How to gain physical access to CSIL and other CMPT Labs (Card Access)

On this page,  the terms fob and card are interchangeable.

Burnaby and Surrey do not issue the same fobs/cards.  Burnaby fobs work on our Burnaby and Surrey (SRYE) doors, so we recommend you get a fob in Burnaby. 

Do not fill out an Access Control Form yourself. CS sends the information to Access Control.



What do I need to access CSIL and other CMPT labs?

You require an access fob (or card; as noted we use the words interchangeably in this FAQ) to open the door and enter the labs. Burnaby and Surrey campuses issue different fobs; because Burnaby-issued fobs work on our Burnaby campus doors (ASB, TASC1, SECB) and our Surrey campus doors (SRYE), we recommend CS students get their fob in Burnaby.

For your own protection please never open the door for other people.

SFU security personnel periodically check the labs and students without valid fobs will be asked to leave.


Who can access the CSIL facilities?

Students registered in any Computing Science course as well as our majors are allowed to enter CSIL by using the access fobs issued to them. Instructors and TAs also must obtain an access card.


When should I return my card?

You can keep the card in anticipation of needing it in future semesters if you wish.  If you recieved your card prior to 2017 you may have paid a refundable deposit and you can turn your card in at the SFU Security Access Control office for a refund.   SFU Security keeps records of the deposits paid; contact them with any questions.


How do I report CSIL access fob issues?

Please report all problems: email helpdesk.

Here is the information to include to help us investigate the issue:

Your full name:
SFU Computing ID
Student number:
Campus & Room#:
Access fob or card number (if readable)**:
CMPT Course numbers:
Description of the issue (details can help! for example is this a new fob, when did it last work, how does the reader respond, and so on):

** IF you can read the number - many are worn off. It's a 5 or 4 digit number on your fob, not the long number, just the short one.  If it is unreadable, report without it, but if your problem involves confusion about what fob you have, you may need to visit campus security for them to scan the fob.


getting an access fob


How do I get an access fob/card?

We recommend CS students obtain their fob in Burnaby.   Keep your fob if you plan on taking CMPT courses in future semesters.  Access is automatically renewed in subsequent semesters when CMPT courses are taken.

Burnaby Campus:

If you don't already have an access fob, visit the SFU Access Control Office on or after the third business day following your registration into any CMPT course. When you pick up your fob, you'll have to show your student identification and pay a fee (only debit/credit, NO cash payments).  See the "Where can I get my access fob" answer on this page.

Surrey and Vancouver CMPT students: all students registered in any CMPT course have been granted access to CSIL in Burnaby and SRYE, follow the instructions above to get a Burnaby campus access fob.  If you already have a fob it should work automatically.

CMPT Majors: if you are an active CMPT major but not enrolled in a CMPT course for the current semester, you are still granted access. Please wait a few days after the semester starts for the system to update your access.

Surrey Campus:

Note that we recommend CS students obtain their fob in Burnaby. In Surrey, please visit the Security Desk located at the top of the stairs leading to the Mezzanine. Security services are available 24 hours a day, however, building access is restricted to 7am to 6pm without an access card.

Lists of registered students requiring access cards are generated for Surrey at the same time as for Burnaby, so the same waiting period after registration applies. Cards are currently not charged for, though this may change in the future.

Burnaby and Vancouver CMPT Students:  Students taking CMPT classes in Vancouver or Burnaby have been granted access to CSIL in Surrey. 
All students registered in any CMPT courses have been granted access to SRYE main front door 24 hours a day with the access fob/card.


Where can I get my access fob/card?

Burnaby Campus:

Please visit the Access Control Office, which is located in the room 1300 of Discovery 1 in Discovery park.   It is a short walk from the ASB; follow the red dots on this map:

Surrey Campus:

Please visit the Security Desk located in the Mezzanine next to the main stairs. Please allow 24-48 hours for your new card to be activated in SRYE.


What if I already have an access fob/card?

If you already have an access fob, it will automatically be updated to allow you in to CSIL each semester you are registered for a CMPT course. 

Please allow 24 hours including one full work day for your fob to be re-activated before you contact helpdesk.


