This step-by-step guide is for new international graduate students. This is your go-to place for all the resources and to-do items before and after you start at SFU.
This page is regularly reviewed and updated and was last updated on September 21, 2020.
AFTER ACCEPTING YOUR OFFER:
A study permit is required if you are pursuing a program of study at SFU that is longer than 6 months in duration. If you will be starting your program of study remotely outside of Canada due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you must still apply for a study permit. You should apply for your study permit once you receive your SFU letter of acceptance. You will require a valid study permit for all in-Canada components of your study program.
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.
International Services for Students provides a variety of support and programming for all SFU students. Access non-academic advising on topics such as Canadian immigration documents (e.g. study permits, visas) and medical insurance, exchange and study abroad, and stay engaged by participating in ISS programs and events.
Additional resources and supports are available for international students through Gradudate and Postdoctoral Studies.
As an international student, you must have medical insurance for the entire duration of your studies. If family members are accompanying you, they should also have adequate medical insurance during their stay in Canada.
As an international student you are automatically enrolled in Guard.me@SFU medical insurance plan for your first term at SFU. Check to see if you are eligible to cancel (opt out of) the guard.me@SFU Plan and receive a full or partial refund.
Step 4. Sign up for orientation(s)
Orientations help you learn about your new academic environment, connect you with other students, and introduce you to SFU staff and faculty. Continue to stay connected by participating in programs for new and returning SFU students.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies host a university-wide Fall Orientation for all graduate students every year. International Services for Students also partners to run a session for international graduate students.
We hope you will join us for this Q&A series, where in each session an International Student Advisor will provide a brief overview of the selected topics for international students and give you a chance to ask any questions you still have.
Student Services has created a dedicated toolkit with tips for online learners and online etiquette. This guide was created to help students transition to an online learning environment.
SFU Library's Research Commons supports the research endeavours of the University community, with particular focus on graduate students during all stages of the research lifecycle and provides easy access to both physical and virtual research resources.
Step 6. Stay connected with other SFU students
Meet other graduate students and stay connected with SFU community.
With numerous online events and workshops offered by ISS, you can connect with your peers remotely and learn up to date information on selected topics from subject-matter experts.
PREPARING FOR YOUR ARRIVAL - When it is safe to do so
Before you arrive:
Step 1. Review the Travelling to Canada Guide and register your plans
This guide has been prepared to assist any new and returning international students who are currently outside of Canada, and plan to travel to BC to return to studies. Any student arriving from outside of Canada must self-isolate and monitor themselves for symptoms of Covid-19 for 14 days upon their arrival and complete/register a self-isolation plan.
You must register your plans for travel and self-isolation with SFU. You are responsible for informing SFU about your plan by submitting the SFU Self-Isolation Questionnaire. This will also give you better access to supports during your self-isolation.
Step 2. Find housing and decide where to live
Research housing options and consider making an advance appointment and discuss with International Student Advisors before making a decision on off-campus housing to avoid housing scams.
Arriving in Canada:
Review the information below to ensure you’re prepared when entering Canada.
Step 3. Arrive at the port of entry (border)
When you arrive at the Canadian port of entry (border) there are several things to keep in mind, including holding the appropriate immigration documents reflecting your purpose for coming to Canada. Additional screening measures are in place at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) for people returning to BC from international locations.
You must travel straight to your self-isolation location from the airport by personal car, taxi or ridesharing. Please ensure that your mode of transportation from the airport to your home is as safe as possible. Here are your transportation options, useful maps, and tips for getting around.
The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) Expedited Processing Submission Form is an online form you can complete prior to arriving at YVR. Completing this form is optional, however it will expedite the process of issuing your study permit at YVR. Click here to access the form. Additional information can be found in the link below (scroll down to Step 4).
After You Arrive
Step 4. Plan your finances
Step 5. Complete settlement tasks
A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a number that the Canadian government requires for taxation purposes and without one, you can not get paid. A SIN is required only if you earn income in Canada, on or off campus. This number enables your employer to make the necessary government deductions.
If you are a full-time international student and planning to drive in BC, you may do so with a valid international driving licence. While driving, carry your valid International Driving Permit or home driver's licence (and an official translation if it is not in English), your valid SFU student ID card and your study permit. If you are not a driver, you can apply for a BCID card which can be a reliable piece of government photo ID.