Frequent questions

Isolating in a new and different country will require planning and may bring special considerations, depending on your circumstances. Answers to many common questions are presented below; if you still need assistance, the UVic Self-isolation Program is available to help by email at

Self isolation (quarantine)

What is self-isolation (quarantine)?

Self-isolation is another word for quarantine. Self-isolation means staying in the place you are isolating and avoiding situations where you could come in contact with others. You may have been exposed to the virus and are at risk for developing COVID-19 and passing it on to others. You should not self-isolate in a place where you will be in contact with vulnerable people, such as seniors and individuals with underlying health conditions. Adapted from the BC Centre for Disease Control website (BCCDC).

Why do I need to self-isolate (quarantine)?

It is mandatory under the Quarantine Act that anyone arriving in Canada who is not fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine must self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days upon their arrival whether or not they have symptoms.

I am fully vaccinated.  Do I have to self-isolate (quarantine)?

If you are fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine, it is unlikely that you will have to self-isolate (quarantine) when you arrive in Canada.  However, the final determination will be made by the  Canada Border Services Agent  when you arrive in Canada.

What if I do not want to self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days upon arrival to Canada?

It is mandatory for all travellers who are not vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine to self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. Violating any instructions provided to you when you enter Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and carries fines and a possible prison term.

I am fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine and will be driving to Canada. Why do I have to enter a quarantine plan for 14 days into ArriveCAN and the UVIc Self Isolation Registration form?

You must have a self-isolation (quarantine) plan for 14 days in case it is determined by the Canada Border Services Agency that you need to quarantine. You do not have to show proof of a reservation for your quarantine plan, but rather have identified a viable place of quarantine accommodation and be able to answer questions about your plan. Completing all forms is mandatory.  Failure to complete all forms could result in you being denied entry to Canada.   Having a self-isolation plan is mandatory for fully vaccinated travellers arriving to Canada even after August 9, 2021.

Do I need to submit the BC Self-Isolation Plan?

No, as of July 15, 2021 it is no longer required that you submit the BC Self Isolation Plan.  Please submit your 14 day quarantine plan to ArriveCAN and the UVic Study Location Registration form. 

What information must I include in my self-isolation plan for arriving to BC?

Your self-isolation (quarantine) plan must include:

  • Your personal information and contact information
  • The location of your 14-day self-isolation (quarantine)
  • How you will travel to your self-isolation (quarantine) location
  • Arranging the necessary supports, including: food, medications, cleaning supplies, and social or family supports

How do I download the ArriveCan application?

To complete the federal ArriveCAN application for approval prior to your travel to Canada, or upon arrival, download the ArriveCAN application (iPhone/App StoreAndroid Devices) and follow the instructions.  Please ensure you have the most current version of the ArriveCAN app.

Travelling to your self-isolation (quarantine) location

If I am not fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine, will I be allowed to take a connecting flight to Victoria to do my self-isolation (quarantine) there?

Yes.  After landing in Canada, you will take your on-arrival COVID test, be given a testing kit for your day 8 test, and then you can continue with your connecting flight to your final destination where you can do your 14-self-isolation (quarantine).

Getting settled

How can I get my groceries, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products?

Please see the Self-isolation arrangements section for information on how to order and arrange for necessities.

How can I arrange a cell phone when I am in self-isolation (quarantine)?

ICE Currency at the airports sell both prepaid credit cards and SIM cards, and are accessible to arriving passengers before taking their COVID-19 test and heading to the government- authorized quarantine hotel.  Watch for signage. 

 Alternatively you can make arrangements for a phone and/or SIM card before arriving in Canada using PhoneBox

Phone calling can also be set up through your laptop using for example Call2Friends.

I will not be able to visit a bank while in self-isolation? What should I do?

We recommend you have enough money to pay for rent for the first month and a credit card that is accepted in Canada to make any payments for necessities. Please contact for details about setting up a bank account while in self-isolation (quarantine).

Scotiabank has a unique program that allows students from some countries to open a Canadian bank account from their home country:

Do I have health insurance while I am taking UVic online courses in Victoria?

Most new international students are automatically enrolled in the plan upon course registration at UVic.

The plan provides emergency medical insurance coverage for international students who are new to UVic. This plan covers required medical services to address new and unexpected illness or injury. For more information about the plan visit the health insurance website.

For students who are beginning their program of study during the fall term of winter session, the policy start date will be September 1. However, it is important to note that all students who are automatically enrolled in the plan receive a 14-day grace period, which provides emergency medical insurance coverage while travelling to Canada, settling in, and attending orientation events. Therefore the student’s coverage will be effective August 18 through December 31.

Refer to the Policy Summary and the Policy Wording for information about benefits.

The British Columbia (BC) Medical Services Plan (MSP) covers required medical services provided by physicians, specialists, diagnostic facilities, laboratory facilities, and hospitals.

If you intend to stay in BC for fewer than six months, you are not eligible for the BC MSP. All other international students must submit an application for enrolment when they arrive in BC.

Visit the BC MSP website for information about benefits.

The University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) health and dental plan provides extended coverage for undergraduate students. Please visit the UVSS website for more information about these benefits.

The Graduate Students’ Society (GSS) health and dental plan provides extended coverage for graduate students. Kindly visit the GSS website for more information about these benefits.

How can I find housing during this time?

Off-Campus: UVic partners with Places4Students to provide information about rental opportunities including suites, apartments, houses, and shared living situations in the Greater Victoria Region.

UVic Homestay provide students with a safe, comfortable and friendly place to live within easy travelling distance to UVic.  

The Living Off Campus in Victoria handout offers further suggestions to help you find off-campus housing.

On-Campus: Residence Services at UVic offers on-campus housing options. If you have questions, you can contact Residence Services.

Can I get vaccinated in Canada?

Yes.  Please see here for more information. 

While in self-isolation (quarantine)

What must I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days?

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, please

  • Isolate yourself from others
  • Immediately call 8-1-1 to talk to a nurse at HealthLinkBC and get advice about how you are feeling and what to do next or contact the public health authority and describe your symptoms and travel history. Follow their instructions carefully.

What should I keep in mind while in self-isolation (quarantine)?

  • Stay at home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, do not use public transport (e.g. buses).
  • Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer often.
  • Order groceries, medication and other necessities by phone or online. For third party providers, please see the self-isolation arrangements section.
  • Do not have visitors in your home or place of self-isolation except if they are providing care or delivering goods and supplies, and in that case, maintain a distance of 2 metres.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
  • Be sure to have a phone available so if called, you can communicate with a health officer who may phoning you to check whether you are self-isolating (quarantining) during that 14 day period