Quarantine Information for International Travellers - Travelling to Canada for Studies/Essential Reasons


Please note that according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) guidelines concerning the current travel exemptions/restrictions, international students may only enter for the purpose of studying.

For students returning to Canada for the Fall 2021 term, this means, that if you attempt to travel to Canada more than 4 (four) weeks ahead of the start of classes, you may be denied boarding or denied entry once you reach Canada. If you are currently enrolled in summer classes and you have the required documentation to enter (valid study permit, valid temporary resident visa (if applicable) and quarantine accommodation plan) it is likely that you will be permitted entry.

Step 1: Eligibility to enter Canada

Confirm whether you are eligible to travel

Beginning October 20, 2020, Immigration, Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that international students are exempt from travel restrictions and are able to travel to Canada for their studies if they meet all requirements and have all authorizations for travel.

According to these current travel restrictions, to enter Canada as a student, you must meet 2 requirements:

  1. You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.*
  2. You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory.**

*Stage 1 approval/AIP does not count as final approval.

**York University is on the list of designated learning institutions (DLIs) with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. 

If you are in the School of Continuing Studies, please contact them directly at regscs@yorku.ca to arrange your quarantine accommodation.

Whether immediate family members can travel with you to Canada or join later

One [1] immediate family member may be able to travel with you to Canada if they have an essential reason (non-discretionary) reason for travel and they should request written authorization. Click here for more information. 


Step 2: Before you travel to Canada

Confirm that you have the right documents

  1. You must have a valid study permit or proof of approval to come to Canada.If you only have an approval in principal/first-stage approval, you cannot yet travel.
  2. Your letter of acceptance from York University (new students only) and/or your letter of enrolment
  3. Proof of financial support (as many documents as possible) - that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
  4. Your quarantine plan information (see "Step 3" below for more information).
  5. Entry support letter
    • Undergraduate students using York's full 14-day Quarantine Accommodation program: your entry support letter will be provided as part of your quarantine documentation package that you receive about 3-5 days before travel (see "Step 3" below for more information).
    • Undergraduate students choosing to quarantine at a location of their choice: You must still fill out the Quarantine Accommodation Form (see "Step 3" below for more information). There is an option on the form to indicate that you are arranging your own quarantine. Your entry support letter will be issued to you about 3-5 days before your travel date.
    • Graduate students: Please request this letter directly from your program/department.
    • School of Continuing Studies: Please request this letter directly from SCS at regscs@yorku.ca.

Take a COVID-19 test prior to departure

As of February 15, 2021, all travellers to Canada, with some exceptions, must take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of your flight's departure or arrival at a land border.

If you are flying to Canada, see here for COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers

If you are driving to Canada, see here for COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers.

Register in advance for your COVID-19 arrival test

Flying to Canada: COVID-19 Testing for Travellers

Driving to Canada: COVID-19 Testing for Travellers

Download the ArriveCan mobile app

According to IRCC, as of November 21, 2020 travellers entering Canada by air are required to provide mandatory travel and quarantine information using the ArriveCAN app, which includes:

    • Travel and contact information
    • Quarantine plan (you will need to answer a series of yes or no questions)
    • COVID-19 symptom self-assessment (both before you board your plane and each day of your 14 day quarantine)
    • IMPORTANT: You must submit the ArriveCAN information before you board your flight to Canada (we recommend at least 48 hours in advance) and you must confirm you’ve arrived at the address you provided for your quarantine location with 48 hours of your entry to Canada. Travellers who fail to submit the required information digitally before boarding their flight could be subject to enforcement action, which can range from verbal warnings to a $1,000 fine. 
    • Please review this website carefully to follow all instructions related to using the ArriveCAN app.
    • If your travel date has changed, you can make a new submission with your new travel dates/information.  ArriveCAN will accept your most recent submission as the correct one.


Step 3: Prepare your quarantine plan


There are two options for Quarantine:

  1. Register for York's Quarantine program which includes a 14-day hotel quarantine stay.
  2. Self-arranged quarantine at a location of your choosing.

York Quarantine Accommodation Program

York will continue to pay for the full 14-day quarantine period for those students who are undertaking essential travel, i.e.:

  • Students coming to study in Canada for the first time
  • Students who were not living in Canada/Toronto in Fall 2020 and/or Winter 2021 and are now travelling to Canada for their studies

What you need to do: 

All York students, whether you choose to quarantine for the full 14-days in the York-designated hotel or you choose to arrange your own quarantine, must abide by all requirements of York's approved COVID-19 readiness plan for the duration of your quarantine.  This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Daily check-ins with a York staff member
  • Mandatory COVID testing as per federal, provincial and local health authorities.
  • Filing your self-arranged quarantine plan with York 

Full requirements will be communicated with you once when you request quarantine accommodation or file your self-arranged quarantine plan with York.

Self-arranged quarantine

If you choose to arrange your own quarantine accommodation, please note the following:

  • What you need to do:
  • Additional requirements:
    • You must abide by the requirements of York's approved COVID-19 readiness plan. This includes (but is not limited to):
      • Daily check-ins with a York staff member
      • Mandatory post-quarantine COVID testing
      • Filing your quarantine plan with York 
      • Full requirements will be communicated with you once you file your self-arranged quarantine plan with York.

