Immigration & COVID‑19 Updates

Page updated: October 21, 2020

Canada opens border to international students

On October 20, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released a list of approved Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) that will be able to welcome international students currently residing outside Canada to their campuses. Although Dalhousie is not yet on the approved DLI list, we have submitted a COVID-19 readiness plan to align with public health directives and we anticipate being added to the list in early November.

Before making travel plans, please note:

  • International students must contact the International Centre to speak with an advisor about obtaining necessary documentation needed for entry into Canada.
  • Upon arrival, students will be required to quarantine for 14 days at a location approved by Dalhousie University. 
  • Anticipated costs for the hotel and meals during quarantine is $1,800-$2,000.
  • Hotel and transportation from the Halifax airport must be pre-booked by an advisor at Dalhousie’s International Centre.

Planning your travel to Canada during COVID-19

To be able to enter Canada as a student:

  1. Your Designated Learning Institution (DLI) must be on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 institutions readiness plans.
  2. You must hold a valid study permit or a Letter of Introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.

Your entry to Canada will be considered essential (non-discretionary) if you meet the above requirements and have the following required documents with you upon entry:

New students:

  • Letter of introduction
  • Valid Visa/eTA as applicable
  • Admission Letter
  • Financial documents used in your application as proof that you will be able to support yourself, and your family if you will be entering together
  • Approved quarantine plan (shared with you by an advisor after your pre-arrival international student advising appointment)

Returning students:

  • Valid Study Permit
  • Valid Visa/eTA as applicable
  • Proof of enrollment (which can be printed from Dal Online)
  • Unofficial transcript (which can be printed from Dal Online)
  • Lease/rent agreement (if available)
  • Approved quarantine plan (shared with you by an advisor after your pre-arrival international student advising appointment)

Important information:

  • Dalhousie University anticipates being added to the list of approved DLIs in early to mid-November.
  • IRCC will only issue Letters of Introduction when a student secures "final" approval. Do not make any travel arrangements if you have only received Approval in Principle (stage 1 approval).
  • Students who receive a request from the Visa Office and/or Airline for additional documentation from the institution in support of their study permit application and/or travel booking should contact the International Centre at or 902-494-1566.
  • A Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will make the final decision on whether you are eligible to enter Canada when you arrive.

Travel checklist

  1. Obtain your study permit and Visa/eTA as applicable.
  2. Meet online with an international student advisor. To book an appointment at the Agricultural Campus contact or call 902-893-6905. To book an appointment for Halifax contact or call 902-494-1566.
  3. Book your flight.
  4. Download the ArriveCAN app.
  5. Obtain your completed quarantine plan from your international student advisor.
  6. Obtain your quarantine location booking from your international student advisor. The estimated cost of your 14-day quarantine, including accommodations and meals, is $1,800-$2,000.
  7. Conduct a health self-assessment before you depart. Please defer travel if necessary.
  8. Complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-In form.
  9. Obtain your DSU Health Insurance Plan if you are returning to Nova Scotia or anywhere in Canada before January 1, 2021. Students can purchase the Student VIP International Short-Term Health Plan online at $1.65 per day for single coverage until January 1. There is also coverage available for spouses and children for an additional fee. An International Student Advisor will connect you with the DSU Health Plan Office.  

When you arrive in Halifax

  1. Your local transportation will be arranged for you. Information will be included in your quarantine plan. You must travel directly to your quarantine location and you must wear a mask until you are in your quarantine location room.
  2. Your quarantine location will be arranged for you. Information will be included in your quarantine plan.

After you arrive

  1. When you first arrive, check-in within 48 hours through the ArriveCAN online form or call 1-833-641-0343.
  2. A welcome package will be ready for you in your room.
  3. An International Centre advisor will contact you.
  4. Your quarantine location hotel will provide you with information about how to safely quarantine, including ordering meals.

While in quarantine

  1. You are not to leave your room, except during daily supervised walks when you must always wear a mask. More information about supervised walks will be provided in your welcome package.
  2. You may not leave your place of quarantine unless it is to seek medical assistance.
  3. You may not have any guests, even if you are outside and stay 2 metres apart from them.
  4. International student advisors will check in with you on a daily basis.

Stay healthy and safe

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  2. Avoid touching your face.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose with your arm when you cough or sneeze.
  4. Wear a mask in public indoor spaces at all times.
  5. Be ready to be healthy and safe in your community after quarantine by understanding Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 restriction updates and Dalhousie’s COVID-19 information and updates.