In the Know: Arrival Checklist

UVic Global Community Newsletter: September 01, 2020

In the Know: Advice for international students is a section of the UVic Global Community Newsletter that includes valuable information for undergraduate and graduate international students in the following categories: degree-seekingincoming exchange, and incoming study abroad/visiting.

If you are a new international student, welcome to the University of Victoria (UVic)!

 In the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to stay compliant with the Public Health protocols, the University of Victoria fall term (September-December 2020) courses will be predominantly offered online. As a result, only student who have classes with face-to-face instruction will be required to be on campus. While this is may not be the start to your time at UVic that you expected, we are all here to support you and to help you succeed.

Please review the following arrival checklist. It contains important information that will help when starting your UVic journey.

After you arrive to Canada

Connect with International Student Services (ISS)
ISS is a centralized resource providing international services, information and programs for undergraduate and graduate students from pre-arrival to degree completion. We support students with:
  • immigration (e.g. study permit, work authorization) and settlement questions (e.g. banking, mobile phones)
  • socio-cultural programming for students to make connections through the Global Community Mentorship and Conversations Partners Program and fun events
  • student exchanges

Join the UVic Global Community!
Our Global Community Facebook group provides daily updates. Our bi-weekly newsletter helps you stay informed. And our Global Community Conversation Partners and Mentorship programs support your transition to UVic.

Immigration and on arrival

Implement your self-isolation plan.

When you arrive in Canada, you must isolate for a period of 14 days even if you have no symptoms related to COVID-19.  To support you during self-isolation, UVic has a Self-isolation Program that includes:

  • Online information sessions and videos
  • Virtual social events and activities deigned to help you connect with your peers and build community
  • A quarantine guide that will provide checklists, information and resources to support you during your self-isolation
  • Mental health and wellness support information
  • Accommodation and food service suggestions and resources

Understand your Canadian immigration documents.
Be aware of the expiry date for your temporary resident status in Canada. Make sure all personal information is correct on your documents. Contact or visit International Student Services (ISS) if you have any questions or concerns. 

Notify IRCC you are transferring to UVic from another Canadian post-secondary institution.
If you have a valid Canadian study permit and are coming to UVic from a high school, college, university, or language school in Canada, you can continue to use your current study permit, as long as it is still valid. However, you must notify IRCC that you have changed post-secondary institutions.

Health Insurance

Learn about your Canadian health insurance coverage.
For international students, the cost of health care in Canada is very high if you do not have health insurance. Having both primary and extended health insurance provides you with comprehensive coverage and ensures that medical issues will not cause financial difficulties or compromise your academic progress. While most domestic students and returning international students have access to primary insurance through a provincial health plan, most NEW international students will be enrolled in mandatory temporary medical insurance, the plan, to ensure they have coverage at the start of the term.

Purchase health insurance for your accompanying family members, if applicable.

Enrol in BC MSP.
The British Columbia (BC) Medical Services Plan (MSP) covers required medical services provided by physicians, specialists, diagnostic facilities, laboratory facilities, and hospitals.
If you intend to stay in BC for fewer than six months, you are not eligible for the BC MSP. All other international students must submit an application for enrolment when they arrive in BC.


Find housing.
If you are still searching for a place to live, read the Living Off Campus in Victoria handout for helpful suggestions.

Connect with the UVic Family Centre.
If you are in Canada with minor children, you can connect with the UVic Family Centre. UVic Family Centre is an inclusive family resource centre offering a variety of programs and services for UVic students and their families living on and off campus.

Get your ONECard.
The university photo identification (ID) card is called a ONECard. It is the official ID card and campus debit card with Victoria BC Transit pass encoded on it.
Please also read the Identification Cards handout to learn about getting other IDs.
Open a bank account.
Please read the Banking handout for a list of the major banks in Victoria, things to consider when choosing a financial institution, and information about opening an account.

Set up internet and mobile phone accounts.
If you live in UVic Residences or study on campus, you will have access to UVic’s wireless internet service. You will need a UVic NetLink to access the network.
If you live off-campus then you should consider getting your own internet services so you have the ability to study, stream, download, and connect with your friends and family at home. Note that some landlords include internet with your monthly rent or you may be able to split the cost of internet with your roommates.
You can refer to the Mobile Phones & Internet handout for a list of the major mobile phone and internet service providers in Victoria and things to consider when comparing service providers and plans.

Discover your employment options.
You MUST NOT work in Canada without proper authorization. When in doubt, contact International Student Services to confirm whether or not you are eligible to work in Canada as an international student.
Currently, you can apply online or by mail to apply for a SIN or to obtain a confirmation of your SIN.
To be eligible for a SIN, you must either have a study permit with employment remarks or a work permit. Your SIN will be issued to your study permit or work permit validity.

Connect with your campus.
Make sure to attend relevant orientation programs to learn about different supports and programs to achieve your academic and personal goals.

All undergraduate students who are new to UVic should complete the online pre-arrival program before the first day of classes on September 9, 2020. This program is not intended for graduate students. 

If you’re new to online learning, you may find it valuable to work through UVic’s Orientation to Online Learning course.
In addition to the support for learning with technology, there are many more supports and services at UVic designed to improve your academic writing, keep yourself organized or maximize your educational experience. Refer to the Academic Life page for information about these specific programs.

For academic advising support, consult your Academic Advising Unit early and often and follow the UVic Important Dates to manage your program of study and course registration.
Explore Victoria.
Read the Shopping in Victoria handout for information about local shopping options. Please also read the Safety handout and the Culture Shock handout to learn tips for staying healthy, happy, and safe while studying at UVic and living in Victoria.
Tourism Victoria website has information about attractions, restaurants and local businesses to help you discover all that this wonderful city has to offer. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, we recommend you to follow the guidance provided in the BC’s Restart Plan when you are out and about. 

If you have questions, please contact International Student Services.

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