New International Student Checklist

Use this guide to plan for important steps as you prepare for your studies and arrival in Calgary. Check for important COVID updates too!

New International Student Checklist

Fall 2021: Starting Your Studies outside Canada

Updated: July-5-2021

University of Calgary Documents: carefully read all documents or emails from the University of Calgary so you are aware of important deadlines or steps you must complete.

Canadian Immigration Documents: Questions about study permits and visas? We have Immigration Advisors ready to assist you (issimmigration@ucalgary.ca).

Register for Courses: know when you can register for courses and what you need to do. Consult with your Faculty Advisors if you are uncertain about courses available to you. 

International Student Services: learn about the services and programs that our office provides. Sign up for programs that interest you!

  • Request a UCalgary Student Mentor through the International Student Mentorship Program
  • New Student Orientation: Register for international orientation—it’s a great opportunity to learn information about adapting to life in Calgary and resources that help you succeed at university.

UNICARD: Submit your photo online for your UCalgary student identification card (UNICARD). More information here.

Medical insurance: determine whether you are eligible to opt-out of coverage through the SU or GSA or how to make the most of this coverage while living outside of Canada. 

UCalgary Courses & Tuition Payment: Finalize your class schedule through your Student Centre account--add (or drop, if necessary) courses and pay any remaining tuition by deadlines. It's best to pay early in case international payments take several business days to process.   

  • Exchange students must pay fees student services fee. Check your fees through your Student Centre. Payment options are available here.

*more details to come. check back soon

D2L & Student Centre: familiarize yourself with online learning platforms 

UCalgary IT Account & Student Email: set up and regularly check your student email 

Explore Remote Learning Resources: 

Attend Webinars: 

Participate in UCalgary events: 

*more details to come. check back soon

UCalgary Courses & Tuition Payment: Finalize your class schedule through your Student Centre account--add (or drop, if necessary) courses and pay any remaining tuition by deadlines. It's best to pay early in case international payments take several business days to process.   

Read the ISS Newsletter: 

Review Orientation Resources: online materials are available anytime you need them! 

Get Involved with SU Clubs or GSA groups: 

Attend ISS and other SES social events: 

Fall 2021: Starting Your Studies in Calgary

Updated: July 5, 2021

University of Calgary Documents: carefully read all documents or emails from the University of Calgary so you are aware of important deadlines or steps you must complete.

Canadian Immigration Documents: Questions about study permits and visas? We have Immigration Advisors ready to assist you (issimmigration@ucalgary.ca).

Plan for Your Expenses: learn about what to expect for expenses in Calgary and what strategies you will use along the way.

Accommodation Options: decide whether you will apply for on-campus housing through Residence Services or if you will look for off-campus housing once you are in Calgary.

Medical insurance: your options will depend on whether you are studying for a short time or a full degree. Visit our website to learn more. It is critical that you understand your options and ensure you arrange any necessary medical insurance coverage. Attend an upcoming webinar for more details. 

Travel Arrangements: Travel restrictions are still in place; however, Canada is allowing international students who have a valid study permit or study permit approval letter to enter.

  • Review current restrictions & updates here

Please time your arrival to Canada no earlier than a month prior to the commencement of the fall term (August 30, 2021). If you need to come sooner than that or if you have any immigration related questions, contact issimmigration@ucalgary.ca. 

Once you have confirmed your travel plans, you will need share your arrival information with UCalgary. Learn how to do this here.

Register for Courses: know when you can register for courses and what you need to do.

International Student Services: learn about the services and programs that our office provides. Sign up for programs that interest you!

  • Request a UCalgary Student Mentor through the International Student Mentorship Program
  • New Student Orientation: Register for international orientation—it’s a great opportunity to learn information about adapting to life in Calgary and resources that help you succeed at university.

UNICARD: Submit your photo online for your UCalgary student identification card (UNICARD). More information here.

UCalgary Courses & Tuition Payment: Finalize your class schedule through your Student Centre account--add (or drop, if necessary) courses and pay any remaining tuition by deadlines. It's best to pay early in case international payments take several business days to process.   

  • Exchange students must pay fees student services fee. Check your fees through your Student Centre. Payment options are available here.

UCalgary Quarantine Information Sheet: Review the steps in the quarantine information sheet, and print or download it to your personal communication device for easy access.

Arrange a place to stay: If you are not moving directly into on-campus Residence, arrange for temporary accommodation for your first few days while you settle or search for long-term off-campus accommodation. There are student deals for several budget-friendly hotels near campus as well as options for isolation accommodations; learn more on our website.

