On this page, answers to questions about:
Can I sign up for a campus tour?
We are offering in-person tours for future undergraduate students. To ensure the safety of our guests and staff, advanced booking is required and every visitor must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or have an active medical exemption, complete pre-screening questions, and confirm contact information before participating in a tour. Masks must be worn at all times.
Interested future students can learn more and book a tour on our tours and events page.
We will continue to offer regularly scheduled virtual tours with live interactions for guests who are unable to visit campus in person.
Should I apply for residence for spring term?
Yes. Campus Housing has spring only space available for undergraduate and graduate students. Find out more and apply here.
What supports are there to help new students?
New undergraduate students
Waterloo Ready will help guide you through every step over the next few months and into your first year as a Waterloo Warrior. It’s an online initiative to help you to make personal connections with other students, get insider tips, and learn about how to successfully navigate your first year. Starting in June, you’ll receive information from our team about Waterloo Ready.
New graduate students
Waterloo Grad Ready program is designed especially for master’s and doctoral students. The program will connect you to other graduate students, support you along your academic journey to Waterloo and make sure you’re keeping up to date with important deadlines. You will receive more information about Waterloo Grad Ready in your inbox.
What if I am unvaccinated or I decline to answer?
Effective May 1, 2022, the University suspended its Vaccination Requirement. Prior to May 1, pursuant to this Requirement, all University employees were required to submit proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 (subject to the University’s obligations under the Human Rights Code to accommodate employees who were unable to receive a vaccination). The University’s Vaccination Requirement website can be found here: https://uwaterloo.ca/coronavirus/health-and-safety/vaccination-requirement.
The pandemic is ongoing and public health advice continues to evolve. Accordingly, the University reserves the absolute right to reinstate the Vaccination Requirement on short notice, and upon such reinstatement you will be required to comply. You shall also be required to comply with any new health and safety policies/requirements implemented by the University from time to time, including new policies/requirements related to mandatory employee vaccination.
Failure to comply with the Vaccination Requirement if it is reinstated, including failure to comply with any future amendments to the Vaccination Requirement, or failure to comply with new health and safety policies/requirements implemented by the University, including those related to new mandatory employee vaccination, shall result in discipline up to and including termination of employment.
The requirement to be vaccinated, if reinstated, will be subject to the duty to accommodate pursuant to the Human Rights Code. If you are unable to be vaccinated for reasons related to a ground protected under the Human Rights Code, you may submit a written request for accommodation with an explanation of the reasons and/or any supporting documentation. If you request accommodation, the University may follow up with you for further information if necessary.
- Learn more about our vaccination requirement
- Visit our assessment and vaccination page to learn more about available services
Who is required to show proof of vaccination until May 1, 2022?
In light of the relaxation of public health restrictions as part of the Ontario government’s Roadmap to Reopen and on the basis of current local public health conditions, we will suspend our vaccination requirements for entry to campus, effective May 1.
We continue to strongly recommend that you have a full course of vaccination, including third or fourth doses when you are eligible. You should also ensure that you have access to your proof of vaccination and QR code if you have been vaccinated in a region that provides one.
We will provide information on how to keep your vaccination records up to date with the University before May 1 to help minimize any disruption to work and learning if we need to bring back a proof of vaccination requirement.
What counts as proof? What documents will I need to provide and how?
You should upload your vaccination record or receipt. Please upload your vaccination record or receipt. Please ensure your upload includes:
- Date(s) received
- Name of vaccine(s) that you received
- The number of valid doses you have received
What vaccines are recognized?
On November 30, Canada expanded the list of COVID-19 vaccines that travellers can receive to be considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of travel to Canada. At this time, Ontario has yet to confirm if they will follow the same criteria.
Currently in Ontario, an individual is considered fully vaccinated if they have received:
- The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines, or
- One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or
- Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada; and
- They received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.
What is the process involved in providing proof?
Campus Check-In – you will upload a PDF or image of your documentation.
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?
Currently, in Ontario an individual is considered fully vaccinated if they have received:
- The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines, or
- Individuals who have proof of immunization and have received a complete one or two-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine that is not authorized for use by Health Canada will be offered one additional dose of an mRNA vaccine.
- Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada; and
- They received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.
Is there a vaccine centre on campus?
