After you arrive in Canada

Congratulations, you’ve made it to Vancouver! Though the challenge of getting here is behind you, there are still many things you’ll need to do and keep in mind while living here.


As a student, you’ll receive your study permit when you arrive in Canada. The permit will be valid for the length of your program plus an additional 90 days. This small piece of paper lets you stay in the country, so don’t lose it! Keep it safe, and keep a picture of it on your phone for emergencies.

Your study permit is only valid if your passport is valid. Make sure to renew your passport before it expires. Otherwise, you’ll have to renew everything you applied for, from the study permit, your BCID, your health insurance and more.

If you plan to work, then you may or may not need a work permit, depending on your job. If you are on co-op or an internship, then you’ll need one, but if you’re working part-time, then you likely won’t need a work permit. You’ll also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada, so make sure to apply for one at a Service Canada Centre. The closest one to campus is at 1263 W Broadway.


You never know when you might get injured or sick, so make sure you’re on top of getting insurance. All UBC international students are eligible for MSP, a mandatory health insurance plan — you just need to apply online. It can take up to three months to process applications, so make sure you apply right away. While you wait, you’ll be covered by iMED, a temporary health insurance plan.

You’ll also want to get a BCID while you’re here. It’s a government-issued ID and extremely useful to have. To get one, you’ll need to book an appointment at ICBC (the closest one to UBC is at 4126 MacDonald Street). Make sure to bring two pieces of valid ID (check for more details).


Banking may seem scary, but opening a bank account is a necessity. There are many banks in Canada to choose from. RBC, BMO, Scotiabank and CIBC all have branches on campus, and TD has a branch in Wesbrook Village, where you can get help either by walking in or booking an appointment.

Alternatively, you can book an appointment at a credit union like Vancity or Coast Capital. These credit unions are collectively owned, but still secure, alternatives to a traditional bank. Vancity has a location in Wesbrook Village.


Lastly, you’ll need a phone plan. You can search around for different plans and carriers to see what works best for you. Popular carriers in Canada include Rogers, Bell and Telus, but Fido and Virgin tend to be more affordable. Many banks and phone carriers also have student discounts, so keep an eye out for those!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything you’ll need to know. There are plenty of places across campus that can provide more information and support, like the UBC International Students Advising Center and Student Services. The Canadian government websites on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship also include a lot of up-to-date information! U