In the Know: Arrival Checklist

UVic Global Community Newsletter: April 12, 2021

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.

Welcome back or welcome to the University of Victoria (UVic)!

Please review the following Arrival Checklist. It contains important information that will help you navigate 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 Exchange Programs ̶̶  We have 70 partner institutions around the world. For more information visit  

Join the UVic Global Community!
The Global Community Facebook group provides daily updates about student life, events, funding opportunities and more. The Global Community newsletter helps you stay informed with bi-weekly updates that provide important dates and information, immigration and settlement information, and highlight intercultural engagement. The Global Community Conversation Partners and Mentorship programs help you improve your conversational English skills, build global relationships, and support your transition to UVic and to Canada.

Immigration and on arrival

Implement your self-isolation plan.

When you arrive in Canada, you must isolate for a period of 14 days (including a 3-day hotel stopover) even if you have no symptoms related to COVID-19. . As of February 21, 2021 all travellers flying or driving to Canada will be required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival; after testing.

To support you during self-isolation, UVic has a Self-isolation Program that includes:

Understand your Canadian immigration documents.
Be aware of the expiry date of your study permit as you must have a valid status to study in Canada as a temporary resident. Make sure all personal information is correct on your documents and that you are meeting the study permit conditions at all times. Contact 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.

Health Insurance Information Session
Join our upcoming Health Insurance Information Session on April 30, 2021 from 3:00pm-4:00pm (PT). To learn more, visit the International Student Welcome website.

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.

If you started your program from outside Canada for your first term at UVic, you will need to add the plan yourself as you will not be automatically enrolled. Visit the website for detailed information. If you have questions about how to enroll in the plan, you can contact ISS.

Purchase health insurance for your accompanying family members, if applicable. Visit for enrollment instructions to add your dependents.

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 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 Off Campus Housing section on our website 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. The 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. It is also your Universal Bus Pass (U-Pass) for BC Transit. 
Please also read the Get your Identification Cards section on our website to learn about getting other IDs.
Open a bank account.
Please read the Getting Settled section on our website for a list of the major banks in Victoria, things to consider when choosing a financial institution, and information about opening an account.

If you need to open a bank account, you can contact ISS for information.

Set up internet and mobile phone accounts.
If you live in UVic Residence or study on campus, you will have access to UVic’s wireless internet service. You will need your UVic NetLink ID 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 Communication section on our website 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 the proper authorization and a Social Insurance Number (SIN). When in doubt, contact International Student Services to confirm whether or not you are eligible to work in Canada as an international student.
To be eligible for a SIN, you must either have a study permit with employment remarks or a work permit. Currently, you can apply online or by mail to apply for a SIN or to obtain a confirmation of your SIN. Your SIN will be issued to your study permit or work permit validity. Refer to the Government of Canada’s website for full information.

For more information about working while studying in Canada, Refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

The definitions* of full-time studies for undergraduate students and for graduate students are available in the UVic Calendar.

* Please note there is a different definition for JD students in the Faculty of Law.

Connect with your campus.
Make sure to attend our International Student Welcome between April 29 - May 1, 2021 and other relevant orientation programs to learn about different supports and programs to achieve your academic and personal goals. The International Student Welcome will take place entirely online. 

All undergraduate students who are new to UVic should complete the online pre-arrival program before the first day of classes on May 5, 2021. 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.
The 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 most up-to date guidance provided by the BC Government when you are out and about.

If you have any questions, please contact International Student Services.

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