ArriveCANPrior to your departure, follow the Government of Canada's mandatory guidelines to provide them with your travel information using ArriveCAN. For more information, please visit here.

Request a UCalgary Student Mentor: Get connected with a current UCalgary student mentor even if you will be in Calgary or start remotely this Winter 2021!

New Student Orientation: Register for international orientation —it’s a great opportunity to learn information about adapting to life in Calgary and resources that help you succeed at university. Find out more information via this link.

UNICARD: Please submit your photo online to obtain your UCalgary student identification card (UNICARD). If you are not on campus this Winter and need proof of student verification (such as an enrollment verification letter), you can access the documentation through your my.ucalgary.ca portal. More information on how to obtain your UNICARD can be found here.

Prepare for Your Arrival: We recommend you travel with some Canadian cash or a pre-paid VISA card (or plan to exchange some when you arrive in Calgary) to pay for any immediate needs such as food, transportation, and temporary accommodation.

  • Know where you are travelling to in Calgary. Bring a copy of the address with you.
  • Are you relying on a cell phone or electronic devices? Remember your charger and an adaptor.
  • Do you need to travel with medication?  Learn how to travel with medication and what documentation you need to bring with you.

Travelling with Important Documents: Make sure you carry all required entry documents with you when you travel to Canada. Do not pack these in your suitcase—keep them with you at all times. Important documents to carry with you include your passport (with visa, if required), immigration letter authorizing your Study Permit, and your University of Calgary acceptance letter and enrollment letter (if you have already enrolled in courses).

As the COVID-19 pandemic situation rapidly evolves, please continue to check this website for updates regarding any additional documents that you may need when seeking entry to Canada.

UCalgary Quarantine Information: Review the steps on UCalgary's quarantine information webpage, and print or download it to your personal communication device for easy access.

Have a mask with you when you start travelling to Calgary: the City of Calgary has issued the Face Coverings bylaws, which requires the wearing of face coverings or masks in indoor public areas and public vehicles

ArriveCANAfter arriving, follow the Government of Canada's mandatory guidelines to provide them with your arrival information and your daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment using ArriveCAN. For more information, please visit here.

Canadian Finances: we recommend you prepare Canadian finances (such as cash, pre-paid VISA card, international credit card), so you have them ready in case you encounter any issues with your bank card or have immediate small expenses as you get settled. 

Check-in with family or friends: have a plan to update your family and friends once you are safely arrived and in your accommodation. 

Cell phone: choose a mobile provider and cell phone plan that meets your needs. More information can be found here.

UNICARD & UPASS: Once you are on campus, pick up your official student identification card (UNICARD) at the UNICARD office and, if you're a full time student, your transit pass (U-PASS). The U-PASS is included in tuition for most degree-seeking students; exchange or visiting students will need to pay for it as a part of their fees ($145).

Accommodation:

On-campus: Move-in information & rental insurance information

Off-campus: Stay in temporary accommodation while you explore convenient off-campus rental options. Make sure you understand your rights as a tenant and ask questions before signing a lease. Take care to avoid rental fraud with these tips. We strongly recommend you have a written lease (rental agreement). You will need to arrange:

    • How to pay rent each month
    • Utilities (if applicable: heat, electricity, telephone services, internet)
    • Household goods (if needed, furniture)
    • Rental Insurance (strongly recommended to protect your belongings; usually $15-30 CAD/month based on your individual situation)

Banking: If are opening a Canadian bank account, you must bring two pieces of identification (such as passport, driver’s license, student identification card). We recommend you bring your UNICARD and letter of enrollment to ask about student deals. There are several banks near campus—find one that is convenient for you (view our website).

Open a Canadian Banking account remotely: do your research in advance to find a bank that meets your needs and allow remote banking setup options during your quarantine. Visit our banking resources for more information.

Apply for Provincial Healthcare: If you will be living in Alberta for 12 months or more, you are eligible to register for Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). You must register within your first 90 days in Alberta—you are not automatically registered. Learn more here.

If you will be living in Alberta for less than 12 months, you will need to purchase medical insurance if you have not already. Learn more here.

Social Insurance Number (SIN): If you are eligible to work in Canada or intend to receive income (e.g. scholarships) in Canada, you must obtain a confidential nine-digit number. Learn more how to access services online here. You will need your study permit, passport, and letter of enrollment.

