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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.

Entering Canada and the border

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. P rior to traveling to Canada, prepare for arrival and review the documents you will need to travel with.


  • Make sure your documents are with you in your carry-on luggage when you travel, not in your checked luggage. 
  • Your study permit (and co-op work permit, if applicable) will be printed upon entry - take a moment to review that the information on it, such as name and dates, are correct.
  • Conditions of your study permit (and co-op work permit, if applicable) will be printed on your documents, if there are none at all, please confirm with the CBSA officer before leaving the airport.

Transportation from the Calgary International Airport

There are several transportation options available from the Calgary International Airport into the city. Public transportation is the least expensive option, while a taxi or TNC operator is generally faster and will take you directly to your destination. 

Public transportation

Calgary Transit provides public bus transportation to and from Calgary International Airport (YYC). Route 300 connects from the airport terminal to downtown, and Route 100 connects from the airport terminal to McKnight- Westwinds LRT Station (LRT Blue Line).

Purchase a ticket

  • You will need to purchase a boarding pass (ticket) in the terminal  before you can board a bus.
  • Ticket vending machines are located at Door 15, Pillar 32 and Door 1, Pillar 7.
  • Debit, credit and coin payment are accepted.
  • The fare costs $10.75 and includes 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).

Taxi service

On-demand, round 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. Depending 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 are travelling 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 of doors 16 and 17.

Transportation Network Company (TNC)

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 TNC driver at one of the designated zones – located on the arrivals level outside Door 1 or Door 12. 

Authorized TNC operators at the Calgary International Airport currently include Cowboy Taxi,  TappCar and UBER

Pre-arrival checklist

Apply for your study permit and TRV or ETA - Once you have paid your tuition deposit and receive your confirmation letter, go ahead and apply for your study permit. We recommend that you apply early! You can check processing times on the IRCC website. Once you receive approval for your permit, send a copy to the Office of the Registrar.

Create a budget - Familiarize yourself with living costs in Calgary and develop a budget to manage your finances. 

  • Apply for entrance awards  -  As a newly accepted student, you may be eligible to apply for entrance awards.    
  • Arrange accommodations  - Whether you are living on campus, off campus or with family, make sure that you have at least your first few nights’ stay confirmed before you arrive in Calgary. If you are interested in living on campus, check out SAIT 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.   
  • Keep note of important dates  - such as fee payment deadlines - and review the tuition payment methods, including CIBC International Student Pay.

Take a virtual tour of SAIT  - Explore the campus before you even leave your home country by taking a virtual tour.

Register for International Student Orientation (ISO) - Your first chance to connect with the staff of the International Centre and to meet fellow international students will be at ISO. Attendance at ISO is mandatory for all international students. You will be emailed registration information for ISO the month before your classes start.

Stay up-to-date - Check your email for important pre-arrival messages from SAIT and the International Centre. Make sure to add SAIT email address to your safe sender list so you don’t miss any important news.

Prepare for arrival in Calgary -  Prepare for arrival at the airport - and 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.

When you arrive

  • If you will be arriving in the winter, make sure you pack a warm jacket – the weather will more than likely be cold!
  • Have the address handy for your first night’s accommodation.
  • If you will arrive at nighttime, you might want to have some snacks with you for your first night, as stores and restaurants in your neighborhood may be closed. 
  • Once you arrive at your destination, remember to check in with friends or family back home so they know that you have arrived safely.

Applying for Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)

If you are a student studying in Alberta with a valid study permit apply for AHCIP immediately upon your arrival. Please see the following document for all the details.