First Steps in Canada

New incoming international students often face a dilemma about what to do after they arrive in Canada. In this regard, EGSS has prepared this section that will help the students to get relevant information. It is to be noted the following information is subject to change and readers are requested to collect updated information from online resources.

When a student arrives in Canada, his/her first task is to collect a study permit. This document decides how long a student can reside in Canada legally. At the first entry point in Canada, the passengers are directed towards the immigration booth. The immigration officer asks a few questions and checks the documents. Afterwards, the officer will tell where the study permit has to be collected from. After collecting the study permit, the student will take another flight to Kelowna. 

At Kelowna airport, students may find it difficult to manage a ride, especially at night. Usually, taxis wait at the airport to pick passengers and the students simply need to tell the residence address to the driver and the driver will take care of the rest. Depending on the distance, the fare is estimated at the end of the trip. In case, the students can’t find any taxi at the airport, they can call any taxi service or book from online. They can book online for taxi service before they arrive.

Students are required to collect their student id card after they arrive in Kelowna and settle down. To collect the ID card, students need to visit Student Services located at the second floor of UNC building, UBCO. If students need more information, they can visit the Students Union of Okanagan Campus (UBCSUO) on the 1st floor. As a student of UBCO, students get a bus pass which is valid for one semester. Students need to visit “The Green Text” located on the first floor and get a bus pass sticker on the back of the ID card. If students do not have a bus pass, they can still use transit by buying a ticket for $2.50 which can be used for the following trips within 90 minutes.

As a temporary resident, the next task is to obtain a social insurance number (SIN) from Service Canada. It is to be noted, students require SIN to open a bank account, get a cellular network and others. SIN is to be collected directly from the office of Service Canada or through an online application. It is to be noted online applications may require some days to get approved and to be sent to your resident/mailing address. Whereas, students need a few minutes to get SIN from the office of Service Canada.

A student must need a bank account to make/get payments. A number of banks are available in Kelowna, one being located within campus. To open a bank account, students need to have SIN, study permit, passport etc.

Next is cellular network provider/cell phone sim. There are a number of providers which have offices at different locations. The convenient place to get information on the benefits/offers from different providers is Orchard park where students can find any cellular network provider.

Apart from the above-mentioned items, students may get BC ID card which they can use instead of a passport for identification purposes and it can be collected from the ICBC office. Students should also have a medical services plan (MSP) which will enable them to consult with a doctor without any fee. To get coverage for medicine expenditure, UBCO students get coverage from Pacific Blue Cross. Students should receive email on this regard or can discuss with UBCSUO. To get benefits, students need to tell the policy number and student ID to the attendant at the pharmacy when they first visit the pharmacy to get any doctor prescribed medicine. In addition to insurance from Pacific Blue Cross, students can also have FairPharma insurance which requires an MSP and tax document to apply.

We believe this document will be successful in bringing relief for the new incoming students. If students have queries, they are requested to email or text us on a social media account. EGSS is always ready to welcome you and help you in starting your new journey. All the best!!!