the 150 day period is over, you will probably need to:

See the latest IRCC updates on the impact of COVID-19 for international students.

^ Back to top


If I had to drop to part-time studies or take a break due to COVID-19 in Winter Session 2020 (September 2020– April 2021) or Summer Session 2021 (May – August 2021), how will this impact me?

Dropping to part-time or taking a break from studies in Winter Session 2020 or Summer 2021 could affect:

This applies to you even if you were studying online, outside of Canada.

Learn about the immigration impacts of withdrawing from courses.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

If you were not enrolled in any courses, you probably needed to:

GRADUATE STUDENTS OR DIPLOMA IN ACCOUNTING AND LAW STUDENTS

If you had a UBC-approved leave of absence, you could remain in Canada for 150 days after:

  • The day your leave was approved, or
  • The first day of classes of the term in which your leave started, whichever came last.

Before the 150 day period is over, you probably needed to:

See the latest IRCC updates on the impact of COVID-19 for international students.

^ Back to top


If I need to drop to part-time studies or take time away from studies in Winter Session 2021 (September 2021 to April 2022), how will this impact me? Can I take a leave of absence?

Dropping to part-time or taking a break from studies after the 2020 Summer Session could affect:

GRADUATE STUDENTS

If you are a graduate student, see information on taking a graduate leave of absence.

If you are a graduate student or Diploma in Accounting student, see taking time away from studies.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

If this is your first term at UBC and you remain registered in Term 2 but not in Term 1 by the last day to drop courses without a W, you would be considered to have deferred enrolment for immigration purposes. You would not need and would not be eligible for a leave.

If this is not your first term at UBC, you might be eligible for Undergraduate Leave for 2021 Winter Session.

For the 2021/22 Winter Session, UBC is offering a new  authorized  leave  option for continuing  UBC  international undergraduate students to show they have  taken  time away from their studies and still maintained the conditions of their study permit and maintained eligibility for the post-graduation work permit program. This option is for continuing  international students in good academic standing who withdraw from all their courses during 2021/22 Winter Term 1, Term 2 or both terms.

UBC Okanagan’s Academic Leave Policy enables students in good academic standing to take up to a year away from studies without having to reapply for admission. If you want to prove to IRCC that you were on an authorized leave, you must request the leave and receive a letter from UBC confirming that you are authorized to take the leave.

How Do I Request an Authorized Leave?

  1. Consider carefully whether you will take Term 1, Term 2 or both terms away from studies. Check your program requirements and any immigration implications If unsure, consult the Academic Advising office.
  2. After you withdraw from all courses in Term 1, Term 2 or both terms, send a request to your Dean’s Office by their normal communication methods. Tell them you are requesting an authorized leave and for which term(s).
  3. If they approve the leave, the Dean’s Office will send you a letter which you can download from the SSC at any time.
  4. The leave will not appear on your transcript. Include the authorized leave letter with future IRCC applications as needed.
  5. If you will be on leave for more than 150 days and will be in Canada during your leave, carefully review your study permit and post-graduation work permit IRCC recognizes authorized leaves of up to 150 days.
  6. Regardless of the amount of leave taken, you must meet all academic regulations of your program.

Contact information for programs:

I.K.B. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: fass.students.ubco@ubc.ca

I.K.B. Faculty of Science: fos.students.ubco@ubc.ca

Faculty of Management: fom.bmgt@ubc.ca

School of Engineering: soe.advising@ubc.ca

Faculty of Health and Social Development

Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies: fccs.ubco@ubc.ca

When Should I Apply for an Authorized Leave?

  1. If you withdraw from all courses on or before the last day to drop courses without a W, the leave would start on the first day of classes in September (Term 1) or January (Term 2).
  2. If you withdraw from all courses after the last day to drop courses without a W, a W will appear on your transcript and the leave would start on the day you withdraw.
  3. Be sure to withdraw from courses on time. Then you can apply for an authorized leave at any time.

If you are in Canada, note that you cannot use your study permit or co-op work permit to work in Canada while on leave.

^ Back to top


I work in essential services – can I work more than 20 hours per week?

At this time you can work no more than 20 hours per week off-campus during academic sessions using your study permit.

Until August 31, 2020, as a temporary measure you could work off-campus more than 20 hours per week if you worked in ‘essential services’, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.

To be eligible, you must:

Provincial governments determine which jobs are considered to be an essential service. See the BC list of essential services and contact Service BC if you have questions.

