Update on travel and UVic’s self-isolation program for international students

On Oct. 21, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) updated their website to include more details about the previously announced amendments to the travel restrictions and exemptions.  International students can now travel to Canada if they meet the following requirements:

  1. The students must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows they were approved for a study permit.
  2. The students must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory. UVic is on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans.
    • For international students, travel to Canada will be considered essential (non-discretionary) if they have all of the required documents and their DLI is on the approved list.
    • As students, travel to Canada won’t be considered essential (non-discretionary) if their study program has been cancelled or suspended or they are entering Canada for any reason other than to study

These amendments to the travel exemptions will help more of our international students travel to Canada in the coming months and for the Spring 2021 term. However, for some students there will continue to be a delay, as study permit processing times remain long and Visa Application and Biometric centres in many countries are closed or reduced in capacity.

For more information about these amendments or other immigration inquiries, please contact Carmencita Duna at

UVic's self-isolation program

UVic’s self-isolation program was developed by International Student Services (ISS) to support international students and meet government requirements. Through this program, ISS monitors all responses from students and communicates with them throughout their self-isolation process: before travelling to Canada, at the beginning of isolation, midway through isolation as needed, and during the transition out of isolation.

Students have the opportunity to reach out to staff as well—if they have questions or need information or support—through an online form, virtual check-in sessions, email, phone or virtual appointments.

UVic’s self-isolation program includes:

  • Daily online check-in forms designed to give students the opportunity to ask questions and have a record of their compliance with the self-isolation requirements;
  • A website that includes travel guidance, immigration and settlement information;
  • A list of hotel suggestions for the 14-day self isolation;
  • Guidelines for obtaining groceries, necessities and essential services;
  • Online information sessions;
  • Virtual social events and activities designed to help students connect with their peers and build community;
  • Information about identifying COVID-19 symptoms and accessing medical services; and
  • Mental health and wellness support information.

Given the Government of Canada’s announcement amending the travel exemptions and restrictions for students going to DLIs with approved readiness plans, ISS is now getting ready with increased staffing resources and programming for more international students to arrive after Oct. 20. The focus of ISS remains on ensuring that students have immigration and settlement information and resources, have the support needed to maintain their compliance with self-isolation requirements, and are connected to UVic resources and the UVic community.

Dec. 22, 2020 update: Degree-seeking students who register in the self-isolation program will be eligible for a $500 subsidy if they travel to Canada between Oct. 21, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021. (Exchange students and other short-term students that do not pay tuition to UVic will not be eligible for the subsidy.) Student Awards and Financial Aid will process a $500 tuition credit to the student's tuition account for the Spring 2021 term. Contact ISS for more information.