International Undergraduate

This step-by-step guide is for new international undergraduate students coming to SFU from outside of Canada. 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:

Step 1. Prepare your study permit and other 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. 

Apply for a Study Permit

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.

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GETTING TO KNOW SFU:

Step 2. Know your resorces to support your time at SFU

Understanding student support services will get you a head start in your academic journey at SFU.

International Services for Students

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.

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Instruction Guides and Resources

Access over 40 instruction guides, information sheets, and video resources on immigration and non-immigration topics.

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Advising and Support

Academic advisors can assist you with everything from specific questions about enrollment and course selection, to complex questions about your future. Find out more about other helpful advising and support services. 

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Explore by Topic

Explore important information and resources tailored for students from international pathways.

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PREPARING FOR YOUR FIRST TERM:

Step 3. Review medical insurance coverage information

The Canadian health system provides a high standard of health care, but care is very expensive if you are not insured. You must have medical insurance for the entire duration of your studies. 

Medical Insurance at SFU

As a new international student at SFU, you will be automatically enrolled in 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). 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

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. 

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Step 4. Know your health and wellbeing support

The transition to university life can be exciting, but 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.

MY SSP (Student Support Program)

With My SSP, all graduate and undergraduate students have access to immediate or ongoing, confidential support - accessible from anywhere in the world by phone or through the downloadable app. Worldwide, immediate options are available 24/7 in English, French, Korean, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish.

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Support for International Students

A Transition Case Manager is available to support the well-being of students by assisting in their transition into and out of SFU, BC and Canada by connecting them to resources, providing mental health support, and promoting personal growth and development. 

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Step 5. Sign up for orientation and transition programs

Orientation and transition programs help you learn about your new academic environment, connect you with other students, and introduce you to SFU staff and faculty.

SFU 101: Welcome Day

Welcome Day is for all students starting at SFU this fall. SFU 101 will be the online portal for you to access and learn more about getting started at SFU and Welcome Day programming.

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The HIVE Program

The HIVE Program is your Home for Interactive Virtual Engagement. Here you will be connected to a virtual community where you can make new friends and attend virtual events and programming.  You can register right away once you receive your invite to the course in Canvas (make sure to check your SFU email).

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University Prep

It's a free online course that will help you prepare for your academic transition to SFU. Each step will take about 30 minutes to complete and take you step by step through what you need to know and do before classes start.

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Get SFU-Ready: Q & A Series for International 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.

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DURING YOUR FIRST TERM:

Step 6. Confirm your enrollment requirements and work eligibility.

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.

Enrollment Requirements

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.

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Work Eligibility

Determine your eligibility to work on campus and off campus with your study permit by reviewing the requirements.  If you have not already done so, apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) if you are planning to work in Canada.

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Step 7. Learn your resources for studying remotely

There are various resources to support you in an online learning environment. 

Adapting to Online Learning

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.

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Student Learning Commons

SFU’s Library Student Learning Commons offers expert and friendly help in various topics, including strategies for online courses, using technology effectively, managing technology, and time management at University.

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Student Success in Remote Learning 

Learning remotely requires unique strategies for online collaboration and engagement. The curated list of resources on this Canvas training will help you navigate the transition to the remote learning environment successfully. 

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IT Services: E-Learning

Check out e-learning resources available for you including course management systems, lecture recordings, and how to check your grades online.

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Step 8. Stay connected with other SFU students

Meet other undergraduate students and stay connected with SFU community. 

Events and Workshops

With numerous virtual 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.

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Global Connections Program

This is a peer-support program designed to help new students from international pathways including those who transfer from other Canadian post-secondary institutions. This program provides the opportunity to learn about the culture of SFU while making new friends and exploring what the community has to offer. 

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PREPARING FOR YOUR ARRIVAL - When it is safe to do so

Before you arrive:

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, so does the Government of Canada’s response to the pandemic. Before travelling to Canada, students should be aware of travel restrictions to Canada and requirements upon entering Canada in order to ensure their own safety and the safety of others. 

Step 1. Review the Travelling to Canada Guide and register your plans

Travelling to Canada Guide

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. 

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SFU Self-Isolation Questionnaire

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. 

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Step 2. Find housing and decide where to live

Housing Resources

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.

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SFU Residence and Housing

Living in Residence is perhaps the best way to get the most out of your university experience. Spaces are limited, so apply as early as possible. 

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Arriving in Canada:                                                                                           

Review the information below to ensure you’re prepared when entering Canada.

Step 3. Arrive at the port of entry (border)

Arrive at the Port of Entry

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. 

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Getting Around

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.

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Vancouver International Airport (YVR) Expedited Processing Submission Form

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).

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After You Arrive                                                                                                 

 Step 4. Complete settlement tasks

Social Insurance Number

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.

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Banking

Learn more about how to open a bank account and the list of banks in Canada.

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