See the latest IRCC updates on the impact of COVID-19 for international students.

^ Back to top


How can I get a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?

You must first receive your study or work permit upon arrival in Canada before you apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Unfortunately, you cannot get a SIN before arriving in Canada.

If you have a study or work permit, you can now apply for a SIN online from anywhere in the world.

If you are a new student outside of Canada and are receiving a scholarship, you can apply for an Individual Tax Number (ITN) from outside of Canada.

If you are in Canada, Service Canada is gradually reopening Service Canada Offices. As of November 30 you can once again book an appointment online for biometrics. There are no walk-in services at this time.

If you are outside of Canada and you have a study or work permit, you can apply online for a new or extended SIN or confirmation of a SIN, even if you do not have a Canadian mailing address.

Visit the Service Canada webpage for the latest updates on service disruptions.

^ Back to top


I am extending my study permit or applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). How is my health insurance affected?

Your Medical Services Plan (MSP) will continue until its expiry date, which is normally your study permit expiry date.

If you apply to extend your stay in Canada and won’t receive your new immigration document before your current document expires, call MSP to request a temporary extension of coverage while you are on maintained status.  You might also be eligible for temporary coverage if you currently live in BC and your MSP expired, you were previously enrolled in MSP, or your previous work or study permit expired December 1, 2020, or later. This is particularly important if you have a pre-existing condition which may not be covered by private health insurance, such as pregnancy.

Temporary coverage is available until April 30, 2022. This also applies to your dependents who are currently residents of BC. If you have an MSP Temporary Coverage letter until October 31, 2021, and you are still on maintained status, call MSP to request another temporary extension as soon as possible.

If BC MSP says that they cannot cover you while you wait for your study or work permit, please get in touch with International Programs and Services and be sure to purchase private insurance such as the Global Campus Health Plan.

As soon as you get your study or work permit, apply to extend your MSP online and maintain private insurance until you receive confirmation you are covered under MSP again.

If you want to make claims under your UBCSUO Extended Health Plan, you must first be enrolled in BC MSP or another basic health insurance plan.

 See the Medical Service Plan Response to COVID-19 for the latest updates.

^ Back to top


Can international students and PGWP holders get the COVID-19 vaccine? Am I required to be vaccinated to travel to Canada? How do I get a BC Vaccine Card?

 

TRAVELING TO CANADA

As of January 15, 2022, international students must be fully vaccinated to travel to Canada. Exceptions include international students under the age of 18 studying at approved institutions such as UBC.

Fully vaccinated travellers may be exempt from certain testing and quarantine requirements. Learn about the Travelling to Canada Guide.

UBC CAMPUS REQUIREMENTS

All members of the UBC community are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. Learn more about UBC’s approach on UBC’s health guidance and vaccines page.

To be on the UBC campus, vaccines are not mandatory. However, UBC requires regular COVID-19 rapid testing for all students, faculty, and staff who work or study on one of UBC’s campuses or at an off-campus facility controlled by UBC. You are exempt if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not exempt, you will be required to have regular COVID-19 rapid testing.

As a result of a Public Health Order, non-medical masks are required for all public indoor spaces at UBC, including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms, and labs. The Order also applies to anyone taking public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle.

Visit Returning to Campus for what you need to know and requirements.

IF YOU ARE NOT VACCINATED

Everyone 5 years and older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in BC free of charge, even if you are not enrolled in the Medical Services Plan and do not have a BC Personal Health Number (PHN). However, you are encouraged to get a PHN to use the online vaccination booking system. To do so, you can call 1-833-838-2323 7 am to 7 pm, seven days a week. Translators are available.

Limited personal information will be collected, such as your name, date of birth, and address. You do not need to provide proof of a Social Insurance Number or proof of immigration status.

If you receive your first dose outside of BC (inside or outside of Canada) then travel to BC, bring a vaccination record indicating which vaccine you received and when it was administered. You must submit proof of an official vaccination record to be entered into the Provincial Immunization Registry, and bring it to your vaccination appointment. A doctor will determine the appropriate second dose.

If you bring a vaccine dose with you, a doctor will determine if it can be administered in BC.

Visit the BC government website to learn when and how you can get vaccinated. You can walk into any of the current COVID-19 drop-in vaccination clinics without an appointment. If you have to self-isolate upon arrival in Canada, you must complete any self-isolation requirement before you get vaccinated in Canada.

