Travelling During COVID-19

Travelling to Canada
This page contains important information regarding mandatory quarantine requirements for international students entering Canada. It is relevant both for new students, and for those who wish to leave and return to Canada.

Important Preliminary Notes
Restrictions & Quarantine
Before You Travel
While Travelling
Upon Arrival

Important Preliminary Notes

Circumstances in Canada and around the world are changing daily. This website may not be up-to-date with the latest developments. You must refer to the latest updates provided by the federal and provincial governments in order to determine the most recent limitations on travel to Canada.

  • VST has an application in process to the Government of Canada for approval to be included in the Government’s list of DLI’s with approved COVID-19 Readiness Plans. If successful, VST’s international students with a study permit will be permitted to enter Canada for Fall term 2021.
  • It is the responsibility of new international students coming to Vancouver School of Theology to understand federal and provincial laws and regulations before planning to arrive in Canada. Significant penalties may apply to those who do not comply with the Quarantine Act.
  • Note, however, that even if approved with a COVID-Readiness-Plan we cannot guarantee that you will be able to enter Canada. If you show any symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be permitted to enter the country.
  • Travellers to Canada are subject to testing requirements both before and after entering the country. It is important to check the latest updates from the Government of Canada before you travel. Those updates are available here.
  • In addition, the Canada Border Services agent who processes your application can use their discretion to determine whether your travel is considered discretionary (not essential) or non-discretionary (essential) based on the information you provide. For more information, review IRCC’s guidelines for international students.

Travel Restrictions & Mandatory Quarantine

Travel to Canada is restricted right now in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. Before you travel to Canada, it is very important that you understand the travel restrictions and exemptions for international students.

If you are permitted to enter Canada, you will be required to undergo quarantine.

Under new requirements for air travel that took effect February 22, 2021, when a student arrives in Canada, they must take a COVID-19 test before leaving the airport and spend 3 days in quarantine at a federal government-authorized hotel at your own expense. With a clear test result, the student can proceed to the quarantine site identified in their quarantine plan.  Ten-days into their quarantine, the student will use a take-home test provided at their arrival in Canada. A further clear result is required before leaving quarantine at 14 days. 

Check the latest updates from the Government of Canada here.

We advise you not to attempt to travel to Canada until you have carefully reviewed the following:

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
    This website contains up-to-date details of Canada’s current approach to international travellers, including international students. Please note that Canada Border Services can use its discretion to determine if your travel is considered discretionary (not essential) or non-discretionary (essential) based on the information you provide. If the border agent deems your travel discretionary, you may not be permitted to enter the country.
  • IRCC Guidance for International Students
  • Information on how Canada’s Quarantine Act applies to you.
    If you are permitted to enter Canada, you will be required to undergo quarantine. This may include a mandatory stay in a government-appointed hotel at your own expense. Check the latest updates from the Government of Canada here.
  • Returning to Canada Fact Sheet
    Review this website and summary sheet in order to familiarize yourself with the expectations of the Public Health Authorities.

Before You Travel

Check VST’s status

In order for you to enter Canada on a study permit, VST must be on the Government of Canada’s list of Designated Learning Institutions with an approved COVID-19 Readiness Plan. You can check the list here.

Make sure that you have medical insurance

The Government of British Columbia provides a Medical Services Plan (MSP) to all BC residents. All residents of BC are required by law to enrol themselves and their dependants with MSP.

However, MSP does not provide coverage for the first 3 months of your time in Canada. During the 3 month waiting period, you must have private medical coverage. This is mandatory. Some students extend their travel insurance for an extra 2–3 months. Private insurance is also available through local insurance company David Cummings Insurance Services.

Please review your travel insurance and private medical coverage plan carefully to ensure that you have the necessary coverage in relation to COVID-19.

Let us know when you will be arriving

We want to make sure that you have the support you need. As soon as you know when you will be arriving in Canada, please submit your travel and quarantine to the Registrar, registrar@vst.edu.

