International Graduate

Last Updated: July 22, 2022

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.

Use the links below to navigate to different sections on this page. Before you begin, download the checklist.

Download Checklist



Step 1. Apply for a Study Permit.

Prepare Immigration Documents

Before you begin your studies at SFU, you must apply for your Canadian immigration documents which includes your study permit.  Apply early to ensure your application is processed in time. If your family members will accompany you, make sure that they will have the proper immigration documents. Review our detailed instructions.

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Step 2. Know your advising resources to support your time at SFU.

International Services for Students

International Services for Students provides a variety of support, programming and non-academic advising on topics such as Canadian immigration documents (e.g. study permits, visas) and medical insurance, exchange and study abroad.

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Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Additional resources and supports are available for international students through Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Review important deadlines and academic calendar.

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Step 3. Review medical insurance coverage information.

Medical Insurance at SFU

As a new international student at SFU, you will be automatically enrolled in for your first term of studies. Students staying in BC for 6 months or longer are required to enrol in the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (BC MSP) under the Medicare Protection Act.

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Opting Out

Check to see if you are eligible to cancel (opt out of) the Plan and GSS Health and Dental Plan.

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Step 4. Find housing and decide where to live.

Housing Resources

Deciding where to live is one of the first things you'll need to do after you've been accepted to SFU, and you may find yourself re-making this decision a few times during your stay in Canada. 

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Avoiding Scams

Educate yourself in identifying potential rental scams, which you may find while looking for off-campus housing. Learn more about common types of fraud and how to prevent them from the Vancouver Police Department website.

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Step 5. Sign up for transition programs.

Get SFU-Ready

We hope you will join us for this live Q&A, where the presenters will provide a brief overview of the selected topics for international students and give you a chance to ask any questions you have.

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Graduate Student Orientation

Make new friends across all our academic disciplines, build a base of support as you enter grad school, and connect with our service units that will support you throughout their graduate career.

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Step 6. Review the current travel restrictions and resources.

Travelling to Canada: Student Arrival Support

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. It contains instructions on the steps students should follow in order to travel or return to Canada.

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COVID-19 FAQ for International Students

The requirements to enter Canada continue to evolve as the situation with COVID-19 evolves. Please do not make any arrangements to travel to Canada at this time if you do not meet the requirements.

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Step 7. Complete settlement tasks.

Explore Resources by Topic

From how to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to opening a bank account and choosing a cell phone plan, explore important information and resources tailored for students from international pathways.

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Community Resources

There are a number of services and resources you can access in the community for international, newcomer, and refugee students by local not-for-profit organizations. 

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Step 8. Review our resources to ensure you comply with the conditions of your study permit and know the eligibility requirements to work while pursuing your studies. 

Study Permit Requirements

Your enrollment at SFU affects your ability to work, study, and stay in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires you to actively pursue your studies while at SFU.

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Work Eligibility

Determine your eligibility to work on campus and off campus with your study permit by reviewing the requirements.

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Step 9. Find health and wellbeing support.

Support for International Students

Whether you're looking for assistance with managing school stress, finding housing, understanding documents, or understanding Canadian services, our Transition Case Manager is available for one-to-one support.

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MY SSP (Student Support Program)

With My SSP, all SFU students have access to immediate or ongoing, confidential support - accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world by phone or through the downloadable app.

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