In the Know: Arrival Checklist

UVic Global Community Newsletter: December 06, 2021

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/visiting.

International Centre for Students (ICS) is a centralized resource providing international services, information and programs for undergraduate and graduate students from pre-arrival to degree completion.

We support UVic students with:

Whether you are a new student starting your journey or a current UVic student resuming your on-campus courses in the spring (January – April) 2022 term, this arrival checklist can help you prepare for a successful start or return at UVic!

Immigration and travel requirements

Required immigration and travel documentation
To enter Canada as an international student, the Border Services Officer will look at several factors, including:

  • your reason for travelling to Canada
  • your ability to complete a minimum 14-day quarantine period (unless you’re exempt)
  • if you either:
    • have time to complete your quarantine before you physically attend classes, or
    • can study online during your quarantine (if applicable)

You must bring:

  • a passport with a valid entry document (a temporary resident visa or electronic travel authorization, if required)
  • valid study permitora port of entry letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit (If your program is 6 months or less, you may be exempted from having a study permit if you meet the full vaccination requirement. However, you may still need to have a entry document to enter Canada.)
  • a valid letter of acceptance (This is called a study permit information letter at UVic) and verification of enrolment (If your letters have expired, you can order these letters through UVic My Page.)
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
  • a medical exam (if required)
  • typed list of all items you are bringing into Canada, including items sent separately
  • proof of vaccination, if you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller
  • a plan for your self-isolation(quarantine) and your ArriveCAN receipt (electronic or paper)

Holding all documents from the above list does not guarantee entry into Canada. The border services officer will make a final decision on your eligibility to enter Canada and your need for quarantine when you arrive.

At this time, 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 if your program is 6 months or more OR if you are fully vaccinated (check to see if you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller) and exempted (e.g., your program is less than 6 months) for a study permit you may be allowed to enter with other status (e.g., visitor or eTA).
  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.

As of November 30, 2021 travellers are required to show proof of vaccination in order to travel within or out of Canada by plane or train. For detailed information about this proof of vaccination to travel within and from Canada, visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 website. If you have questions about how to obtain proof of vaccination, refer to this handout for information.

As travel measures can change without notice as the pandemic evolves, you must stay informed with the Government of Canada’s website to find out if you are allowed to enter Canada.

Fully vaccinated travellers may be exempted from completing a 14-day quarantine. However, being fully vaccinated cannot replace  pre-entry testing or the need to submit your quarantine plan to ArriveCAN or registration with UVic Self-Isolation Program (SIP).

 For full information about International Student Program related information, refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

If you still have questions after visiting the IRCC website, you can contact our International Student Advising team for immigration support in relation to your program planning.

Health insurance 

Learn about your Canadian health insurance coverage
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 for medical services. As a result, all UVic students, including international students, are required to have primary and extended health insurance.

Primary Health Insurance Plans
Most NEW international students are automatically enrolled in the guard.me@UVic plan upon course registration at UVic. If you are automatically enrolled, you will receive an email from guard.me to access your ID card and policy information when it gets closer to the start of the term.
 

If you intend to stay in British Columbia (BC) for more than six months, you must submit an application to enroll with BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). Your BC MSP covers required medical services provided by physicians, specialists, diagnostic facilities, laboratory facilities, and hospitals. Visit the BC MSP website for information about benefits and enrollment process.

Note: Your guard.me@UVic coverage is a temporary emergency medical insurance that covers the time you need to receive your MSP coverage. You can only opt out from guard.me if you meet the eligibility. Refer to our website for detailed opt-out criteria or contact icsinfo@uvic.ca for help.

Extended Health and Dental Plans
Most students, except for exchange students, are also automatically enrolled into an extended coverage plan. The extended health and dental plan is supplementary to guard.me and BC MSP.

If you are an undergraduate student and have questions about the coverage for this plan or opting out, please go the UVSS Info Booth in the SUB, visit the UVic Studentcare website or call 1-877-789-8714 for more information to discuss your options before January 22.

If you are a graduate student and have questions about the coverage for this plan or opting out, please connect with the Graduate Students Society (GSS) Health Plan Coordinator at gsoc@uvic.ca or call +1 250-721-8816 before January 30 to discuss your options.

Purchase health insurance for your accompanying family members (if applicable).
If your family members will accompany you to come to Canada, you can consider enrolling them in the guard.me plan as, in most cases, they should have similar health insurance coverage as you while they accompany you to live in Canada. To enroll them in the guard.me@UVic plan, visit their website.

Learn about your housing options

As a destination university, our on-campus housing is very competitive. Most of our students end up living off campus. Searching for housing in a new city, and especially a new country can be challenging. We recommend you to at least arrange for your short-term accommodation before you arrive as it might take some time for you to find your new home in Victoria.

Below are some options for short-term accommodation:

Hotels in Victoria 

Minimum $85/night - $149/night PLUS FOOD

Airbnb

Minimum $45/night – $239/night PLUS FOOD

VRBO

Minimum $63/night - $239/night PLUS FOOD

Hostel

Minimum $29/night PLUS FOOD

(Disclaimer: Off-campus housing resources are not verified by UVic for legitimacy or quality. UVic is not responsible for the resources you use to find housing.)

Get Connected

  • Register for the International Student Welcome
    The International Student Welcome 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 help with immigration documents, health insurance and other important tasks

Throughout late December and January, our office will hosts events and workshops focusing on helping  you build connections, getting to know your peers, understanding Canadian culture, and connecting to on-campus units as an international student. We encourage all new and returning students to participate in our Winter Welcome (January 5 - 7) to connect or reconnect with UVic!

  • Register for UVic January Orientation Program
    In order to support new students in their learning, meet other new students and start the year off on the right foot, UVic Orientation runs a number of different orientation events. 
  • Discover learning resources and support

    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 calendar for tuition payment deadlines and manage your course registration. 

    Please note that UVic does not require you to possess a study permit for course registration purposes. If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident or exempted from having a study permit, you must not engage in any studying in Canada without having a valid study permit.

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 questions or need help with planning your arrival, do not hesitate to contact us via email (icsinfo@uvic.ca) or by phone (+1 250 721 6361).

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