VIU International students

VIU Self-Isolation Information & Resources

All travellers to Canada must plan to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Even if you are fully vaccinated, it may be decided at the border that you do not meet the requirements.

Below you will find helpful information on eligibility requirements and planning to quarantine (self-isolate) when coming to Canada to study with VIU.

Please read carefully so you are aware of the information/documents that you must submit to VIU and to Canadian Government agencies. 

Eligibility Requirements

Requirements to Enter Canada

To be able to enter Canada to travel as a student you must meet 2 requirements:  

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

To board a flight to Canada, you must also demonstrate to the airline that you are exempt from the travel restrictions by showing: 

  • you have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit;
  • you are attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory. VIU is a DLI with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan;
  • Submit your travel and quarantine plans to the Government of Canada using ArriveCan before boarding your flight;
  • Show a passport that is valid to fly to Canada and a valid entry document (visitor visa or eTA, if required);
  • Complete a health check with airline officials, to confirm you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing;
  • Depending on the airline, there may be additional requirements for travel, including wearing a face mask or covering. Confirm with the airline or any connecting airports prior to your flight; 
  • The Government of Canada requires international travellers to Canada to provide a negative COVID-19 test result that was taken within 72 hours of departure before departing their home country. Visit the Government of Canada's website for more information about COVID-19 testing required for people flying into Canada.

All travellers arriving in Canada must plan to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine (self-isolation) after arrival under the Government of Canada's Quarantine Act. Review the Government of Canada's travel requirements and how they may impact your travels.


If you are fully vaccinated, you may not have to quarantine. In rare cases, however, border officers might decide you do not meet the requirements for exemption or you are symptomatic. Therefore, all persons coming to Canada from overseas must have an emergency back-up quarantine plan registered.

 
The Government of Canada also requires airlines to ensure passengers have submitted their travel information through the ArriveCan app before boarding flights to Canada.

While you are in the process of making arrangements to travel and quarantine in Canada, the following Government of Canada resources can be helpful for understanding the steps required:

It is your responsibility to demonstrate and satisfy the Border Services Officer that you meet the travel exemptions and are travelling to Canada for essential purposes. You may not be permitted to board an airplane if you

  • Show signs of COVID-19, have been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to medical reasons to COVID-19 or, are subject to a provincial or public health order. 

International students are required to stay up to date with Government of Canada requirements regarding travel and immigration requirements due to COVID-19. Students who are unsure if they are eligible to travel to Canada should contact the Canada Border Information Service in order to review your eligibility to travel to Canada.

Immediate family members (e.g. spouse/common-law partner, dependent children) may be able to come with you to Canada, provided that they have the proper immigration documents and their purposes for travel are non-discretionary. For more information on how your accompanying family member may travel to Canada, please visit IRCC's website.  

Depending on the country of citizenship, your family members may also require a valid temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada.

Vaccinated International Students

Fully vaccinated international students with a valid study permit are exempt from Canada’s quarantine requirement upon entry only if they meet certain conditions. We ask that you stay up to date with Federal Government requirements and details on specific conditions.

Understanding the new rules

The new rules, which include quarantine exemption, apply only to those travellers who meet specific conditions. To be exempt from quarantine, students must:

  • Be eligible to enter Canada;
  • Have no COVID-19 symptoms (be asymptomatic);
  • Have received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or combination of accepted vaccines at least 14 days prior to entering Canada (see list of accepted vaccines);
  • Have proof of vaccination (in English or French, or a certified translation into English or French);
  • Take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours before arrival in Canada and obtain confirmation of a negative result;
  • Have a suitable back-up quarantine plan in place prior to departure in case border officials deny quarantine exemption upon arrival; and
  • Meet all other entry requirements including entering all necessary information into the ArriveCAN app prior to departure.

Please view this great infographic on Fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada during COVID-19

Pre-Arrival Planning


All travellers to Canada need to submit a 14-day quarantine back-up plan at least two weeks before arrival. Before making your plan, review the government quarantine (self-isolation) requirements.

Students are reminded that, if not declared exempt, quarantine (self-isolation) is a requirement with the Government of Canada’s Quarantine Act. Violation of this may include penalties of up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

For information on choosing a suitable plan and travel advice, please refer to the Quarantine Information section on the COVID-19 Updates For International Students page

Students are responsible to ensure that they have the appropriate medical insurance while they are studying in Canada.

New international students at VIU are normally automatically enrolled in guard.me VIU International Health insurance when they begin their studies at VIUPlease ensure that you have not opted out of this coverage. Please visit here for more informationhttps://international.viu.ca/medical-academic  

Returning VIU students or students who previously opted out of health insurance coverage because they were studying in their home country should contact advising.international@viu.caif they have questions regarding coverage. 

If a student is arriving early for the next semester and does not have valid medial insurance, they should purchase ‘Early Arrivals’ insurance through guard.me directly.