A vaccine centre is available at Health Services to all students, employees, and family members of students and employees (18 years of age or older). You must be COVID-19 symptom free and have completed the daily campus check in to attend a clinic to be vaccinated. Students, employees, and family members of students and employees are eligible to receive this vaccine. The vaccine centre offers the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Learn more by visiting the COVID-19 Vaccine Centre web page.
How do I book a vaccine appointment in Waterloo?
Learn more about requirements for booking and how to book an appointment by visiting the COVID-19 Vaccine Centre web page.
I’m an international student who’s had a full course of a vaccination not recognized by Health Canada, what do I do?
International students who received vaccine doses outside of Ontario (including doses not authorized by Health Canada) are encouraged to register with the Region of Waterloo Public Health by completing the Out of Province COVID Immunization Form. Public Health will provide advice about what the next steps are, as well as provide the Ontario enhanced vaccination certificate (QR code).
As an international student, you can reach out to the International Student Experience team if you have any additional questions to ensure your vaccine requirements are met.
I will not be able to get vaccinated until I come to Canada. What do I do?
According to current travel regulations, international students over the age of 18 are allowed to enter Canada only if they are fully vaccinated with a vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel to and within Canada. International students under the age of 18 will be exempt from this rule and can enter Canada regardless of their vaccination status.
Find out if you can enter Canada.
If under the age of 18, book your vaccine appointment as soon as possible. If you have received any vaccine doses outside of Canada you must first register with the Region of Waterloo Public Health by completing the Out of Province COVID Immunization Form prior to booking any vaccine appointments. Public Health can then advise you about what your next steps are. Find out more and book an appointment. International students can reach out to the International Student Experience team if they have additional questions to ensure their vaccine requirements are met.
What happens if I am found to have provided false or inaccurate documentation?
Any false information or misrepresentation submitted may result in changes in your ability to access the University of Waterloo.
Where can I get more information, ask questions or get support and assistance?
More information is available on the COVID-19 information website.
If you have questions about accommodations, you can contact the AccessAbility Services office (students) or Occupational Health (employees).
COVID-19 testing, rapid antigen testing and vaccination is available through Campus Wellness for eligible students, employees and postdocs.
If you are struggling with your mental health during these changing times, reach out for support through Human Resources, Occupational Health, Here247 and Wellness Together Canada. Ongoing employees can access supports through Homewood Health, the University’s Employee and Family Assistance Program partner or at 1-800-663-1142.
If I am fully vaccinated, do I need to adhere to other safety measures such as wearing a mask and self-screening?
If you are coming to campus, you must continue to follow all applicable health and safety measures. You should conduct a daily self-assessment and you must not attend campus if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are required to self-isolate. You will be automatically be reminded of this each day you come to campus and connect to our wifi network.
Will the vaccine mandate return after May 1, 2022, and if so, will I need to re-apply for a vaccine accommodation?
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the evolution of the virus and the course of disease activity is difficult to predict, and public health advice continues to evolve.
Accordingly, the University reserves the right to reinstate the Vaccination Requirement on short notice.
Should the requirement to be vaccinated be reinstated or a new mandate issued, your vaccine accommodation request will be reviewed considering the new directive and based on information provided by public health officials as well as any other relevant considerations.
You will also be required to comply with any new health and safety policies/requirements implemented by the University at that time.
How do I request a COVID-19 vaccine accommodation?
Do I still have a vaccine accommodation effective May 1, 2022?
The vaccine mandate is suspended May 1, 2022. While the vaccine mandate is suspended, a vaccine accommodation is not required.
In addition to my vaccine accommodation, I had a workplace/academic accommodation that helped keep me and others safe. Is that still required?
If you have an existing workplace or academic accommodation related to the vaccine (e.g., additional PPE, modified duties, etc), please contact the appropriate department to determine whether changes are required to your accommodation plan.
Employees contact Occupational Health at 519-888-4567 ext. 40538 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students contact AccessAbility Services at email@example.com or 519-888-4567 ext. 35082.
I don’t have access to a device to upload my proof. Can I submit proof manually or in person?
For select employees who do not have routine access to a device to complete Campus Check-In, we will provide a paper copy of the forms to complete. Please let your supervisor know if you require a paper copy of the forms.
How will my vaccine information be safeguarded?
Your personal information will be kept confidential in compliance with statutory privacy requirements and will only be shared with those who require access for administrative purposes.
