Plan your Trip

In-Person Exchange Students

This website contains general information and resources. For more information, please refer to the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS.

What to expect at the Canadian border

Prepare for your border crossing by reading Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) helpful tips.  You can also visit our SFU Travelling to Canada website for detailed information. 

Below are some important steps to help your prepare for your entry into Canada:

  1. Ensure your immigration documents are valid and in order. Make sure you carry a valid passport, Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) (if required), SFU admission letter, proof of funds and IRCC port of entry (POE) letter of introduction with you (if applicable - only needed for study permits). It is advisable to carry your SFU confirmation of enrollment letter (downloadable from your SFU student account) as well. Your study permit will be issued after an examination with a Border Services Officer. 
  2. If applicable, check the conditions placed on your study permit. Make sure your name, expiry dates and other information are correct on the study permit issued to you by the border officer. Check that your study permit has the condition" may accept employment" or "may work in Canada" as this is required to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and to be able to work.
  3. Provide honest, consistent and accurate information at the border. Be prepared to answer questions about what you will do and how long you are going to study in Canada. An interpreter may be available if you do not understand the questions; however, service is typically available in English and French. 
  4. Be patient at the border. During peak periods, you can expect to spend a few hours at the border, during which time you may be unable to use your telephone or leave the immigration and customs area.
  5. Prepare for your trip. Visit the Canada Border Service Agency's website for travel tips and customs regulations (see below) as well as plan your trip to SFU by visiting Arriving in Vancouver and Transportation.

Declaring your personal items to Canada Customs

Before arriving in Canada, you should review current regulations and prepare a list of items you will be bringing with you. Review our What to Pack section for further details.

If you are arriving at the airport with Primary Inspection Kiosks, you can make the process easier by using ArriveCAN for a faster border experience.  This is an optional feature built into ArriveCAN and available to international air travellers who enter Canada at several Canadian airports including Vancouver International Airport (YVR).  Review the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website for more information.