 

Be prepared to present the necessary documents at the airport and the Canadian port of entry.  Upon arrival to Canada, you will be greeted by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Officer. Be prepared to present the following:

  • Valid passport or other travel document;
  • Valid entry document (VISA or eTA if required);
  • Valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit;
  • Valid letter of acceptance or confirmation of enrolment letter;
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada, and if you have to extend your self-isolation period due to COVID-19;
  • Your ArriveCan submission receipt;
  • A copy of your quarantine (self-isolation) plan;
  • negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of travelling to Canada;
  • Resumption of Guard.me (with medical policy number, start date, & end date);

VIU recommends travelling with any documentation that you believe necessary for entry into Canada.


Plan to arrive within a reasonable time allowing you to complete the mandatory COVID-19 travel and quarantine requirements, and start the first week of class. Please note that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) states, "If you arrive too early, you may be refused entry by SBCA."


Do I need a Letter of Acceptance or a Confirmation of Enrolment letter?

New students to VIU will travel with and present their valid Letter of Acceptance when entering Canada.

Continuing students will no longer have a valid letter of acceptance and will need to provide a confirmation of enrolment letter. Students requiring a confirmation of enrolment letter can request a letter by emailing study@viu.ca.

International Admissions will be closed between July 1 - July 4, 2021.  If you require any letters (to support your travels, apply for post grad work permit etc) we ask that you to plan ahead and submit your request no later than JUNE 29 or after JULY 5. Thanks for your understanding!

Quarantine (Self-Isolation) Options

If you are planning to make your own arrangements to quarantine in a private residence, Airbnb or local hotel, please ensure you have reviewed the Government of Canada's guidelines on what constitutes a suitable place of quarantine.

After you have made your arrangements, complete a VIU Quarantine Planning and Registration Form. Email this document to ie.housing@viu.ca a minimum of 10 working days (two weeks) before you travel.

Students can quarantine at some local hotels. The following hotels in Nanaimo have been able to accommodate quarantining travellers. Contact them directly to check availability and rates.  

 

Value Lodge: 30 day booking: single occupancy, 1 x single queen bed, (+ mini fridge, microwave, Wi-Fi, TV and personal bathroom) @ 1500 CAD for 30 days OR double occupancy, 2 x double beds, (+ mini fridge, microwave, Wi-Fi, TV and personal bathroom) @ 1700 CAD for 30 days / can quarantine / contact: www.valuelodgenanaimo.com / (+1) 250 739 2426  

  
Travelodge96 Terminal Avenue North, (250) 754 6355. (In summer, call directly for the best rates.) Rooms include fridge, microwave, coffee maker, continental breakfast, private balcony. Amenities include 24 hour reception, non-smoking hotel, coin-op laundry, dry sauna, restaurant discount.  
  

Best Western Dorchester: 7-30 day booking (from October 2021) / 1 x queen bed @ 119 CAD + tax / quarantine meal package @ 45 CAD for 3 meals per day plus 5% tax and 18% gratuity contact: charlie@dorchesternanaimo.com / julie@dorchesternanaimo.com 



Getting Settled and Organized  

Arrange for the necessities of life (e.g., food, medications, basic hygiene supplies, and cleaning supplies) to be delivered to your place of self-isolation.  

The VIU Residences offers a self-isolation program to support VIU students who need to complete a 14-day quarantine (self-isolation) upon travelling to Canada. Priority is given to students who will be living in residence for the Spring 2022 semester.

The VIU Residence will provide students with:  

  • food for three meals per day - delivered to their residence room (student will get to choose items from a menu in advance),
  • unlimited wireless internet,
  • linens which include bedding and towels,
  • cleaning supplies with directions for bedroom and bathroom,
  • a comfortable room with good ventilation and fan, and  

  • access to 24-hour staff on site and through various online communication tools.  


For students who would like to use the VIU Residence Self-Isolation Program, please plan to complete your quarantine no later than December 23, 2021.

Learn more or register for the program.

International students who have applied and been accepted to the VIU Homestay Program may be able to quarantine with a VIU homestay host for their quarantine period, if the option is available.

Through the VIU Homestay Program, students in quarantine will have access to:

  • food for three meals per day prepared by their homestay hosts,
  • wireless internet,
  • linens which include bedding and towels,
  • cleaning supplies with directions for bedroom and bathroom,
  • a comfortable room with good ventilation, and  

  • access to 24-hour support from the VIU Homestay Program and through various online communication tools.  


To learn more, please visit the VIU Homestay Program's website.

During Quarantine (Self-isolation)

The following expectations apply regardless of where you quarantine.

