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 February 24, 2021.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SFSS Health and Dental Plan is your secondary medical insurance. May-start students can self-enrol for your first semester at SFU.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 still have. The next session will be held on March 22, 2021.
Welcome Day is for all students starting at SFU this Summer. Let us welcome you and introduce you to your new community.
HIVE is your Home for Interactive Virtual Engagement, where you and a small group of fellow new students are connected in a fun and engaging way to build a virtual community.
SFU 101 is a free online course to help you transition to SFU and prepare for academic success. SFU 101 gives you tips for a successful first year on campus.
DURING YOUR FIRST TERM:
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.
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.
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.
Step 7. Learn your resources for studying remotely
There are various resources to support you in an online learning environment.
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’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.
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.
Step 8. Stay connected with other SFU students
Meet other undergraduate students and stay connected with SFU community.
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.
This is a peer-support program which provides the opportunity to learn about the culture of SFU while making new friends and exploring what the community has to offer. The program is offered in Fall and Spring. Sign up to get a notification when the Fall 2021 membership application is open.
PREPARING FOR YOUR ARRIVAL - When it is safe to do so
Before you arrive:
Step 1. Review the current travel restrictions to ensure that you are eligible to travel to Canada at this time.
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada has implemented travel restrictions that limit travel to Canada. 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.
Step 2. Review the Travelling to Canada: Self-Isolation 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 as early as possible. This will also give you better access to supports during your self-isolation and help us to support you before and after your arrival.
Step 3. 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 4. 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.
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).
There are multiple transportation options that you can use to get to your accommodations once arriving to Vancouver. Wearing a mask or face covering will be required during transportation. Use private transportation to get to your place of quarantine, if possible.
After You Arrive
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.