Plan your Trip

What to expect at the Canadian Border

Prepare for your border crossing by reading Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's helpful tips. Below are additional 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 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 student account) as well. Your study permit will be issued by the border 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 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 for 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 eDeclaration mobile app – CanBorder.  The mobile app allows you to create a declaration QR code on your smartphone prior to your arrival at the border, and you scan the QR code at a Primary Inspection Kiosk. Visit the Canada Border Services Agency website to download an app.