Personal information on the Campus Check-In vaccination form is collected under the authority of the University of Waterloo Act 1972 (as amended) and because it is necessary to the proper administration of a lawfully authorized activity. The information will be used to determine the qualification of the person identified on theform and the documents submitted as adequate for fulfillment of the requirements of University of Waterloo’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
The information will be retained only so long as it is necessary for the purpose for which it was collected and will be destroyed when mandatory vaccines are no longer determined to be necessary for public health purposes. While the information is retained it will be accessed only by those University of Waterloo personnel who require access in order to determine whether the requirements of the COVID-19 vaccination mandate have been met. The information will not be shared with any third parties.
Questions about this collection of information should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. General Questions about the University’s collection of personal information should be directed to the Privacy Officer, 200 University Ave W, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, (519) 888-4567 X36101, email@example.com.
How long do you keep my vaccine proof for?
The information will be retained only so long as it is necessary for the purpose for which it was collected and will be destroyed when mandatory vaccines are no longer determined to be necessary for public health purposes.
Will supervisors or instructors have access to individual vaccination declarations or records?
We will not be sharing any personal medical information to managers and supervisors. Since the fall, the University has been sharing details of individuals who are not in compliance with the University’s vaccination policy with appropriate managers and academic leaders for purposes of program administration for purposes of program administration and planning purposes.
Who has access to the data provided through the Campus Check-in?
Your personal information will be kept confidential in compliance with statutory privacy requirements and will only be shared with those who need access for purposes of program administration. The information that you provide will be managed in compliance with privacy legislation.
What file formats will you allow?
Submit your original PDF or image file which clearly shows your QR code in the highest resolution possible.
What type of information are you collecting from QR Codes?
Information collected from QR codes issued in Canada include Name, Date of Birth, number of doses, vaccine product, and date of administration for each dose. Please see our Notice of Collection statement for how we use this information.
I do not have a QR code issued in Canada. How do I get one?
If you were vaccinated outside of Canada or do not have an enhanced vaccine certificate with an official QR code, you must complete an Out of Province COVID-19 Immunization form through the Region of Waterloo. There is a 21 business day wait to receive your QR code.
You will receive communication from the Region of Waterloo indicating whether you require additional vaccine doses in order to be considered fully vaccinated. If you require additional doses, we encourage you to follow the instructions outlined by Public Health to coordinate receiving these additional doses before you are issued a QR code and updating your vaccination status in Campus Check-in.
I am receiving an email stating my QR code upload has failed. Why is this?
Your QR code may have failed scanning based on one of the below issues:
- You are not uploading a QR code issued in Canada
- The image is of poor picture quality
- You do not meet the definition of fully vaccinated as outlined by the Ontario government
- It has not been 14 days since your last dose
Your submission will continue to fail the scanning if your QR code issued in Canada does not meet the fully vaccinated definition as outlined by the Ontario government.
Who to contact for help:
- Trouble using Campus Check-in, loading the page or reporting an outage on the site
- Questions about obtaining a QR code issued in Canada if you have received COVID-19 immunizations outside of Canada
- Questions about COVID-19 information
- Employment related questions
Do I still need to test with a Rapid Antigen Test to come to campus?
Effective May 1, 2022, all individuals may come to campus, regardless of their vaccination statuses.
Until further notice, you are no longer required to perform COVID-19 rapid testing prior to coming to campus.
Please note that face coverings remain mandatory in all common indoor spaces for the foreseeable future. Up-to-date information regarding face coverings can be found on the COVID-19 Information face coverings webpage. If you are requesting a face-covering/mask exemption (accommodation) for a medical condition or disability, you must provide appropriate documentation to the University. Please review the Face Covering Exemption Request Form and submit the completed form to AccessAbility Services (students) or Occupational Health (employees) to determine eligibility and develop an accommodation plan if required.
- New students and parents:
- Please monitor Campus Housing's Winter 2022 information page for the latest information on residence plans and additional frequently asked questions about the coming term.
Are campus facilities and residences open?
All residences are open for the Spring term. Students will have access to residence life programming, academic support, and food services.
Visit Campus Housing website for more information. Please check our campus buildings and campus services pages for specific details related to our other buildings and services.
Are vaccinations mandatory in residence?
What supports are in place for students who may need to isolate?
Which buildings have upgraded HVAC systems?
Waterloo’s campuses have 63 major buildings with 398 HVAC units, supporting a variety of research, teaching and staff and student activities. Since November 2020, every building has been retrofitted to accommodate MERV13 filters. MERV13 filters are recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers and over the pandemic have become standard across the industry because they are more effective at filtering small droplets and particles that travel through the air (at least 85 per cent efficient at capturing particles in the 1 µm to 3 µm size range). Learn more about upgrades to Waterloo’s ventilation systems.
