Before You Arrive

group of students

Photo: Jeff Kirk

As an international graduate student, you have a lot to consider before making the transition to Canada and to the University of Toronto. Here are some resources to ease your transition and help you prepare yourself for your new life in Toronto!

Pre-Arrival Information

Providing checklists, contacts, answers to common questions, and a wealth of step-by-step information, these links will help you prepare for your arrival and your studies in Canada:

Studying in Canada

As an international student you may need a visitor visa and/or working papers to study in Canada. The following links will provide detailed information about what is required for you to study in Canada:

Immigration Information

If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you will need to apply for and obtain a valid Study Permit before entering Canada. Learn more about study permits.

Whether you also need an Entry Visa depends on your country of citizenship. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website has a list of countries whose citizens are required to have an Entry Visa for Canada.

The Temporary Resident Visa (Entry Visa) is a stamp placed on your passport that allows you to enter Canada. In most cases your Entry Visa will have the same expiry date as your Study Permit. Learn more about Entry Visas from the Centre for International Experience website.

Additional Immigration Resources

Learn additional tips about securing your immigration status, and connect with U of T’s immigration advisors:

Working in Canada

As an international student you may be eligible to work in Canada during your graduate students. Visit the links below to learn more, or contact an advisor.

Getting a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Did you know that you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada or gain access to government programs and benefits? Learn about the SIN application and renewal process below:

About Canadian Income Taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency has important tax information for international students studying in Canada. Be sure to visit their website to understand your residency status and your tax obligations as an international student.

U of T has support services and information for international students regarding Canadian taxes. For instance, you can attend a free information session about filing Canadian income taxes. Look for updates about upcoming sessions below:

Health Insurance

Most international students are not eligible for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. As a result, the Council of Ontario universities has negotiated an insurance plan designed to cover international students. The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) is a mandatory health plan to ensure that international students have basic health care coverage while studying in Ontario. See the UHIP Coverage Details for more details.

Unlike students, dependents are not automatically enrolled in UHIP. Students must arrange for dependent coverage directly with the UHIP office. Dependents must enrol in UHIP within 30 days of their arrival date in Canada, or a late fee ($500) will be applied. Students can obtain detailed information about UHIP from the Centre for International Experience. Contact

As an international student, you are automatically enrolled in UHIP and the cost is included on your student account, but you must show your UHIP card and present a claim form every time you use health care services. Be sure to register online, print your card, and always have it with you. UHIP coverage may also be extended to your eligible dependent family member(s).

Consult this handy guide to UHIP for international students at U of T: Watch the Webcast
Still have questions? Visit the CIE website for additional information.


Questions about where to live, what housing is available, and the cost of housing are common for all graduate students. For someone who is new to Canada and to Toronto, it may be especially challenging to find answers.

Here are two webcasts that can help get you started:

Find additional information about housing options and services at U of T:

Money Matters

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