Immigration & COVID‑19 Updates

Page updated: January 4, 2022

The International Centre is committed to working with you to be successful at Dal. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have about immigration, events and programs, international travel, any anything else related to student life. You can email us at international.centre@dal.ca or call 902-494-1566.

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.

Travel updates

Summary

International Student Travel Requirements

If you are an international student from outside Canada and you are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine and you meet entry requirements (including all necessary information entered in the ArriveCAN app and a valid study permit):

  • You are allowed to enter Canada to study, and you likely will not be required to quarantine (decisions regarding whether to quarantine are made by government officials when you enter).
  • You may be randomly selected for a mandatory arrival test.
  • If you are randomly selected and you have been outside Canada and the US within the last 14 days, you must quarantine until you receive a negative test result.
    • You are allowed to travel to your final destination to complete your entry quarantine at your home, hotel, or other suitable location, at your own expense.
    • You are not required to complete your entry quarantine at a government designated quarantine location.
  • If you are randomly selected and have only been in the US within the last 14 days, you are not required to quarantine until you receive a negative test result.
    • You are allowed to travel to your final destination.
  • For detailed information about arrival random testing, including how to register with a test provider (recommended for all international travellers, to be prepared if selected for testing), please refer to the Government of Canada travel information site

If you are an international student from outside Canada and you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and you meet entry requirements (including all necessary information entered in the ArriveCAN app and a valid study permit):

  • You are required to take a COVID-19 test when you enter Canada and quarantine until you receive a negative test result.
  • You are required to quarantine for 14 days at your home, hotel, or other suitable location, at your own expense.
  • You are required to take a COVID-19 test on Day 8 of your quarantine.
  • You are allowed to travel to your final destination to complete your entire quarantine at your home, hotel, or other suitable location, at your own expense.

After January 15, 2022, all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated international travellers, including international students, will not be allowed to enter Canada.

Details regarding these requirements and other important information are provided below.

Latest Updates

For students planning to arrive in Canada with a valid study permit, please note that entry requirements may change depending on your arrival date. The Government of Canada recently announced additional border measures to reduce the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada.

  • On November 30, 2021, the list of accepted vaccines for entering Canada with an exemption from some testing and quarantine requirements was expanded to include Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN. If you are fully vaccinated with a full series of vaccines, or combination of vaccines, accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada, you will not need to quarantine for 14 days. However, you will be required to quarantine at home, a hotel, or other suitable location, at your own expense while you await the result of your on-arrival test
  • If you are not fully vaccinated with a full series of vaccines, you will be required to:
    • provide proof of a negative molecular pre-entry test taken no more than 72 hours before your flight’s initial scheduled departure time or arrival at the land border or, if you have previously tested positive for Covid-19, proof of a positive Covid-19 molecular test result taken within 14 to 180 days prior to arrival in Canada (in lieu of a negative test result);
    • complete day-1 and day-8 testing;
    • complete your 14-day quarantine in a suitable place; and
    • submit all information via the free ArriveCAN mobile app or website.

You must enter your quarantine plan, vaccine and other information in the ArriveCAN mobile app or website within 72 hours of travel, regardless of your vaccination status.

  • International students who are required to quarantine are not required to complete their quarantine in a Dalhousie-approved location, and can quarantine at home, at a hotel, or in another suitable location, at their own expense. Students must review the federal quarantine requirements for travelling to Canada.
  • After November 30, 2021, all travellers in Canada must be fully vaccinated to board a flight or train.  
  • Effective December 1, 2021, foreign nationals who have been in any of the following countries within the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada: Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
  • On December 1, 2021, the government announced that border testing surveillance will be adjusted based on the latest available evidence to further reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19 and its variants. In the coming days, all fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air from departure points other than the United States will be subject to arrival testing. Fully vaccinated travellers will be required to quarantine at home, at a hotel, or another suitable location, at their own expense while they await the results of their arrival test.
  • On December 1, 2021, the government also announced that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers with right of entry to Canada will continue to be tested on arrival and on day 8 of their 14-day quarantine period. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers are required to quarantine at home, at a hotel, or another suitable location, at their own expense while they await the results of their arrival test, and the remainder of their 14-day quarantine.
  • Effective January 15, 2022, you will only be allowed to enter Canada if you are fully vaccinated with a full series of vaccines, or combination of vaccines, accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering the country. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will not be able to enter Canada.
  • Up to February 28, 2022, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed to depart from Canada to return to their home country, with proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of their departure. Beyond this date, unvaccinated foreign nationals will have to apply to the National Interest Exemption Program (NIEP) to seek case-by-case exemptions from the vaccine mandate. You will not be allowed to enter Canada again until you are fully vaccinated.
  • Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has communicated that international students who are attending a Designated Learning Institution can enter Canada at any time prior to study. Please refer to the Government of Canada website for detailed information about vaccines and travel.

