COVID-19 information for international students


As COVID-19 measures can change without notice, for the most current information, visit the Government of Canada website. After that, if you still have questions or need support, contact the . If you are a Gustavson School of Business student, please contact .

The information below is NOT a comprehensive list of all COVID-19 information relevant for international students. Be sure to review the following UVic websites which are updated regularly: 

If you have further questions, please email icsinfo@uvic.ca.

On this page:

Studying inside Canada   Studying outside Canada

BC COVID-19 Immunization Program

If you are an international student living in BC during the pandemic, you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. You do not need to be enrolled in the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) to get the vaccine. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen or have permanent residency to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 information is available in different languages. For translated content, visit the BC COVID-19 website.


Proof of vaccination documents and requirements

Proof of vaccination documents and requirements

  • Government of Canada (federal) regulations
    • You must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada for travel purposes to board an airplane or train in Canada. This includes boarding a plane to return to your home country. If you do not qualify as fully vaccinated, you may depart Canada up until August 31, 2022 with proof of a valid COVID-19 test result. After that time, you must be fully vaccinated to board a flight or train departing Canada. For more information, see COVID-19 Boarding flights and trains in Canada.
    • If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need a COVID-19 test to board a plane or train in Canada unless you are flying to a country that requires it. Make sure to research the entry requirements of your destination before you travel.
    • For more information about accepted vaccines and proof of vaccination documents, see Find out if you’re ready to board.
  • Government of BC (provincial) regulations
    • In Canada, provinces are responsible for most public health regulations. While living in BC, you must follow all rules set out by the Government of Canada and the Government of BC.
    • As of April 8, 2022, there is no requirement for events, services or businesses in BC to check proof of vaccination. Individual businesses and event organizers may opt to continue to require proof of vaccination for entry to their premises. For information about this program, see Proof of vaccination.

Provincial and federal proof of vaccination documents available in Canada

Canadian Proof of Vaccination document
 
  • The Canadian (federal) proof of vaccination is used to travel within and outside of Canada, such as boarding a flight or train.
  • To get your document, go to and use your Personal Health Number (PHN) to download your document. Save a digital copy to your phone and/or print a paper copy.
  • If you plan to use this document for travel to other countries, be sure to research whether or not it will be accepted in your destination.
  • See About the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination for current information.
BC Vaccine Card (proof of vaccination) 
  • As of April 8, 2022, there is no requirement for events, services or businesses to check proof of vaccination. Individual businesses and event organizers may opt to continue to require proof of vaccination for entry to their premises. For information about this program, see Proof of vaccination.

Extending your stay in Canada

If you cannot finish your program at UVic before your study permit expires, you must apply online to extend your stay in Canada.

Visit the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International students webpageIf you want to stay in Canada longer” section for up-to-date considerations and special measures.


Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program

Visit the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International students webpage “How your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility is affected” section for up-to-date considerations and special measures. 

If you have been studying online from outside Canada during the pandemic, visit the IRCC website for information about how much of your online studies may be counted toward your post-graduation work permit eligibility and length.


Official UVic letter regarding COVID-19 for your IRCC application

International students may request an official letter from the Office of the Registrar, using the following email template. Ensure you include your name, V#, email address and impacted terms. 

Subject: Document request re: COVID-19 impacts on registration

Hello Office of the Registrar,

I am an international student and my registration in the [Spring 2020 and/or Summer 2020 and/or Fall 2020 and/or Spring 2021 and/or Summer 2021 and/or Fall 2021 and/or Spring 2022] term has been impacted or disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 situation. I require an official letter explaining this impact for immigration purposes.

My V# is [V00######]. Please send my letter to [email address].

Thank you,
[FirstName LastName]

If you are using this letter for an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) application and you have questions, contact the  or if you are a Gustavson School of Business student, please contact .


Social Insurance Numbers (SIN)

The Government of Canada is still processing SIN applications. You have the option to apply online or by mail. We recommend you review the application instructions carefully.

You may also choose to apply for a SIN in person, as some Service Canada Centres have reopened for in-person services. You must follow the public health advice if you decide to visit a Service Canada Centre.


Health insurance

The cost of health care in Canada is very high for those without health insurance. All UVic students are required to have comprehensive coverage for the entire duration of their studies. For information about health insurance, contact the International Centre for Students.

