U-Pass BC eligibility and exemption

SFU worked closely with its partners at the SFSS and GSS, TransLink, other student associations, and post-secondary institutions to temporarily suspend the U-Pass BC program from May 1 as course-delivery moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suspension is currently agreed to be in place up until the end of August 2020. However, as the changes to online course delivery that also impact the delivery of the U-Pass BC are expected to continue into the Fall term, discussions with partners are ongoing to determine if and when the U-Pass BC program can resume. 

In the meantime, you may have noticed that your student account may include the U-Pass BC fee for the Fall course enrollment. Please note, this fee is still subject to change, as no decision has been made yet about the operations of the program. If the U-Pass BC remains suspended for the Fall term, we will provide those students who have paid the U-Pass BC fee a refund.



Your U-Pass BC eligibility is determined the day after enrollment. If you meet the requirements to be eligible, then the U-Pass BC term fee is assessed to your student financial account the next business day after you enroll in course(s).

To use your U-Pass BC, you will need to visit TransLink's website or click on Purchase your Compass Card for details on how to purchase a Compass Card.

*Please note that during the Summer term, SFU also offers Intersession and Summer Session courses. Eligibility for the U-Pass BC program will vary depending on the type of session. If you are enrolled in all Summer term courses or a combination of Summer term, Intersession, and Summer Session courses and meet the requirements for the U-Pass BC program, then you will be eligible for the four months, May through August.


Eligible months

Term fee

2019 Fall

September - December


2020 Spring

January - March

   April (as outlined above) 



2020 Summer*


   Summer session

May - August

   May - June

   June - August




2020 Fall

September - December


2021 Spring

January - April



If your eligibility status changes within the term from eligible to not eligible, you will receive a prorated refund for the current and any future months that you are no longer eligible for the U-Pass BC program as long as you have not requested the U-Pass BC for the current month.


All undergraduate and graduate students, who are part-time or full-time, are eligible for the U-Pass BC program when they meet one criteria from each of the following sections:

  • Enrolled in 3 or more units OR tuition fee is over $680
  • Enrolled in at least one course located on-campus or within Metro Vancouver (*Distance education courses offered by CODE are generally considered as being held on-campus.)
  • Assessed the undergraduate or graduate student activity fee


Students are not eligible for the U-Pass BC program if they meet one of the following criteria AND do not meet all of the eligible criteria listed above:

  • All enrolled courses identified as off-campus and outside Metro Vancouver
  • Mailing address including postal code in goSFU is outside Metro Vancouver AND enrolled in course offered only by distance education*
  • Enrolled in less than 3 units
  • Tuition fee charged is less than $680
  • Outgoing Foreign Exchange student
  • Outgoing Dual Degree Student
  • Withdrawn from all courses

*Important note: If you are living outside Metro Vancouver and enrolled in courses held outside Metro Vancouver or taking distance education courses, your mailing address must remain outside Metro Vancouver until the first day of the month following the current term to avoid being charged the full U-Pass BC term fee. For example, for the 2020 Spring term, you will need to maintain your outside Metro Vancouver mailing address until May 1, 2020.

Please note that maintaining your outside Metro Vancouver mailing address will not affect U-Pass BC eligibility for the following term for students enrolled in courses being held on-campus or within Metro Vancouver.


**U Pass BC program suspended for the 2020 Summer term**

***For the 2020 Fall term - The U-Pass BC exemption application will become available once a decision between SFSS, GSS, and TransLink has been made about the U-Pass BC Program for the Fall term. This date will be posted and communicated to students when available.***

Before being able to apply for the U-Pass BC exemption, you must be enrolled in course(s) and be eligible for the U-Pass BC Program during the 2020 Fall term. You can check your eligibility status by clicking on the "Click here to check your U-Pass BC eligibility" button above. Please be advised that your U-Pass BC eligibility is determined the day after you enrolled in course(s). 

Please note that an approved U-Pass BC exemption is only valid for one term. You need to submit an exemption application every term.

Future U-Pass BC exemption availability and deadline dates


Exemption period opens

Exemption application deadline

2020 Spring

November 25, 2019 at 9:00am

January 10, 2020 at 4:30pm

2020 Summer



2020 Fall





Please review the categories before applying. Applications are reviewed on a term-by-term basis and the requirements must be met for exemption status. Even if you have been approved in the past, you may no longer meet the requirements to be exempted (changes were made to the exemption requirements effective 2016 Summer).

Exemption categories - Consideration for an exemption from U-Pass BC program will only be given to students who meet the requirements for the exemption categories listed below:

I have a documented physical or psychological condition that prevents me from using public transit and I am a registered with SFU's Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL).

Required supporting document:

  1. A signed letter on letterhead from SFU's Centre for Accessible Learning which verifies your condition. *Do NOT forward any medical information to the SFU U-Pass BC Office.

I have a valid, non-transferable TransLink employee, government, or disability Compass Card (includes CNIB cards).

Required supporting document:

  1. A photocopy of BOTH sides of your valid, non-transferable Compass Card.

I have a valid, non-transferable U-Pass BC from another post-secondary institution loaded onto my Compass Card.

Required supporting document:

  1. A photocopy of BOTH sides of your valid, non-transferable Compass Card linked to your other post-secondary institution.
  2. A photocopy of your valid student ID card from your other post-secondary institution. 

I live outside Metro Vancouver. (To see a list of cities located within Metro Vancouver, refer to our U-Pass BC FAQ page.)

Required supporting documents:

  1. Official proof of your current address within the last four months (for example, a bill for rent, phone, or hydro in your name). 

I have a requirement for access to a vehicle for a dependent's medical reason.

Required supporting document:

  1. A signed letter from a medical practitioner verifying the medical condition of your dependent. *Do NOT forward details of the medical condition.

I live in Metro Vancouver and my one-way transit travel time is more than 2 hours between home and my course(s).**

**Your transit travel time must be more than 2 hours from your home to course location(s) or vice versa. We cannot consider limited travel time due to other commitments as a reason to be exempted. It is the student’s responsibility to take all their schedules and commitments into consideration when enrolling in courses.

Required supporting documents:

  1. Official proof of your current address within the last four months (for example, a bill for rent, phone, or hydro in your name).
  2. Your class schedule for the exemption application term from your goSFU. If your course location and time are not provided on your goSFU, please provide a copy of your course syllabus that lists course location and meeting times or a letter from your department verifying your course location and meeting times. 
  3. Provide a detailed copy of your transit trip time directions from your home to your course(s) based on the dates and times of your course as well as from your course(s) to home. We recommend using Google maps to review transit options as it provides the shortest and simplest routes and allows you to exclude specific methods of travel (e.g. West Coast Express).  Google Maps also provides detailed walking times, which may be considered. 

If you have any questions, send your inquiries to upass@sfu.ca or 778-782-6930.