Supporting international undergraduate students coming to Canada

The COVID-19 readiness plan is mandatory for all new and returning undergraduate students.

Starting at McMaster in September 2022?

Attend the summer webinar series to help you prepare.

Summer Webinar Series
May 3, 2022

McMaster’s COVID-19 readiness plan for undergraduate students

Information on this page is intended for undergraduate students. If you’re a graduate student, visit the Grad Studies website: International grad students travelling to McMaster.

Recent government updates

Today, the Government of Canada announced that effective April 1, 2022 at 12:01 AM EDT, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test result to enter Canada by air, land or water. Fully vaccinated travellers seeking to arrive in Canada before April 1, 2022, must still have a valid pre-entry test.

iCent app: Required for all new and returning international undergraduate students

All new and returning international undergraduate students are required to sign up for the iCent app and follow the COVID-19 readiness plan guidelines. Signing up for the app ensures that we have the proper information to support you as you transition to life at McMaster, including travel and quarantine. With the app, you’ll get instant updates as new information becomes available.

  1. Download the iCent app (available at the Apple Store and Google Play Store). If you’re unable to download the app, visit the iCent web version.
  2. Select “Canada” as your institution country.
  3. Select “McMaster Undergrad Programs” as your institution name.
  4. Follow the “email and PIN” button.
  5. Enter your McMaster (@mcmaster.ca) email ID. You will receive an email with a secured PIN to log in.
  6. Enter the secured PIN and go to “continue.”

Note: Contact support@icent.app if you need to reactivate your existing account.

Review the readiness plan

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) no longer restricts international student arrivals to four weeks before their studies begin. The CBSA will take a more facilitative approach to international students entering Canada, and any reasonable length of time prior to study will be considered. Please note that although arriving earlier than four weeks before starting your studies is possible, it is not guaranteed. If you are planning to arrive early, you are expected to have a reasonable explanation for your early arrival for the CBSA officer at the border. Please ensure you meet some basic requirements to enter Canada.

  • Use ArriveCan to provide mandatory travel information required for entry into Canada
  • Please inform the University of your travel plans by downloading the iCent app and completing the mandatory forms.
  • Please check the documents to bring with you listed in the iCent app.

You must…

You must have…

  • A valid passport or travel document
  • The letter of introduction the visa office sent you when they approved your study permit; this letter has your permit reference number, which we use to issue your study permit.
  • For first-year students, a copy of your letter of acceptance (LOA)
  • Financial proof (bank or VISA statement) that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Canada
  • Letters of reference or any other documents the visa office told you to bring, and…
  • ArriveCAN receipt (electronic or paper) including proof of quarantine plan
  • Have valid immigration medical exam results (if you needed one)
    • Your exam is valid for 12 months from the day you get it.
    • It must be valid the day you enter Canada.
    • If your exam will expire before you enter Canada, you need to get another medical exam. This applies even if your letter of introduction is still valid.
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, if applicable

Travellers who are eligible to enter Canada are not required to quarantine upon arrival. All travellers are required to have a quarantine plan in place prior to arrival. Review the flying to Canada requirements checklist or driving to Canada requirements checklist depending on your method of travel.

McMaster and Ontario vaccination updates

McMaster will pause vaccine requirements as of May 1, 2022, but it has extended the mask mandate to the end of May 2022.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to make sure they are fully vaccinated, including booster shots, and to ensure that their MacCheck vaccination status is up to date. If pandemic circumstances, public health advice and government requirements change, McMaster may need to quickly reinstate the vaccine policy. That would mean that access to campus (including residence buildings) would be limited to those who are fully vaccinated.

If you have any questions, please email iss@mcmaster.ca.

As of March 1, 2022, Ontario no longer requires businesses and organizations to check proof of vaccination to enter settings. Some businesses and organizations may choose to require proof of vaccination upon entry.

Individuals who have received a partial or complete COVID-19 vaccine series outside of Ontario or Canada should contact the Hamilton public health unit (check “If I was vaccinated outside of Ontario, how can I get proof of vaccination?”) to have their COVID-19 immunization record documented in COVaxON (Ontario COVID-19 vaccine record system).

Guidance for individuals vaccinated outside of Ontario

Get more support

Once you’re here, we’ll continue to support you. Check out all our supports and services for international students.