Immigration & COVID‑19 Updates

Page updated: September 17 2021

The International Centre is committed to working with you to continue your studies and meet your goals. We encourage you to contact us if you have any issues about student life (immigration, personal circumstances, etc.) If you have questions about travelling to Nova Scotia or any COVID-19 updates, please contact international.centre@dal.ca.

International Student Status Form

Whether you’ve already arrived on campus, are in transit, or are making travel plans for the current or future terms, we ask that all international students fill out the International Student Status form. This will ensure that your ongoing questions and support needs can be addressed as quickly and effectively as possible.

Updates for travelling to Nova Scotia

  • Effective September 9, international students arriving in Nova Scotia are no longer required to quarantine in a Dalhousie-approved location. Students must review the federal quarantine requirements for travelling to the country.
  • The Government of Canada has implemented exemptions for fully vaccinated travellers who meet specific conditions, including pre-entry and arrival testing. For more information, visit the Government of Canada website.
  • International travellers who are required to quarantine can travel directly to Nova Scotia to complete their quarantine.
  • The Government of Canada has suspended direct flights from India until after Sept. 21. For more information, visit the government website.
  • The Government of Canada has recently provided recommendations for international travellers (who are coming to Canada to live, work, or study) who have been vaccinated with vaccines that are not authorized by Health Canada.

Note: The Government of Canada requires that all international travellers, regardless of vaccination status, prepare and submit a quarantine plan hrough ArriveCAN. Please review the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International students information bulletin for detailed information.

International Centre advisors are available to help you with your quarantine plan. If you need assistance, contact international.centre@dal.ca.

Review the government's COVID-19 travel site

Information on travelling to Canada is frequently changing. We encourage you to review the government's COVID-19 travel site often to make sure you're up-to-date. Students can also review this government guide for travelling to Canada.

Before making travel plans, please note:

Quarantine & Travel Information (Land or Air Travel)

The Government of Canada has implemented exemptions for travellers who are fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by the Public Health Agency of Canada and meet specific conditions, including pre-entry and arrival testing. For more information, visit the Government of Canada website and the Province of Nova Scotia website.

Upon arrival in Canada, a Canadian government official will make the final decision on whether you’re eligible to enter Canada and whether you will be required to quarantine. More details can be found on the IRCC website, and you are welcome to contact the Border Information Service before you travel if you have questions about travelling to Canada.

Note: The Government of Canada requires that all international travellers, regardless of vaccination status, prepare and submit a quarantine plan. Students should review the government's "Travel, quarantine and borders" webpage for updates.

Travelling by land or air:

Students must review the following government checklists before planning to travel to Canada by land or air:
 

Students who may be exempt from quarantine

As of July 5, the Government of Canada has implemented exemptions for fully vaccinated travellers who meet specific conditions, including pre-entry and arrival testing. For more information, visit the Government of Canada website.

Students who are fully vaccinated with Canadian government-approved vaccines:

All international travellers, including Dalhousie international students, are required to submit a quarantine plan via ArriveCANregardless of vaccination status.

  • Quarantine exemptions may be implemented for international travellers who are fully vaccinated (2 doses of a Canadian government-approved vaccine) at least 14 days before travelling to Canada
  • If a Canadian border official grants an exemption, these travellers do not need to quarantine once they enter Canada and Nova Scotia
  • Proof of full vaccination status must be submitted via ArriveCAN prior to arrival in Canada (This can only be done 72 hours prior to your travel). Quarantine plans and travel information must also be submitted via ArriveCAN
  • Students can take a taxi from the Halifax airport to their destination in Halifax. The International Centre will reimburse students for the cost of the taxi, but you will need to provide us a receipt that shows your name, the date of the pick-up, the drop-off location, and cost (receipts can be requested from your driver). Taxi receipts can be sent to international.centre@dal.ca (please type "Taxi reimbursement" into the subject line of the email) 

Students who are partially vaccinated or who are not vaccinated with Canadian government-approved vaccines:
 

  • If an international traveller is not vaccinated or partially vaccinated (one dose or less than 14 days since the second dose), they are not exempt from quarantine upon arriving in Canada
  • Students must get tested upon arriving in Canada
  • Students must quarantine for at least 14 days in Nova Scotia
  • Students require a negative COVID-19 test on day 8 of their quarantine before they are allowed to leave quarantine (a take-home kit will be provided at the border entry)
  • Vaccination status must be submitted via ArriveCAN prior to arrival in Canada (This can only be done 72 hours prior to your travel). Quarantine plans must also be submitted via ArriveCAN

All international students travelling to Nova Scotia must review the "Important steps for registering to travel" section below.

If you have any questions, please contact the International Centre at international.centre@dal.ca.

Testing Information

NOTE: As of July 5, the Government of Canada has implemented exemptions for fully vaccinated travellers who meet specific conditions, including pre-entry and arrival testing. For more information, visit the Government of Canada website.
 
