Frequently Asked Questions: Studying in Vancouver

Visas and Permits

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Will I need a permit to enter Canada?

To determine eligibility, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

Will I need a study permit to study at UBC Extended Learning?

You may be required to apply for a permit. Please refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

How do I get a permit?

After your application form, non-refundable application fee and program deposit have been processed, you will be notified of your acceptance into the program by email or post. As part of your permit application, you will require a letter of acceptance to take to your nearest Canadian Embassy office. In some countries, a medical examination and request for biometric information may also be required. For more specific details on how to receive a letter of acceptance, contact the applicable program unit.

UBC Extended Learning does not issue a letter of acceptance for open enrolment courses.

How long does it take to get a permit?

The time needed to process an application varies by country. Please refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for more details.

What if I don't get my study permit in time for the program for which I've applied?

If you do not receive your permit in time for the program for which you have applied, please view the applicable program details and contact the program unit as soon as possible for options that may be available to you.

What if I get denied a permit?

If you are denied a permit, it may not be possible to study in Canada. Please notify the program unit as soon as possible to see what options may be available to you.

What if I want to go to the United States while I am studying in Canada?

You may need to have an entrance visa for the United States depending on your home country. It is recommended you check these requirements before leaving y your home country. All US immigration questions should be directed to the United States Consulate-General located in downtown Vancouver, as UBC does not provide advice on US immigration issues.

Do I get a refund if my permit application is refused?

Yes, if you are refused a study permit, you are eligible for a refund of most of your fees. You will need to inform the program unit immediately and provide supporting documentation when requesting a refund. Please view your program website for instructions and conditions.

Do I need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada?

Effective March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to enter Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa. Applicants are encouraged to apply in advance as processing times may vary. Please refer to the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) website for more information and application instructions.


Do I need medical insurance?

Yes, medical insurance is required during your time in Canada from an approved insurance provider (Global Campus Health Insurance or the provincial government, MSP). The cost (approximately $2-3 per day) for this insurance is not included in your program fees. It is your responsibility to ensure you have medical insurance coverage throughout your stay in Canada. Contact your program unit for more information.

What other living expenses are typical?

Personal expenses such as clothing, household goods, personal toiletries and supplies, recreation and entertainment, etc. are approximately $600 per month. If you do not live in a homestay situation, food costs approximately $300 per month. These are only estimates and your personal experience may vary.

Will I need to buy textbooks and other class materials?

Most class materials and textbooks are included with your course or program fee and will be indicated in the course or program details. If you are not sure, contact the program for more specific information.

Do I require a computer while studying in Vancouver? What about internet access?

Yes, most courses and programs will require you to have access to your own computer. Check with your program unit for other possible options. High speed wireless Internet access is available throughout the UBC Vancouver campus and at UBC Robson Square.

Do you provide airport pickup?

Yes, arrangements can be made to meet you at the airport for a fee. Alternatively, you may hire a taxi or take a bus. The distance between the airport and the central business district of Vancouver is about 20km and a taxi ride will be approximately $32 with a tip for service. View our information on transportation for more details.

How much spending money should I bring?

Please do not arrive in Vancouver with large amounts of cash, or carry large amounts of cash around with you once you are here. Currency exchange services are available at the Vancouver Airport and at any of the major banks or credit union banks in the city. Travellers cheques or credit cards are a safer way to pay for your purchases because they can usually be replaced if they get lost or stolen. Many banks are open on Saturdays and most stores accept direct debit using bank cards. ATM bank machines are widely available throughout Vancouver.

If you need assistance opening a Canadian bank account when you arrive, please contact your program unit. The following banks are located on or near campus:

If you want to arrange to transfer funds before you arrive in Canada, there are several ways to do this:

  • Obtain a bank draft for the amount you wish to transfer and bring it with you to Canada. It can take anywhere from 10-20 days for a bank draft to be processed.
  • Wire funds from your local bank to a Canadian bank. This method ensures that your money is available immediately once transferred to Canada.
  • Use an electronic bank card from your home bank to withdraw money at ATMs (bank machines) in Canada. You may have to pay service charges for using a bank card outside your country and exchange rates change daily, so check with your bank before choosing this option.

If you are staying in homestay, you may pay your homestay fees to your family with traveller's cheques. Please ask our staff about the best ways to pay your housing fees to avoid carrying large amounts of cash.