In the Know: Arrival to Your Virtual Campus

UVic Global Community Newsletter: May 04, 2020

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

In response to the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the University of Victoria has moved summer session (May-August 2020) course offerings online. This means that all instruction this summer will be offered remotely and students will not need to be on campus. We want you to know that, 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.

Arrival Checklist for International Students to Your UVic Virtual Campus

1. Understand your Canadian immigration documents.

International Student Service (ISS) is a centralized resource providing international services, information and programs for undergraduate and graduate students from pre-arrival to degree completion. The International Student Advising team can support you with settlement, health insurance, work authorization, and Canadian student immigration documents information. Contact us at

Business program students should contact your International Student Adviser in the Gustavson School of Business International Programs Office for support.

New students inside Canada

As an international student in Canada, you are a temporary resident. This means your status in Canada has restrictions and will eventually expire. Be aware of the restrictions and the expiry date associated with your temporary resident status in Canada. You must make sure all personal information on your Canadian immigration documents, issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, is correct and that you fully understand the meaning of any conditions and remarks.

For those of you, whose study permit was issued with an acceptance letter from another designated learning institution, make sure to follow the instructions to notify IRCC about your school transfer when you start your program at UVic.

New students outside of Canada

If you have decided to start your program of study online outside of Canada due to COVID-19, you do not require a study permit. However, you must have a valid study permit or letter of introduction when you arrive to Canada to engage in your studies if your program of study is 6 months or longer. Therefore, we recommend applying for a study permit as soon as possible.

If your study permit application was approved after March 18, 2020 or is still being processed, IRCC will send you a notification to tell you when you can travel to Canada.

2. Get your NetLink ID.

A NetLink ID is your online identification at the University of Victoria. A primary NetLink ID is a unique personal identifier which is used as your username for various services provided by UVic. Your NetLink ID is your gateway to UVic systems and services for which you are authorized.

Visit the NetLink website to register for your primary NetLink ID. This service is free of charge.

For assistance with this service, please contact the Computer Help Desk

3. Learn about your Health Insurance in Canada.

The cost of health care in Canada is very high for those who do not have health insurance. Without coverage, you could be denied treatment or pay thousands of dollars each day for medical services.

As a result, in order to ensure medical issues do not cause financial difficulty or compromise academic progress, all new UVic international students are automatically enrolled with plan upon course registration at UVic. The plan is mandatory temporary medical insurance (MTMI) for all new international students.

Enrolment in the plan is mandatory unless:

  • You will be outside of Canada for the summer session (May-August) 2020 OR
  • You are covered by one of the following:
  • African Leaders of Tomorrow (CBIE - Cowan Insurance Group)
  • BC Medical Services Plan (BC MSP)
  • Canadian public health plans (including Quebec)
  • Corbett British Columbia-Washington International Exchange & Fellowship Program
  • Libyan-North American Scholarship Program (CBIE - Manulife)
  • Saudi Arabian government-sponsored plan (Cowan Insurance Group)

To opt out, visit the website, click Opt Out and follow the instructions.

The opt out deadline is May 22.

If your BC MSP coverage expires during your first term at UVic, please contact for the opt out procedure and criteria.

If you will stay in British Columbia (BC) for more than 6 months and you are not yet covered by the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), you must enroll in BC MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. The application for BC MSP enrolment is available online.

If you intend to stay in BC for fewer than six months, you are not eligible for the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).

Make sure to visit our website to understand health insurance coverage you need during your program of study at UVic. If you have any questions about health insurance in Canada, email

4. Utilize academic supports.

If you’re new to online learning, make sure to spend some time to go over the tips and resources on the Technology Integrated Learning website. You may also 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 and follow the UVic Important Dates to manage your program of study and course registration.

5. Discover your work options.

When you have questions about work authorization as an international student, feel free to contact us at

New students inside Canada

If you are in Canada, you may be eligible to work in Canada as an international student, but your studies must always be your first priority. Be sure to confirm your eligibility and any associated restrictions BEFORE starting to work in Canada, and NEVER work without the proper authorization.

More information is available on our website – Working in Canada page.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC announced a temporary policy change, effective April 22 to August 31, 2020, to lift the restriction that allows students to work up to 20-hours per week off-campus during the academic session provided that the student is working in an essential service or function. 

Please note, information can change without notice. For the most current information, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website and the Government of Canada website. You may also sign up for the notification via IRCC social media to receive regular notices.

New students outside of Canada

IRCC has confirmed that international students are allowed to start their program of study in May or June before you receive a study permit. Doing so will not have any impact on your Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility.

6. Stay safe and connected with UVic.

For COVID-19 related information, visit the UVic COVID-19 website and the international student section. Our office is closely monitoring updates from the Government of Canada and will keep adding relevant COVID-19 information to the page to address your concerns.

If you are looking for social connection, you can join our Global Community program by participating in the virtual conversations cafés or become a member on the UVic Global Community Facebook group.

The Great Indoors is a new online academic community UVic created to connect members across UVic. It is a place to experience the vibrancy of UVic’s active academic community from the safety of home.

Check out more services and resources available to support you, as a new student, in achieving your personal, academic and career goals.

If you have not taken part in our pre-arrival program, it’s never too late to complete this self-paced online program to learn about tips to start your life at UVic and enter contests to win prizes.

If you have arrived to Canada, we recommend you to read the safety handout and the culture shock handout to learn tips for staying healthy, happy and safe while studying at UVic.

If you have questions about any of these topics or anything that’s not mentioned in this article, please contact the ISS team.

We hope that you are staying as safe and healthy as possible during this unprecedented and challenging time. We look forward to welcoming you and supporting you during your transition to the university and all throughout your time at UVic.

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