  • Students are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to boarding their scheduled departure to Canada. Students must also take additional tests when they arrive in Canada, and on day 8 of their quarantine. Full information about quarantine, testing, and travelling to Canada by air or land can be found on the government’s COVID-19: Travel, Quarantine and Borders site.
  • Students will be provided with test kits when they arrive in Canada, which are to be taken on day 8 of their quarantine. If you have any issues receiving your test kit, please inform the airport staff at your point of entry into Canada.
  • Students can review this Global Affairs Canada advisory for a list of facilities that provide testing for international students and Canadian students within each country (to find testing facilities in your country, scroll down to view the list of destinations, click on the country's link, and then select the "Health" tab)."

Costs

Any international student arriving to Nova Scotia after September 13, 2021 will be required to coordinate their own quarantine plan and will be responsible for any costs associated with their quarantine. 
 

International Centre advisors are available to help you with your quarantine plan. If you need assistance, contact international.centre@dal.ca.

Financial aid:

  • Additional support may be available for those experiencing hardship associated with the cost of quarantine and who demonstrate ongoing financial need.
  • There are also other forms of financial aid open to all students.
  • Only students with exceptional circumstances who need to travel internationally again after arriving in NS (i.e. family death, immigration purposes, etc.) may apply for additional financial aid with provincial quarantine expenses.

Health Plan

 

Important steps for registering to travel 

Step 1: Ensure you have the correct immigration documents

New students require:

  • A study permit approval letter (also known as a letter of introduction)
  • A valid travel entry document (i.e. Temporary Resident Visa or eTA as applicable)
  • A passport valid for more than 6 months at the time of entry 
  • A valid immigration medical exam the day you enter Canada (if you needed one). Your exam is valid for 12 months from the day you get it. If your exam will expire before you enter Canada, you need to get another medical exam. This applies even if your study approval letter is still valid.

Returning students require:

  • A valid study permit
  • A valid travel entry document (i.e. Temporary Resident Visa or eTA as applicable)
  • A passport valid for more than 6 months at the time of entry 
  • Valid medical exam (if applicable). If you have resided or stayed temporarily for 6 or more consecutive months in a designated country or territory in the one year immediately preceding the date you sought entry into Canada, you require a medical exam. This applies even if you are a citizen of a country where you do not require a visa to enter Canada.

Step 2: Ensure you have the correct supporting documents

New students require:

  • Admission letter
  • Financial documents used in your application as proof that you will be able to support yourself (as well as your family if you will be entering the country together)
  • Quarantine plan

Returning students require:

  • Proof of enrollment (which can be printed from Dal Online). Note: EAP students need to email esl@dal.ca for proof of enrollment.
  • Unofficial transcript (which can be printed from Dal Online)
  • Lease/rent agreement (if available)
  • Quarantine plan

Step 3: Book your flight

  • If you can, purchase travel insurance to protect yourself in case of flight changes and other unforeseen circumstances.
  • If you are entering Canada by driving across the United State-Canada land border, you do not need to complete this step. For information about travelling to Canada by land, visit the government’s COVID-19: Travel, Quarantine and Borders site. Students entering Canada by driving are also required to submit quarantine plans via the ArriveCAN app.

 

Step 4: Enter your information in ArriveCAN

  • To complete the mandatory ArriveCAN registration, download the ArriveCAN mobile app or go to the ArriveCAN website.
  • In the app or on the website, submit the following:
  • Your travel and contact information
  • Your quarantine plan (this is required regardless of quarantine status)
  • Your COVID-19 symptom self-assessments
  • You will need to be ready to show your ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada. A border services officer will verify that you have submitted their information digitally.
  • International Centre advisors are available to help you with your quarantine plan. If you need assistance, contact international.centre@dal.ca.

Step 5: Get a COVID-19 laboratory test result 72 hours prior to boarding your flight and/or driving to the United States/Canada border

  • The COVID-19 laboratory test result is a requirement for all air travellers AND land border crossings.
  • The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
  • Save the documentation showing a negative test result.
  • Present the negative test result to your airline/land border crossing agent prior to boarding/crossing the border.

 

Frequently asked questions and other important information

What will happen when I arrive in my first Canadian port of entry?

  • A Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer or other Canadian government official will make the final decision on whether you are eligible to enter Canada when you arrive.
  • You will need to be ready to show your ArriveCAN receipt and quarantine plan when seeking entry into Canada. A border services officer will verify that you have submitted information digitally.
  • 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 international.centre@dal.ca or 902-494-1566.

What if I am selected for a randomized entry test when I arrive?

What should I pack for quarantine?

