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.

We would also encourage you to review our video resources for new students for guidance on some important immigration and settlement topics as you prepare to join us.

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 institutions

  • 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 (IRCC) 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.
  • 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 accommodation type 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 the 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 review the Health insurance section of our website to learn more about what health insurance coverage you will need while studying in Canada. 
  • All new international students are automatically enrolled in the guard.me@UVic plan upon course registration at UVic. Only eligible students can opt out from guard.me plan. If you meet the eligibility criteria to opt out, the deadline to opt out for a 100% refund for the summer 2022 session is May 22, 2022. Refer to the guard.me@UVic plan section of our Health Insurance webpage for detailed information.

Register for the International Student Welcome

  • The International Student Welcome (May 10 and 11, 2022) will introduce you to UVic staff, students, and volunteers 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 opens March 24, 2022.)

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 about COVID-19 immigration and travel updates

  • When you plan your travel to Canada, consult the information in the Travelling to Canada and self-isolation webpages to ensure you are making the necessary arrangements for travel.
  • As COVID-19 polices and travel requirements may change without notice, we also recommend reviewing the Government of Canada's website  to make sure you meet all the requirements to enter Canada.

Make your travel arrangements and learn about settlement resources

  • For information about planning your travel, including current restrictions and requirements related to COVID-19, visit our Travelling to Canada and self-isolation webpage.
  • 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, considerations for what to bring, and other settlement information if this will be your first time travelling to Victoria.
  • If you plan to bring personal items with you to Canada, be sure to understand the restrictions on things like pets, plants, food products, and herbal remedies. Regulations may differ from country to country. Detailed information about bringing or importing goods to Canada is available on the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website.

Register your travel plans

Learn about Canada

  • If this will be your first time coming to Canada, feel free to visit the Global Affairs Canada website for some facts and insights about this large and diverse country.
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Quarantine and COVID-19 testing

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 your 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 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 the BC Medical Services Plan (BC MSP)

  • The British Columbia Medical Services Plan (BC 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 less than six months, you are NOT eligible for BC MSP.
  • For more information about health insurance for international students at UVic, visit the Health insurance section of our website.

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 your official ID card and Campus Debit Card. It is also your Universal Bus Pass (U-Pass) for BC Transit. 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 (May 10 and 11, 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.

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 life in a new culture and environment.

Get vaccinated against COVID-19

  • Everyone 5 years of age or older 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. See How to get vaccinated for COVID-19 for more information, and feel free to reach out to the International Centre for Students ( or +1 250 721 6361) if you need help navigating this process.
  • COVID-19 information is also available in different languages. For translated content, visit the BC COVID-19 website.

Understand proof of vaccination requirements in Canada

  • Although many COVID-19 related restrictions have been lifted, proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 is still required for certain activities in Canada. For example, you must show proof that you are fully vaccinated with an accepted vaccine to board a plane or train in Canada (this includes boarding a flight to return to your home country).
  • For information on proof of vaccination requirements, visit our COVID-19 information for international students
Last updated: May 2022Back to Top