New International Student Checklist

Use this guide to plan for important steps as you prepare for your studies and arrival in Calgary.

New International Student Checklist

University of Calgary Documents: carefully read any documents or emails you receive from the University of Calgary so you are aware of any steps you need to complete or deadlines.

Canadian Immigration Documents: find out whether you require a Study Permit and Visa at the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate. If you are not sure, contact one of our regulated immigration advisors (

Plan for Your Expenses: learn about what to expect for expenses in Calgary and what strategies you’ll use along the way.

Accommodation Options: decide whether you will choose to apply for on-campus housing through Residence Services or if you will look for off-campus housing once you are in Calgary.

Medical Insurance: your options will depend on whether you are studying for a short time or a full degree. Visit our website to learn more. It is critical that you understand your options and ensure you arrange any necessary medical insurance coverage. If you have questions, contact our advisors (

Travel Arrangements: book your flights so that you have time to attend New International Student Orientation and arrive before classes start. Learn about transportation options in Calgary.

Register for Courses: know when you are able to register for courses and what you need to do. Helpful resources are available through the Office of the Registrar. Exchange students should contact with questions.

  • Fall 2020 New Student Registration Assistance: Students can access course registration support by booking an appointment which will be attended via Zoom, or by emailing in queries. Support is available Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm MDT, from May 1 to August 28, 2020. Learn more here

International Student Services: learn about the services and programs that our office provides. Sign up for programs that interest you!

Arrange a place to stay! If you are not moving directly into on-campus Residence, arrange for temporary accommodation for your first few days while you settle or search for long-term off-campus accommodation. There are student deals for the on-campus Hotel (Hotel Alma) or several budget-friendly hotels near campus; learn more on our website.

Request a UCalgary Student Mentor: Get connected with a current UCalgary student mentor before you even move to Calgary!

New Student Orientation: Register for international orientation—it’s a great opportunity to learn information about adapting to life in Calgary and meet other new students.

UNICARD: Submit your photo to speed up the process of picking up your UCalgary student identification card (UNICARD).

Prepare for Your Arrival: We recommend you travel with some Canadian cash (or plan to exchange some when you arrive in Calgary) to pay for any immediate needs such as food, transportation, and temporary accommodation.

  • Know where you are travelling to in Calgary. Bring a copy of the address with you.
  • Are you relying on a cell phone or electronic devices? Remember your charger and an adaptor.
  • Do you need to travel with medication?  Learn how to travel with medication and what documentation you need to bring with you.

Travelling with Important Documents: Make sure you carry all required entry documents with you when you travel to Canada. Do not pack these in your suitcase—keep them with you at all times. Important documents to carry with you include your passport (with visa, if required), immigration letter authorizing your Study Permit, and your University of Calgary acceptance letter and enrollment letter (if you have already enrolled in courses).

Canadian Cash: we recommend you exchange or withdraw some money to Canadian currency, so you have cash ready in case you encounter any issues with your bank card or have immediate small expenses as you get settled.

Check-in with family or friends: let them know you have arrived

Cell phone: choose a mobile provider and cell phone plan that meets your needs

UNICARD & UPASS: Once you are on campus, pick up your official student identification card (UNICARD) at the UNICARD office (Building: Dining Centre, Room: 18) and, if you are a full time student, your transit pass (U-PASS). The U-PASS is included in tuition for most degree-seeking students; exchange or visiting students will need to pay for it as a part of their fees ($145).


On-campus: Move-in information & rental insurance information

Off-campus: Stay in temporary accommodation while you explore convenient off-campus rental options. Make sure you understand your rights as a tenant and ask questions before signing a lease. Take care to avoid rental fraud with these tips. We strongly recommend you have a written lease (rental agreement). You will need to arrange:

    • How to pay rent each month
    • Utilities (if applicable: heat, electricity, telephone services, internet)
    • Household goods (if needed, furniture)
    • Rental Insurance (strongly recommended to protect your belongings; usually $15-30 CAD/month based on your individual situation)

Banking: If are opening a Canadian bank account, you must bring two pieces of identification (such as passport, driver’s license, student identification card). We recommend you bring your UNICARD and letter of enrollment to ask about student deals. There are several banks near campus—find one that is convenient for you (see our website).

Apply for Provincial Healthcare: If you will be living in Alberta for 12 months or more, you are eligible to register for Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). You must register within your first 90 days in Alberta—you are not automatically registered. Learn more here. If you will be living in Alberta for less than 12 months, you will need to purchase medical insurance, if you have not already. Learn more here

Social Insurance Number (SIN): If you are eligible to work in Canada or intend to receive income (eg. scholarships) in Canada, you must obtain a confidential nine-digit number. Learn more here. You will need your study permit, passport, and letter of enrollment.

Update Contact Details: once you have your new phone number and address, update your Calgary address and telephone number in your Student Centre account.

Keep Documents Secure: save pictures of your passport, study permit (and visa, if relevant); keep insurance and rental agreements saved securely somewhere electronically for future reference. Make sure you know when your study permit will expire.

Campus Safety Supports & Important Contact Numbers

Campus Security/Safewalk (24-hour) - 403-220-5333
SU Wellness Centre and After Hours Support - 403-210-9355
City of Calgary Emergency Services (ambulance, fire, police) - 911

We also recommend you find the nearest consulate location and contact details for your country of citizenship.

Free Phone Apps to Download:

    • UC Emergency App: informs you of on-campus emergencies
    • Transit, Google Maps, Calgary Transit, Uber: helpful for directions, maps, and public transport
    • The Weather Network: to help plan your day, travel and clothing options

UCalgary Courses & Tuition Payment: Finalize your class schedule through your Student Centre account--add (or drop, if necessary) courses and pay any remaining tuition by deadlines.  

    • Exchange students must pay fees like UPASS, student services, and Active Living. Check your fees through your Student Centre. Payment options are available here.

Exchange Student?: If you need forms from your home institution signed, visit the Study Abroad office (MT 501) to speak with the exchange team ( 

Find Your Classrooms: Your Student Centre includes your course schedule with times, dates, and locations. Find your classrooms using the UCalgary Interactive Room Finder.