  • Stay in your room and away from others;
  • Keep your room well-ventilated and clean – open your window to let the air circulate;
  • Practice good hygiene:
    • Wash your hands frequently with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
    • Use a separate towel, kept away from others;
    • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when coughing or sneezing, or use a tissue;
    • Avoid coughing or sneezing into either your hands or into the air;
    • Dispose of used tissues right away into a trash bin and immediately wash your hands;
    • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands at all times.
    • Use a separate bathroom if possible. Clean the bathroom regularly with cleaning products Flush the toilet with the lid down. Keep your bathroom space clean and disinfected. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, dressers, and other surfaces at least once a day;
  • Stay connected – text, email, FaceTime with your friends and family;
  • Monitor your physical and mental well-being. If you are not feeling well with symptoms that resemble COVID-19, complete an online self-assessment. If you cannot use the online tool, call 8-1-1 (toll free) or 7-1-1 (deaf and hard of hearing), 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Students who have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 will be required to remain at their quarantine site until a medical practitioner has confirmed they are clear of these symptoms and/ or the student has tested negative for COVID-19
  • Package up your garbage – empty garbage frequently and wash your hands immediately;
  • Keep your personal items (toothbrush, cups, cell phone, tablets, laptops, etc.) separate from those belonging to others;
  • Do not allow visitors;
  • Do not self-isolate in a place where you will have contact with vulnerable individuals, including those who have an underlying medical condition, compromised immune systems, or who are 65 years of age or older.
  • Do not go to school, work or any other public areas.
  • Monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19, follow the BCCDC Guidelines for How to Self-Monitor; and track your symptoms on the BCCDC’s Daily self-monitoring form
  • Eat in your room, where you are quarantining. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, or eating utensils.

For more information about quarantining (self-isolating), please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control and review the Dos and Don'ts of Self-Isolation.

Students are reminded that, if not declared exempt, quarantine (self-isolation) is a requirement with the Government of Canada’s Quarantine Act, including the penalties of violation of the Quarantine Act, which include up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. 

If you have been reported breaching quarantine or self-isolation guidelines it will be reported to VIU Staff, VIU Conduct Office and may be reported to Health BC or Border Services Canada for follow up and disciplinary action.

Additional Information for Quarantining at VIU Student Residences

  • Bathroom cleaning supplies are included in your package. Use them regularly, especially if you share a bathroom. Do not store personal items in the bathroom.
  • If you need help filling out the online self-assessment tool, or need immediate assistance email residence@viu.ca;
  • Empty garbage into the dumpster in the residence parking lot, while wearing your mask;
  • Students will be unable to use common laundry spaces to wash their clothes. Students should have clean clothing to last for 14 days;
  • Students are not allowed to use the common room, couches, dining room tables or TV;
  • Access to the common room/kitchen area is only permitted for heating of food and limited to one person in the kitchen/common room area at a time. Once you have heated your food you must return to your room immediately;
  • Residence staff will will deliver meals to your room; all containers are microwavable and disposable.

If you have been reported breaching quarantine or self-isolation guidelines it will be reported to VIU Staff, VIU Conduct Office and may be reported to Health BC or Border Services Canada for follow up and disciplinary action.

Please note: Due to lack of private outdoor space at student residence, those who smoke should consider looking to make arrangements for their 14-day quarantine in locations with access to private balconies or yard.

Supports Available to You

VIU Residence  

Phone: 250-740-6640 (24 hours a day)  

Email: residence@viu.ca

Virtual Meeting: Email to set up a meeting

Mike Bauche, Assistant Manager, Residence Life Email: Michael.Bauche@viu.ca 

Bingyi Zhu, Assistant Manager, Operations Email: Bingyi.Zhu@viu.ca  

Victoria Bowns, Residence Life Coordinator Email: Victoria.Bowns@viu.ca  

 

Homestay & Off-Campus Housing Office  

Phone: 250-740-6159 (messages checked and returned throughout the workday)  

Cell: 250-618-2128 (call, text or WhatsApp during the workday)  

Email: homestay@viu.ca or ie.housing@viu.ca   

Virtual Meeting: Email to set up a meeting  

 

Campus Security  

Phone: 250-740-6660

 

Attend virtual events through the VIU website and listed on the VIU Residence Facebook Page.


Connect and Engage! Students can access information regarding campus events by downloading the VIU Co-CurricularInvolvement App. The App can be also found at the App Store and Google Play. Alternatively, people can log on to the desktop version of this application, here


Connect with a counsellor. Self-isolation can be a challenge on emotional well-being. They are here for confidential support. Book an online meeting at counselling.international@viu.ca.


Drop-in with an International student advisor during scheduled drop-in times

Download the BC COVID-19 APP to stay informed about COVID-19 in BC.


International students on Guard.me insurance have access to Guard.me Mobile Doctor. This program allows your student to connect with Canadian doctors on Maple, a telemedicine company, as a part of their health benefits. Maple provides access to doctors, Canada wide, on the phone, tablet or computer anytime, anywhere. Your Guard.me insurance also includes access to keep.meSafe where you can access mental health and wellness services!