COVID-19 Updates for International Students

Updated October 25, 2023

Our international students are valued members of the Vancouver Island University community and we honour your contributions to the VIU family. We recognize the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for you, and we have created this webpage to provide additional information about supports and resources specifically for international students at VIU. We will update this page as new information and resources become available. In addition, COVID-19 information for all VIU students and community members is available at VIU's COVID-19 Updates and Information.

For specific information on VIU's 2023-24 Academic Year, please refer to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on VIU's 2023-24 Academic Year.

What are the latest entry requirements and quarantine rules?

Please read the current government Travel and Testing Information.

Please note that Universities have no jurisdiction in border services (CBSA) and immigration matters. A CBSA officer will make the final decision on whether you can enter Canada when you arrive.

International students must to stay up to date with Government requirements and show the Border Services Officer that they meet the requirements when travelling to Canada.

How should I plan to travel after I arrive?

For information on travel after you arrive, read the government guidelines.

If your port of entry is Vancouver, you will need to plan transport to Vancouver Island. Check BC Ferries. If you want to take a seaplane to the island, try Harbour Air or Seair Seaplanes.

If your port of entry is Nanaimo, or if you connect by ferry, you will need to plan transport to your accommodation. Our recommended taxi and shuttle bus providers are:  

  • AC Taxi: 250.753.1231
  • Yellow Cab: 250.751.1111
  • Airport/Ferry Shuttle Bus, (door-to-door, 24/7): 1.888.758.2133 / 778.441.2133 (local) / Nanaimo Airporter

Where can I get a vaccination? 

Register and book your appointment.

Information about BC booster shot scheduling.

International students are required to have a valid study permit in order to come to Canada to pursue full-time studies at Vancouver Island University (not required for students planning to study in Canada for less than six months).

I will study less than 6 months (eg. as a study abroad, exchange or ESL student) at VIU, do I need to apply for study Permit?

  • Short term students in programs that are less than 6 months do not require a study permit to study in Canada whether the delivery method is online or face-face. 
  • You still may requrie an eTA or visa to enter Canada.

I am in my home country. Can VIU help with my StudyPermit/VISA/eTa application? 

VIU’s immigration advisors are not able to provide support for Study Permit/VISA/eTA applications outside of Canada. However, once you are in Canada, our Immigration Advisors can assist you in your study and work-related applications.  


I applied for my study permit and I am waiting for feedback. Can VIU help expedite the process? 

Unfortunately, Immigration Advisors or VIU employees are unable to intervene in expediting applications.  

All student services and supports, including advising, career services, counselling, tutoring and disability services are still available via alternative formats such as video conferencing, email and text. Visit International Student Services for more details. 

If you have questions or comments related to COVID-19 and your time at VIU that are not addressed by the information found on this page, please contact

If you intend to apply to VIU for a future semester and have questions, please email

More supports are listed on BC Council for International Education.