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 

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 if your program of study is 6 months or longer.

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 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that you have changed post-secondary institutions as soon as you accept your offer from UVic.

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. 

Refer to our Living in Canada – Immigration documents page for more information.

As an international student, you must prove you can support yourself financially in Canada. For detailed information about study permit funding requirements, refer to the IRCC website. The cost of your education and living may vary. For budgeting resources, visit our Living in Canada – Housing & Finance webpage.

For scholarships and funding opportunities, refer to the UVic Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA) website for information.

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 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 webpages for detailed information.

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.

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. Be sure to attend our Health Insurance Information Session before you arrive. The next session will be hosted on April 30, 2021 from 3:00pm-4:00pm (PT). To register, visit the International Student Welcome website.

If you will not be in Canada for the summer session (May - August 2021), you can opt out from guar.me plan before May 22, 2021. Visit the guard.me/uvic website, click Opt Out and follow the instructions. 

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. Be sure to register for the Information Session for International Students Outside Canada on April 30, 2021 from 9:00am-10:30am (PT). To register, visit the International Student Welcome website.

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 starting your program. This program is not intended for graduate students. 

When you plan your travel to Canada, you can consult the information on the Travelling to Canada webpage to arrange for required documents. As immigration polices and travel requirements may change with no notice, we recommend you to also refer to the Government of Canada's website for the latest travel information.

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.

To help support you, as a UVic student, make the necessary arrangements for your arrival and self-isolation in Canada, UVic has created the UVic Self-isolation Program.

Respond to the email from UVic to complete the Verification of Study Location form and register with the UVic Self-isolation program (SIP) before you arrive in Canada.

Refer to the UVic Self-isolation Program for guidelines and resources to plan your self-isolation. If you need more support for your self-isolation plan, you can contact the program coordinator at uvicsip@uvic.ca.

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 or need more support, please contact International Student Services.


Arrival Checklist

Refer to the UVic Self-isolation Program for guidelines and resources to complete your self-isolation.

If you need more support during self-isolation, you can contact the program coordinator at uvicsip@uvic.ca.

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 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.

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 eligbility 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.

If you are searching for a place to live, read the Housing section on our website for helpful suggestions.

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.

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.   

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 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.

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

For more information about working in Canada (e.g., SIN, income tax, finding work), refer to the Working in Canada webpage.

Make sure to attend our International Student Welcome between April 29 - May 1, 2021 and other relevant orientation programsto 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. 

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.

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.

If you have any questions or need more support, please contact International Student Services.

Last updated: April 2021