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Before You Arrive

Two student volunteers during Welcome Week at a Campus Map booth on Gould Street

To enter Canada as an exchange student, you may require documentation that can be obtained through an online application or from a Visa Office located in a Canadian Embassy, Consulate, or High Commission in your home country or elsewhere. 

The application process and time varies depending on your home country. The Government of Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship website, external link provides information on what documentation you may need. Some common documents required for exchange students are:

  • Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) - An electronic travel authorization (eTA) is an entry requirement that is electronically linked to a visa-exempt individual’s passport. It is issued up to a maximum period of five years, or upon passport expiry, whichever comes first. For more information, including on who needs an eTA, please visit the eTA section of International Student Support’s Immigration web page’s eTA tab.
  • Study Permit - If you are studying in Canada for more than 6 months, you are required to hold a study permit. You must apply for and be approved for a study permit before you arrive. You cannot apply for an initial study permit from within Canada. For more information, including on how to apply for a study permit, please visit the Study Permit section of International Student Support’s Immigration web page’s Study Permit tab. Note that if you do not classify as a fully vaccinated traveller , external linkto Canada, you may require a study permit for short-term study as well (6 months and less). However, be advised that to access campus you need to follow the university’s vaccination requirements (see While in Canada section). 
  • Temporary Resident VISA (TRV) - Students from certain countries require a TRV to enter Canada. A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) is also referred to as an “entry visa” or a “visitor’s visa”. It is a sticker placed in your passport and provides different authorization than a study permit. For more information, including on who needs a TRV, please visit the TRV section of International Student Support’s Immigration web page’s Temporary Resident VISA (TRV) tab.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you acquire the appropriate documentation to enter and study in Canada for your exchange experience. You should determine and acquire the necessary documentation well in advance of leaving your home country.

If you have any questions, or require further assistance with any visa/immigration related questions, email Ryerson’s International Student Support office at issask@ryerson.ca. You can also reach ISS by phone at 416-979-5000 ext. 6655.

 NOTE: Entry requirements may change on short notice. The information below is not updated regularly. Stay up-to-date with the most recent requirements by checking the COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders website, external link prior to your departure. 

The Government of Canada has created a tool to help individuals figure out if they can travel to Canada.  Simply complete the steps listed on the Find out if you can enter Canada website, external link

Fully Vaccinated Travellers

If you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, external link acording to the federal government definition, you are generally

  • Required to show a pre-entry molecular test
  • Required Use ArriveCAN app to submit proof of your vaccination, your quarantine plan, your trip information, and a health screening
  • Required to take an arrival test if selected
  • Exempt from quarantine
  • Exempt from Day-8 testing

For detailed information on pre-entry testing and requirements you must follow if you qualify as a vaccinated traveller, please read through the COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada, external link webpage.

Travellers Who Do Not Qualify As Fully Vaccinated

If you do not qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, external link acording to the federal government definition, you may still be able to enter Canada. However, you would generally be required to: 

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Meet additional testing requirements
  • Quarantine for 2 weeks (if arriving before Jan 14, 2022)
  • Complete other requirements as outlined by the Government of Canada. 

For a full list of the specific requirements if you do not qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, please complete the questions on the Find out if you can enter Canada website, external link

If you do not qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller,  you should consider arriving within a timeframe that allows you to complete your quarantine requirements in time for you to attend in-person classes. 

Quarantine Plan Required for Entry Into Canada

ALL travellers need to have a Quarantine Plan that they can present to the Border Services Agent when arriving in Canada. 
 
You must have this plan even if you are fully vaccinated as you must be prepared to quarantine for 14 days in case a Border Services Agent decides that you don’t meet the requirements for exemptions (e.g. if you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, even if you’re vaccinated). 
 
You must submit a suitable quarantine plan into the  ArriveCAN app, external link  before you leave for Canada. 

For information on the regulations around quarantine, please read through the Planning your quarantine, external link section of the Government of Canada’s Quarantine or Isolation webpage. 

You should also use the Assess Your Quarantine Plan, external link tool that has been developed by the Government of Canada to test if your plan meets the government of Canada’s requirements. 

You should be prepared to answer the following questions with clear details and information if asked by the Border Services Agent: 

  • Name
  • Reason for coming to Canada
  • Where you will be quarantining (address and accommodation name)
  • How you will be travelling to your quarantine location
  • How you will get basic necessities such as water, food, etc. without leaving your quarantine location (e.g. food delivery apps, family friends, room service, etc). 
  • Any other important details they should know about

We recommend that you have this information typed out on a one-page sheet so that it’s easy for the Border Services Agents to read if they have any questions. 

 Make sure to regularly check requirements directly on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders website, external link. The information provided above can change and you are responsible for ensuring that you stay up to date on all immigration and entry requirements.

Important Notes:

  • As per Ryerson’s vaccination policystudents must be fully vaccinated by Wednesday December 15th or you will not be able to access campus and may lose access to Ryerson’s online systems. If you are able to enter Canada but you don’t meet the university’s vaccination requirements, you may first need to undergo a full course or a “top up”of an mNRA vaccine before being permitted on campus. 
  • Airline Requirements: Your airline may have additional Covid-19 requirements that you must meet prior to boarding. Check with your airline directly for further information.

