In the Know: Pre-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.

If you are a new international student starting your program from outside of Canada, the University of Victoria (UVic) welcomes your virtual presence! We are all here to support you and to help you make the most out of your program.

Please review the following Pre-arrival Checklist to connect with UVic virtually. It contains important information that will help when starting your UVic journey.

Before 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 travel

Apply for a study permit.

If you are an international student engaged in online learning outside of Canada, you do not require a study permit. You may start your program in the summer by taking online classes before your study permit is approved. However, we strongly recommend applying for a study permit as soon as possible as you must have a valid study permit or letter of introduction (study permit approval) when you arrive to Canada to engage in your studies if your program of study is 6 months or longer. Please note that regardless of when you start your program, a study permit approval is not guaranteed.

Students are responsible for managing their course registration and paying applicable tuition and student fees. Please refer to UVic important academic dates for important deadlines. If you have questions about program planning, undergraduate students can contact their academic adviser and graduate students can contact their department for program advising. If you have questions about tuition, please contact

If your spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children, want to accompany you to Canada, they may be eligible for a study or work permit, or a visitor visa. You can submit their applications online when you apply for your study permit. 
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 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that you have changed post-secondary institutions.

Check the current travel restrictions and exemptions before making travel plans.
In order to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has implemented travel restrictions with only a few exemptions.

Currently, to be granted entry to Canada, you must meet the travel exemptions to travel to Canada. You will need to ensure you have the appropriate travel and study documentation in hand, have completed the necessary COVID-19 testing and have registered your self-isolation plans.

To be able to enter Canada as a student, you MUST meet 2 requirements:

  1. You must have a valid study permit or a valid letter of introduction that shows you are approved for a study permit. An approval-in-principle is not sufficient for travel. 
  2. You must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by its province or territory. UVic is a DLI with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan.

On our Travelling to Canada website, you can find all of the steps that are required to ensure you meet the travel exemptions to travel to Canada and that you have a plan to self-isolate on arrival.

Please note that information can change as the pandemic evolves, you must monitor the IRCC website closely in preparation for your travel to Canada.

When you arrive to Canada at the Port of Entry, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) Officer will greet you, look at several factors, and review your documentation. Be sure to review our Getting Started website to ensure you have prepared the documents needed to travel to Canada.

Plan for your self-isolation and register your self-isolation plan with UVic.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has put in place an emergency order under the Quarantine Act. Quarantine is mandatory, even for people with no symptoms. When you arrive in Canada, you must isolate for a period of 14 days 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 (SIP) that includes:

Learn about academic enrolment status at UVic.
Your academic enrolment status at UVic, and the choices you make around program planning, will have a direct impact on your temporary resident status in Canada. When you are in Canada with a study permit, you must be enrolled at a designated learning institution, like UVic, and make progress towards completing your program of study. Another area where program planning can have a direct impact is if you would like the opportunity to work or be eligible for the post-graduation work permit, you will need to maintain full-time enrollment. 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.

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 upon course registration, the plan, to ensure they have coverage for the first term.

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

Opt-out of the plan,if you will not be in Canada for the summer session (May-August 2021).
Most international students are automatically enrolled in the Mandatory Temporary Medical Insurance (MTMI), the plan, upon course registration. Students who are eligible to opt out must complete the opt-out process before the opt-out deadline.

Extended Health and Dental Plans
If you are an undergraduate student and have questions about your extended health and dental plans at UVic for the summer session, visit the UVic Studentcare website or contact them for more information.

If you are a graduate student and have questions about how to opt into extended health and dental plans at UVic for the summer session, please connect with the Graduate Students Society (GSS) Health Plan Coordinator at or +1 250-721-8816 to discuss your options.

Get Connected 

Register for the virtual International Student Welcome and other Orientation Events.
The International Student Welcome (April 29 – May 1, 2021) will introduce you to UVic staff and students who will help you settle into your learning at UVic and navigate your unique experience transitioning to university life.

  • Make new connections with your peers while discovering important campus resources
  • Meet the International Student Services team
  • Learn about Canadian culture
  • Get information about your immigration documents, health insurance and other important tasks
  • Connect with other new and returning students as well as Global Community volunteers
Connect with your Campus.

Don’t forget to register for other orientation programs too! In order to support new students in their learning and start the term off on the right foot, UVic Orientation runs a number of different orientation events. 

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 course registration.

If you are a first year student looking to hear more about the student experience through interviews with students, staff and faculty, you can stay connected and tune in to Season 1 of the Meet Me in the Quad Podcast. You can also follow their @UVicYearOne on Instagram for community, contests and info for new UVic students.

To stay up-to-date with upcoming events, you can view the UVic Events Calendar as well as the UVic Global Community’s Events and Activities webpage. 

Learn about Canada.
There are many things to learn about Canada. You may find it helpful to visit the Global Affairs Canada website for some facts and insights about this large and diverse country.

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

Want to know what else is going on? Join the to receive regular updates about opportunities and events, both on and off campus.