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Entering Canada

With the exception of American citizens, as an international student, you will need to have either a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV – also known as a visitor or entry visa) or an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), in addition to the relevant study or work permit.

Whether you need a TRV or eTA depends on your country of citizenship. The Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website can help you identify whether a visa is required for entry into Canada.

A successful study or work permit application made outside Canada will automatically include a TRV or eTA (if required).

Entering Canada

After Entry to Canada

What to expect when entering Canada

COVID-19 border measures

As of January 5, 2023, anyone aged two years or older travelling to Canada on flights originating from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macao will require a negative COVID-19 test result to board. The test must be completed no more than two days prior to departure. Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before their departure flight, but no more than 90 days, can provide the airline with documentation of their prior positive test, in place of a negative test result. Details are available on the Government of Canada website and also at this University of Toronto webpage about COVID-19 matters.  

Accepted tests include molecular (such as a PCR test), or an antigen test that has documentation to show that it has been monitored by a telehealth service or an accredited laboratory or testing provider.

In addition, we strongly recommended that you have the following documents with you in your carry-on luggage:

  • A valid Letter of Acceptance and Port of Entry Letter of Introduction (for admitted students);
    • The letter of introduction is the study permit approval received outside Canada (as the study permit itself is only issued upon arrival in Canada).
  • Confirmation of enrollment (for current students);
    • Letter available on ACORN or from your Registrar’s Office. Should include your:
      • Name,
      • student number,
      • enrollment status, and;
      • expected graduation date.
    • Students returning from a leave of absence should have confirmation of return to studies.
  • Proof of financial support:
    • Up-to-date versions of the supporting documents used to prove you can support yourself (and any accompanying family members) while in Canada.
    • IRCC expects you to prove access to funds to cover a minimum of annual tuition plus $10,000 CAD for living expenses. Additional funds are required if you are bringing a spouse/partner and/or children. See more on our Bring Your Dependants page.
    • How you prove access to funds depends on where they come from:
      • If funds are in your account, bank statement(s) with your name.
      • If funds are coming from the University or other institutional source, a letter detailing funding.
      • If funds are coming from family or other individuals, a letter confirming their willingness to support you and bank statements or income statements showing they have enough money to support you.
      • If you have already paid tuition, you can provide proof of payment by accessing your fees invoice on ACORN.
  • Proof of completed immigration medical exam (if you have been in a ‘designated’ country for at least 6 of the past 12 months).
    • Medical exam results are valid for 12 months. If you will enter after your initial results expire, plan to have a new medical exam completed at least one month prior to travelling to Canada.

The Border Services Officer will review your documents and make the final decision about whether you are admitted to Canada. If you are entering for the first time, they will send you to the secondary immigration desk where your actual study permit will be issued to you. Be sure to review the permit before leaving the immigration desk and ask for errors to be fixed. 

The Canadian Government provides general guidance about what to expect when entering Canada and specific guidance for new international students to prepare for their arrival to Canada.

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