TRAVELLING TO CANADA
Before travelling to Canada
Booking your flights
It can take some time to clear immigration and have your study permit printed once you first land in Canada, so when booking your flights ensure you give yourself sufficient travel time if you have a connecting flight to BC.
Know what is in your luggage (suitcases and carry-on luggage!)
It is your responsibility to be familiar with the contents of all luggage you are bringing to Canada. Review the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website for more information about what you can and cannot bring into Canada.
Before arriving in Canada, review our What to Pack webpage.
Declaring your items
Declare all food, plant and animal products that you are bringing into Canada. For more information, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.
You may bring currency or monetary instruments (ex. traveller’s cheques, bank drafts, cheques, etc.) equal to or greater than $10,000CAD into Canada, however please be sure to declare it to CBSA.
If you are arriving at an airport with Primary Inspection Kiosks, you can make the process easier by using the eDeclaration mobile app – CanBorder. This allows you to create a declaration QR code on your smartphone prior to your arrival at the border which you can scan at a Primary Inspection Kiosk. Visit the Canada Border Services Agency website to download the app.
Travelling with medication
Be prepared to answer questions about prescription medication that you are carrying. It is a good idea to make a list of all prescription medication in your luggage. Please visit the Government of Canada website for more information.
Arriving in Canada
Navigating through Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Check out the Vancouver International Airport website to get a detailed view of the airport arrival process from the plane to the arrivals area & ground transportation.
Passports are no longer stamped by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at airports with Primary Inspection Kiosks.
If you arrive at one of Canada's busiest international airports, including YVR, you can now verify your identity and make an on screen declaration using Primary Inspection Kiosks. If you need a stamp in your passport as a proof of entry into Canada, you must request a stamp from a border officer after completing a kiosk transaction.
Answer questions truthfully at the Primary Inspection Kiosk. If you are coming to Canada to study, declare that you will study in Canada.
YVR has free WIFI throughout the airport should you need to connect your device while you are there.
Follow signs to Immigration. There will be 3 parallel blue neon signs (in English and Chinese) for the first inspection area:
- New Student Visa
- New Immigrants and
- New Work Visas
Go through ‘New Student Visa’. This inspection area is open until midnight during peak season (August – September).
Collect your luggage and place your larger suitcases outside the waiting area for Immigration.
Be patient. During peak periods, you can expect to spend a few hours at the airport, during which time you may be unable to leave the immigration and customs area. You may bring some food and eat while you wait (please check what food you can bring here). There are vending machines (accepting Canadian coins only), washrooms and some seating in the waiting area.
Ensure you are carrying a valid passport or travel document, Temporary Resident Visa/TRV or Electronic Travel Authorization/eTA (if required), SFU letter of acceptance, proof of funds and IRCC letter of introduction with you. It is advisable to carry your SFU confirmation of enrollment letter if enrolled for courses (downloadable from your student account) as well. Your study permit will be issued by the border officer.
Review your immigration documents (ex. study permit) carefully upon receiving them at the airport:
- Check the conditions placed on your study permit. Make sure the details under the client information section are correct on the study permit issued to you. If you are eligible to work on-campus or off-campus, ensure your study permit includes conditions reflecting your ability to work. This is required in order to obtain a Social Insurance Number and get paid in Canada (this is very important if you have a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, or Tutor Maker contract starting in your first term).
- Be prepared to demonstrate your eligibility to work while studying to the officer (ex. show your SFU letter of acceptance indicating your program of study, SFU confirmation of enrollment letter, etc.)
- If you notice any errors on your or your family’s immigration documents (ex. name, personal information) request changes before you leave Immigration
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.
Leaving the airport
Transportation from YVR
Vancover has a great public transportation system called BC TransLink. Use TransLink's online Trip Planner to find the fastest and easiest route to your destination.
Depending on the amount of luggage you are carrying, you may want to consider taking a taxi to your destination. Taxis are available at taxi stands located on Level 2 of the Domestic and International Arrivals Area at YVR.
For more information about planning your trip, please visit our Arriving in Vancouver and Transportation website.