Overseas students come to Canada for a variety of reasons, including the high level of education, the diversified and accepting culture, and access to attractive natural places. And over 721,000 international students studied in Canada in 2018. For many people, learning in Canada is also an excellent way to begin the process to become a permanent resident.

However, it is not too soon to start considering and crossing off these twelve requirements for beginning as an international student in Canada, whether you’re still in the planning phase or have already been admitted into a post-secondary institution here.

CAD 833CAD 10,000Once you’ve ticked off these twelve elements on your checklist, you’ll be ready to study in Canada as an international student. Choosing to study abroad is a life-changing decision, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.


1. Bring your passport.

A passport is required for foreign travel. Apply for a passport in your home country if you don’t already have one. If you do have a passport, make sure it’s up to date: if it expires in less than six months, you won’t be able to go worldwide. You should also bring a photocopy of any other official government identification from your native country.
This can include things like:

  • A valid driver’s license is required.
  • Certificate of Birth.

You are capable of keeping your passport up to date once you arrive in Canada. If you need to extend or renew your passport while in Canada, contact the consulate or embassy of your home country.

Tip: It’s a good idea to photocopy (or scan) your key travel documents and store the copies apart from the originals in case of loss.

2. An acceptance letter

You should have received a letter of acceptance if you were accepted into a designated Canadian post-secondary institution. An acceptance letter is also known as an offer letter or an acceptance letter. To receive a study permit, you will need to produce your letter of acceptance.
Some acceptance letters are conditional. This means they have specific requirements that the applicant must meet before starting their main program of study.

3. A financial strategy

To acquire a study permit, you must show that you will be able to adequately pay yourself, including both your tuition and additional living expenses. This is referred to as proof of financial assistance.

All international students in Canada must demonstrate that they have a minimum of $10,000 CAD per year, or $833 CAD per month, with additional financial restrictions if they are bringing family members with them. You must have $11,000 CAD every year in the province of Quebec.

4. A study permit

The paperwork that authorizes you to stay in Canada and study is your study permit. It’s not the same as a student visa, which is the document that permits you to enter Canada. The application fee for a study permit is CAD 150.

You will have the necessary papers to get your study permit if you complete the first three elements of this checklist. To summarize, you’ll need:

  • Acceptance evidence
  • Identification proof (passport)
  • Proof of financial assistance
5. Student health insurance

Standard and enhanced health insurance is necessary for all overseas students in Canada. International students are not covered by the Canadian government’s health insurance program. Depending on where you live, you may be able to obtain private or provincial health insurance.

6. A copy of your medical records, as well as any current medications.

Before you depart, request a copy of your health records and immunization records from your doctor’s office. Any continuing medical issues or prescriptions should be mentioned so that you can continue to treat them after you begin studying. If you require medical assistance while in school, several Canadian universities have a clinic on campus or close by.

7. A bank account in Canada

As a newbie and a student, you’ll need a bank that recognizes your unique needs. For 150 years, RBC (Canada’s largest bank*) has been such a welcoming partner to newcomers. It’s why they’re so enthusiastic about everything we do at Arrive.

8. A contact list in case of an emergency

In the event of an accident or emergency, your university may request that you supply a list of emergency contacts and their phone numbers. Choose one or two relatives or close friends from your native country to serve as your emergency contacts. If you have close family or friends in Canada, you may also want to list an emergency contact.

9. A mobile phone plan

You’ll need to purchase a Canadian cell phone plan if you currently have one. Phone plans in Canada are generally more expensive than in other nations. The cost of a cell phone plan varies depending on the services included in the plan.

10. Winter clothing

Last but not least, all overseas students arriving in Canada will require winter clothing. If you’ve never seen snow or experienced temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius, you might be astonished at how cold it can get here in the winter.

In frigid weather, layering is essential. When the weather turns cool in October or November, consider picking up a handful of these items:

  • Gloves, a hat, and a scarf are all optional.
  • Long pants
  • Layering thin long-sleeve shirts under sweaters
  • Warm sleepwear
  • Waterproof boots
  • Thick socks
  • A high-quality winter coat
  • In rainier cities, bring a rain jacket and an umbrella (e.g. Vancouver, Halifax, etc.)
11. A laptop or tablet computer

Because most academic programs now have an online feature, you’ll need to be able to connect to the internet via a personal device. Take notes, access course resources, study, and participation in online lectures using laptop computers or bigger tablets. Your technological requirements may be determined by your academic program. Before purchasing a laptop, consult your faculty or department’s technological recommendations.

New laptops and tablets can cost anywhere from $500 to CAD 3,000, depending on the model and capabilities. If you’re not sure which laptop is perfect for you, technology store personnel can rightly point you.

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