Essential Steps to Take After Arriving in Canada as an International Student

Congratulations on your arrival in Canada as an international student! This marks the beginning of an exciting and transformative journey in a vibrant and multicultural country. As you settle into your new life, there are important tasks and considerations to address to ensure a smooth transition and make the most of your study abroad experience. In this blog post, we will guide you through the essential steps to take after you arrive in Canada as an international student.


1. Activate Your Study Permit:

Upon arrival, you must activate your study permit. This can typically be done at the port of entry by presenting your study permit approval letter, passport, and other required documents to the immigration officer. Ensure that the information on your study permit is accurate and matches the details provided in your application.


2. Register with Your Educational Institution:

Next, register with your educational institution. Attend the orientation sessions and complete the necessary paperwork to officially enroll in your program. Familiarize yourself with campus facilities, academic resources, and student support services. This will help you get acclimated to your new environment and ensure a smooth start to your academic journey.


3. Set Up Canadian Bank Account:

Opening a bank account in Canada is crucial for managing your finances. Research different banks and their student account options to find the one that suits your needs. Bring your passport, study permit, and proof of address to the bank to facilitate the account opening process. Having a Canadian bank account will enable you to handle day-to-day transactions, pay bills, and receive any financial assistance or refunds from your educational institution.


4. Obtain a Canadian Phone Number:

Getting a Canadian phone number is essential for staying connected with your peers, professors, and local contacts. Visit a mobile service provider to choose a plan that fits your communication needs. Having a local phone number will also facilitate job applications, communication with potential employers, and accessing important services in Canada.


5. Find Accommodation:

If you haven’t already secured accommodation, start your search as soon as possible. Explore various options such as on-campus housing, off-campus rentals, or homestays. Consider factors like location, affordability, proximity to your educational institution, and access to amenities. Connect with fellow students, use online resources, and consult your institution’s housing office for assistance in finding suitable accommodation. Read about finding accommodation in Vancouver as an international student here


6. Set Up Health Insurance:

In Canada, healthcare is primarily provided through the publicly funded healthcare system called Medicare. However, as an international student, you may need additional health insurance coverage. Contact your educational institution to understand the health insurance options available to international students. Ensure you have the necessary coverage to protect yourself from unexpected medical expenses.


7. Familiarize Yourself with Transportation Options:

Understanding the transportation system in your city is crucial for navigating your new surroundings. Research the public transportation options such as buses, trains, and subways. Consider obtaining a transit pass or card for convenience and cost savings. Familiarize yourself with routes, schedules, and any student discounts available. Alternatively, explore options like biking or walking if your accommodation is in close proximity to your educational institution.


8. Obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN):

If you plan to work in Canada while studying, you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN). The SIN is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Government of Canada. Visit a Service Canada office with your study permit and other required documents to apply for a SIN. This number is essential for tax purposes and for employment in Canada.


9. Connect with Support Services:

Educational institutions in Canada offer a range of support services to assist international students in their transition. Take advantage of these resources, such as international student offices, academic advisors, career centers, and counseling services. They can provide guidance, answer your questions, and help you navigate any challenges you may encounter during your studies.


10. Explore the Local Community:

Lastly, take time to explore the local community and immerse yourself in Canadian culture. Engage in extracurricular activities, join clubs or student organizations, attend cultural events, and interact with local residents. This will enrich your experience, broaden your horizons, and help you build a strong network of friends and connections.



Arriving in Canada as an international student is an exciting milestone, and there are several important steps to take to ensure a successful transition. Activate your study permit, register with your educational institution, set up a Canadian bank account and phone number, find suitable accommodation, obtain health insurance, familiarize yourself with transportation options, obtain a SIN if needed, connect with support services, and explore the local community. By following these essential steps, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate your academic journey in Canada and make the most of your time as an international student.

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