Update Contact Details: once you have your new phone number and address, update your Calgary address and telephone number in your Student Centre account. Do not release your contact details to unknow parties to protect your privacy.

Keep Documents Secure: save pictures of your passport, study permit (and visa, if relevant); keep insurance and rental agreements saved securely somewhere electronically for future reference. Make sure you know when your study permit will expire.

Campus Safety Supports & Important Contact Numbers

  • Campus Security/Safewalk (24-hour) - 403-220-5333
  • SU Wellness Centre and After-Hours Support - 403-210-9355
  • City of Calgary Emergency Services (ambulance, fire, police) - 911

We also recommend you find the nearest consulate location and contact details for your country of citizenship.

Free Phone Apps to Download:

  • UC Emergency App: informs you of on-campus emergencies
  • Transit, Google Maps, Calgary Transit, Uber: helpful for directions, maps, and public transport
  • The Weather Network: to help plan your day, travel, and clothing options
  • COVID-19 Tracing Apps: COVID Alert to support the work of public health workers with contact tracing of COVID-19

UCalgary Courses & Tuition Payment: Finalize your class schedule through your Student Centre account--add (or drop, if necessary) courses and pay any remaining tuition by deadlines.

  • Exchange students must pay fees student services fee. Check your fees through your Student Centre. Payment options are available here.

Exchange Student?: If have any questions related to your exchange study, contact iexch@ucalgary.ca or more information.

Find Your Classrooms: Your Student Centre includes your course schedule with times, dates, and locations. Prepare for your classes using the UCalgary Interactive Room Finder.

Landing at the Calgary International Airport (YYC)

If you've entered Canada through a different airport, review that airport's website in advance for help with navigation and what to expect. 

International Travelers who land at the Calgary International Airport (YYC) will go through Canadian Customs and Immigration. 

You must have your identification and immigration documents with you at all times (securely with you or in your carry-on bag). 

The Calgary International Airport website has useful maps, frequently asked questions, and guidance on making your arrival as easy as possible. Take some time to review the website. 

 

While you are in the airport, you may see volunteers wearing white cowboy hats. These are friendly "White Hat Volunteer" who can direct you or answer your questions. Learn more here

 

 

The YYC International Airport has information about planning travel in Calgary

Ensure you follow any current Public Health Measures in Calgary and any current quarantine requirements. The ISS Covid-19 FAQ page is a helpful place to start to review travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, and mask bylaws. 

Depending on the current restrictions at the time of your arrival, you may be required to travel directly to your accommodation in accordance with a 14 day quarantine plan. You may also be required to use a taxi or uber, not public transit. It is your responsibility to stay informed of current regulations. 

The University of Calgary does not currently provide a pick-up service. Generally, there are several transportation options available to travelers. 

  1. Taxi 
    A taxi stand can be found immediately outside of the Arrivals area (follow the signs for “ground transportation”). The cost from the airport to Residence Services (on-campus accommodation) is approximately $40. It takes around 35-45 minutes depending on traffic.
  2. Uber
    Usually Uber costs a bit less than Taxi. Through the app they will let you know where in the airport to meet. Keep in mind that Uber costs may vary according to demand (rush hour or rainy days can increase the cost), so comparing prices is important before requesting an Uber or Taxi.
  3. Public Transit 
    Using public transit will likely take longer than a taxi or uber, but will cost less. The Calgary airport is served by public buses that can then connect you to the "C-Train" which is Calgary’s Light Rail system. There is a C-Train station at the University of Calgary called University Station along the "red line" or "201 route". Visit the Calgary Transit webpage (www.calgarytransit.com) for routes, fare information, and schedule.

If you are tired from your travels, have heavy luggage or several bags, or are arriving at night, we recommend you pay for a taxi or uber. Calgary Transit is not available 24-hours. If you have low phone battery or are uncertain you'll be able to use an Uber app, a taxi will be easiest. 

Plan Your Travel

Another helpful website or app is using “Google Maps” to view travel times and compare routes between using public transit, a ride-share service like Uber, or driving/taxi.

Related Topics

ISS Webinars

Join the ISS team for presentations that will answer many of your questions. New and returning international students can register. 

ISS Webinars

SSC Webinars

Prepare for your UCalgary academics. Attend a webinar through the Student Success Centre. 

SSC Event Calendar

International Student Orientation

Attend orientation events. You'll get valuable information to help you succeed in your UCalgary studies. 

Learn more