International Graduate

Last Updated: July 08, 2024

This step-by-step guide is for new international graduate students. This is your go-to place for all the resources and to-do items before and after you start at SFU.

Use the links below to navigate to different sections on this page. Before you begin, download the checklist.

Download Checklist



Step 1. Apply for a Study Permit.

Prepare Immigration Documents

Before you begin your studies at SFU, you must apply for your Canadian immigration documents which includes your study permit.  Apply early to ensure your application is processed in time. If your family members are eligible to accompany you to Canada, make sure that they will have the proper immigration documents. Review our detailed instructions.

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i Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced a new temporary public policy which allows eligible foreign workers to study without a study permit. Please visit the IRCC webpage: Public policy allowing some work permit holders to study without a study permit for more information.


Step 2. Know your advising resources to support your time at SFU.

International Services for Students

International Services for Students provides a variety of support, programming and non-academic advising on topics such as Canadian immigration documents (e.g. study permits, visas) and medical insurance, exchange and study abroad.

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Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Additional resources and supports are available for international students through Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Review important deadlines and academic calendar.

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Step 3. Review medical insurance coverage information.

Medical Insurance at SFU

As a new international student at SFU, you will be automatically enrolled in for your first term of studies. Students staying in BC for 6 months or longer are required to enrol in the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (BC MSP) under the Medicare Protection Act.

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Opting Out

Check to see if you are eligible to cancel (opt out of) the Plan and GSS Health and Dental Plan.

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Step 4. Find housing and decide where to live.

Housing Resources

Deciding where to live is one of the first things you'll need to do after you've been accepted to SFU, and you may find yourself re-making this decision a few times during your stay in Canada. 

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Avoiding Scams

Educate yourself in identifying potential rental scams, which you may find while looking for off-campus housing. Learn more about common types of fraud and how to prevent them from the Vancouver Police Department website.

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Step 5. Sign up for orientation and transition programs.

Get SFU-Ready: International Student Orientation 

Sign up for the International Student Orientation events where you can engage with the SFU community and discuss topics that are important for your transition to SFU.

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Graduate Student Orientation

Make new friends across all our academic disciplines, build a base of support as you enter grad school, and connect with our service units that will support you throughout their graduate career.

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Global Student Centre Events

The Global Student Centre (GSC) is the campus hub for creating intercultural connections and sharing your international student experience. The GSC offers an array of social events throughout the semester, including welcome events for new students. Check out and sign up for these events.

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Step 6. Review the current travel restrictions and resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions to know more about travelling, studying, and working in Canada, as well as your enrollment requirements.

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Trip Planning

Plan your trip by reviewing useful information and resources about travelling to Canada.

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Step 7. Complete settlement tasks and seek support with your transition.

Explore Resources

Applying for BC MSP and Social Insurance Number (SIN), opening up a bank account, and choosing a cell phone plan are some of the settlement tasks you may need to complete. 

Explore important information and resources on various topics tailored for international students to assist you with your settlement tasks.

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Support Services for International Students

Access various support services available for international students, from transition support to academic writing and careeer advice.

These support services are accessible whenever you need it, at any point in your academic journey at SFU. 

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Step 8. Review our resources to ensure you comply with the conditions of your study permit and know the eligibility requirements to work while pursuing your studies. 

Enrolment Requirements

Your enrolment at SFU affects your ability to work, study, and stay in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires you to actively pursue your studies while at SFU.

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Work Eligibility

Determine your eligibility to work on campus and off campus with your study permit by reviewing the requirements.

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Step 9. Find health and wellbeing support.

Access a Transition Case Manager

Whether you're looking for assistance with managing school stress, finding housing, understanding documents, or understanding Canadian services, our Transition Case Manager is available for one-to-one support.

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MY SSP (Student Support Program)

With My SSP, all SFU students have access to immediate or ongoing, confidential support - accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world by phone or through the downloadable app.

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