Since you must meet your eligibility criteria for the whole duration of your studies, including before and after entering Canada, therefore, it is important to consider the following points upon entering Canada. Carry the following documents with you when entering Canada:
- A passport that includes your Entry Visa or eTA,
- Letter of Introduction that was issued to you by the CIC,
- Letter of acceptance from the educational institution
- Letter of acceptance from the educational institution and all correspondence from the school.
The Canadian Border Services Agency officer will check your documents and then ask you a few questions, like what is your final destination? Do you have accommodation and how much money do you have or have access to? Etc. Upon satisfactory answers, the officer will allow you to enter Canada and issue you a study permit. If you are eligible for a co-op work permit, you can also ask the officer to issue you the work permit there at the port of entry.
Don’t forget to declare the goods and money that you bring to Canada, including household items, gifts, and personal items.
Sometimes, the border services officer may ask you a few trick questions such as what is your intended “departure” date? Do you have any plans to stay in Canada after you complete your studies? etc. Always remember, you are here to study and then leave Canada after you completed your studies. Never tell the border officer you want to stay after completing your studies to work and then get permanent residence, etc. This is not the time and place to discuss your plans, instead, remember that you are entering as an international student and you are only here to study and then leave! Whether you qualify for permanent residence programs or not, or whether you are staying behind after completing your studies should never be discussed at this stage with the border services officer.
Report to the institution and complete any remaining registration requirements. This may include completing paperwork, submitting proof of health insurance, and paying any outstanding fees. The university will give you a schedule of orientation and other activities before the start of your studies. Therefore, it is important to attend orientation and other events to get settled in. Orientation is a great way to learn about the institution’s resources and services, meet other students, and get familiar with the campus. Make sure to attend all the events and sessions related to international students, they will help you to navigate the system and make the most of your time in Canada. During the orientation, you may also be given additional paperwork to complete, therefore, it is important to complete any additional paperwork required by the institution or immigration authorities. Depending on the institution, you may be required to submit additional documents, such as a copy of your study permit or proof of language proficiency.
Register for provincial health insurance and familiarize yourself with the healthcare system. It’s important to have health insurance while studying in Canada, as medical costs can be quite high. Make sure you understand the coverage provided by your insurance policy and know how to access healthcare services in Canada. Each province has a different insurance policy for international students, but in British Columbia, all international students who study for more than 6 months have to register with the BC MSP as soon as they arrive in BC.
Students are allowed to work off campus for up to 20 hours per week in Canada, therefore, if you want to work, you will need to register for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Get involved in campus activities and events to make the transition easier. Joining clubs, sports teams, or student societies will help you to make friends, learn about Canadian culture, and feel more connected to the institution. Moreover, start networking and building relationships with other students, professors, and staff. Networking can help you to learn more about the institution, learn about career opportunities, and find mentorship opportunities. You can also take advantage of the resources and support offered by the institution’s international student office to network or get involved in student activities. The international student office is a great resource for answering any questions you have and helping you navigate the system.