I have submitted one of the quarantine plan forms mentioned above to York, what happens next?

We are processing requests for quarantine accommodations in order of arrival dates. You will receive documents confirming your quarantine arrangements about 3-5 days before your arrival.

If you do not receive an e-mail from us within 3 days of your arrival date, please contact quarantine@yorku.ca and mark the subject line “Urgent – Traveling to Toronto on [DATE]”.

If your travel date changes or gets canceled, please inform us by completing the Quarantine Change Form.


Step 4: Arrival Information

What to expect at the airport or land border

According to IRCC, when the border services officer greets you, they look at several factors, including:

  • your reason for travelling to Canada
  • your ability to complete a 14-day quarantine period as soon as you arrive at your final destination
  • You will be asked to show your ArriveCAN receipt to a border services officer when seeking entry to Canada
  • if you either:
    • have time to complete your quarantine before you physically attend classes, or
    • can study online during your quarantine

A border services officer will make the final decision on whether you’re eligible to enter Canada when you arrive.

If you are not permitted entry to Canada, the quarantine documentation provided to you by York will contain an emergency contact number to speak with a designated member of York International to determine what, if anything, can be done. That said, please note that the final decision on whether you're eligible to enter Canada lies with the border services officer.

Even if you are exempt as of the date of reading this information, please check the travel restrictions again before you plan to return to Canada as they may change at any time. 

Please keep yourself up to date on relevant news on the coronavirus and travel advisories and restrictions both in Canada and in your home country.


Quarantine and Entry to Canada FAQs

My travel date has changed or cancelled.  Do I need to tell anyone?

Yes.  Your entry support documentation and quarantine plan documentation should be recently dated.  If you need updated documentation, please complete the Quarantine Change Form.

You should also resubmit your travel details via ArriveCAN.  ArriveCAN will accept your most recent submission as the correct one.

I am outside of Canada, can I travel to Canada even though all my courses are online?

Yes. The fact that your studies are online do not prevent your entry to Canada. However, you must ensure that you meet the requirements indicated in the current travel restrictions, as explained above in Step 1 "Eligibility to enter Canada".

I'm travelling with dependents.  Will York cover their quarantine as well?

York will cover your quarantine if you are a new degree student or if you were not living in Canada for Fall 2020 and/or Winter 2021 and are returning to resume your studies.

If you have dependents travelling with you (spouse/partner, children), they may quarantine with you.  There will be additional costs that you will be responsible for paying:

Additional person with hotel-provided meals:  $57/day per person plus applicable taxes
Additional person without hotel-provided meals:  $20/day per person plus applicable taxes

You will be responsible for paying for these fees upon check out.

All fees are subject to change without notice.

My friend and I are travelling from the same country.  Can we quarantine together?

Individuals may quarantine together if they are from the same household and will be living together after quarantine.

If you were not living in the same household before travel, you will not be able to quarantine together, as per the federal Quarantine Act.

Can I bring my pet with me to quarantine?

No. The hotels York is working with do not accommodate pets.

If you have a service animal, please contact quarantine@yorku.ca

When does my UHIP coverage start?

If you are an international student who is registered as active in a degree program, you will be enrolled under UHIP within a week of arriving in Canada effective the date of your arrival. If you do not receive your UHIP card within the week, you may request it here.

Travel plans changed? If you decide to come to Canada at a later date or stay in your home country, please click here to update your travel plans so that your UHIP can also be updated.

For further information regarding UHIP, please visit https://yorkinternational.yorku.ca/uhip/.

I need a COVID test to return to my home country.  Will UHIP cover my COVID test?

COVID Testing for Travel Outside Canada - Announcement by the Ontario Government

As of Dec 11, 2020, the Ontario government has announced that they will no longer cover COVID testing for outbound international travellers. This announcement can be found here. UHIP will also not cover COVID testing for outbound international travellers.

If you need a COVID test for travelling outside Canada, some pharmacies like Shoppers Drug Mart* and labs like LifeLabs* are offering these tests at a cost.  UHIP does not cover any COVID test expenses.

*NOTE: It is your responsibility to check with your airline to confirm the COVID testing requirements for your flight.

I did a COVID test to enter Canada.  Do I need to take another one after quarantine?


For travel to Canada, you will need to do three COVID tests:

  1. Pre-departure:  all air travellers must present a negative COVID test result that was taken within 72 hours of their travel to Canada.  Land travellers will also need to provide a negative COVID test taken 72 hours of pre-arrival or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival.
  2. Upon Arrival:  Canada also has a requirement for testing upon entry at Pearson International Airport, as well as in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.
  3. Post-quarantine:  All international and domestic students who go through their institution's quarantine program must get a post-quarantine COVID test.  The province will cover the cost for international students to get this test.

If you develop symptoms during your quarantine, you will need to go for incidental testing at the time you develop symptoms.  If you get an incidental test, you will not be required to do a post-quarantine COVID test.