Can you share more about the current cleaning protocol? Will this be the responsibility of the staff in each building?
What are the current requirements for mask wearing on campus?
Based on current trends, we have determined that it is necessary to extend our current face covering requirement until further notice. This means that masks remain mandatory in most indoor spaces such as common areas, classrooms, laboratories, and in work areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Ongoing, in work areas not accessible to the public, employees are not required to wear a mask if physical distancing of 2m is maintained.
Who is exempt from the mask or face covering requirement?
The following individuals are exempt from the mask or face covering requirement:
- Children under two years of age;
- Persons with an underlying medical condition which inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering;
- Persons who are unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance; and
- Persons who are reasonably accommodated by not wearing a mask or face covering in accordance with the Ontario human rights code or the accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities act, 2005.
How do I get an exemption from wearing a face mask?
If you need an exemption for a medical condition or disability, you must provide appropriate documentation to the University. Please review the Face Covering Exemption Request Form and submit the completed form to AccessAbility Services (students) or Occupational Health (employees) to develop an accommodation plan.
Are masks required in classrooms?
Yes. Students are required to wear a mask unless they have an approved exemption. No eating or drinking is permitted. Instructors may remove their mask while teaching if they can maintain 2m physical distancing from others in the room and it is necessary for pedagogical or communication purposes.
When is it okay to take off my mask?
In work settings and research labs where physical distancing can be maintained, your manager or supervisor will provide guidance on whether or not masks are required. You can also take off your mask to eat or drink in designated dining areas. Please note there are lounge/study spaces where you can eat/drink and study spaces where there is no eating/drinking allowed. Please refer to signage and follow the rules that are posted.
Do I need to disclose the medical condition I have that prevents me from wearing a mask?
Are masks required outside?
No, but physical distancing while not wearing a mask is still recommended.
Are faculty required to wear masks while teaching?
Instructors may remove their mask while teaching if they can maintain 2m physical distancing from others in the room and it is necessary for pedagogical or communication purposes.
What should I do if my colleague/student/employee has removed their mask?
If someone’s mask has been temporarily removed, or they’ve forgotten to put it on, lead with a gentle and helpful reminder to put it back on.
How should we respond when someone is not wearing their mask properly in a classroom?
There may be reasons why an individual is not able to wear a mask, and accommodations are managed by the Accessibility Office for students and Occupational Health for employees.
Accommodations must be arranged prior to attending an in-person class or returning to work on campus.
For this reason, students will not be permitted in class without a face covering that is properly worn. Ultimately, instructors can suspend a class if they choose and follow up with normal non-academic discipline procedures. We will continue to monitor adherence and use internal measures including security monitoring for adherence
I’m a faculty/instructor and someone is not wearing a mask. What should I do?
Students will not be permitted in the class without a face covering that is properly worn, unless an accommodation applies. For this reason, accommodations must be arranged prior to attending an in-person class or returning to work on campus. Ultimately, instructors can suspend a class if they choose and to follow up with normal non-academic discipline procedures.
Who is responsible for providing masks on campus?
Masks are available for managers or supervisors to order if desired; however employees will not be automatically provided masks without previous arrangements made with their manager or supervisor.
How do I obtain COVID-19 supplies (masks, face shields, hand sanitizer) for my area?
Where can I find support for my mental health and well-being?
Ongoing employees can access supports through Homewood Health, the University’s Employee and Family Assistance Program partner or at 1-800-663-1142. Topics include managing stress and anxiety, building resilience, dealing with financial stress, work life balance and more.
If I am concerned that I may have symptoms of COVID-19, who should I contact?
Are Food Service locations open?
Starting February 7, the following hours of operation are in effect:
- Tim Hortons SLC: 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Tim Hortons DC: 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Subway: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Quesada: 11:00am to 4:30pm
- Teriyaki Experience: 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Jugo Juice SLC/PAC: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Starbucks STC: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- The University Club (pick-up & delivery): 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
How will the University protect members of its community in shared offices as we return to campus?
