Travel Letter Request

Your travel to Canada as a student is considered non-discretionary if:

  • You are attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that is on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans.
  • You hold a valid study permit or a POE Letter of Introduction that shows your approval for a study permit (final approval). 

Additional Mandatory Requirements for Travellers to Canada

As part of Canada's efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, all international student travellers must adhere to Canada's travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.

Request an 'Essential to Travel' Letter

(Recommended for those travelling before November 30, 2021)

When you enter Canada with a valid study permit or POE Letter of Introduction that approves you for a study permit; along with proof you will be studying at the University of Alberta (admission letter and/or verification of enrollment)— your entry is considered "non-discretionary" or "essential." Therefore, an "Essential to Travel" letter is no longer required.

However, if you travel before November 30, 2021, to start your program in January 2022, or if your airline requested it, you can request a letter from the University confirming that your studies in Canada are non-discretionary.

How to Request a Travel Letter

Undergraduate Students

Once registered in the Off-Campus Isolation and Travel Registry (OCITR) and your quarantine plan approved, ask your OCITR advisor to request the travel letter on your behalf. This is especially recommended if you travel before November 30, 2021.

Graduate Students

Follow these steps to request a travel letter:

  • Register in the Off-Campus Isolation and Travel Registry (OCITR) and get your quarantine plan approved by emailing
  • Speak with your department's graduate program office and confirm your travel is necessary to progress your program. Permission will likely come from your Graduate Coordinator/Associate Chair. If you are unsure who should provide the approval, the program office can direct you to the appropriate individual.
  • Once confirmed, in writing, with your department that your travel is necessary, complete the Graduate Students: Travel Letter form.

Please Note

Since the border officer makes the final decision on whether you can enter Canada during questioning at the Port of Entry, you may wish to point out the following to support your entry into Canada, where applicable:

  • your approved quarantine plan and your ability to complete your quarantine as soon as you arrive
  • your ability to study online during your quarantine OR evidence that you will have time to complete your quarantine before you physically have to attend classes where applicable
  • if you've already lived in Canada since the start of your program (for returning students) 
  • if you need to be in Canada for your program (for laboratory work, workshops, or similar)
  • if you can't study online from your home country because of internet restrictions or bandwidth limitations
  • if you can't participate in live online classes from your home country because of the difference in time zones