Check before you make travel plans

There are a number of steps to take if you’re planning to travel to Canada for your studies.


COVID-19 emergency border measures ended on October 1, 2022. Travellers are no longer required to be vaccinated to travel to Canada, take pre-entry or after arrival COVID-19 tests, quarantine, use the ArriveCan app, or wear a mask on planes and trains.

Travel restrictions, testing and quarantine requirements may be announced without notice. Be sure to check the latest updates.

Immigration documents

To travel to Canada for studies, you must have two types of documents:

  1. Valid documents to study in Canada
  2. Valid documents to travel to Canada

1. Have valid documents to study in Canada

First, you must fall into one of the following categories:

If you will study in Canada for more than 6 months, do not travel to Canada until you have received your Letter of Introduction, even if you have an eTA or TRV.

2. Have valid documents to travel to Canada

Second, you must fall into one of the following categories:

Find entry requirements by country or territory.

About your Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

If you travel from Canada to the US and back without travelling to a third country, you could re-enter Canada without a TRV if you have a valid study or work permit, or before your initial visitor status ends. You may print out the section of Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations R190 (3) (f) to carry with you in case the border officer has questions about your re-entry to Canada.  

About your Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

If you are from an eTA expansion country, your eTA can be used to board flights to Canada, however you would need to have a TRV to enter Canada by land or sea. For example, if you travel from your home country to the US, then drive from the US to Canada, a TRV would be required to enter Canada by land. If you travel from Canada to the US and back without travelling to a third country, you could re-enter Canada without a TRV as per above.  For students from Mexico, please see the most recent policy changes.  

When you can travel

There is no specific earliest date you can travel. However, an officer may have concerns if you are travelling several months before you begin your studies. Arriving a month before you begin or resume studies should be considered reasonable. You cannot work in Canada until you have begun full-time studies and meet the requirements

If you must travel earlier, prepare a detailed explanation and supporting documents, if possible, in case the airline or border officer asks. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer you meet at the airport/border crossing will make the final decision on whether or not to admit you to Canada.

If you take a gap in studies and are not currently enrolled, you should avoid travelling to Canada more than a month before you resume studies. Contact International Student Advising for support.

Do not travel or purchase non-refundable flight tickets or make non-refundable accommodation deposits until you have received the right documents to study and travel to Canada (see above).

Booking your flight(s)

Be aware of local rules if you are transiting airports in other countries en route to Canada. See the International Air Transport Association (IATA) page for guidance on international visa and passport requirements, and any COVID-19 measures. 

You will need to get your study permit at your first arrival airport in Canada. For example, if you arrive in Toronto and then take another flight to Vancouver, you must get your study permit in Toronto. Consider booking flights which have a long layover to allow time for immigration.

Getting to UBC or your final destination

UBC does not offer airport pick-up services. For transportation options from YVR airport, check YVR’s transportation information. You can also plan your trip via public transit by using Translink’s trip planner or Google maps

To get to UBC by public transit, consider taking the Canada Line train from the airport to Oakridge-41st Avenue station then take the R4 express bus to UBC, or get off at Broadway-City Hall station, then take the 99 B-line express bus to UBC.

Driving across the border

The largest border crossing near UBC is the Douglas (Peace Arch) border crossing, which is open 24 hours. See the list of border crossings and hours.

Also, see considerations when temporarily importing a vehicle.

Get advice on whether you should travel

If you have unusual circumstances, to receive advice on documents to travel or timing of travelling, you may email or call the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). If you are calling, please ask for and take note of the agent’s badge number, the date and time you speak with the agent, and record notes of your conversation in case you need to refer to this in the future. Please note the CBSA officer you meet with when you arrive in Canada will make the final decision on whether you can enter Canada.

You may also consider contacting your airline to confirm what documentation they will request to board your flight.

This information is accurate as of Tue, Jul 11, 2023, and is subject to change. Follow the latest updates for any travel restrictions due to COVID-19.