If you were vaccinated outside of BC

If you received your first or both COVID-19 vaccination doses outside of BC (inside or outside of Canada) before travelling to BC, bring a vaccination record indicating which vaccine you received and when it was administered.

The BC government recommends that you:

  1. Register with the Get vaccinated provincial registration system
    • If you do not have a Personal Health Number (PHN), call 1 833 838 2323 from 7 am to 7 pm, seven days a week, to get a PHN. Translators are available.
  2. Submit proof of an official vaccination record for one or two doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be entered into the Provincial Immunization Registry. This can take 4-7 days.

See ‘if you were vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of Canada‘ for guidance on recommendations regarding getting an additional COVID-19 vaccination in BC.  A doctor will determine the appropriate dose.

If you bring a vaccine dose with you, a doctor will determine if it can be administered in BC.

If you need a second dose, after completing the steps above, you will receive an invitation to book your second dose once your record has been updated and you are eligible. You can also go to a drop-in clinic.

THE BC VACCINE CARD

The BC provincial government introduced a BC Vaccine Card, which is required to access some events, services and businesses. Starting October 24, 2021, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. For on-campus housing, see UBC’s Housing FAQs.

If you got one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine outside of BC, follow the steps in the section above. It will take 4-7 days to process.

Learn more on the BC Centre for Disease Control – students arriving in BC page.

See BC’s Restart plan for information on reopening plans.

Travelling within canada and leaving canada

As of November 30, 2021, travellers 12 years and 4 months or older require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to board:

  • Domestic or international flights departing from airports in Canada
  • VIA Rail or Rocky Mountaineer trains
  • Non-essential passenger vessels, such as cruise ships, on voyages of 24 hours or more departing from Canada

Learn more about boarding flights, trains and cruise ships in Canada.

For travels within Canada, check if there are provincial or territorial restrictions before travelling as well as provincial or territorial proof of vaccination requirements.

For the purpose of providing proof of vaccination while travelling to or from Canada, you may wish to obtain Canada’s federal proof of vaccination. This process can be completed on the following Government of Canada website.

If you are in Canada and plan to travel internationally, make sure you have the right COVID-19 vaccination documentation and visit our Travelling to Canada Guide for guidance on travelling and to check the requirements to return to Canada.

I am a current student and will be outside Canada due to COVID-19. How is my health insurance affected?

BC MEDICAL SERVICES PLAN (MSP)

If you will be outside Canada for less than six months, you have the option to keep or cancel MSP.

If you will be outside of Canada for more than six months in a calendar yearcontact BC MSP to confirm your eligibility. You might need to cancel your MSP coverage, or you might be given the option to keep MSP.

If you’re eligible and you decide to keep MSP, you do not have to reapply and have a three-month waiting period when you return.

If you cancel MSP, you have to reapply when you return to BC. You will need to get private health insurance such as the Global Campus Health Plan before you return to Canada to cover you during the three-month waiting period.

Before purchasing private temporary health insurance, make sure that you will have adequate coverage as some private health insurance companies are no longer covering COVID-19 testing and treatment expenses.

See the Medical Service Plan Response to COVID-19 for the latest updates.

UBCSUO HEALTH AND DENTAL PLAN

If you are in your country of origin, you are not covered under the UBCSUO Extended Health Plan please check with the UBCSUO for opt out options.

Review the BC MSP updates and UBCSUO Health and Dental Plan COVID-19 FAQs for details and ensure you are covered by health insurance wherever you are.

If purchasing private temporary health insurance, make sure you have adequate coverage as some private health insurance companies are no longer covering COVID-19 testing and treatment expenses. Ensure you have adequate health insurance wherever you are.

Visit the UBCSUO website for the latest update on the impact of COVID-19 on your health and dental plan.

^ Back to top


I am a new student who started in 2020/21 Winter Session to 2021 Summer Session (September 2020 – August 2021). How is my iMED health insurance affected?

After you arrive in British Columbia (BC), you must apply for the BC government-run Medical Services Plan (MSP). When you register for courses, UBC automatically enrols you for the iMED temporary private health insurance, to cover you during the 3-month MSP waiting period if you have not previously studied at UBC.

Ensure you’ve been charged for iMED fees by checking your account through the Student Services Centre (SSC).