Even though physical distancing requirements may shift or change, we will continue to closely monitor the situation, and look at how to best advise leaders and managers to establish their workplace safety procedures. In addition to physical distancing, which has been one of our key hazard controls for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, we have other controls such as hand hygiene, very robust cleaning protocols, screening employees and students prior to entering campus, and so on. As always, we encourage employees to ensure that they speak to their manager or supervisor if they do have concerns about safety in their work environment.
What accommodations are in place for those who need them?
Employee leaves are available through the University and the Employment Standards Act. Unpaid leaves may be requested if an employee needs to be away from work for a period of time for personal reasons related to the COVID-19 virus.
Faculty members should contact the Academic Freedom and Tenure (AF&T) committee. For all other employees, discuss your needs with your manager. If your need is related to your personal medical situation, contact Occupational Health.
Refer to employee policies and guidelines for additional information about employee benefits and leave options.
What is the rationale behind a return to in-person work, when there are still risks associated with doing so?
We have seen many employees thrive working from home, and teams have been able to continue to strengthen their already established relationships. It's been much harder to onboard new employees and for the new employees to build personal connections with their new teams.
Most importantly, we have heard from our students that they want to have personal interactions. In research, we know that many projects have been significantly set back by restrictions around face-to-face interactions. For new students, a key part of them developing a sense of belonging at Waterloo is in making connections with their peers and a support network, including faculty and support staff.
What technical supports exist for those who continue to work remotely?
Instructors can visit the Keep Learning website to get support on adapting their teaching and learning plans for an online environment.
Employees should discuss any technical support requests with their manager are part of their work from home arrangements.
What support and guidance is being provided to managers to ensure their staff are well supported and treated with compassion at each step of return to campus planning?
The Workforce Planning Unit in Human Resources has connected with department heads across the institution to help support the return to campus during winter 2022. Of course, your Human Resource Partner is also available to provide support to your area.
As well, there have also been several supporting workshops from Organizational and Human Development
(and Change Management ) offered to assist managers with planning 2021/22 . Some of the workshops include the Change series for leaders with Managing Change and Navigating Change respectively; a Mindful Employer program, a 6-part workshop series designed to help people managers in their support of their teams; finally, there is a Leading and Working in Hybrid Teams, a self-directed workshop series where managers learn quick tips, techniques, and inclusive practices for leading and working in hybrid teams. We encourage you to explore these options to best assist you and your team.
Will students be permitted exceptions to academic deadlines if they experience symptoms of their vaccines during the term?
Will students be granted access to their course materials should they have to self-isolate?
For most instructors in most courses, their plans for accommodation due to students self-isolating will be similar to the accommodation that would be provided to students who have to miss some classes due to illness, family emergency, etc. Waterloo instructors routinely show compassion and provide means for such students to succeed in their courses when these events beyond their control happen to them.
What’s happening with co-op in light of COVID-19?
We know that the current economic climate has presented unique challenges for both students and employers. To address that, we’ve developed flexible pathways to help you complete your work terms in light of COVID-19.
- Please visit the Co-op work term updates due to COVID-19 page for more details about how the co-op process and requirements have been altered to make it easier for you to find work and maintain your credits during the pandemic.
If you have questions about your specific situation, please reach out to your co-op advisor.
Despite the pandemic, more than 23,000 students have secured co-op work terms in 2021.
Strong relationships with our global network of 7,100 employers and alumni have helped us to find more opportunities in organizations that already hire students as well as with new employers.
Please visit the work term updates due to COVID-19 webpage for more details about how the co-op process and requirements have been altered to help make it easier for you to hire top talent from Waterloo.
If you have questions about your specific situation, please reach out to your account manager.
Will academic milestones for graduate students (e.g. comprehensive exams and defenses) be impacted?
Planned research milestones for graduate students such as comprehensive exams and PhD defences may continue as planned. Students should contact their supervisor or associate dean, graduate studies to discuss any changes.
Can you ensure that students can access online materials regardless of what country they are in?
Waterloo has been teaching students online in all parts of the world for more than 20 years. For those students who will continue with remote courses, we are working to continuously improve their access to online materials. We recently launched new VPN to improve access to Waterloo learning technologies from China. Please read our announcement for details and instructions on how to access the VPN
Are international exchanges cancelled?
Outbound exchange (UWaterloo Students travelling to a host school):
Outbound student exchanges administered by the Student Success Office for winter 2022 and beyond will move forward with enhanced Safety Abroad processes and provided University of Waterloo pre-departure travel requirements are met. If you are due to travel for an exchange, you will be provided with information related to completing mandatory Safety Abroad pre-departure requirements.