  • Clothing for 14 days, including lounge wear, undergarments, socks, sweater, pants, t-shirts and slippers. 
  • Personal hygiene products, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, feminine hygiene products, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss.
  • Health products, including hand sanitizer, non-medical masks, thermometer (optional), and enough personal medication to last for your quarantine.
  • Snacks, tea or instant coffee, and your own reusable water bottle.
  • Laptop, phone, and chargers.
  • Textbooks, course materials, notebooks, and pens.
  • Books, favourite hobbies, and fitness supplies.

What happens during your mandatory quarantine?

  • You may not leave your place of quarantine unless it is to seek medical assistance.
  • On day 8 of your mandatory quarantine, you must take another COVID-19 test. You must stay in your place of quarantine until you receive a negative test result AND have completed the full 14-day quarantine.
  • You are not required to book an additional test in Halifax. 
  • You may not have any guests, even if you are outside and stay 2 metres apart from them.
  • You must submit all required information and answer questions through ArriveCAN.
  • Please review these quarantine guidelines carefully for more information.
  • Be sure to check out the Quarantine Connect page to stay connected with others remotely while in quarantine. 
  • Advice on what do during quarantine is available on the Student Life Hub.

Which vaccines are approved by the Government of Canada?

The Government of Canada (not Dalhousie) determines if you are fully vaccinated and exempt from mandatory quarantine. The Government of Canada-accepted vaccines are:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273)
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)

If your vaccine is listed above, please ensure you have proof of vaccination that is in English or French (or a certified translation).

 

If I am fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine and may be exempt from quarantine, do I still need to have a quarantine plan?

Yes. Please read and complete all steps under the “Important steps for registering to travel" section. Regardless of vaccination status, all international travellers are required to submit a quarantine plan via ArriveCAN. (Every traveller must have a quarantine plan in case it is determined they're required to quarantine.)

Final determination of whether you qualify for the exemption is made by a Canadian government representative at the border. More information is available on the government's website.

My vaccine is not one of the 4 federally approved vaccines. Am I exempt from quarantine?

No, you are not exempt from mandatory quarantine. You are required to quarantine in Halifax.

How can students get to their quarantine location or housing from the Halifax airport?

You can book with Driver Dave's, or take a taxi, from the Halifax airport to your destination in Halifax. The International Centre will reimburse students for the cost of the ride, but you will need to provide us your banner (or B00) number and a receipt that shows your name, the date of the pick-up, the drop-off location, and cost (receipts can be requested from your driver). Taxi receipts can be sent to international.centre@dal.ca (please type "Taxi reimbursement" into the subject line of the email).

How do students take another COVID-19 test on day 8?

For students who are required to quarantine:
  • You will be provided with a COVID-19 test kit to use for your test on day 8 of your mandatory quarantine. If you have any issues receiving your test kit, please inform the airport staff at your point of entry into Canada.
  • Your kit will contain everything you need to know about how to collect, store, and ship your sample.
  • If you don’t receive the results from your day 8 test, please contact your test provider. 
  • If you receive an indeterminate test result or your test is damaged, you are required to request another test kit from your test provider.
  • You are not required to book an additional test in Halifax.

Stay healthy and safe

Health care information

  • If you think you have COVID-19 signs or symptoms while in quarantine, complete this online self-assessment. If you are unable to access the online tool, call 811 for assistance (translation services are available). Follow the directions you receive at the end of the self-assessment and then contact the International Centre.
  • If you need other medical attention while in quarantine, call 811 for non-emergencies and 911 for emergencies.
  • Other information and health resources (including mental health resources) are available by contacting Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Centre.

Travelling outside of Nova Scotia

  • Contact the International Centre if you intend to travel outside of Nova Scotia.
  • The Government of Canada has issued a travel advisory asking everyone to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. Please keep this in mind as you make your travel plans.
  • Remember that travel restrictions are changing constantly.
  • Review the regulations governing travel to your destination, as travel restrictions may change. If you are travelling within Canada, please review information specific to your province or territory. If travelling outside of Canada, please check for any travel advisories for your destination. 
  • Please keep in mind that some countries require specific COVID-19 testing prior to entry.
  • If you are traveling internationally, visit International SOS, an online portal that provides information on safety and medical risks across 220 countries. Please use the Dal membership # 27ASCA824913. We also encourage you to visit the COVID-19: your safety and security outside of Canada site.
  • International students are also reminded that they must submit travel dates, contact information, COVID-19 test results, mandatory quarantine plan, and COVID-19 symptom self-assessment to the Canada Border Services Agency via the ArriveCAN mobile app.
  • During the weeks leading up to your departure, take extra precautions when socializing, follow public health rules about gathering limits, and avoid known areas of potential COVID-19 exposure to minimize your risk of infection.
  • Continue to be diligent regarding wearing a non-medical mask and follow the social distancing directives from Public Health.
  • Wash your hands often, especially before and after entering a public place.