Before Arrival 

There are a number of things you need to consider before your departure for Canada.

  1. Student authorization to attend university in Canada.
  2. Authorization for a spouse to work in Canada.
  3. Health insurance.
  4. Transferring funds to Canada.
  5. Temporary accommodation.
  6. Long-term accommodation.
  7. International driver's license.
As well, you may want to consult the booklet Entering Canada to Study or to Work. The booklet is compiled by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, and offers valuable tips for newcomers to Canada. It is available from the Canadian consulate or the embassy in your country. You may also contact the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency for a copy.
Travelers Division 
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency 
14th Floor 
Sir Richard Scott Building 
Ottawa, ON K1A 0L5
There are also a number of other guides available online which you may wish to consult. These will open in a new window.

Student Authorization

You must obtain this from your home country. Contact the nearest Canadian High Commission/Embassy/Consulate to find out what you need in order to obtain a student authorization to study in Canada. This may include:
  1. A letter of acceptance from the University of Western Ontario (UWO)
  2. Evidence of financial support.
  3. Valid passport and recent passport photographs.
  4. A medical examination.
Please note: You should make copies of all official documents before you go to the Embassy.

Health Insurance

Make arrangements in your home country for health insurance coverage while travelling to Canada and for the first month of your studies. All international students studying in Canada are required to be covered by the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). You will enroll with UHIP when you register at Western. It costs $216 (CDN) per term - this is included in your tuition bill. UHIP does not include dental insurance.

Transferring funds

Before you leave home, exchange local currency for Canadian dollars in the form of travellers cheques, bank drafts or guaranteed cheques. If possible, obtain a credit card (Visa or MasterCard) in your home country, as it is very difficult for an international student to obtain one in Canada. You may also want to consider setting up a bank account in Canada at one of the Canadian banking institutions (e.g., Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank, Scotia Bank, or TD Canada Trust – or a Credit Union). Students tend to open chequing accounts. To set up an account you will need a minimum $50 deposit, passport identification and a permanent address in London.
It is highly recommended that you do not travel with large sums of cash.

Canadian Currency Values

A "Loonie"
A "Toonie"
$0.05 (1/20 of a Dollar)
$0.10 (1/10 of a Dollar)
$0.25 (1/4 of a Dollar)
$1.00 (One Dollar)
$2.00 (Two Dollars)


Temporary accommodation

You should arrange for a temporary place to stay when you first arrive in London before you leave home. There are numerous hotels, hostels, and Bed & Breakfast facilities located near campus. Contact your supervisor or graduate secretary for more information on short-term accommodation. Ask if your department makes special arrangements for international students.

Long-term accommodation

Information pertaining to long-term accommodation can be obtained from the Off-Campus Housing office.
Off-campus Housing
Room 102 Elgin Hall
London ON N6A 5B9
Telephone: (519) 661-3350
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Platts Lane Estates offers accommodation for married students. You must apply as early as possible to ensure an apartment is available when you arrive.
Platts Lane Estates
536 Platts Lane
London, ON N6G 3A8
Telephone: (519) 679-4561
Fax: (519) 679-4867
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The University of Western Ontario also maintains a comprehensive housing information page

International Drivers License

You should obtain an international driver's license before you leave your home country. You may also wish to visit the Ministry of Transportation site for further information.

Entering Canada

At your first port of entry you will have to pass through Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency. It is here that you will have to present your student authorization for validation. Be patient as this may take some time. You must declare any funds over $10,000 (CDN) that you are bringing into the country.

Getting to London

If you are not flying directly into London International Airport you will need to arrange alternative transportation to London. It is a two-hour road trip from Toronto or Detroit to London. Robert Q's Airbus offers a regular and efficient bus service from both Toronto and Detroit airports that will bring you directly into London. Arrangements for this service can be made at the airport. However, we recommend that you reserve ahead of time by calling: (519) 673-6804.

University Community Centre
Room 260
The University of Western Ontario
London, ON  Canada N6A 3K7

p: (519) 661.3394 (or Ext. 83394)
f: (519) 661.3374

Summer Office Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 9 AM – 4 PM.

Friday: 9 AM – noon.