Immigration & COVID‑19 Updates

Page updated: March 23, 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 questions travelling to Nova Scotia, COVID-19 updates, or any other issue about student life. 

Note: 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. 

Canadian border is open to international students

Dalhousie University is on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) list of approved Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) that are able to welcome international students currently residing outside Canada to their campuses.  

Before making travel plans, please note:

Quarantine Information & Travel Registration


  • 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 a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a location approved by the university. Students travelling by air must first complete their quarantine at the airport hotel, which will likely be at least 3 days while they await COVID-19 test results. After receiving a negative test result, students can then travel to Nova Scotia to complete a 11-day quarantine at a Dalhousie-approved hotel. 
  • Although students must spend a total of 14 days in quarantine after arriving in Canada, the amount of time spent in both the airport quarantine and Nova Scotia quarantine can vary. The breakdown is the following:
  • If a student receives a negative COVID-19 test result before the end of the 3-day period, they can travel to Nova Scotia to complete the remainder of their 14-day quarantine. 
  • If it takes longer than 3 days to receive a negative test result, students will still be required to quarantine for a full 11 days in Nova Scotia. 
  • If a student tests positive at the airport, they will be required to stay in a federal quarantine facility (this cost will be covered by the government). Students who fall under this category will not be required to complete another 14 day quarantine in Nova Scotia.
  • Note: The International Centre will advise students on their required quarantine period in Nova Scotia. If you have any issues while at your airport or Nova Scotia quarantine, please contact the International Centre at for assistance. 
  • Quarantine location information will be confirmed via the Nova Scotia Safe Check-In form that is completed by all travellers entering to the province. An International Centre Advisor will provide students with more details about this form.

Testing Information


  • Students must also complete COVID-19 testing before leaving their country, when they arrive in Canada, and on day 10 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. If you have any issues receiving your test kits, please contact the International Centre at for assistance. 
  • 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)."



  • Students must cover hotel and all associated costs at their airport. The cost to quarantine at the Dalhousie-approved hotel will be reduced based on the duration of their stay. Funding will only be available to students who are new to Dalhousie or returning to study for the first time since the pandemic started. There are also other forms of financial aid open to all students.

Other Information


  • Hotel and transportation from the Halifax airport must be pre-booked by an advisor at Dalhousie’s International Centre.
  • Obtain your DSU Health Insurance Plan by visiting the Student VIP International website.

Planning your travel to Canada during COVID-19

To be able to enter Canada as a student:


  • Your Designated Learning Institution (DLI) must be on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 institutions readiness plans. 
  • You must hold a valid study permit or a Letter of Introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.
  • You are required to use the ArriveCAN mobile app before boarding your flight. You 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, as a border services officer will verify that you have submitted their information digitally.
  • 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. 
  • Additionally, to enter Nova Scotia as a student, you will have to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-In form.

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
  • 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)
  • 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 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.

When you arrive in Halifax

  • Your local transportation and quarantine location will be arranged for you. Information will be communicated with you by the International Centre and included in your quarantine plan.
  • 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).
  • International Centre representatives will be in contact with you daily, so be sure to answer your phone and check your email regularly. 

While in quarantine

  • You are not to leave your room, except during daily supervised walks and for medical reasons including COVID-19 testing.
  • Students must complete a COVID-19 test on day 10 of their mandatory quarantine. If you arrive in Nova Scotia and still have not received your COVID-19 testing kit, please email your name and quarantine address to to request one. Be sure to include the land or air border that you crossed plus the date for verification.
  • You may not have any guests, even if you are outside and stay 2 metres apart from them.
  • Complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during your quarantine period, and submit this information through ArriveCAN. 
  • 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

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your arm when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wear a mask in public indoor spaces at all times. (Please review this guide on how to safely put on, and remove, your mask.)
  • 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.
  • 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.