How Foreign Students Can Obtain Travel and Health Insurance in Canada

International students and their families can rest easy knowing that they are covered by health and travel insurance. Understanding what a policy covers is crucial when buying it. This blog will examine the options accessible to students in each Canadian province and territory because it is not often clear what these are. Let’s examine the differences between travel and health insurance before moving forward.

Travel Insurance vs Health Insurance

It is required that foreign students in Canada purchase health insurance. However, travel insurance is optional and can be useful if your belongings are misplaced or your flight is delayed. Find out what options for travel insurance your airline offers, then choose the one that best suits your requirements. Check your card’s perks as well because some credit cards offer travel insurance.

Health insurance coverage varies across Canada, so it’s important to note the differences, which we’ve outlined below.

Options for Health Insurance by Province and Territory


You are qualified to apply for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) if you have a 12-month study permit for an academic institution in Alberta and intend to stay there for 12 months or longer.

AHCIP may be available to students having study permits that are valid for longer than three months but less than 12 months provided they submit a letter stating their intention to stay in Alberta for at least 12 months. This letter must be sent with your AHCIP application.

British Columbia

The Medical Services Plan (MSP) in British Columbia (BC) is available to international students who have lived there for at least six months. As soon as you land in BC, you must submit an MSP application. While MSP takes about three months to approve applications, iMED provides basic health insurance to international students during this time.

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After iMED ends, those who are not qualified for MSP must acquire private health insurance. Many academic institutions provide possibilities for extended health insurance if you are not qualified.

Those who are not qualified for MSP will need to acquire private health insurance after iMED ends. Many academic institutions offer extended health insurance options if you aren’t qualified.


International students studying in Manitoba on a valid study permit must purchase private health insurance through their educational institution or a private insurance company. However, if an international student or their spouse holds a Canadian work permit, such as a co-op or work permit or post-graduation work permit, they may be eligible for provincial health care in Manitoba.

New Brunswick

International students need to show documentation of full-time enrollment at a university or institution as well as a study permit that is valid for at least a year in order to be eligible for New Brunswick Medicare. It is advisable to seek extended health coverage through a private provider or your academic institution because New Brunswick Medicare only offers minimal medical coverage.

Newfoundland and Labrador

All foreign students who register are automatically accepted into the Foreign Health Insurance Plan. Through Newfoundland’s Medical Care Plan (MCP), international students who have been enrolled in full-time studies for at least a year are eligible for free basic health coverage. If the MCP is not an option for you, you must acquire private health insurance. MCP only offers minimal coverage, so all overseas students are advised to look into additional health insurance options.

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Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories Health Care (NWTHC) accepts applications for health insurance from international students who intend to study in the Northwest Territories for a period longer than a year. International students are urged to research the extended health coverage offered by private providers since NWTHC only provides a limited amount of free healthcare.

Nova Scotia

Since international students are not automatically qualified for the provincial health care program in Nova Scotia (NS), you must acquire health insurance. Your institution might provide health insurance policies and perhaps demand that you sign up for them. After a year of residence in Nova Scotia, overseas students are eligible for public health insurance.

After the first year, you might be eligible to apply for a Nova Scotia Health Card, which supplies free basic coverage through Medical Services Insurance (MSI). Once you’re eligible for an NS Health Card, your academic institution may allow you to opt out of their plan.


There are no designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Nunavut, making it impossible for foreign students to enroll.


OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) is not available to international students. In Ontario, every academic institution offers health insurance that students can buy. The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), which is often offered by public universities, offers health insurance. In Ontario, colleges and private institutions provide several providers’ plans.

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Please be aware that the health insurance plans that academic institutions provide to international students are not free and are frequently charged in addition to tuition.

Prince Edward Island

You are qualified for Prince Edward Island’s (PEI) public health insurance if you intend to study there for at least six months. However, you can only do so if you are an international student who is able to work off campus legally. International students must get health insurance from a private insurance company or their academic institution as soon as they arrive. Some insurance companies will allow you to leave their plan once you’re qualified for a PEI Health Card.


The Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) in Quebec offers free basic health insurance to residents of ten different nations as part of a reciprocal agreement. Don’t worry if you’re not a citizen of one of these ten nations. International students are typically automatically enrolled in group health insurance plans at most Quebec educational institutions, and the cost is added to tuition.

You can buy private health insurance if you aren’t covered by RAMQ or your institution’s group plan.

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