Important pre-arrival information for incoming international students to VCC

Posted on July 24, 2020

Updated May 21, 2021

NEW: Please be aware of the announcement that Canada is banning flights from India and Pakistan until June 21, 2021. If you are planning to travel to Canada from India or Pakistan, you should not make flight arrangements during this period until further notice.

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Vancouver Community College (VCC) is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all its students and the wider community by following the guidelines of the Government of Canada and health authorities.

This bulletin provides incoming international students with important information regarding current restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements in relation to COVID-19. Please review this information carefully for important updates and resources for a safe arrival in Canada.

It is the responsibility of VCC international students to understand federal and provincial laws and regulations before planning to arrive in Canada. Students are recommended to review official government websites regularly for up-to-date information.

Travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements

Before travelling to Canada, it is very important that you understand the travel restrictions and exemptions for international students. Please check the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for details.

VCC is a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the province of British Columbia. We are ready to reopen to international students who are currently outside Canada. Please refer to the approved DLI list on the IRCC website.

Please note that a Canada Border Services officer will make the final decision on whether you’re eligible to enter Canada when you arrive.

Under the Quarantine Act, all travellers arriving in Canada are legally required to quarantine for 14 days in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This is a legal requirement. Once you arrive at your quarantine location, you cannot leave that location for 14 days for any purpose.  This would be considered an offence under the Quarantine Act and can result in up to six months in prison, $750,000 in fines, and/or deportation. Please visit the IRCC website for information about quarantine requirements.

Please note: Effective Feb. 22, 2021 there are new requirements for all air travellers entering Canada. Upon arrival in Canada, you must take a COVID-19 test before leaving the airport and spend three days in quarantine at a federal government-authorized hotel. These hotels must be booked through this Government of Canada website. After a clear test result, you can proceed to your quarantine location identified in your quarantine plan. Ten days into your quarantine, you will use a take-home test provided upon your arrival in Canada. A further clear result is required before leaving quarantine at 14 days. More information can be found on the IRCC website.

Planning your travel to Canada

International students should plan to arrive in Canada with adequate time to fulfil the 14-day quarantine plan before attending any classes in person (if applicable). This will require advance flight booking and other planning. Please note that some airlines are not allowing students to board the flight if arriving in Canada too early. We recommend that you do not arrive any earlier than three weeks before your program officially starts.

Effective Jan. 7, 2021, all air travellers entering Canada must provide proof to the airline of a negative lab test result of COVID-19 conducted within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada before boarding a flight. Failure to do so will result in automatic denial of boarding by the airline. For more detailed information please visit the IRCC website.

International students are required to download the ArriveCAN app once they book their flight. Effective Nov. 21, 2020, all travellers arriving in Canada will be required to submit their travel and contact information, as well as their quarantine plan through the ArriveCan app before boarding their flight. Travellers who do not submit this information electronically before boarding the flight may be subject to a $1,000 fine. More information can be found here.  

To request a Confirmation of Enrolment Support Letter which would state that you are enrolled as a VCC student, please download the request form [PDF] and email the completed form to Please make the request early as it may take up to 10 business days to issue you the letter. Note: Only students with a study permit approval can be issued a Confirmation of Enrolment Support Letter.

To prepare for your flight (check with airlines for specific guidelines):

  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
  • Wear gloves (if applicable).
  • Practice safe physical distancing.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently.

Upon arrival in Canada:

  • Wear your non-medical mask or face covering until you reach your quarantine location.
  • You will be asked to complete the traveller contact information form.
  • You will undergo a health check screening.
  • You must provide a quarantine plan.
  • You will be asked to show your documents:

Post-arrival in Canada 

Effective of Nov. 21, 2020, travellers who enter Canada must confirm that they have arrived at their place of quarantine and complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessments during their quarantine period by using the ArriveCAN app or by calling 1-833-641-0343. More information can be found here.

Transportation from your government-authorized hotel to your final quarantine location

After you complete your three-day quarantine period at a federal government-authorized hotel, please arrange direct transportation to your final quarantine location. The following are transportation options to consider:

Important: Do not use public transportation. Avoid contact with the general public. When using public transportation after your quarantine period, you must wear a mask or face covering.

Send your travel/quarantine plan to VCC

If you are eligible to travel to Canada and have booked your flights, please send VCC International the following information by email to in advance of your arrival:

  • Your full name, student number, and program of study
  • A copy of your flight ticket
  • Your self-isolation/quarantine plan, including your federal government-authorized hotel
  • Once you arrive in Canada, you must email VCC International to indicate that you have arrived and provide your Canadian phone number.

