Arriving in Canada

Image of a student in front of an airport building

Airports can be large and confusing, even in the student’s home country, where language, customs, and travel practices are familiar. Here are a few tips students should follow when travelling to Canada to reduce stress and be prepared.

When flying to Canada, students are required to do the following:

  • Complete a Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) Declaration card. These cards are distributed on the airplane prior to landing or will be available before customs or at digital kiosks.
  • Follow the signs that say “Arrivals and Customs” (known as the immigration area). Airport and/or security personnel are often available to help direct international travellers.
  • Enter the non-Canadian citizens line.
  • Present the following documents to the immigration officer when called:
    • A valid passport
    • A valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA)
    • A Letter of Acceptance from the student’s academic institution
    • Proof of adequate funds to support themselves in Canada (GIC documents)
    • Letter of Introduction (LOI)
    • Any other documents submitted when the student applied for their study permit/visa
    • Address of accommodations
    • The approximate Canadian dollar value of the items the student has brought with them

Navigating the Airport 

Many Canadian airports have arrival guides on their websites. Students can research the airport they’ll be flying to ahead of time.

The 10 most popular international airports in Canada are:

  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (ON)
  • Vancouver International Airport (BC)
  • Montreal Pierre-Elliott Trudeau International Airport (QC)
  • Calgary International Airport (AB)
  • Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport (ON)
  • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (MB)
  • Halifax Stanfield International Airport (NS)
  • Kelowna International Airport (BC)
  • Victoria International Airport (BC)

For more information about life in Canada, please visit our Life in Canada section of our Canada Study Guide.