International Student in Canada: Pre-Departure and Pre-Arrival Checklist


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on May 13, 2022 03:29 PM IST

Ready to fly to Canada and join your dream university? Do you have a pre-departure/pre-arrival checklist of all the items to carry before landing in Canada? Don't worry, we got you covered!

Pre-Departure Checklist for International Students Going to Canada

Now that you have a ticket to Canada, you should start packing for your departure. It is a time-consuming process as relocating is a big task. On the other hand, living alone in a foreign land not onlybrings a sense of responsibility but also teaches basic life and time management skills. Talking about responsibilities, when leaving for Canada, you should ensure that all the basic and necessary items are packed in your bag. For this, a proper checklist is a must sincethere are a lot of things that an international studentis requiredto carry with them before departing or arriving in Canada.

Be it important documents or weather-friendly clothes, every item should bekeptas per the Canadian climate and government. Usually, the university you are attending will send you a list of important things to bring along. However, to make your travel plans more convenient, international studentsshould always plan ahead and have a ready-to-go pre-departure checklist and pre-arrival checklist.

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Pre-departure and Pre-arrival Checklist for International Students in Canada

Now that your hard work has paid off, it is time to prepare to relocate to a new country. However, this preparation needs a proper pre-departure checklist in Canada and a pre-arrival checklist in Canada to avoid any kind of troubles creeping in into your new journey. For a hassle-free stay in Canada, here is a detailed pre-departure checklist for Canada for international studentsto keep in hand before departing or arriving in Canada:

Check Passport

You must be wondering, what is there to check on the passport? But there is a lot to check in there!Review your passport and check if it is expiring in the next 12 months or not. Yes, renewing the same would be a good decision for a hassle-free stay in the country.

Apply for Visa

This is the first and foremost thing to keep in mind. Students should apply for a visa as soon as they have received confirmation from their respective universities. Now to study abroad, a study permit is a must if the candidate is going for more than six months. To apply for the same, the candidate is required to have an acceptance letter from the respective university, proof of ID and financial support. Candidates should not confuse study permits and visas as the same thing. Students may also require a visitor visa, along with a study permit.


Students should organise their accommodation before arriving in Canada. This will help them save a lot of time. Most Canadian universities offer on-campus accommodations, so students can opt for on-campus accommodation and apply for a room via the university website itself. Even if you are going for an off-campus accommodation facility, ensure that the facility and the facility provider are genuine. In case the university is not offering any on-campus rooms, it will still give some off-campus or hostel recommendations. Always choose these verified and university-recommended accommodations only to avoid getting scammed.Off-campus accommodations may include a rented property or a shared house. As the student isfrom another country, they will be protected under the landlord-tenant laws of the province or territory in which they are studying.

Open Overseas Bank Account

Set up an overseas bank account before arriving in Canada. You will be required to show a balance of at least CAD 10,000 per year while studying in the country, which does not include the tuition fees. This will also help you to manage your account effortlessly. So, open an account, and get your account number and debit card. You can also book an appointment online to visit the bank's branch after arriving in Canada.

Set Your Budget

After landing in Canada, there will be a lot of things that will captivate your heart and mind and you may be tempted to buy everything that comes your way. This can include clothes, furniture, or evenvisiting fancy restaurants or cafes with friends. All these activities may end up making you broke. So, set a budget for everything. Write down the basic monthly expenses for necessitieslike rent, food, travel expenses, etc. You may also include your tuition fees if they are not paid fully.Now keep some additional amount in your hands that can help you in times of crisis or for a funweekend or two.However, it is advised to avoidunnecessary expenses and not lose your focus on academics.

Health Insurance and Health Check-up Report

The university you are going to will inherently ask for a vaccination record and a health check-up report. So get this done on a priority basis. Get yourself tested for COVID-19 as per the guidelines given by the Canadian government and the respective college or university. If you suffer from any kind of illness or disease, make sure to inform the authorities beforehand. International students should also get health insurance coverage for their duration of stay in Canada. Healthcare can be expensive for international students and going to Canada without one can be very risky. You can contact the university or choose a healthcare cover as per your preference.

Double-check All Documents

Recheck all the documents and keep them in a proper file or docket and remember which bag has all your documents. Check your passport, study permit, visa, documents of your academic and professional qualifications, etc. Keep a printout of both travel and health insurance. If possible, candidates must scan their necessary documents which makes it easier to replace anything if it gets missed. Keep the post-arrival documents such as visa-related documents handy so that at the arrival counter, it is easy for you to take out these documents and not fish for them in your multiple luggage bags.

Documents to Carry While Travelling to Canada

Now that we have a wholesome checklist of all the requirements before leaving for Canada, here are some of the key documents as per the new rules for international students in Canada:

University Documents

Travel Documents

Educational Documents

Acceptance letter

Flight ticket

Original mark sheets

Fee receipt


Attested mark sheets and degree certificate, if any

Academic transcripts


Hard copy of application documents like recommendation letters or SOP, if required


Passport size photographs


Note: Students must check the university's official website for exact document requirements at the time of arrival in Canada.

Important Tips for International Students in Canada

Apart from keeping all the documents, there are other vital things to keep in while travelling to Canada. From medicines to maps, international students should be very careful while preparing a pre-departure and a pre-arrival checklist in Canada. So, here are some important tips to keep in mind while travelling to Canada for international students.

Keep Winter Clothes

Canadian winters are cold with temperatures below zero degrees Celsius. Sometimes, in October or November, the temperature dips to -15 degrees Celsius. So, as international students are not so acquainted with such an atmosphere, it is better to have layered clothes to keep themselves warm and away from the cold in Canada. They should have winter gear like gloves, hats, scarves, sweaters, warm sleepwear, etc.

First Aid and Medicines

Keep all the necessary and general medicines for cold, fever, body pain, gastric problem, indigestion, allergy, vomiting, etc. Medicine is expensive in Canada, so it is advisable to keep general medicines which are allowed to carryby the Canadian government. If an international student has any regular medicines, make sure to keep a two-three month supply of the same. In first aid, keep band-aids, bandages, pain relief ointments and similar emergency aids.

Check Guidelines

Check all new rules for international students in Canada as per the government guidelines to avoid any troubles. The research should be done before leaving for Canada. Check COVID-19 guidelines of Canada for international students and see what other documents are required after arriving in Canada.

Keep A Map

Even though international students have smartphones, it is still important to have a map at hand. This should be added to the pre-departure checklist in Canada as well. With a map, it will be easier for the international students to learn the locations. Additionally, note down all the nearby locations and addresses beforehand.

Kitchen Essentials

It is impossible to get food from outside when you are an international student in Canada on a budget. Eating out every day is not affordable. So, international students should learn some basic cooking skills and keep kitchen essentials with themselves. Especially Indian students should carry some basic utensils like a pressure cooker. Kitchen essentials like spoons, knives, plates, cups, and bowls can be kept. This also comes in handy if you are living in a rented flat or room with no kitchen facilities as catered university accommodation will already these essentials for students.

So now it must have been clear how important it is to have a pre-departure and pre-arrival checklist before leaving forCanada. The new international student checklist is important to remain prepared for all kinds of situations. Also, it can be a plus point if you take help from elders.Make sure to not overstuff your bags as there's a limited luggage allowance as well.

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