Inbound exchange (Students from exchange partner schools attending UWaterloo):
Inbound student exchanges for winter 2022 and spring 2022 will move forward as planned. You should check the Government of Canada travel restrictions and the University's COVID-19 resources before planning your trip.
What is the process for domestic travel?
We encourage community members, where possible, to revisit approved domestic travel that has not yet occurred, to determine the possibility of changing to remote interactions.
We caution the community not to make commitments for domestic travel for the first few months of 2022 as provincial guidelines may change in the next few weeks.
What is the process for resuming university-sanctioned international travel?
If you are fully vaccinated and you can meet certain travel safety requirements, you may resume international travel for University of Waterloo related business, research, work terms, study, and co-curricular activities. These requirements include obtaining approval, registering travel, and completing pre-departure and travel risk mitigation activities.
The process for international travel is slightly different now than before the pandemic began. We want to make sure that any University-related travel you do is safe and that you have support where it is needed. Review the process for on the Safety Abroad webpage (https://uwaterloo.ca/international/travel-safety-and-security).
Your faculty website will offer a variety of supports available to you as a student regardless of where you are studying. Check your faculty’s website for more information and updates to services.
The International Student Guide shares relevant information for international students in regards to: academic supports, getting involved, and health and wellness.
The International Peer Community supports undergraduate and graduate students in adjusting to life at UWaterloo. The winter 2022 registration is now open.
For undergraduate students looking to connect with clubs and societies, the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) is offering many of its clubs and services online.
For graduate students looking for support, the Graduate Student Association offers supports and services online.
I've recently arrived in Canada. Do I need to quarantine before coming to class?
The Government of Canada regulations can change without warning. Be sure to check them often and to also refer to University of Waterloo’s COVID-19 travel and quarantine checklist for the most up to date information.
The final determination for exemption from quarantine is made at the border upon arrival in to Canada. You will therefore be expected to have a quarantine plan submitted through ArriveCAN that details your quarantine plan, should you need to use it. You may use your Canadian residence as part of your quarantine plan as long as it meets requirements dictated by the Government of Canada. If you are found to be quarantine exempt, you can attend class. Additionally, you are also required to take a PCR test within 72 hours of travel, and provide a negative result. Starting December 2021, all fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air from departure points other than the United States will be subject to arrival testing. Fully vaccinated travellers will be required to quarantine while they await the results of their arrival test.
If you need assistance in creating a quarantine plan, visit . If you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and under the age of 18 you can register for the Waterloo Student Quarantine Package is available for one-time use.
What will the requirements look like for international students returning to campus in the winter?
According to the Government of Canada's COVID-19 vaccine webpage, COVID-19 vaccines will be available to everyone in Canada who are recommended to get the vaccine by federal, provincial, and territorial public health bodies. International students are eligible for the same health services as Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents, including vaccinations.
Are vaccinations available to international students?
Health Services is offering Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to all UWaterloo students.
Please note that you must be COVID symptom-free to attend a clinic to be vaccinated.
You can also visit one of the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in Waterloo Region. You cannot break your 14-day quarantine (if applicable) to get vaccinated.
If you received any doses outside of Ontario or Canada, you will need to fill out the Region of Waterloo's Out of Province COVID Immunization Form before you receive any additional doses. It will ask you to share your current vaccination status and type of vaccination you received.
If you are unsure of your vaccination status because you either obtained a vaccine in another country or you are unsure if you are able to receive a vaccine, please contact Region of Waterloo Public Health at 519-575 4400 and refer to their COVID-19 Guidance for Individuals Vaccinated outside of Ontario/Canada (PDF).
If you need to quarantine, there are many supports available to you:
Talk to someone
- Receive calls from Health Services to help you monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If you feel unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms, reach out to Health Services (519-888-4096) or the local health authorities (1-866-797-0000 in Ontario).
- Reach out to Counselling Services if you require mental health resources or need someone to talk to. Their services are open, and appointments are conducted by phone.
- You're not in quarantine alone! The ISE team is here to support you.
- Join the International Peer Community to connect with other Waterloo students.
- Get technical support with using UWaterloo systems by contacting Information Systems & Technology.
To be eligible to enter Canada:
- You must qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller unless you’re a minor (under 18).
- You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit, unless you meet one of the exemptions from needing a study permit.
- As an international exchange student coming to study for one term (six months or less), you must have either:
- a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit; or
- a valid TRV or eTA
- You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI).