Note: The Government of Canada requires that all international travellers, regardless of vaccination status, prepare and submit a quarantine plan through the ArriveCAN mobile app or website within 72 hours of travel. International Centre advisors are available to help with your quarantine plan. If you need assistance, contact international.centre@dal.ca or 902-494-1566.

Please review the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International students information bulletin for detailed information.


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.

Before making travel plans, please note:

Quarantine & Travel Information

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.

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.

Students must review the government’s checklists for requirements and exemptions before planning to travel to Canada by land or air.

In partnership with Driver Dave's, Dalhousie International Centre offers a free door-to-door airport pickup service for all our new and returning incoming international students for the winter term. In order to take advantage of this service, you MUST complete the airport pick up request form at least 24 hours before your departure (however, booking further ahead is strongly recommended - ideally 72 hours or more). Complete the entire form in full, indicate the amount of people arriving with you, and enter promo code DALINT22 for Dalhousie to cover the cost of your ride from the airport. 

It is extremely important that you read the Driver Dave's confirmation email that you receive after you book. If you miss your flight or if your flight number changes, you must advise Driver Dave's. They will monitor your flight for delays as long as your flight number hasn't changed.

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

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/Hotels

The following Halifax hotels are offering special rates for Dalhousie international students who are required to quarantine. These hotels are not designated port of entry quarantine hotels. These are locations where you can complete your 14-day quarantine. All international students arriving in Nova Scotia who are required to quarantine must coordinate their own plans and are responsible for any costs associated with their quarantine.

Hotels

The following Halifax hotels are offering special rates for Dalhousie international students who are required to quarantine. All quarantine expenses are your responsibility.

Cambridge Suites 

  • TO BOOK ONLINE: https://reservations.travelclick.com/13605?RatePlanId=5721563
  • TO BOOK BY PHONE: call toll-free 1-800-565-1263 or 902-420-0555 and ask for the Dalhousie International Student Isolation Stay rate 
  • TO BOOK BY EMAIL: send an email to askhalifax@cambridgesuiteshotel.com and ask for the Dalhousie International Student Isolation Stay rate
  • Room rate of $69.00 per night for studio guestroom
  • Room rate of $89 per night for one-bedroom suite with fully equipped kitchen
  • Complimentary deluxe continental breakfast delivered to each guest room each morning, room service available for dinner

Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites 

Hampton Inn

  • TO BOOK BY PHONE: call 902-422-1391 
  • TO BOOK EMAIL: email hamptonhalifax@gmail.com
  • Rate of $99.00 per night including premium wifi, fridge, security safe. (Not including taxes, includes breakfast)

Homewood Suites:

  • TO BOOK BY PHONE: call 902-429-6620 
  • TO BOOK BY EMAIL: email hwshalifax@gmail.com
  • Rate of $109.00 per night, all suites with full kitchen, wifi, security safe (Not including taxes, includes breakfast)
  • Meals - $45.00 per day per person will provide 3 hot meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) plus taxes and gratuity

Westin

Also Monthly Rentals: (March 2022 Expiry)