Prepare for your quarantine

You will not be allowed to enter Canada without submitting a clear quarantine plan, so it is essential to make arrangements in advance. Visit our Managing Your Quarantine page for information on accommodations, food, transportation from the airport, and more.

If you are permitted to enter Canada, you will be required to undergo quarantine. As of February 22, 2021, this includes a mandatory stay in a Government-appointed hotel at your own expense. Check the latest updates from the Government of Canada here.

Get a COVID-19 Test

Travelers to Canada are subject to testing requirements both before and after entering the country.

When a student arrives in Canada by air, they must take a COVID-19 test before leaving the airport and spend 3 days in quarantine at a federal government-authorized hotel. With a clear test result, the student can proceed to the quarantine site identified in their quarantine plan.  Ten-days into their quarantine, the student will use a take-home test provided at their arrival in Canada. A further clear result is required before leaving quarantine at 14 days.

Students arriving to Canada by land will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival.  In addition, as of February 22, 2021, travellers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

The Government of Canada has provided specific guidelines regarding testing requirements, so it is important to check the latest directives before you travel. Those updates are available here.

Download & use the ArriveCan app

If you fly to Canada, you are required to use the ArriveCan app. Before you board your flight, you will be required to provide the following information through the app:

  • Travel and contact information
  • Quarantine plan
  • COVID-19 symptom self-assessments

The ArriveCAN app is also important for checking in with Canada Border Services once you arrive at your quarantine location.

Learn more about the ArriveCan app here.

Stay healthy

You will need to pass a health check before entering Canada. If you are flying, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have tested negative for COVID-19 (see above) before you will be allowed to board your flight. You will also be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the Vancouver Airport.  International students who test positive or show symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada. The following tips will help you stay healthy before you travel so your trip to Canada is not interrupted or prevented by sickness:

  • Be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice.
  • Avoid spending time in large crowds or crowded areas.
  • Avoid contact with sick people, especially if those persons have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

It is important to monitor your health before, during, and after you travel. If you become sick, avoid contact with others except to see a health-care professional. Our Managing Your Quarantine page contains information on how to access medical care if you become sick after you arrive in Canada.

While Travelling

You must be symptom-free to enter Canada, so it is important to protect yourself from infection while travelling. If you are flying, you should check with your airline to learn whether any particular protocols apply to your flight. Whether you travel on land or by air, the following measures are recommended in order to limit your chances of becoming infected:

  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
  • Wear gloves (if applicable).
  • Practice safe physical distancing.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently.

Upon Arrival

When you arrive, you can expect the following:

  • Your health will be assessed by a Canada Border Services Agent (CBSA).
  • You will be required to present your quarantine plan to the CBSA (you can streamline this process using the ArriveCAN app).
  • You will be asked to show your documents:
    • Your passport
    • Admission Letter from Vancouver School of Theology
    • Port of Entry Introduction letter or study permit
    • Proof of funds
    • Course registration information, printed from POPULI
  • You will be required to undergo a molecular test for COVID-19.

Please be aware that there is a risk that your request to enter Canada may be denied. The Canada Border Services agent who processes your application will determine whether your travel is considered discretionary (not essential) or non-discretionary (essential) based on the information you provide. For more information, review IRCC’s guidelines for international students.

If the CBSA agent approves you for entry into Canada, you must immediately travel to your quarantine location.  For those arriving by air, the first 3 days must be spent at a Government-approved hotel.  You should pre-arrange direct transportation from the airport to your quarantine location via taxi. Do not use public transportation (e.g., Canada Line trains) to leave the airport. You must avoid contact with the general public until your quarantine period is over.

Once you are settled in at your quarantine location, you should:

  • Check in with CBSA using the ArriveCAN app.
  • Contact the VST Registrar, Anita Fast to let her know that you have arrived.

Visit our Managing Your Quarantine page to learn how to plan for your quarantine.

Note: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained on this website, this is a constantly changing situation. For up-to-date news and guidance, please visit the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, review the latest news from BC’s provincial government, and review the latest orders from BC’s Provincial Health Officer. Those contemplating travel to or from Canada should also carefully review the Government of Canada’s travel restrictions