8 Must Have Documents Before Travelling to Canada as an International Student

As a foreign student that wants to consider travelling to Canada for their studies, there are some mistakes you cannot afford to make. One of these mistakes is forgetting to pick an important document before leaving your country. This can be very disastrous as you could lose your admission, encounter difficulties with immigration officials, or even be forced to go back home.

Travelling to Canada

Nobody wants to experience this of course but that does not erase the possibility of it happening. The best thing a foreign student can do is to check thoroughly for any mistakes in any documents, and make a list of all the important documents that must not be forgotten and check the said lists. These actionable steps will also help to relieve the student of fear and anxiety. Once the student has checked and double-checked and has ticked all the documents on the checklist, they are good to go!

So, in this article, we will be looking at the top eight documents that every foreign student about to travelling to Canada must not forget. Check our document checklist below!

1. Your valid passport or approved travel document.

Travelling to Canada

Your passport or the designated travel document is a must for every foreign student travelling outside their country. Your passport is the travel document issued to you by Canada. A passport is the general requirement when a traveler is moving between two countries. Passports usually have start dates and expiry dates, so a foreign student travelling to Canada is expected to plan their trip during this time frame. If you have an existing passport or travel document that is about to expire and you will soon travelling to Canada for your studies, you will need to renew the said passport. This document is a must have.

2. The Letter of Introduction the Canadian Visa office sent to you.

Your letter of introduction is a must-have document that you will need to show immigration officers once you arrive in Canada for the very first time. Your Letter of Introduction will be exchanged with an official study permit for you which you will use and show every time you want to re-enter Canada as a student.

Your Letter of Introduction usually comes with your student visa. This is a very important document you must have before you travel to Canada as a foreign student. The Letter of Introduction is usually issued by the Canadian High Commission. The Letter of Introduction is also called the “Port of Entry Letter” and this name alone tells you all you need to know of this document.

3. Valid Acceptance Letter from an accredited Canadian institution.

This letter is also known as Offer of Admission and is a compulsory document required by the IRCC before you can even apply for study permit. In order to receive an Acceptance Letter or Offer Letter, you must have first of all, applied to a designated Learning Institution in Canada. You might be asked of this important document when you arrive in Canada as well. So, it is best to make sure you don’t forget it. You will be required to show an original copy of the letter to the authorities. This letter tells anyone that you have been offered admission into a Canadian higher Learning Institution.

4. Proof of Funds.

When coming to Canada as a foreign student, one of the main requirements is your ability to sustain yourself throughout your study time in Canada. You will need to show either a bank statement, a scholarship proof or assistant-ship proof to the officials. These letters or statements must be sufficient enough to fund your tuition, feeding, housing and other miscellaneous expenses in Canada. Proof of funds can be shown through a number of documents that we stated earlier above. This proof of funds is a necessary must-have for you.

5. Your Letters of Reference and Government ID.

Although, one would have thought that having a passport is all the government identification an International traveller will need, but it turns out that it’s not the only one. You should bring along some other form of government identification like your driver’s license from your country or even insurance card.

Also, letters of references might be needed during screening at the Canadian institution. So, you should make arrangements for reference letters. There are formats which a reference letter should follow in Canada. For example, it must be stamped with the company’s seal, be written on company’s letterhead and more.

6. Valid Proof that you entered Canada legally.

In order to effectively prove that you entered Canada, make sure that the Border Services Officers place a stamp on your passport or your travel document before you leave the Customs. You can also use a Primary Inspection Kiosk to stamp your passport too. The reason to prove your entry into Canada is that your educational institution may ask for it; for proof. And you have to give them something right? Yes…

7. A Valid eTA or Visitor Visa.

If you are a Visa exempt foreign national that is travelling to Canada, then you will be issued the eTA which means Electronic Travel Authorization. It is for foreigners travelling by air to Canada. The eTA allows Canadian immigration to screen you even before you arrive. The eTA is valid for up to 5 years and is automatically linked to your passport electronically.

So, a foreign student might be asked to show the eTA when they arrive in Canada if you are visa exempt (Canadian visa) or your country does not require a visa for its nationals to visit Canada. Also, you will be asked for a visitor visa if you don’t have an eTA. A visitor visa is also known as temporary Resident Visa and it is a must-have for all foreign students travelling to Canada. They usually stick the visa inside your passport and both are very official documents.

Whether what you need is a visitor visa or an eTA depends on;

  • What type of travel document are you using?
  • your country of origin or nationality
  • the means through which you traveled to Canada etc.

So, either one of the two documents is a must have for any foreign national student depending on the one you have. If you are travelling to Canada for studies forgetting to take along anyone of these two documents could be disastrous. So, make sure you check it off the list before you travel.

8. Other documents you are required to bring by the Visa office.

Apart from the seven documents enumerated above, there might be other documents specifically required of you to bring along. Do make sure that you take all of them with you. Some other things they could ask for include your medical records, marriage certificate, documents from high school, and more.

You are advised to visit your hospital for a full medical body check up before you leave your country for Canada. If you have prescription to collect from your doctor, do make sure you collect them, so that you don’t run out of drugs. Just stay abreast with the immigration officers’ requests and you will be just fine.


So! now, you know the documents to mark as “important” right? Good. Make a checklist of these documents and others that are asked of you and tick them off as you stock them in your traveling bag. We hope the article answered your questions.

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