COVID-19 information for International students

Updated February 18th, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

Visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) website for more information.

English language proficiency requirement

Given the challenges of COVID-19, UNBC will accept the following online options to meet English Language Proficiency Requirement for undergraduate admissions purposes.

Questions and answers

Study and work permit

I want to study at UNBC in May, but I don’t have a study permit. What is the deadline to apply for a study permit?

IRCC continues to accept complete study permit applications for the May term, but a decision may not be made in time for you to start your studies in May. UNBC International recommends that you apply as soon as possible if you wish to begin your studies in May 2022.

I need to renew my study permit. Are there any changes because of COVID-19? Will the expiry dates change?

The study permit renewal process has not changed. It is also important to note that the expiry date on your study permit remains the same. Processing times for renewals are in excess of three months so it is important to start this process well in advance of the expiry date.

Are international students able to register for courses and begin studying from their home countries without a study permit if their courses are available online? 

International students can register for online classes from their home countries without a study permit. International students can begin their classes online from abroad and complete up to 100% of their program via distance learning if they cannot travel to Canada sooner. 

If I studied at UNBC, or at another DLI, in another term, and I can't attend the May term because of COVID-19, what happens to my study permit?

If there is a gap in studies of greater than 150 days, you must either apply to change your status (for instance, change it into visitor status) or leave Canada. This means you also need to stop working if you are presently employed.

I have heard I do not need to give biometrics if I am applying to renew my study permit from within Canada. Is this true?

As a temporary measure, you’re exempt from giving biometrics if you’re applying from within Canada to extend your stay as a student, restore your status as a student, or apply for a new study permit. This applies to all new applications as well as applications already in progress.

It applies even if:

  • Your application form for a work permit, study permit or visitor visa says it’s for applicants outside Canada.
  • Our online application system asks you to pay a biometric fee (CAN$85).

This temporary measure does not apply if you’re outside Canada.

What happens to international students’ offers of admission if they fail to acquire a study permit in the future?

All international students must have a valid study permit to study in Canada. UNBC encourages you to keep up-to-date of application processes, timelines etc. The UNBC International Office can help – email
All regular semester dates remain in effect, including refunds and withdrawal dates. Students who are unable to obtain a study permit for study in Canada, will have any balance on their account refunded after relevant charges have been applied. The offer of admission will then be withdrawn.

Will taking courses online due to COVID-19 affect my eligibility for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP)?

If you are inside Canada:

You’re still eligible for the PGWP if:

  • your in-person classes in Canada have been moved to an online-only format and you are taking your classes online because of COVID-19, or
  • you had to put your studies on hold, or study part-time, during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters because of COVID-19

 As of the Winter 2022 semester, you must be studying full-time to be eligible.

If you are outside Canada,

On February 12th, 2021 the Government of Canada announced that students will be able to complete 100% of their studies online from outside Canada. 
To be eligible, you must:


  • Have been enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020, or
  • Have started or will start a program between spring 2020 and summer 2022,and
    • You have a study permit, or
    • You’ve been approved for a study permit,
    • You applied for a study permit before starting your study program
      • Your study permit must eventually be approved
  • Time spent studying outside of Canada after August 31, 2022 will not count

I am a new student and I am in the process of applying for my study permit from outside Canada, but I can’t give my Biometrics because all the sites close to me are closed. What should I do?

If the site closest to you is closed, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will automatically extend your deadline to give your biometrics. You don’t have to give your biometrics until the sites start offering collection services again. This applies to you, even if your biometrics instruction letter (BIL) says you have 30 or 90 days. There is not need to contact IRCC for this extension, and you don’t need a new BIL to make another appointment when sites reopen. Bring your original BIL to your new appointment to show proof of payment. If you can’t give your biometrics due to a location closure near you or a service disruption, don’t go to another biometrics collection site unless IRCC tells you to. This includes:

  • Canadian POEs.
  • Other international biometrics collection locations, like a VAC.


Am I eligible to enter Canada?

Find out if you are eligible to currently enter Canada by using the Government of Canada's Travel Wizard.

I am fully vaccinated now and have my study permit. Can I travel to Canada?

Yes. Effective January 15th, 2022 only fully vaccinated travellers are allowed to travel to and enter Canada. Please see the following for full details.

What vaccinations are acceptable for entry?

Travellers must have received at least 2 doses of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or a mix of 2 accepted vaccines at least 14 days prior to the day they travel. Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Sinopharm BIBP, Sinovac & Bharat Biotech

Have there been any recent changes?

Effective January 15th, 2022:

  • Travellers, who are currently exempt from entry requirements, will only be allowed to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved for entry into Canada. These groups include international students who are 18 years old and older. 
  • Unvaccinated international students under the age of 18 will be permitted to enter but must attend a designated learning institution with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by the province or territory where the school is located. 

