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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.

New Border Measures due to Omicron Variant of COVID-19 (Nov. 30th)

 NOTICE: Entry requirements are subject to change without notice. It is your responsibility to verify the information below and stay up to date with the most recent requirements by checking the COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders website, external link and Covid-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada, external link on a regular basis. The information below was last updated: Dec. 22 2021.

On Dec.17, the Government of Canada announced border measures related to international travel, external link due to the new Omicron Variant of COVID-19. These changes include but are not limited to:

  • All fully vaccinated travellers are asked to follow public health measures, including:
    • Wearing a well-fitted and well-constructed mask
    • Maintaining a list of contacts for the 14 days after entry to Canada
    • Exercising extra precaution
    • Avoiding high-risk settings (ex. Long-term care facilities)
  • Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 are not required to quarantine upon entering Canada if they meet the following conditions:
  • For up to date information regarding entry requirements and restrictions for foreign nationals from specific destinations visit the Travel, Testing and Borders page, external link of the Government of Canada.
  • Prior to arriving in Canada, it is strongly encouraged that travellers to pre-register with the testing provider, external link at their arrival airport
  • It remains mandatory that Travellers submit their information (including quarantine plan, and proof of vaccination) through the ArriveCAN, external link application - free app, and available through website as well. 

We have updated the information below to reflect the new entry requirements. Please read through it carefully AND visit the government website, external link regularly to ensure that you are meeting the necessary requirements to enter Canada.

In the case of contradictions between any materials presented on the website, and government resources; Government resources take precedence, as they remain the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 measures.

Use the “Verify If You Can Travel To Canada” Tool (Please use this!)

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. This tool will let you know if you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller or not. 

As entry requirements change, you should use this tool regularly to verify if you can travel to Canada.

Fully Vaccinated Travellers

 NOTICE: Entry requirements are subject to change without notice. It is your responsibility to verify the information below and stay up to date with the most recent requirements by checking the COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders website, external link and Covid-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada, external link on a regular basis. The information below was last updated: Dec. 22 2021.

If you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, external link according to the federal government definition, you must also meet these requirements to enter Canada: 

  • Provide proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result taken within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your last direct flight to Canada OR proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days ago 
    • Traveller name and date of birth
    • Name and civic address of the laboratory/clinic/facility that administered the test
    • The date on which the test was taken
    • The type of test taken
    • The test result
    • ** You should keep proof of your test result with you for the 14-day period that begins on the day you enter Canada
  • Have and submit a suitable quarantine plan into the ArriveCan app prior to your departure. You may be asked to explain your quarantine plan at the border. See the section below on Quarantine Plan Required for Entry into Canada
    • You may be requested to quarantine for 14-days if you do not qualify as a fully-vaccinated traveller
  • Submit proof of your vaccination, your trip information, and a health screening in the ArriveCan app
  • Take an Arrival test when you arrive, external link. You can schedule your Arrival test in advance. You are not required to pay for the Arrival test
  • You are not required to quarantine while waiting for your test results, rather the Government requests you take the following precautions (NEW)
    • Follow local public health measures
    • Wear a mask when in public spaces for the first 14 days after your entry;
    • Maintain a list of all close contacts for your first 14 days in Canada
    • Monitor yourself for signs and symptoms
    • Keep copies of your proof of vaccination and pre-arrival tests for 14 days
    • Follow Canadian guidelines for if your Arrival test is positive for COVID-19, and you are a fully-vaccinated traveller
  • If you test positive for your arrival test, external link, though you are vaccinated you must: 
    • Isolate for 10 days
    • Report your test results and/or symptoms to the Public Health Agency of Canada by calling 1-833-641-0343
  • Complete other requirements as outlined by the Government of Canada

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

Travellers Who Do Not Qualify As Fully Vaccinated

 NOTICE: Entry requirements are subject to change without notice. It is your responsibility to verify the information below and stay up to date with the most recent requirements by checking the COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders website, external link and Covid-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada, external link on a regular basis. The information below was last updated: Dec. 22 2021.

If you do not qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, external link according 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, a letter of acceptance from Ryerson university, and provide proof of finances for your stay in Canada
  • Provide proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result taken within 72 hours of your scheduled departure time of your last direct flight to Canada OR proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days ago
  • Submit your trip information and a health screening in the ArrivaCan app prior to your departure
  • Submit your quarantine plan into the ArriveCan app prior to your departure. You may be asked to explain your plan at the border. See the section below on Quarantine Plan Required for Entry into Canada
  • Take an arrival test when you arrive, external link. You can schedule your arrival test in advance. You are not required to pay for the arrival test
  • Quarantine, external link in a designated quarantine facility or other suitable location identified in your Quarantine plan
  • 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

 NOTICE: Entry requirements are subject to change without notice. It is your responsibility to verify the information below and stay up to date with the most recent requirements by checking the COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders website, external link and Covid-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada, external link on a regular basis. The information below was last updated: Dec. 22 2021.

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. 

You must be prepared to quarantine for 14-days, in case you do not meet the requirements of a fully vaccinated traveller, external link or test positive for COVID-19. 

During the 10-day period from the time you enter Canada, you are required to answer any relevant questions asked by a Government of Canada employee.

As such, all students must be prepared to quarantine for 14 days in case your arrival test comes back positive for COVID-19, or in the event that 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. 

Before leaving, make sure to use the Assess Your Quarantine Plan, external link tool that has been developed by the Government of Canada to test if your quarantine plan meets the government of Canada’s requirements. 

Note: When using the tool, private student residences or homestays (i.e. Non-Ryerson residences and accommodation), such as Neil Wyzck, Campus Commons, Harrington House, among others, do not fall under the category of “student residences at a designated learning institution”. You should, instead, select the building type that most closely aligns with the residence. For example, for a student residence like Harrington House, you would choose “Apartment or condo”. For a homestay in a private residence, you would choose “House or cabin”. 

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 quarantining if your arrival test returns positive for COVID-19 (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 policy, students 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.  For more information, check out the Ryerson University COVID-19 Requirements section of the While in Canada webpage. 
  • 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.

 NOTICE: Entry requirements are subject to change without notice. It is your responsibility to verify the information below and stay up to date with the most recent requirements by checking the COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders website, external link and Covid-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada, external link on a regular basis. The information below was last updated: Dec. 22 2021.

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]. 

UHIP is the University Health Insurance Plan, a plan that provides health coverage in various circumstances, including but not limited to hospital services, physician services, x-rays, and annual exams. For detailed information regarding UHIP plan details, what is covered, and what is not covered refer to the UHIP Plan website, external link.

Prior to receiving medical services in Ontario, Canada you must provide valid proof of health coverage. By presenting proof of UHIP coverage, in the form of an electronic card. Upon presenting this proof, you will be able to access Canadian doctor’s offices, clinics, or hospitals.

In order to access your UHIP card, students are able to download the Sun Life App, following the instructions on the Health & Wellness section of the International Student Services website. 

Information you can find on the Health & Wellness page  includes: 

  • Enrollment & Electronic UHIP Card
  • UHIP Claims
  • Preferred Provider Network of Hospitals
  • Healthcare Provider On Campus
  • Premium (Fees)

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.  

UHIP fees will be charged online, through the Ryerson Administrative management Self Service (RAMSS). In order to provide payment, please visit the How to Pay Your Fees page available on the Ryerson website.

Some Additional resources that may be helpful include: 

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

If you have any specific concerns about the UHIP coverage, or require information and support unique to your own case, please reach out to: uhip@ryerson.ca.

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