International Students

Anyone who needs a study permit to enter Canada is considered an international student.

Near or far, we know that family and friends of international students play a significant role in their student’s success at U of T. Use this page to gain a better understanding of student life in Canada. Find links to services available to your child while they study at the U of T St. George Campus.

If you have additional questions, please complete the Share Your Questions form.

Young student wearing mask and reading on plane

Student privacy in Canada

Student privacy at U of T and throughout Ontario, Canada is protected under the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. This means that U of T students are assumed to directly interact with the university, manage their academic affairs and advocate for their own needs. If contacted by a family member or friend of a student (international or domestic), U of T staff and community members are not able to disclose personal, academic or health information without the student’s expressed consent. 

Student safety in Canada

All at U of T strive to ensure that students have access to the resources and expertise they need to be safe and successful. Nevertheless, if you are concerned about your student and believe your student is at risk or requires urgent help, immediately contact Campus Safety Special Constable Service at 001-416-978-2222 (from outside North America) or call 911 (locally/from within North America).  

International students can access all the services available to students on the St. George campus, with the exception of some mental health online services.  However, sometimes international students require specialized assistance from a service, program or support person that understands their unique experience at U of T.

U of T extends a warm welcome to newcomers, through an assortment of orientation activities and services for newly admitted students. There are many pre-arrival and welcome services just for international students.  

U of T’s international student experience ambassadors and transition advisors are available to support international students in adjusting to Canada and building new communities.  Before your student arrives in Canada, encourage them to review our pre-arrival checklist of tasks they should complete prior to starting classes. 

The Centre for International Experience is a meeting place for a diverse community of international students coming to U of T, domestic students who are relatively new to Canada and students looking to go abroad. The CIE offers a variety of programs and services for students including pre-arrival and welcome services for international students

International and domestic students have benefited from U of T’s Writing Centres support services for both native and non-native English language speakers. Through Academic Success, students can access workshops and appointments for English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners.

U of T’s immigration advisors are here to help international students understand their options, rights and responsibilities in Canada.  

Our immigration advisors can help students understand Canadian immigration processes and support students in obtaining documentation such as visas, study permits and work permits.  

Before coming to Canada, we recommend that U of T international students and their family and friends stay up to date on guidelines concerning COVID-19’s impact on travel and campus life at U of T.

Our immigration advisors also help U of T students understand what documentation may be required before inviting their international family and friends to visit them in Canada.  

If you are outside Canada and planning to visit your student at U of T, your student may be able to support your visitor visa application process by providing a letter of invitation and proof of their enrollment. U of T students may download a Confirmation of Enrollment Letter directly from their ACORN account.

There is a wealth of online resources to support those making payments to U of T from outside Canada and/or using non-Canadian funding sources such as, Third Party Sponsor Payments or U.S. Loan & Benefits programs, to pay for U of T tuition and student fees.

Family and friends of international students may find this Financial Planning and Support Guide for Parents of U of T students helpful. The guide highlights that international students are also eligible for a variety of merit-based scholarships at U of T and the university-wide Work Study Program

Note: International students require a social insurance number to participate in the Work Study Program at U of T and to work in Canada.

U of T’s Centre for International Experience can help international students navigate Canadian personal income tax regulations and to understand whether they are required to file a tax return as an international student studying and working in Canada.

As a family or friend of an international student, you might not always be physically near your student.  Nevertheless, there are a variety of ways you can support student wellbeing, including by being a good listener and connecting with them on a regular basis.  

Another way to support student wellbeing is to become familiar with on-campus and virtual health and wellness supports and resources available to students at U of T.  

At U of T, the health and wellness of our students is a priority. All international students at U of T are covered by the mandatory University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). Find information about UHIP  at you feel your student may benefit from additional health and wellness supports, encourage them to reach out to U of T’s health and wellness support services.