Pre-arrival and arrival checklists

Starting your journey at UVic as an international student can be exciting and daunting at the same time. The International Student Advising team has put together a pre-arrival checklist and an arrival checklist to assist you before you arrive and after you arrive to Canada. Be sure to follow the checklists to prepare for your transition to life at UVic. 

On this page:

Pre-arrival Checklist Arrival Checklist

If you have any questions or need more support, please contact the International Centre for Students.

Apply for a study permit or notify IRCC that you've changed institution

  • We strongly recommend applying for a study permit as soon as your receive your admission email and study permit information email from UVic as you must have a valid study permit or letter of introduction (study permit approval) before you can arrive to Canada. Refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website to determine if you need a study permit.
  • If you have a valid Canadian study permit and are coming to UVic from a college, university, or language school in Canada, you must notify IRCC that you have changed post-secondary institutions as soon as you accept your offer from UVic.
  • If you have a study permit, your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children may be eligible to come with you to Canada or visit you in Canada if they have obtained appropriate documents to travel and meet all the entry requirements.
  • You can also refer to our Living in Canada – Immigration documents section for more information.

Budget your finances for your education

  • As an international student, you must prove you can support yourself financially in Canada when you apply for a study permit. For detailed information about study permit funding requirements, refer to the IRCC website. The cost of your education and living may vary based on your accomodation types and personal choices. For budgeting resources, visit our Living in Canada – Housing & Finance section.
  • For scholarships and funding opportunities, refer to the UVic Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA) website for information.

Understand your academic enrolment status and immigration implications

  • Your academic enrolment status at UVic and the choices you make around program planning will have a direct impact on your temporary resident status and work authorization in Canada. When you are in Canada on a study permit, you need to meet a number of study permit conditions. One of the conditions is that you must show that you are actively pursing your studies. You can demonstrate this by enrolling full-time or part-time during regular academic sessions.
  • To be eligible to work while studying in Canada or to be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), you must maintain full-time enrollment except for regular scheduled breaks, during your final term or an authorized leave. Refer to our Living in Canada – Working in Canada webpage for detailed information.

Join the UVic Global Community

  • The UVic Global Community provides opportunities and creates space for international and domestic students to share perspectives, celebrate diversity, foster intercultural connections, and cultivate an inclusive and globally minded campus. You can connect with the GC program via GC Facebook group and various events and programing. 

Learn about your Canadian health insurance coverage

  • The cost of health care in Canada can be 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. Be sure to watch our recorded Pre-arrival Health Insurance Information Session video to learn more about what health insurance coverage you will need while studying in Canada. 
  • All new international students are automatically enrolled in the UVic plan upon course registration at UVic. Only eligible students can opt out from plan. If you meet the eligibility to opt out, the opt out deadline for the spring 2022 term is January 22, 2022. Refer to our Health Insurance webpage - plan section for detailed information. 

Register for the International Student Welcome

  • The International Student Welcome (January 14, 2022) 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. To register, visit the International Student Welcome website. (Note: Registration will open closer to the start of the term.)

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. 

Stay informed with the COVID-19 immigration and travel updates

Make your travel arrangements and learn about settlement resources

  • The University of Victoria (UVic) is located in Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria is situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. There is no fixed connection (bridge or roadway) connecting Vancouver Island to mainland BC. Refer to our Getting started webpage for travel options, consideration on what to bring, and other settlement information if this is the first time you come to Victoria.
  • Starting November 30, 2021, travel by plane or train within and from Canada will also require proof of full vacciantion. This handout may help you understand BC vaccination card and Canadian proof of vaccination requirements. 

Register your quarantine (self-isolation) plan

  • Before travelling to Canada, all students must create a 14-day quarantine plan. Your quarantine plan must cover your travel arrangements, locations of self-isolation (quarantine), and arrangements for necessities (food). This applies to both fully vaccinated travellers who meet the Government of Canada requirements of fully vaccinated  exemption as well as those who are not vaccinated.
  • Refer to the UVic Self-isolation Program webpage for guidelines and resources to make your quarantine plan. If you need more support to prepare or complete your quarantine plan, contact our SIP team via email ( or by phone (+1 250 472 4984). 

Learn about Canada

  • If  this is the first time you come to Canada, feel free to visit the Global Affairs Canada website for some facts and insights about this large and diverse country. 

Quarantine and COVID-19 testing

  • The Canada Border Officials will determine if you need to self-isolate (quarantine) upon your arrival to Canada. Unvaccinated travelers to Canada must self isolate (quarantine) for 14 days upon entry to Canada. You must check in with the Uvic Self-isolation Program upon arrival by email ( 
  • If it is determined that you are not required to self-isolate (quarantine) you will be asked to keep a log of your movements so that in the unlikely event your arrival to Canada COVID-19 test is positive, Health Canada can trace your contacts to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

  • If it is determined that you need to complete a 14-day quarantine, you must travel to your self-isolation location as indicated in your quarantine plan upon arrival.
  • For information and resources to complete your quarantine, visit our website - Self-isolation section or contact our Self-isolation team for help.

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 the International Centre for Students (ICS) if you have any questions or concerns about your immigration documents or need help with understanding the conditions on them. 
  • If you have a valid Canadian study permit and are coming to UVic from a college, university, or language school in Canada, you must notify IRCC you are transferring to UVic from another Canadian post-secondary institution.

Enrol in BC Medical Services (MSP) Plan

  • The British Columbia (BC) Medical Services Plan (MSP) covers required medical services provided by physicians, specialists, diagnostic facilities, laboratory facilities, and hospitals.
  • Under the Medicare Protection Act, enrolment with MSP is mandatory for all eligible residents and their dependents. Visit the BC MSP program website for eligibility and enrollment details as soon as you arrive. If you intend to stay in BC for fewer than six months, you are NOT eligible for BC MSP.

Find housing

  • If you are searching for a place to live off campus, read the 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 UVic ONECard

  • The UVic 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. Currently, the ONECard office is by appointments only. Be sure to follow the instructions on the ONECard Office's website to get your UVic student card. 

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.

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, 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.

Explore your employment options

Connect with your campus

  • Make sure to attend our International Student Welcome (January 14, 2022) and other relevant orientation programs . The orientation programming at UVic aim to connect new students with Campus supports and services to ensure you make the most out of your student experience at UVic.

BC COVID-19 Vaccination and Immunization

  • Everyone born in 2009 or earlier (12+) is eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines in BC. You do not need to be enrolled in the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) to get the vaccine. Visit the BC COVID-19 Immunization Program website for more information. COVID-19 information is also available in different languages. For translated content, visit the BC COVID-19 website.
  • All UVic students currently enrolled in a degree program can make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the Student Wellness Centre.  
  • Proof of full vaccitiona is required to acess some events, services and businesses in BC. Starting November 30, 2021, travel by plane or train within and from Canada will also require proof of full vacciantion. This handout may help you understand BC vaccination card and Canadian proof of vaccination requirements. 

Explore 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.
  • Refer to our Resources webpage for information about adapting to the new culture to ensure that you have all the information needed.
Last updated: November 2021