Mandatory temporary medical insurance 

New international students will automatically be enrolled in the guard.me@UVic plan upon course registration at UVic and you will be assessed the Mandatory Temporary Medical Insurance (MTMI) fee.

Enrolment in the guard.me@UVic plan is mandatory unless you are covered by one of the following:

  • BC Medical Services Plan (BC MSP)
  • Canadian provincial or territorial public health plan
  • Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau-sponsored plan
  • Libyan-North American Scholarship Program-sponsored plan
  • African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship Program-sponsored plan
  • Corbett British Columbia-Washington International Exchange & Fellowship Program

If you will be outside of Canada for the Summer session (May - August 2022), you will be eligible to opt out regardless of whether you are currently covered by a similar health plan.

BC MSP

Temporary Coverage during maintained status (previously known as implied status)

Effective May 1, 2022, eligible individuals residing in BC with maintained status while waiting for a study permit or work permit extension may be eligible for temporary MSP coverage. If your temporary permits (e.g. study permit or work permit) have expired and you no longer have MSP coverage, you may be able to temporarily extend your BC MSP. For details, visit the BC MSP Maintained Status Holders webpage.


Tips and Considerations

  • Feeling isolated during times of uncertainty can add to your feelings of stress. Find ways to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, get connected and meet new people. Consider getting involved with the UVic Global Community. Join the many online and in-person events and activities, or participate in our Conversation Partners or Mentorship Program. You are also welcome to contact Theresa and Cecilia by emailing gcmentor@uvic.ca for more information.  
  • Stay up to date by joining our Global Community Facebook Group where we will communicate daily with various tips, resources and UVic events. Also, subscribe to our Global Community Newsletter for important articles, information and highlights.
  • As an international student there may be additional considerations when you make your study plans. Your academic enrolment status at UVic and the choices you make related to your program of study may affect your immigration status and your current and future opportunities. For example, due to COVID-19, you may have questions about how taking online courses, dropping courses, or taking a term off will affect your study permit validity, work authorization, and post-graduation work permit eligibility. Contact icsinfo@uvic.ca to connect with an International Student Adviser, if you have questions.
  • If you are searching for helpful online resources and information, check out the Learn Anywhere website. Resources are constantly being updated and developed to help you succeed in your learning environment at UVic.
Updated May 2022Back to Top ^

Immigration updates

Please consult the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for the latest immigration information.


Travel

The Government of Canada has continued to lightened border measures as part of the transition of the pandemic response, however, certain restrictions related to COVID-19 are still in place.

Travel restrictions may change with little warning. For the latest COVID-19 travel information, please visit:

Do not travel to Canada if you do not meet the travel exemptions and entry requirementsIf you have questions about travelling to Canada or self-isolation (quarantine) requirements, contact the International Centre for Students.

If you have questions about the requirements to board a flight and/or enter Canada, we also recommend contacting your airline and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) before you travel. 


Applying for a study permit

As soon as you are admitted to UVic, you should apply online for a study permit.

Visit the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International students webpage “Apply for a study permit” section for up-to-date considerations and special measures.

If you are transferring to UVic from another post-secondary institution in Canada and are already holding a valid study permit, you do not need to apply for a new study permit but you are required to notify IRCC of the change to your institution using the online Designated Learning Institution (DLI) transfer process. For instructions on completing the DLI transfer, visit the IRCC website. You may also need to extend your study permit, if it will expire soon.

If you are a returning student extending your study permit, you may order a new study permit information letter through your UVic Online Tools


Application processing times

Study permit, visa, and work permit processing times may be delayed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is still working to process applications as quickly as possible. For information on estimated processing times, visit the IRCC website


Biometrics

Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may require biometrics as part of the immigration application process.

Visit the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Biometrics website for up-to-date considerations and special measures.


Study permits and online classes

If you are an international student engaged in online learning inside of Canada, and your program of study is longer than 6 months, you require a valid study permit.

If you are an international student engaged in online learning outside  Canada, you do not require a study permit. However, we recommend applying for a study permit as soon as possible, as you must have a valid study permit or letter of introduction when you arrive to Canada to engage in your studies if your program of study is 6 months or longer.

If you choose to start your program before your study permit application is approved, please note that starting your program of study does not guarantee that your study permit will be approved.

In addition, time spent studying online from outside Canada before you apply for a study permit will not be counted toward your eligibility for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), and could negatively impact your PGWP eligibility as well as the work permit length. For detailed information, visit the IRCC website.

Updated May 2022Back to Top ^