Immigration & COVID‑19 Updates

Page updated: January 15, 2021

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 are able to welcome international students currently residing outside Canada to their campuses. Dalhousie was added to the list on November 3, 2020.

Update on the quarantine plan for students: Dalhousie has recently sent out a memo addressing concerns over the institutional plan to welcome international students to Canada. Students can visit Dal's COVID-19 updates page for more information. 

Before making travel plans, please note:

  • REGISTER HERE - International students must register with the International Centre to verify documentation needed for entry into Canada.
  • All Dalhousie international students returning to Nova Scotia from an international location must complete their mandatory 14-day quarantine at a location approved by the university. Quarantine location information will be confirmed via the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form that is completed by all travellers entering to the province. If you do not provide a quarantine location that is approved by Dalhousie on your Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form, you will be contacted and expected to immediately move to an approved location.
  • The cost to quarantine, which includes 14 days accommodations and three meals per day, is $1,627.36 (including taxes and applicable fees). Dalhousie will cover 50% of this expense for students who are new to Dalhousie or returning to study. Additional support may be available for those experiencing hardship associated with the cost of quarantine and who demonstrate ongoing financial need. Contact your international student advisor for more information. Funding will not be provided to cover quarantine costs associated with non-essential travel, including the December or winter study break. There are also other forms of financial aid open to all students.
  • Hotel and transportation from the Halifax airport must be pre-booked by an advisor at Dalhousie’s International Centre.
  • Students should review the "COVID-19 Guide for International Students Arriving from Abroad (PDF 254 kb)"
  • Students should review the province's Frequently Asked Questions document (pdf 54 kb) for information on travelling to Nova Scotia, quarantine details, and more. 
  • Students should review the province's guidelines for gathering limits (pdf - 631 kb). 
  • Flights from the United Kingdom: please note that Canada has suspended flights from the United Kingdom as they monitor the variant of the virus that causes COVID-19. Visit the government information page for more information. 
  • As of January 7, 2021, all travellers to Canada (ages five years and older) entering by air are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to boarding their scheduled departure to Canada. This testing is required for both international students and Canadian students who are currently outside the country. Students can review this Global Affairs Canada advisory for more information and 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)."

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. Dalhousie is now on this list. 
  2. You must hold a valid study permit or a Letter of Introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.
  3. As of November 21, 2020, you will be required to use the ArriveCAN mobile app before boarding your flight. You will need to provide travel and contact information, a quarantine plan, and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. 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.
  4. As January 7, 2021, all passengers five years of age or older are required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling by air from another country to Canada. To learn more on what is required, visit this information page.

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
  • Prior to November 21, 2020: Approved quarantine plan (shared with you by an advisor after your pre-arrival international student advising appointment)
  • After November 21, 2020: ArriveCAN receipt to verify that you have submitted your information digitally, including quarantine location information that will be provided for you by an international student advisor

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)
  • Prior to November 21, 2020: Approved quarantine plan (shared with you by an advisor after your pre-arrival international student advising appointment)
  • After November 21, 2020: ArriveCAN receipt to verify that you have submitted your information digitally, including quarantine location information that will be provided for you by an international student advisor

Important information:

  • 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 international.centre@dal.ca 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 mark.mason@dal.ca or call 902-893-6905. To book an appointment for Halifax contact international.centre@dal.ca or call 902-494-1566.
  3. Book your flight.
  4. Download the ArriveCAN appAs of November 21, 2020, you will be required to use the ArriveCAN mobile app before boarding your flight. You will need to provide travel and contact information, a quarantine plan, and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. 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.
  5. Obtain your quarantine location booking from your international student advisor. This information will be required to complete your ArriveCAN quarantine plan.
  6. The estimated cost of your 14-day quarantine, including accommodations and meals, is $825.
  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.  

What should I pack?

  • Clothing for 14 days, including lounge wear, undergarments, socks, sweater, pants, t-shirts and slippers. (Note: students will NOT have access to laundry services.)
  • 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.

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 communicated with you by the International Centre and included in your quarantine plan.

After you arrive

  1. As of November 21, 2020, you will be required to confirm within 48 hours that you have arrived at your place of quarantine or isolation, and while in quarantine you must complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during your quarantine period. You will be able to submit information through the ArriveCAN app or by calling a toll-free number (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. The Nova Scotia provincial government is strongly recommending that all post-secondary students who arrive in Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada on or after Jan. 4 get one COVID-19 test on either day 6, 7 or 8 of their 14-day quarantine period. You will receive an email from the International Centre with information about booking your COVID-19 test.
  4. You may not have any guests, even if you are outside and stay 2 metres apart from them.
  5. International student advisors will check in with you on a daily basis.
  6. Complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during your quarantine period, and submit this information through ArriveCAN. (as of November 21)
  7. Please review these quarantine guidelines carefully for more information.
  8. Be sure to check out the Quarantine Connect channel on the Dal Mobile app to stay connected with your advisors and fellow students while in quarantine. 

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. (Please review this guide on how to safely put on, and remove, your mask.)
  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.

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.