All exchange student are required to have Ryerson’s mandatory health insurance, also known as University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)[scroll to bottom of page]. 

You will need pay and register for UHIP when you arrive. UHIP will only cover you as of the start of term, so make sure to purchase travel and health insurance to cover the time period from your departure from your home country to your arrival at Ryerson, as well as the time period for your return home.  

You should also review UHIP’s coverage, external link, opens in new window and, if necessary, purchase additional health insurance to cover services that are not covered by UHIP, such as dental care, prescription drugs, etc.

Cost of UHIP for the 2021/2022 year: 

One-Semester Enrolment = $252.00 CAD

Full-Year Enrolment = $504.00 CAD

It is your responsibility to arrange your own living accommodations while at Ryerson. However, Ryerson’s Off-Campus Housing Office (OCHO) can support you in your search for housing. They provide resources and information on finding both short-term housing (i.e. housing for less than 12 months) and long-term housing (housing for 12 months or more). 

The first hurdle that many newcomers experience is the search for housing. Toronto is currently going through a housing crisis - there is a shortage of affordable housing in the city. As such, it can be difficult to locate short-term (i.e. less than 12 months) housing options that are both affordable and easily accessible by transit.

The Off-Campus Housing office has put together a comprehensive guide on google docFinding A Place to Live, external link in Toronto. They have information and resources for google doclong-term housing options, external link, as well as for google docshort-term housing, external link (search for “Short-term housing” in the document to quickly locate this section).  

Types of Housing Options Available: 

1. Student housing service:

These are private organizations that act like university residences and cater mainly to students. They will often charge services and registrations fees and ask for a deposit, which they are allowed to do. 

Their main benefits are that: 

  • They may offer short-term leases (a rental contract for less than a year)
  • Have furnished rentals
  • Offer other amenities like laundry, internet and activities

Their cons are that: 

  • They can be expensive
  • They can be difficult to get into

2. Homestays:

You live with a family in Toronto. Some homestays include the option of paying for meals. Their main benefits are that: 

  • They may offer short-term leases (a rental contract for less than a year)
  • Have furnished rentals
  • Offer other amenities like laundry, internet 
  • You have a family in Toronto that can show you around and help you get settled. You have a deeper cultural experience. 

Their cons are that: 

  • You get a room, not a full apartment.
  • There are not many homestays in downtown Toronto. You may need to take public transit for 30 minutes to get to school. 

3. Find a short-term rental or sublet a room/apartment directly from someone on the private market.

The benefits are:

  • You may have roommates
  • You have more control over your space/location/distance to campus

The cons are that: 

  • This is the most difficult option
  • There are lots of scams
  • There are very few sublets for only 4 months
  • It can be expensive
  • You may have to provide your own furnishings, cooking materials, etc. 
  • It is very competitive! Sublets go quickly.
You can find more information about these different types of housing options in the short-term housing section of the google docFinding a Place to Live, external link guide (search for "Short-term housing" in the document to quickly locate this information). 

General Tips and Information: 

  • Costs: The cost of housing in the City of Toronto is expensive. You can check out the google docestimated living costs in the Finding a Place guide, external link. Presently, we are seeing bachelor/studio condo units within a 20-minute walk of Ryerson starting at $1,600 CAD per month. The minimum we generally advise students to budget for is $800 CAD per month, split with roommates.
  • Scams: There are alot of scams in Toronto! Make sure to google docreview the tips on avoiding scams, external link.
  • When to look: You should start searching for housing 44 to 60 days prior to your intended move-in date. 
  • Viewing the apartment: It may be difficult to rent housing if you’re not able to see the unit and talk to the landlord in-person. Some students choose to come to Toronto a month early to find housing.They will often rent an Airbnb, hostel, hotel room, etc. for a month so that they can find short-term housing in person. 
  • Leases: In Toronto, the majority of housing available to rent is on a 12-month lease. If you are looking for short-term housing (i.e. you’re planning to stay less than 12 months), we advise against signing a 12-month lease. A lease is a legally binding agreement, so you are not just able to move out early when you want. If you do, you will likely be held responsible for paying rent for the rest of the lease and may face legal action.  For more information, read through the Choosing to Not Renew Your Lease section on the OCHO website. 
  • Locations: You may be able to find cheaper housing in more suburban neighbourhoods like Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough. However, be prepared to commute up to an hour to get to campus. 
  • Confirm your commute: Google Maps can be helpful to check the distance of your rental to campus. You can use the Ryerson Student Learning Centre, external link as a reference point on campus, as your classes will be within a 5-minute walk of this building. Search within 3 kms of campus to keep your walk within 30 minutes

If you have any questions, or need any support for housing both before and after you arrive, you should get in touch with the Off-Campus Housing Office by emailing offcamp@ryerson.ca

For detailed information and resources on what to bring with you to Canada, check out the Before You Arrive - What to Bring section of our Living in Toronto Guide