Effective February 28, 2022:

  • Foreign nationals who reside in Canada temporarily, and who entered Canada as unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, will be allowed to leave the country without being fully vaccinated with an accepted vaccine. 
  • Canada will be easing the on-arrival testing for fully-vaccinated travellers. This means that travellers arriving to Canada from any country, who qualify as fully vaccinated, will be randomly selected for arrival testing. Travellers selected will also no longer be required to quarantine while awaiting their test result.
  • Travellers will now have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result (taken the day prior to their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) or a molecular test result (taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) to meet pre-entry requirements. Taking a rapid antigen test at home is not sufficient to meet the pre-entry requirement – it must be authorized by the country in which it was purchased and must be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service

Before flying to Canada there are a number of steps you must take.

1) Complete an ArriveCan Application before boarding your flight

All travelers coming to Canada by air will be required to use the ArriveCAN Application before boarding their flight. Travelers will need to provide travel and contact information as well as their quarantine plan. Travelers will need to be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada; a border services officer will verify that they have submitted their information digitally. The ArriveCAN Application will also be used after entry to Canada to report COVID-19 symptom self-assessments

2) Complete a COVID-19 test prior to flying

All air passengers five years of age or older are required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada. 

Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. 

Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine. Please visit self-isolation information and support for further information on the 14-day quarantine period.

3) Make arrangements for your 14-day self-isolation

 I am not studying this term, but I want to come to Canada as soon as possible. Will this be a problem?

Students in most cases should not plan to enter Canada earlier than 4-weeks prior to the start of classes. UNBC International was notified by the Canadian Border Services Agency that students seeking to enter the country greater than 4-weeks prior to the start of term may be eligible for entry, but we suggest you apply for and travel with a Confirmation of Enrolment Letter - International issued by the office of the Registrar. A travel support letter will be issued to support your entry. Before applying for this letter, please ensure you have registered for classes in the next term.

I recently arrived in British Columbia to start my studies, but I don’t have provincial health insurance. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine, or a booster?

Yes. If you are living in B.C. during the pandemic you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. You do not need to be in the BC MSP health insurance program (a BC Services card or public health number) to get the vaccine. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen or have permanent residency to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, you must have a public health number in order to register online. If you do not have a public health number, you need to register for your vaccine by calling the province-wide call centre (1-833-838-2323) or in-person at a ServiceBC office.

I can't travel to Canada because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Should I wait for the restrictions to be lifted and then apply for my study permit?

We suggest that you apply for your study permit as soon as possible because processing times for study permits are expected to be longer than normal because of COVID-19. Once your study permit application has been approved you would then be able to travel to Canada and begin your studies on campus.

I am a new graduate student studying from outside Canada. Should I now travel to UNBC for my classes, or should I remain in my home country and study from there?

If you are allowed to travel to Canada and are enrolled in classes this semester, we suggest that you consult with your supervisor on what the most suitable approach is for you. 

I have heard that when I enter Canada I will need to provide proof of health insurance at the border. Is this true?

No. At this time there is no expectation that students provide proof of coverage upon arrival at a Port of Entry.

I will be completing my studies soon. Will I need any special paperwork from UNBC to leave Canada?

UNBC is not aware of any particular exit requirements. However, before travelling it is important to be aware of the entry restrictions to your home country prior to travelling.

I understand that UNBC’s COVID-19 readiness plan has been approved. Where can I see this? 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 plans on its website. UNBC’s reopening plan has received approval from the Ministry of Advanced Education. 

I was vaccinated abroad. How can I let the Province of British Columbia know this?

You can easily update your vaccination records even if you do not have a Personal Health Number (PHN). This can be done through the link below to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

I am travelling soon and need to get a COVID-19 test. Where can I get one in Prince George?

The Amani Travel Health Clinic is providing this service. Visit there website for full details:

Deposit and financial matters

What will happen to my deposit if I decide to defer to a future term?

Your deposit will remain on your account. You do not need to do anything.

Have Admissions deposit refund processes changed due to COVID-19?

Admission deposit processes have not changed as a result of COVID-19.


I want to defer my start date to a future term. What happens to my letter of acceptance and what do I need to do?

If you wish to defer your admission to a future term, please send a request to indicating your wish to defer. Admissions will then determine if a deferral can be granted. Please note that students cannot defer from the May term to a subsequent term.

In the subject line please clearly state that you want to defer and include your student number. Please use your UNBC email for all communication with UNBC.

I am a graduate student. I want to defer my start date because of COVID-19. What happens to my letter of acceptance and what do I need to do?

To request a deferral students must send an email to

When requesting a deferral please include your 9-digit UNBC student number in the subject line and indicate what term you would like to defer your admission to, if applicable.

Please note that deferrals are not automatically approved. The program will review each request and must approve it. A $250 deferral deposit is required within 30 days of approval.