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What to Expect at the Airport in Canada

Going through Customs 

All travellers to Canada are required to meet with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) upon arrival at an official Port of Entry.  Students must ensure they have all required documents to enter the country as specified by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Getting a Study Permit

Students requiring a study permit will need to pick up their permit before leaving the airport

To pick up your permit, you must:

  • Ensure you have all the documents you need to enter Canada in your carry on luggage 
  • Follow signs to baggage pick up and customs
  • Speak directly to a border officer when you arrive in the customs area. Students travelling without parents cannot use the electronic kiosk option.  
  • Pick up your luggage
  • Proceed to Immigration to pick up your study permit 
  • Check your study permit before you leave the officer's desk to make sure all information is accurate

Not sure where to go when you land in Vancouver? Review the YVR arrival guide:

Reduce wait times for your study permit at YVR

The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is now offering students the chance to expedite the study permit process when they arrive at the airport by pre-registering at least 72 hours prior to arrival.  To participate, students, their parents, or responsible adults must complete the questionnaire on the YVR website:

This voluntary option allows students to submit personal identification information found in the pre-approved application from Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The information gives the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) advance notice of arrival and provides time to review and print the study permit prior to arrival at YVR. Using the Voluntary Compliance Portal or “VC Portal” is completely optional, and it will only be used to shorten wait times upon arrival at YVR.

Students will need to submit the following information online, 72-hours prior to arriving at YVR:

  • Unique Client Identifier (UCI)
  • Control Document Number (optional)
  • Last Name
  • Planned Date of Arrival to Vancouver
  • Arriving Flight Number
  • First Name (optional)
  • Date of Birth (optional)
  • Passport Number (optional)
  • Passport country of issue (optional)

Choosing not to register to use the VC Portal will not negatively affect the student. 

To be eligible for this service, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Initial point of entry into Canada must be Vancouver International Airport (YVR);
    • Students arriving at YVR from a connecting flight within Canada are not eligible for the VC Portal service; and
  • They must have a pre-approved study permit application from IRCC; and
  • They must submit all the mandatory information at least 72 hours in advance through the VC Portal.