One term exchange students starting in Winter Term 1 2021 (September to December, 2021) are covered as of August 30, 2021, and cannot change coverage dates, however you should purchase advanced coverage if arriving before August 30. Learn about changing coverage dates.

For all other students beginning studies in 2021 Winter Session Term 1 (September to December, 2021) your iMED coverage will automatically start on August 1, 2021, and you do not need to confirm your arrival date. You can request to change your coverage dates if you will arrive in September or later.

See iMED to learn about confirming your arrival date, what to do if your arrival plans change, getting your iMED card, timelines to opt-out if you will finish your program online outside of Canada, and more.

You were automatically enrolled in the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan, which you can only use in Canada. It was possible to opt-out if you were outside of Canada until July 19, 2021.

See health insurance details for international students.

If you  will study outside of Canada

I will be studying online from outside of Canada. Can I opt-out of health insurance and other student fees?

You might be eligible to opt-out of some student fees. Learn about opt-in or opt-out of AMS fees and subsidies.

If you have questions about coverage outside of Canada or eligibility to opt-out of the UBCSUO Health & Dental Plan, contact Studentcare. The timeframes to apply are:

  • September 29, 2021 for students starting in Winter Term 1
  • January 28, 2022 for new students starting in Winter Term 2

For questions on opting-out of the above student fees, please contact office@ubcsuo.ca

If you began your program in Winter Session 2020 to Summer Session 2021, the iMED fee is due at the same time as your first term’s tuition fees, then you can use your iMED coverage until July 31, 2022. You must inform the insurance company of your arrival date starting from 3 weeks before you travel, then your iMED coverage period will be adjusted to match your arrival. If you will not study in Canada for the full duration of your program of studies, you could qualify to opt-out from iMED. If you started in Winter Session 2021, contact David Cummings Insurance Services for options. See the iMED information for details.

If you are a current student who has MSP, see the MSP FAQ for information on your options.

^ Back to top


I’ve lost my job due to COVID-19. Is there financial assistance available for me as an international student?

If you lost your job because of COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply retroactively for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) which has now ended, and/or the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) or Employment Insurance (EI) as an international student or work permit holder – see details on the new benefits. Among other eligibility criteria, you must reside in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number. If you have questions, contact Employment and Social Development Canada.

If you are eligible for CERB, you might also be eligible for a one-time $1000 payment through the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers and can apply until December 2, 2020. The B.C. Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) has now ended. Please contact the relevant BC government agency directly if you have any questions.

^ Back to top


Can I work or be paid for a scholarship, award, teaching, or research assistantship, if I am outside of Canada?

Canadian immigration laws only apply to those inside of Canada. However, there may be obstacles to employing or paying you outside of Canada, such as WorkSafe BC requirements, taxation, needing a valid Social Insurance Number, or other complexities.

Please contact your supervisor or employer to learn about potential impacts.

^ Back to top


Can I still travel abroad for research, study abroad, co-op, or other university activities?

Review the Student Safety Abroad Policy.

If you are meant to travel abroad for university activities, please contact your academic advisors or graduate program staff to learn about impacts. If you want to do co-op outside Canada, you will need to contact your co-op office.

^ Back to top


I am in financial distress. Can UBC help?

If you are experiencing financial distress related to COVID-19 (or any other situation), contact Student Services to speak to a representative.

If you have booked a UBC Self-Isolation Package, subsidized rates are available to students who indicate they are facing financial hardship.

If you are required to quarantine upon entry to Canada to begin or continue your studies, you may be eligible for the UBC Quarantine Bursary.

See emergency funding for more information.

^ Back to top


Will I be able to access course materials if they are not permitted in my home country?

Equity and academic freedom are two fundamental values of our UBC culture. Moreover, UBC is not subject to foreign censorship laws. Every effort is and will be made to ensure that UBC students living abroad are provided access to the same materials and digital learning spaces as domestic students. As long as students use institutionally-provisioned learning tools and applications (such as Canvas, UBC email and other such systems), students can expect to exercise their academic freedom whether they are in Canada or abroad.

^ Back to top


 

International Student Guide

Find everything you need to know about life as an international student at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

If you have questions

International Programs & Services is ready to support you on questions related to immigration, health insurance, and life as an international student in Canada. To connect with an advisor please email: ips.ubco@ubc.ca.

Please be sure to include your student number when you email us. We will not be providing in-person service until further notice. Take care, stay healthy, and we’ll see you soon.