The information on this page is to help you understand how British Columbia and Canada are working to keep students and communities healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government of British Columbia has ensured post-secondary institutions have plans in place that allow institutions to welcome international students on study permits while supporting the federal border restrictions, quarantine requirements, and the safety of communities.
In March 2021, the Government of British Columbia announced that public post-secondary institutions are preparing for a full return to on-campus education in September 2021. The safety of all students, faculty, and staff will remain a top priority throughout this process, which will include the development of more detailed safety plans for each institution.
In the K-12 sector, enhanced health and safety measures are helping to keep students safe during COVID-19. Schools continue to be low-risk sites for COVID-19 transmission, and most K-12 students are participating in full-time, in-class instruction in accordance with current public health guidelines for schools.
Information about British Columbia’s response to COVID-19, including the immunization plan for all residents, is available on the Government of British Columbia’s website.
Mental Health and Wellness
The Government of British Columbia launched Here2Talk, a mental health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students, including international students. The service offers confidential, free single-session services by app, phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Health Care in British Columbia
Medical Services Plan (MSP)
To support international students on study permits, the Government of British Columbia has made temporary changes to MSP coverage policies.
If your study permit is about to expire and you are still in Canada, you can apply to IRCC for an extension.
If your study permit has expired and you no longer have MSP coverage, you may be provided temporary MSP coverage if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Contact Health Insurance BC to request this temporary coverage. This temporary coverage will currently be valid until April 30, 2021.
If you were previously issued a Temporary Coverage letter that is set to expire October 31, 2020, and you remain in BC with implied status, you can contact Health Insurance BC to request a new letter valid until April 30, 2021.
Post-Secondary Institution Supports and Services
Many post-secondary institutions are providing student housing, financial, and other assistance, including bursaries and emergency funding for international students. International students should connect directly with institutions to inquire about supports and services. Contact information for post-secondary institutions in British Columbia is available online.
Travel to British Columbia, Canada
Please see our updated information to help you travel to BC and meet all health and safety requirements.
To be able to enter Canada as a student, you must:
- Have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit
- Be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory
Before you travel to Canada, make sure you know the rules and what you need to do before and after you arrive:
- Quarantine or isolation plan
- COVID-19 testing for travellers
- Requirements for flying to Canada
- Mandatory hotel stay for all air travellers (see below)
Mandatory hotel stay information:
As of February 21, 2021, passengers travelling by air (unless exempted) are required to:
- Reserve a government-authorized hotel for 3 nights prior to departure to Canada
- Take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival in Canada
- Stay in the government-authorized hotel while awaiting the results of the COVID-19 molecular test taken on arrival
- Pay for the cost of the hotel stay, as well as all associated costs for food, security, transportation, and infection prevention and control measures
- When the mandatory hotel stay is over, you must then follow the COVID-19 readiness plan for your approved DLI
- If you’re an unaccompanied minor, you’re exempt from the mandatory hotel stay for air travellers
Up-to-date Government of Canada information on study permit-related issues, travel restrictions and exemptions, the Post-Graduation Work Permit program, as well as Government of Canada programs for which international students may be eligible, is available online. More information.
We encourage you to consult this page regularly for the latest updates relevant to your situation.