Arriving in Canada
Welcome to Canada!
Arriving in a new place is exciting but may also feel unfamiliar and worrisome. The International Centre is here to support your arrival and transition to life in Calgary.
Canada is the second-largest country in the world, with an area of about 9,980,000 square km (3,894,500 square miles). The country has ten provinces and three territories, with a population of over 30,000,000.
Canadians are proud of their multicultural heritage. All races and cultures have equal status and rights in the country by law. The official languages of Canada are English and French. English is the most commonly spoken language in Alberta.
🛫 Before you come to Canada
Apply for your study permit and TRV or eTA
Whether you are living on campus, off campus or with family, ensure that you have at least your first few nights’ stays confirmed before arriving in Calgary.
If you want to live on campus, check out our on-campus residence. In addition to offering rooms for the year or semester, residence also offers hotel-style accommodations if you need a convenient place to stay on a short-term basis upon arrival in Calgary.
Prepare for arrival in Calgary
Prepare for arrival and review the documents you will need to travel with. Make sure to pack your immigration documents in your carry-on luggage.
Review the Canadian Border Services Agency website to plan your trip across the border.
Create a budget
Familiarize yourself with living costs in Calgary and develop a budget to manage your finances.
As a newly accepted student, you may be eligible to apply for entrance awards.
- Keep note of all important dates, such as fee payment deadlines
- Review the tuition payment methods, including CIBC International Student Pay.
- Check your email for important pre-arrival messages from SAIT and the International Centre. Add SAIT email address (@sait.ca) to your safe sender list so you don’t miss any important news.
- Take a virtual tour to familiarize yourself with SAIT campus
🛬 Arriving in Calgary
When you arrive at an airport in Canada, you can expect to answer some questions from a Canadian border services officer. Answer calmly and truthfully.
Conditions of your study permit (and co-op work permit, if applicable) will be printed on your documents. If there are none, please confirm with the CBSA officer before leaving the airport.
Transportation from the Airport
Several transportation options are available from the Calgary International Airport (YYC) into the city.
Public transportation is the cheapest option, while a taxi or TNC operator is generally faster and will take you directly to your destination.
Calgary Transit provides public bus transportation to and from Calgary International Airport (YYC).
Purchase a ticket
You must purchase a boarding pass (ticket) at the terminal before boarding a bus.
Ticket vending machines are at Door 15, Pillar 32 and Door 1, Pillar 7. Debit, credit and coin payments are accepted.
The fare costs $10.75, including all-day access to all Calgary Transit buses and CTrains.
Boarding the bus
From the domestic terminal, board at Bus Bay 7 or 8 (located across the roadway on the arrivals level).
From the international terminal, board at Bus Bay 32 (located on the outer curb on the arrivals level).
On-demand, around-the-clock taxi service is available at Calgary International Airport.
Fares are based on meter rates. Under normal driving conditions, the approximate fare from the airport to downtown is approximately $40 - $50 CAD. Depending on how far you are travelling, your fare may be more or less expensive.
Taxis can typically accommodate four or five adult passengers, but vans are available to assist if you travel with additional passengers or excess luggage.
From the domestic terminal: taxi stands are located on the arrivals level outside of doors 1 and 6.
From the international terminal: taxi stands are located on the arrivals level outside doors 16 and 17.
TNCs provide affordable transportation by connecting passengers with drivers exclusively through a website or mobile app.
To request TNC services, you will need to use the providers' mobile app or website.
After arranging your ride on the app, you can meet your driver at a designated zone on the arrivals level outside Door 1 or Door 12.
Authorized TNC operators at the Calgary International Airport include Cowboy Taxi and UBER.
Settling into your new home
If you arrive in Canada in the winter, pack a warm jacket – the weather will likely be cold, and you may arrive in the snow.
Have the address handy for your first night’s accommodation. If arriving at night, you might want to have snacks with you for your first night, as stores and restaurants in your neighbourhood may be closed.
Once you arrive at your destination, remember to check in with friends or family back home so they know you have arrived safely.
Applying for healthcare insurance
If you are a student studying in Alberta with a valid study permit, apply for your Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) immediately upon arrival.
You must be registered for this plan to receive insured hospital and physician services.
To apply for AHCIP:
- Download the application form for AHCIP coverage.
- Gather and provide your supporting documents, including those that prove Alberta residency, your identity, and your legal entitlement to be in Canada.
- Submit your application in person or by mail:
- You can bring your application and supporting documents to an authorized registry. There is no charge for this service.
- You can send your application form and copies (front and back) of your documents to the AHCIP office address. Processing times can take up to six weeks.
Attention: Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan
PO Box 1360, Station Main
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2N3
Make sure you show your personal health care card along with photo identification when accessing healthcare services.
🙋🏻♀️ Attend International Student Orientation
Attendance is mandatory for all international students. You will be emailed registration information for orientation the month before your classes start.