Homewood Suites by Hilton, Downtown Halifax

  • TO BOOK BY EMAIL: email hwshalifax@gmail.com
  • TO BOOK BY PHONE: call 902-429-6620 and ask for Manager on Duty
  • Fully furnished studio and one-bedroom suites available on a month to month rental. Everything is included (power/water/wifi/local calls/security/weekly housekeeping provided by hotel staff/pots/pans/cutlery/plates/cups/coffee machine and daily coffee pods/dishwasher pods/ tissue/toilet paper.
  • Fridge/Freezer/Range/Dishwasher/Microwave.
  • Complimentary coffee/tea available in the lobby of the hotel 24 hours a day.
  • One parking spot will be provided
  • Daily Hot Breakfast
  • Complimentary weekly grocery service is available. Groceries will be billed to the guestroom.
  • Long distance charges will be billed to credit card on file.
  • Studio suite available at $1900.00/month
  • One-bedroom suite available at $2400.00/month

Four Points by Sheraton

  • TO BOOK BY PHONE: call 902-423-4444 ext 3, and ask for Duty manger
  • Rate of $85.00 per night
  • Meal plan available
  • Offers either a taxi voucher from the airport or complimentary parking for 1 car for the duration of the way and a microwave for the room

Residence Inn Halifax

  • TO BOOK BY PHONE: call 902-422-0493
  • Rate of $109 per night

Best Western Plus Dartmouth Hotel & Suites

  • TO BOOK PHONE - 902-463-2000
  • Rate of $79.00 per night plus tax (includes breakfast, parking & WIFI)
  • Meal plan $40 per day plus tax and gratuities (lunch, dinner, snack) = $53.82

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Dartmouth

  • TO BOOK BY PHONE: call 902-463-2000
  • Rate of $79.00 per night plus tax (includes breakfast parking and wifi)
  • No onsite restaurant

DoubleTree Hilton Dartmouth

Chocolate Lake Hotel

  • TO BOOK BY PHONE: call 1-902-477-5611 ext 0
  • Rate of $69.00*CAD per night, plus applicable taxes and includes, parking and Wi-fi. Rate is based on single/double adult occupancy in a standard guestroom. Third and fourth adult occupants (18 years and older) rate is an additional $10.00* per adult guest, per night, plus applicable taxes. Maximum of four guests per room. *Applicable taxes: 2% Halifax Marketing Levy, plus 15% HST.
  • Meal plan: 3 meals plus 1 snack per day delivered as a “knock and drop” door service. Cost would be $50.00 per person/per day plus applicable taxes. Meal plan needs to be prearranged 72 hours prior to arrival. To set up a meal plan, email sales@chocolatelakehotel.com or call 902-444-8655
  • Complimentary wi-fi, rooms equipped with microwave and fridge

Hotel Halifax

Quality Inn Halifax Airport

  • TO BOOK BY PHONE: call 902-873-3000 
  • TO BOOK BY EMAIL: email  reservations@airporthotelhalifax.com with the subject line “Winter Isolation Student”
  • Rate of $115.00 plus tax and hotel service fee / 137.78 including taxes and hotel service fee
  • Meal plan: $40.00 per day for lunch and dinner plus tax and 15% gratuity. Meals to be arranged by guest at Certainly Cinnamon. Email catering@certainlycinnamon.com with subject line “Student Isolation Wood Door Bistro”

Financial Support

Support may be available for those experiencing hardship associated with the cost of quarantine and who demonstrate financial need. 

Health Plan

 

Important steps for preparing 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

  • The COVID-19 laboratory test result is a requirement for all air travellers 
  • 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, or present proof of a positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days ago.

 

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 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 must quarantine until you receive negative results from your port of entry COVID-19 tests. You must stay in your place of quarantine until you receive your negative result.
  • If you are required to quarantine for 14 days, on day 8 of your mandatory quarantine, you must take another COVID-19 test. You must stay in your place of quarantine until you 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 government 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. Vaccines approved by the Government of Canada are:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273)
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)
  • Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
  • Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
  • Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)

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 federally approved vaccines. Am I exempt from quarantine?

No, you are not exempt from mandatory quarantine. Until January 15, if you have a valid study permit, you will be allowed to enter Canada and you will be required to quarantine in Halifax. After January 15, 2022, if you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, you will not be allowed to enter Canada.

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

For students who are required to quarantine for 14 days:
  • 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.