High School in Canada

In this Welcome Guide, you will be able to access general information, procedures, and resources on what to do before you before and after you start at SFU.

For latest updates and specific information on COVID-19 including impacts on immigration applications (e.g. study permit, visa), travel restrictions, arriving in Canada, work eligibility, medical insurance, and additional resources for international students, click below.

COVID-19 FAQ for International Students

This step-by-step guide is for new international undergraduate students coming to SFU from a Canadian high school and includes a downloadable checklist and resources list.

This page is regularly reviewed and updated and was last updated on June 15, 2020. If you copy or print information from this page,  refer to the live content on the page for any updates when using the information in the future.

BEFORE YOU START AT SFU

Step 1. Check and update your study permit

☑ Apply to extend and/or change the conditions of your study permit

▶ Apply early -- this process can take months to complete

▶ If your study permit will expire soon, you must apply to extend it before the expiry date

▶ Changing the conditions of your study permit will allow you to work on or off campus during your studies, provided you meet the eligibility requirements (see Step 5 below)

Step 2. Apply for or extend your BC Medical Services Plan coverage (If applicable)

☑ If you are in British Columbia and have not already done so, apply for the BC Medical Services Plan (BC MSP) oIf you will be residing in BC for six months or longer, it is mandatory for you to enroll yourself and any accompanying family members in BC MSP.

▶ MSP is legally required for anyone living in BC for more than 6 months.

▶ If your MSP will soon expire (or has already expired), apply to extend it after extending your study permit

▶ It will take about a month to process your MSP application -- apply early so that you will be able to opt out of the Guard.me@SFU plan with proof of MSP coverage (see AFTER YOU START AT SFU for details)

Step 3. Learn about SFU

☑ We are currently planning pre-arrival sessions for international students to address your questions and provide valuable information prior to the semester start. Stay tuned and look out for emails with details.

☑ Complete University Prep o. You will be sent an e-mail with an invitation to join the Canvas course. You will receive Co-Curricular Record o accreditation for completing this course. This course includes a module for international students.

▶ It's a free online course that will help you prepare for SFU and all the details you need to get started right during your first week, month, and term.

Welcome Day o is for all new undergraduate students starting at SFU. At the event, you will be able to:

▶ meet your professors, classmates and the SFU staff who will help launch your time at SFU

▶ find out more about your program of study

▶ feel more prepared to begin your first term

☑ Sign up for the Global Connections Program o

▶ When you join the Global Connections Program, you can request to be matched with a Community Leader to support you and answer your questions one-on-one about all aspects of life at SFU. You will also be meeting other SFU students through various events, activities, and trips over the course of one term. See photos of our past events and programming on our Facebook and Instagram.

RESOURCES 

Burnaby Campus Tour

AFTER YOU START AT SFU

Step 4. Ensure you have proper medical insurance coverage

As a new international student at SFU, you will be automatically enrolled in a 4-month primary medical insurance plan with guard.me@SFU for your first term of studies. This is to ensure you have valid coverage during the waiting period for public health insurance under the BC Medical Services Plan (BC MSP).

☑ If you already have valid MSP coverage, or you are outside of Canada during the Fall 2020 term, you can opt out of the Guard.Me@SFU o plan online after your first day of classes for a full refund before the opt-out deadline o.

☑ If you are new to British Columbia, apply for the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) o as soon as you arrive. Your coverage will begin two to three months after your arrival date in BC. If you will be residing in BC for six months or longer, it is mandatory for you to enroll yourself and any accompanying family members in BC MSP.

▶  Opt out of the Guard.me@SFU o plan when your BC MSP takes effect (after the waiting period). You may be eligible for a partial refund of the guard.me@SFU fee if there is more than one month remaining in the term, and you have not used the plan.

☑ Make changes to your secondary insurance (SFSS Studentcare o) if necessary, i.e. opt down to the basic plan, opt out with equivalent coverage, add family members) during the opt-out period for Studentcare.

▶ Check opt-out period for Studentcare o

Step 5. Confirm your enrollment requirements and work eligibility

☑ Maintain enrollment requirements o as an international student

▶ Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires you to actively pursue your studies while at SFU. SFU is required to report on the enrollment status of international students twice a year.

▶ Your enrollment at SFU affects your ability to work, study, and stay in Canada. To help you comply with the conditions of your study permit, review the information in this section carefully and contact an International Student Advisor, Immigration Specialist if you have any questions.

☑ Determine your eligibility to work on campus o or off campus o

☑ Apply for a Social Insurance Number(SIN) o if you are eligible and planning to work in Canada. 

▶  You must provide your SIN to your employer within three days of starting work.

▶  At the beginning of the Fall and Spring terms, Service Canada offers on-campus SIN clinics to help you apply for a SIN on campus. See upcoming sessions here.

RESOURCES 

Employment and Volunteer Options  o

For job search support contact SFU Career and Volunteer Services o

Step 6. Get the most out of your time at SFU

☑ Follow ISS on Facebook o and Instagram o for the upcoming events, opportunities, and important reminders

☑ During the Fall 2020 term, we will be offering a number of virtual events and where you can connect with other SFU students. Stay informed about ISS plans by watching our Events and Programs o webpage.

☑ Read ISS Newsletter sent to your SFU Mail account to stay up-to-date on advising, immigration, medical, opportunities, and important reminders. 

☑ Get involved o in your SFU community!

Step 7. Know your resources to support your transition

☑ The transition to university life can be exciting, but it isn't always easy. SFU has a number of supports available to you if you are struggling. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you are having a difficult time at any stage of your SFU degree -- we're here to help.

RESOURCES 

SFU Health and Counselling Services oWhether you're looking for assistance with managing school stress or understanding Canadian services, the Transition Case Manager is here to provide one-to-one support for international students

MySSP o: With My SSP, all graduate and undergraduate students will have access to immediate or ongoing, confidential support - accessible from anywhere in the world by phone or through the downloadable app.

Student Learning Commons: The Student Learning Commons provides expert and friendly help with academic writing, learning, and study strategies including English as an Additional Language (EAL) workshops — in an environment of collaboration, discussion, and peer learning. 

SFSS Food Bank o: Facing hunger or serious financial pressures? Apply for and redeem a $25 food certificate up to 3 times per term.

SFU Career and Volunteer Services oIf you are not sure what you can do with your degree and want to learn career development strategies you can meet with a Career Education specialist for one-on-one support or attend group career workshops

Bursaries o: Bursaries are a supplemental source of funding for students with demonstrated financial need and available to international students.

Resources for LGBTQS+ students from International Pathways:

In partnership with SFSS Out On Campus, Health and Counselling Services is paying particular attention to the unique needs of LGBTQIA2S+ students. Click here to earn more o

Community resources on supporting LGBTQ newcomers in the Province of BC o