Important steps before entering Canada
Step 1: You should prepare the following documents, in addition to the documents you’d normally carry with you, before entering Canada.
- Offer letter/letter of acceptance, if entering Canada for the first time
- Proof of enrolment letter from The Centre ($10), if you have already started studies online
- Proof of co-op job, if entering for a co-op work term
- Proof of finances (i.e. bank statements, Quest tuition receipt, proof of funding)
- Valid immigration medical examination results if coming from a designated country or territory
- New students: If the exam you completed for your study permit application has expired or will be expiring before you enter Canada, you must complete another medical exam with an IRCC Panel Physician before arriving in Canada.
- Returning students: If you’ve lived outside of Canada in one or more designated countries for at least six months in a row in the last year, you must complete a medical exam with an IRCC Panel Physician before returning to Canada.
- Implement your quarantine plan if:
- You are under 18 and unvaccinated,
- You are 18 years or older and the Canadian Border Services Officer tells you that you are not exempt from quarantine,
- You are randomly selected for a COVID-19 arrival test and the result is positive, or
- You or a person you travelled with develops COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.
- Physical paper proof of in addition to uploading digital proof as part of the ArriveCan app
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or a previous positive COVID-19 test result that meets the requirements if you are under 18 years old and partially vaccinated or unvaccinated or meet one of the limited exemptions from needing to be fully vaccinated.
Step 2: Review the COVID-19 travel and quarantine checklist in the International Student Guide.
Step 3: Complete the mandatory International Student Travel Plans and Quarantine form (if under 18 and not fully vaccinated).
Step 4: Review the other travel and quarantine information on the International Student Guide.
Please email the International Student Experience team if you have questions about quarantine or the International Student Travel Plans and Quarantine Form. For inquiries about immigration documents and travel restrictions, connect with an immigration consultant.
Special note regarding domestic or international flights departing from most airports in Canada as of November 30, 2021:
- Being fully vaccinated is required for travel within and out of Canada. A valid COVID-19 molecular test will only be accepted with limited exemptions.
- If you’re a foreign national who is permitted entry into Canada without qualifying as fully vaccinated, you may take a connecting flight that is scheduled to depart within 24 hours of the departure time for your final flight to Canada using your valid pre-entry molecular test as long as the scheduled departure time of their domestic flight is within 24 hours of the departure time for their final flight to Canada.
Foreign nationals who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated and who don’t permanently reside in Canada will be allowed to depart Canada up until August 31, 2022. They must also show proof of a valid COVID-19 test result at the time of boarding. After that time, foreign nationals will need to be fully vaccinated in order to board a flight or train to depart Canada.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students under the age of 18: Based on current Government of Canada policies, if you are travelling to Canada from an international location and are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, you need to quarantine and you must have a quarantine plan to isolate for a minimum of 14 days when you arrive in Canada. It is mandatory to isolate, even if you have no symptoms or have taken one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students over the age of 18: Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers over the age of 18 are not eligible to enter Canada.
Vaccinated students: Based on current Government of Canada policies, all vaccinated travellers are subject to randomized on arrival testing at the first port of entry.
Students who must travel to Canada but plan to quarantine outside of Ontario are asked to follow federal and provincial or territorial guidelines. In the event of conflicting requirements between federal regulations to enter Canada, and provincial or territorial regulations, you must comply with the most stringent regulations.
Before you leave your home country, you must review and execute the actions listed on Waterloo’s COVID-19 travel and quarantine checklist. The penalties for not complying with the quarantine requirements are severe and should be taken very seriously.
UHIP has minimal coverage for emergency out of country medical treatment; we recommended that you purchase travel insurance for the duration of your stay in another country. Your Studentcare Health & Dental Plan has travel insurance coverage, check your eligibility, limitations and if additional coverage is required.
Requirements for studying online and outside of Canada
A study permit is not required to study online from outside of Canada, however it is strongly recommended that you apply for one as soon as possible. Things to consider:
- A valid study permit or study permit approval letter, and temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA), will be necessary to enter Canada and continue your studies.
- As of winter 2022, in-person classes have resumed, and many faculties are requiring their students to be studying on-campus. Please speak with your academic advisor directly if you’re unsure of your options for the upcoming term.
- Submitting your study permit application before beginning your studies is important if you want to count this time spent studying towards your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility.
