VIRS program fee

A VIRS student pays $415 for any period from one month up to one year. The fee must be renewed after one year, should the VIRS student wish to extend their research period. Please note that your iMED fee is not part of the VIRS program fee. 

Medical Insurance (iMED and BC MSP)

A VIRS student will be automatically enrolled in the iMED insurance program at the time of registration. iMED is a temporary basic health insurance plan required for new international students, and will provide you with health insurance coverage during the three month waiting period for BC's Medical Services Plan (MSP) or the duration of your study period if you are not eligible for MSP

iMED coverage dates coincide with a standard academic term at UBC as follows:

  • August 1 for Winter Session Term 1 (September – December)
  • December 1 for Winter Session Term 2 (January – April)
  • April 1 for Summer Session Term 1 (May – June)
  • June 1 for Summer Session Term 2 (July – August)

If your arrival in Canada does not line-up with the iMED coverage periods listed above, you will need to have your coverage dates shifted so that you are covered for your study period, or the first three months you're in Canada, waiting for your MSP coverage (if eligible) to start. Complete and submit the iMED Date Change Form after arriving in Canada.

iMED insurance costs will depend on the duration of a VIRS student’s research period:

If the duration of your research is from one to six months

$60 per month + $9 direct billing fee. If needed, students can apply for an iMED insurance extension at rate of $60 per month. To do so, please complete the Extension Request Form and send it to David Cummings Insurance Services as instructed.

If the duration of your research is six months or longer

$180 for the first three months + $9 direct billing fee. Students should apply for BC's Medical Services Plan (MSP) immediately upon your arrival

Having coverage under a different private health insurance plan or a government health plan from your home country does not make you eligible to Opt Out of iMED. More information on opt-out eligibility can be found on our iMed page.

VIRS program and iMED insurance fees can be paid by logging into your account on the Student Service Centre (SSC).

Student Status

Depending on the student’s academic level at his/her home institution, a VIRS student will be registered in VURS 499 (Undergraduate), VGRD 500 (Master) or VGRD 600 (Ph.D.), a non-credit, non-tuition bearing course code which denotes full-time studies in academic research.

A VIRS student will have access to the UBC Library, email services, Go Global services, and, on an urgent need basis, health/counseling services. Use of other services and facilities including but not limited to areas such as athletics and transcripts can be accessed on a fee paying basis, as available.

  • A VIRS student will be registered at UBC for all UBC academic terms that overlap with the length of their planned visit.
  • A VIRS student may not enroll in any UBC course, but may apply during their stay to be admitted as a Visiting Undergraduate or Visiting Graduate Student, should they wish to enroll in courses while conducting research.
  • Once admitted as a Visiting Undergraduate or Visiting Graduate Student, the VIRS status will be removed.
  • If a student whose home institution has a formal exchange agreement with UBC, the student is encouraged to first consider coming to UBC through the exchange program.
  • The maximum length of proposed research period that a VIRS student can be approved for is one year (12 months). At the end of the approved visit period, the student may request an extension for up to one year.
  • Refund of the VIRS program fee can be given if a VIRS applicant’s withdrawal is due to either rejection of legitimate immigration document application or rejection of research funding application (i.e. government/institution grants/scholarships/awards).

Resources for coming to UBC


Mathew Lyle

Email enquiries + advising appointments

When emailing us, please include your full name and student number in the subject line.

Mathew Lyle

VIRS Advisor

Go Global

Telephone: 604 822 0942

UBC Life Building
1001 - 6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1