I have an access card from another SFU department. Do I still need a separate card to access CSIL?

Burnaby and Surrey campuses use different cards, but in general the cards on each campus will work for any department that arranges appropriate access via campus security.

If you have a card properly registered in your name, CSIL access should be added automatically after you enrol in a CMPT course - provided it is compatible with our security system.

If this does not appear to have happened, it is likely that you were put on the list to pick up a new card.  You can contact campus security to ask them to transfer the access to your old card, or email helpdesk.


I'm a Grad student / TA / Sessional / CMPT Major, how do I get access?

New Computing Science Grad students: we send a list to Access Control before the semester start and update it regularly.  You can proceed to Access Control to pick up your fpb, with ID.  The fob grants you access to CSIL, some common areas in TASC1, and your supervisor's research lab if we were able to identify that.  Please email helpdesk if you have door access issues with your student information and a clear description of the issue, whether or not you have a fob already, what lab you need, etc.  For access to a research lab, we need a professor's request to helpdesk.

If you are a new TA or a sessional instructor for a CMPT course and do not have CSIL access, contact the administrative staff person that provided the TA contract or email helpdesk.

If you are an active CMPT major or minor, you are still granted access. Please wat a few days after the semester starts for the system to update.  If you have an access issue, email helpdesk.


I'm an undergrad student working in a CS research lab; how do I get access to the lab?

Your supervising professor should email helpdesk with the following pieces of information:

your name and student number:
your SFU Computing ID:
your access fob number (if readable):
the research lab you will be working in:
the expiry date for your access:


I am taking CMPT courses at Burnaby campus, may I access CSIL @ Surrey?


If you have a fob issued by the SFU Access Control Office on Burnaby campus, you are granted access.

If you only have a card issued by Surrey Security: this card allows access to CSIL@Surrey, but it won't allow you access to CSIL@Burnaby. So, please get a fob issued by the SFU Access Control Office on Burnaby campus and ask them to transfer the rights from the Surrey card to your Burnaby one.


I am taking my first CMPT course and I don't plan to take any more; do I need a CSIL access fob?


To attend labs and to take full advantage of CSIL resources, you must have a valid CSIL access fob. Remember our policy: "No valid CS access fob, no access, no exceptions."

Besides, this card may be used for accessing other departments' facilities since many departments are using the same door security system.




Lost or stolen cards for Burnaby campus:

Report it at the Security and Information Centre where an incident report (IR) will be generated and you’ll be provided with an IR number on a card. To replace the card, take the IR number and picture ID to the Access Control Office in person.  You will need to pay replacement fees (only debit/credit, NO cash payments).

Lost or stolen card for Surrey campus:

Report it at the Surrey Security desk.


I found my old card after reporting it lost and obtaining a replacement, what should I do?

Take the old card back to the SFU Access Control Office or the Surrey Security desk.


My fob/card worked properly and now it doesn't?

This will happen if you are no longer enrolled in a CMPT course.  If that is not the case please email helpdesk, along with your student number and the access fob/card number, if you can read it (many are worn off), and describe what has happened.  If you also use this card to access another department please let us know the details.


My card allows me to use another department's labs but not CSIL - and I am taking courses from both departments. What should I do?

Sometimes, granting access to one department's labs causes the loss of access to another department's labs; e.g. it has happened to students who are taking both ENSC and CMPT courses.

If this happens to you, please send an email to helpdesk, in which you should:

  • provide a full list of the courses you are taking for current semester
  • specify the names of all the labs (from different departments) you should have access to



Can I use my friend's card or lend them mine?


You and your friend could lose your access to the labs as a consequence, this violates SFU policy.  

Note that before an access card is issued you sign an agreement:

  • To only use the access card for yourself.
  • The access card remains the property of SFU.
  • You will not pass the card to another person.
  • You will return the card when you no longer require its use.

If your card is found in another person's possession it will be confiscated by SFU Security.


Can I prop open a door?


For lab security and your own protection you should never do this.  Your fob is to be used to let yourself and only you into the lab. Also, if the door is open too long, an alarm goes off at Campus Security and they will dispatch an officer to investigate.

Last updated @ 2023.05.08