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.

Visa considerations

If you plan to visit or transit through another country en route to Canada

You should check with that country‚Äôs Embassy/Consulate to find out which documents you and your accompanying family members will need to enter and/or transit through on your way to Canada. Make sure you apply well in advance! 

Planning to transit through the United States? 

You may require a visa to transit through the United States on your way to Canada.  Before you book your flight to Canada, you should ensure that you have the proper documents. Check with the United States Embassy or Consulate closest to you.  You can also find information about U.S. visa requirements on the U.S. Department of State website.  

What to expect at the Canadian border

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 identity document (e.g. passport)
  • Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) (if required)
  • SFU letter of acceptance (Student Exchange Letter)
  • Proof of funds available to support yourself while in Canada
  • SFU confirmation of enrollment letter (downloadable from your student account)  
  • IRCC port of entry (POE) letter of introduction (for those who applied for a study permit only) 
    • Your study permit will be issued after an examination with a Border Services Officer

(2) 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. 

(3) Be patient at the border

During peak periods, expect to spend a few hours at the border.  During this time you may be unable to use your telephone or leave the immigration and customs area.

(4) If applicable, check the conditions placed on your study permit

When your study permit is issued to you, double check that the information on your permit to ensure that it is correct.  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.

(5) Prepare for your trip

Visit the Canada Border Service Agency's website for travel tips and customs regulations (see below).  Plan your journey 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 an airport with Primary Inspection Kiosks, you can use Advance Declaration in the ArriveCAN app to make an 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).