- Please note that information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada continues to change. It's recommended that you always contact the University of Waterloo’s Immigration Consulting team if you have any questions you would like to discuss.
Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be able to stay in Canada. We’ve outlined those circumstances below:
Studying online due to the COVID-19 pandemic: If you’re continuing to pursue your studies online over the spring or fall term, you can remain in Canada so long as your study permit remains valid. If an extension of your study permit is necessary to finish up your studies, we recommend that you begin the extension application process six months prior to your current study permit expiring. Visit the Immigration Consultant’s study permit page for information on the application process. Your study permit should be valid for an additional three months after you complete your program. For example, if you finish your program at the end of spring term in August, then you should extend your study permit until the end of November. This gives you the time necessary to gather your documents and apply for your post-graduation work permit (PGWP).
Finished program and beginning another program (one term off in between): If you finish your first program (e.g. undergraduate degree) and are planning to begin a second program (e.g. masters degree) one term later, you’re welcome to remain in Canada during that gap term. Ensure your study permit remains valid and is extended when necessary. Visit the Immigration Consultant’s working in Canada page for information on working during this period.
Finished program and applying for PGWP: If you’ve finished your studies and intend to work in Canada, you’ll need to apply for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP) to stay in Canada. Visit the Immigration Consultant’s post-graduation work permit page for the details.
Taking one or more terms off: Visit the Immigration Consultant’s immigration policy page for important information.
For support with any of the above-mentioned applications, please connect with the University of Waterloo’s Immigration Consulting team.
Your immediate family members may be able to join you in Canada.
Valid entry documents (temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA), whichever applies based on citizenship) and status approvals (if entering as a student or worker) would be required upon entry.
To confirm that your family member meets the criteria to be deemed a fully vaccinated traveler, please review the Government of Canada’s travel website.
Please note that information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continues to change. It's recommended that you always contact the University of Waterloo’s Immigration Consulting team if you have any questions you would like to discuss.
The ability for an individual who is not fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved vaccine to visit you in Canada, or accompany you to Canada, will depend on whether they meet the exemption requirements as well as needing the required immigration documents.
For information on immigration documents for family, visit the Immigration Consultant’s documents for family page.
There will likely be a delay in processing times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We would suggest planning ahead whenever possible and applying as soon as possible for your upcoming IRCC applications. The sooner you submit your application, the sooner it will begin processing. You can check the estimated processing times, but bear in mind these will not be accurate during COVID-19 pandemic interruptions.
Study permit/co-op work permit extension applications: If you are in Canada, as long as you apply for your study permit and/or co-op work permit extensions before your current permits expire, you have maintained status. Maintained status allows you to remain in Canada and continue studying and/or working.
NOTE: If you leave Canada while your application is being processed, you will lose your maintained status and must then ensure that you have a valid entry visa (TRV) or eTA (electronic travel authorization) before re-entering Canada.
I’m inside Canada and have a co-op work term coming up. What can I do if my co-op work permit is still processing?
As a special provision during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can begin your co-op work term in Canada using your study permit work authorizations as long as your study permit has the R186(f) or (v) condition stated, for on and off campus work, respectively. You would be limited to working a maximum 20 hours/week if your employer is off-campus, however you could work unrestricted hours/week on-campus if your employer is on-campus. If your co-op work permit is refused, you must stop working.
The decision to take advantage of this provision would be at the discretion of your employer.
To work in Canada, you will also require a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Refer to the Student Success Office’s website for more details on how to apply for a SIN..
To check your UHIP status, or for any UHIP related inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, including your full-name and student number. If you are not eligible for UHIP, you may want to look into private health insurance companies. Here are examples of a few private health insurance companies that you may want to consider (but do your research as there are others):
- Ingle International
- Cowan Insurance
- Blue Cross
If you suspect you’re ill, visit the Government of Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment website and follow the instructions.
UHIP will provide coverage for medical doctor appointments, hospital stays, diagnostic tests, etc. as it does for other illnesses. Note: The WUSA and GSA Health plans cover the costs of prescriptions.
If you’re unsure about your current UHIP coverage status, you can confirm by checking the termination date on your UHIP coverage card, or by e-mailing email@example.com.
Check the UHIP FAQs about COVID-19.
Please see the Immigration Consultant’s post-graduation work permit page.
I’ve completed my program and am now applying for my PGWP or I am now a PGWP holder. What should I consider during COVID-19?
Please see the Immigration Consultant’s post-graduation work permit page.