Travel to Canada

NIC Office of Global Engagement remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of our community, while providing ample support and welcoming environment for our students.

Travel Advisory Updates

For the most current restrictions/requirements for travel to Canada, please refer to: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid

Step-by-Step Arrival Planning

All international students newly arriving or returning to Canada are required by the Government of Canada to meet all entry requirements when planning travel to Canada. Students must ensure all required documentation is submitted by the governmental deadlines. Without this, NIC will not be able to support you with your travel.

All new students must have access to their NIC email and myNIC account. The login information was provided to you in Letter of Invitation. If you encounter difficulties logging into NIC email and myNIC, please contact Student Tech Support.

To be able 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. NIC is a DLI with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan.

As an international student, you must read Government of Canada website very carefully to ensure that you have understood your responsibilities.

It is important that you understand, follow and be updated on guidelines provided by the Government of Canada while you are planning your travel and quarantine in Canada. There are a few helpful resources to understand the steps required in your planning:

A final decision regarding entry and quarantine is made by a government official at the port of entry based on the information presented to them at the time of entry into Canada.

Please note if quarantine (self-isolation) is a requirement, failure to comply with Government of Canada’s Quarantine Act, as well as any provincial restrictions may incur up to 6 months in prison and/or $75,000 in fines.

NIC students are requested to travel to Canada no earlier than 3-4 weeks prior to the start of your semester. If you arrive too early to Canada as a new student, Canadian Border Service Agency could consider your travel as a visitor rather than a student.

Students are responsible for ensuring that they have appropriate medical insurance while they are travelling to Canada and studying in Canada.

All new NIC students will be enrolled in Guard.Me for 90 days starting from the first day your program commences (orientation day). Upon arrival in BC you must apply for BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) and the OGE will provide more instructions on how to apply for MSP during orientation.

Please ensure you have adequate medical insurance coverage from the time you leave your home country to the time you arrive at the quarantine location. If you arrive early for your program, you have an option to apply for Early Arrival insurance through Guard.Me. For more information on the Early Arrival plan please go to the Guard.Me website or email istudentvisas@nic.bc.ca

Returning students need to ensure that the MSP coverage is active and valid. If your MSP has expired, please contact ISA@nic.bc.ca

See OGE’s Heath and Safety page for more information.

Before purchasing flight tickets, NIC recommends that you have as many pre-arrival arrangements secured as possible. In-Canada flights to our campus location may also be limited on your intended travel date. You should also carefully review policies related to cancelling or altering flight/accommodation dates so that they can be flexible in the event that you need to adjust your plans (i.e. testing positive of COVID-19 at the port of entry).

International Flights

Students must ensure they are familiar with the Government of Canada most current travel rules and regulations for entering Canada. These rules are constantly changing as the government responds to COVID-19. Students must participate in any required health checks at all check points.

In-Canada Flights

The Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) and the Campbell River Airport (YBL) are accessible with direct flights from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Currently, Pacific Coastal Air connects our regional airports to Vancouver International Airport, and WestJet connect Comox Valley Airport to Calgary International Airport.

Once you arrive at Comox Valley Airport or Campbell River Airport, there are taxi services available.

Bring the following documents while travelling to enter Canada (in print and digital format) and have them ready to present to officials. If you think of any other documentation that you feel necessary for entry into Canada, we recommend that you carry them as well. A CBSA officer will make the final decision on whether you are eligible to enter Canada when you arrive at the port of entry.

  • Letter of Acceptance from NIC (for new students)
  • A proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
  • A valid passport
  • Valid temporary resident visa or eTA
  • Valid study permit or study permit approval (Approval in Principle does not allow students to travel)

We also recommend that you keep the following information readily available to you:

  • Contact information of OGE staff you can reach out during your travel
  • Contact information of friends and/or family members in Canada, if any

In addition to regular packing for your move, we also recommend packing following items:

  • Non-perishable snacks and foods from home
  • Disposable or reusable face masks (both in your carry-on luggage and checked-in suitcase)
  • A bottle of hand sanitizer (keep a small bottle in your carry-on luggage as well as a bottle in your checked-in suitcase)
  • A thermometer (keep in your carry-on luggage in case you develop fever during your travel)
  • Disinfectant wipes (both in your carry-on luggage and checked-in suitcase)
  • A few pairs of disposable protective gloves (both in your carry-on luggage and checked-in suitcase)
  • Consider your physical and emotional wellness and pack books, games, fitness tools, apps etc. that you wish to have with you.

During your transit to the airport, in airports and during flights, be sure to:

  • Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer when necessary
  • Practice physical distancing from others in all areas
  • Sanitize your personal space and high-touch area, and minimize touching surfaces
  • Minimize trips to washroom where possible
  • Practice proper hygiene by minimizing touching your face, coughing/sneezing into your sleeves and using tissues and throwing them away right after use.

Arriving in a new country can be very challenging for your emotional and mental well-being. Our counselors are available for confidential support online.

Please book your appointment online or contact Student Services to make an appointment:

  • Campbell River/Mixalakwila: 250-923-9700 or 1-800-715-0914 (toll-free in Canada)
  • Comox Valley: 250-334-5000 or 1-800-715-0914 (toll-free in Canada)
  • Port Alberni: 250-724-8711 or 1-800-715-0914 (toll-free in Canada)

For additional or after-hours support, the following resources are available:

  • Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888
  • Vancouver Island Crisis Text: 250-800-3806

For students in Canada and the US call: 1.844.451.9700

  • Here2Talk: Here2Talk connects students with mental health support when they need it. Through this program, all students currently registered in a B.C. post-secondary institution have access to free, confidential counselling and community referral services, conveniently available 24/7 via app, phone and web. This service is available to you anywhere in the world if you are a currently enrolled international student at NIC.

Canada-wide toll free, dial: 1-877-857-3397

Canada-wide direct, dial: 604-642-5212

For those who have general questions, please contact our Student Life department:

If you are looking for International Student Services, please refer to this page for more information.

As a newly arriving NIC student, there are a number of things you must do to get prepared for a Canadian life. Some of the important things are:

  • Purchase textbooks
  • Attend orientation
  • Apply for SIN (Social Insurance Number)
  • Open a Canadian bank account
  • Apply for Student ID card
  • Purchase a Canadian cell phone/SIM card
  • Find permanent accommodation
  • Apply for BC MSP (Medical Service Plan)

NIC international students currently on guard.me insurance have access to Guard.me Mobile Doctor program. This program allows students to connect with Canadian doctors on Maple, a telemedicine company. Maple provides access to doctors across Canada, on the phone, tablet or computer anytime.

If you are no longer on Guard.me you can access the following mobile doctor program provided through Greenshield.

You can also call 8-1-1 if you are unsure whether you need to see a doctor or not, or if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This is a pre-screening call and a medical practitioner will assess your need on the telephone to determine if you need to see a doctor.

Just remember, if you, or someone in your care, has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life threatening. Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to toxic substance, call Poison Control at 1-800-567-8911.

Important Information about COVID-19, Immigration and Quarantine

It is important to seek information from reliable sources. We recommend that you read and understand the information below.

Government of Canada

BC Government Provincial Laws and Regulations

Other information source

Ministry of Health BC COVID-19 symptom self-assessment tool