Important: You must stay in your quarantine location for 14 days before attending classes at VCC (if required). All students must complete a pre-screen health questionnaire before visiting a VCC campus. If required, email VCC International to request a questionnaire.

Accommodations during mandatory 14-day quarantine

Please note: Effective Feb. 22, 2021 there are new requirements for all air travellers entering CanadaUpon arrival in Canada, you must take a COVID-19 test before leaving the airport and spend three days in quarantine at a federal government-authorized hotel. These hotels must be booked through this Government of Canada website. After a clear test result, you can proceed to your quarantine location identified in your quarantine plan.

International students who have already arranged accommodations with relatives or friends should avoid contact with others until the quarantine period is over. For more information on how to self-isolate (quarantine) with others, please visit the Government of Canada website.

VCC has partnered with Tourism Burnaby to offer hotels that can accommodate incoming international students.

For more information, please contact the hotels directly. For more hotel options, please email

Accent Inn Burnaby
Rate: $75 CAD/night
Address: 3777 Henning Dr, Burnaby, BC V5C 6N5
Features: Kitchenette in most rooms, exterior entry to guest rooms
Contact: Sally Chan

T: 250.940.0845

Holiday Inn Express Metrotown
Rate: $99 CAD/night
Address: 4405 Central Blvd, Burnaby BC V5H 4M3
Features: Skip the Dishes gift cards, Microwave and mini-fridge in all rooms, 42" TV in rooms with streaming capability, hot continental breakfast included
Contact: Lorri Schafer
T: 604.629.5173

Executive Suites Hotel Metro Vancouver
Rate: $85/night
Address: 4201 Lougheed Hwy, Burnaby BC V5C 3Y6
Features: All-suite hotel with kitchenette in most rooms, continental breakfast included, in-house daily meal option
Contact: Bek Shamsiev
T: 604.297.2111

Hilton Vancouver Metrotown
Rate: $99/night
Address: 6083 McKay Ave, Burnaby BC V5H 2W7
Features: Microwave in all suites, newly renovated suites, in-house meal options
Contact: Elaine Samson
T: 604-639-3760

Accommodations after mandatory 14-day quarantine

There are many accommodation options for students in Metro Vancouver (e.g. homestays, furnished and unfurnished rooms in houses, basement suites, condos, apartments). We advise you to familiarize yourself with your rights as responsibilities as a tenant by reviewing information from the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre.

International students may want to experience life with a Canadian family until they become accustomed to their new surroundings. Homestays are a safe and secure choice, providing students with opportunities to practice English outside of school and learn about Canadian life. Learn more about Liane's Vancouver Homestay.

Food and meals

Travellers to Canada may not leave their quarantine locations to purchase meals, groceries, or other necessities. Incoming students should arrange to have someone deliver meals and supplies, or have groceries or meals delivered.

Grocery delivery services:

Meal delivery services:

Medical insurance (MSP)

All B.C. residents, including international students, who reside in Canada for more than six months are required to have medical insurance through B.C.’s publicly funded Medical Services Plan (MSP). This plan provides basic medical benefits including doctor/clinic visits and emergency services. You should apply for MSP immediately upon arrival in B.C. by completing the online application.

Important: There is a three-month waiting period for all new MSP applicants. During this waiting period, you are required to have private medical insurance. Upon your arrival, VCC International can assist you in purchasing insurance through the Global Campus Health Plan. Please email for more information on how to apply.

How to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19

International students are responsible for ongoing self-monitoring and assessment of COVID-19 symptoms. Common symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and loss of sense of smell or taste. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. If you are unsure about your symptoms, use the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool or call HealthLink BC (8-1-1).

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, do all you can to avoid contact with others. Even if your symptoms are mild, self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Do not go to work, school, or public places, and do not have visitors to your home. Follow the normal protocol in your VCC program for reporting absences due to illness. 

Anyone with symptoms, however mild, can get tested for COVID-19 in B.C. Find a testing centreAs a best practice, use the ArriveCAN app for daily symptom reporting.  

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms while in quarantine, VCC International can provide additional supports and resources. Please call 604.443.8600 or email

Please note that a final screening by a health care professional within 24 hours of the end of the quarantine period is required. Call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 for more information.

Additional Resources

All international students will receive a phone call from VCC International upon arrival in Vancouver. This phone call will confirm that you are symptom-free and have a suitable self-isolation/quarantine plan. Follow-up calls will ensure that you are complying with quarantine requirements and provide support and/or resources where required.  

You can also access the following social and mental health resources:

Questions? Call 604.443.8600 or email We are available Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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