How Many Days Before Classes Can We Enter Canada?

This article provides essential information for international students on how early they can enter Canada with a student visa, emphasizing the need to comply with immigration policies while highlighting the benefits of arriving a few weeks before classes start to better adjust, explore, and prepare for their studies.
Written by: BorderPass Corp.
Last updated:  
April 2024

Are you finally ready to start your studies in Canada and can't wait for classes to begin? However, one question makes you uncomfortable.

How many days before classes start can I enter Canada? A valid question, as you may need time to adjust and address basic queries.

Of course, you also want to comply with the regulations on students' permitted stays in Canada before the start of classes.

Services such as BorderPass can significantly help you comply with immigration policy and make your arrival before classes productive, leading to a great start to your studies.

This article will give you a head start when you begin studying in Canada.

How Early Can I Enter Canada with a Student Visa?

International students are usually permitted to enter Canada a few weeks before the start of their educational program. 

However, it's essential to note that due to previous travel restrictions, such as those implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, students were allowed to enter Canada at most four weeks before the start date on their study permit. 

Upon arrival, students must present several documents to Canadian border officials. These include:

  • A valid travel document, like a passport
  • The port of entry letter of introduction issued by the visa office
  • A valid letter of acceptance from the educational institution

Students should also know that border services might direct them to a special processing area at some airports tailored for international students.

So, remember to check the expiration date of your visa; you must enter Canada before this date. Being well-informed about these entry details can ensure a stress-free start to your educational journey in Canada.

Advantages of Early Arrival

Arriving in Canada ahead of classes could ease the transition for international students. 

It provides adequate time for adjustment and preparation, ensuring a more comfortable and secure study experience.

Adjusting to the Time Zone

After a long flight, students often experience jet lag when traveling through different time zones.

Arriving early allows one's body clock to synchronize with the local time zone, reducing stress and improving concentration for when classes begin.

Familiarizing Oneself with the Campus and Local Surroundings

Early arrival allows students to explore their new environment at a comfortable pace.


They can locate important campus facilities, such as libraries, laboratories, and lecture halls, which will make it easier for them to navigate once the semester starts.

Finding Suitable Accommodation

Students get a head start in the competitive search for housing by personally inspecting potential accommodations.


They can ensure that their living conditions meet their needs and preferences without rushing into decisions.

Participating in Orientation Programs and Networking Events

Orientation events are critical for understanding academic policies, campus culture, and resource availability. 

They are also excellent for building a local support network and making friends.

Opening a Bank Account

Opening a local bank account is crucial for international students to avoid complications with education payments and daily expenses. 

BorderPass Club is a service that can greatly help you in this process.

Getting a Mobile Phone

Staying connected is crucial in today's world. That's why it's essential to have a secure local mobile phone plan.

Students can compare different plans and services, setting up their preferred method of communication before their schedule becomes busier. 

You can check  current offers at BorderPass.

Other Administrative Tasks

Arriving early can benefit international students, allowing them to complete essential tasks like obtaining a Social Insurance Number, public transit passes, and healthcare services.

This can help students find part-time jobs and simplify their daily lives.

Things to Consider Before Coming Early

Arriving in Canada before the commencement of academic programs requires careful preparation. 

International students should consider various factors impacting their transition before beginning their studies.

Seasonal Weather Conditions in Canada

Canada experiences diverse climate variations, and weather can significantly change depending on the region and season.


Many associate Canada with harsh winters. While winter temperatures can drop below freezing, summer can also be warm and humid. 

Availability of Temporary Accommodations

Securing accommodation before arrival is essential, especially in popular student cities with high demand.

Arranging accommodation before arriving in Canada, whether student housing, a hotel, or a short-term rental, is essential to ensure a smooth transition.

Financial Considerations of an Early Arrival

Students should keep in mind that arriving in Canada earlier than the scheduled date comes with extra costs, such as temporary accommodation, food, and transportation. 

Therefore, it's crucial to budget accordingly to cover the additional expenses incurred before starting classes. Access to sufficient funds is essential to avoid any unexpected financial strain.

How Late Can I Enter Canada with a Student Visa?

Not all international students can arrive in Canada before classes begin due to various reasons.

That's why the question occurs: What is the due date for arrival?

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on entry requirements and deadlines, it is recommended that you check the official website of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or consult a designated learning institution.

Risks of Entering Late to Canada for Your Classes

Just as there are certain benefits to arriving early, there are also risks to entering Canada late for your classes.

A late arrival could result in several drawbacks, affecting the student's academic journey, causing legal issues, and leading to practical challenges.

Missed Academic Content

Students arriving late might miss critical initial lectures and orientations, which often include essential course content, administrative processes, and foundational knowledge.


Missing even a few days could leave students playing catch-up for the rest of the semester. That can be a stressful and challenging experience, which is better to avoid.

Violation of Study Permit Conditions

A study permit dictates specific conditions, including the date students must start their program.


Arriving after this date could be construed as violating permit conditions, potentially risking their status in Canada.

Potential Impact on Post-Graduation Work Permits

Canadian immigration policies link post-graduation work permit eligibility to the study permit.


Late arrival and reduced course load could jeopardize the length of a post-graduation work permit, a critical pathway for students seeking employment in Canada after their studies.

Adjustment and Orientation Challenges

The first few weeks in Canada provide a crucial period for students to settle into their new environment.


Assimilating with peers, understanding academic expectations, and adapting to cultural nuances are pivotal. Latecomers miss these early bonding and adjustment opportunities.

Financial Implications

Unforeseen delays could necessitate additional travel costs or nonrefundable fees. 

Non-compliance with expected arrival times can also affect scholarship or funding opportunities.

Accommodation Difficulties

Finding suitable housing might be significantly harder partway through the semester. 

Students who need to secure housing well in advance could avoid limited choices and higher prices.

Key Takeaways:

  • Students should verify the current regulations before traveling to Canada. 
  • International students are allowed to arrive in Canada a few weeks before the start of their educational program.
  • Students should consider the Advantages of early arrival, such as time zone adjustments, familiarization with campus and surroundings, and finding suitable accommodation.
  • The risks of late arrival must also be considered, such as missed academic content, violation of study permit conditions, financial implications, and difficulties finding accommodation.


What Happens If I Don't Get My Student Visa on Time for Canada?

If students do not receive their visa on time, they cannot legally enter Canada to start their studies.


In such a scenario, the student must immediately contact their educational institution and explain the situation.


Is There a Time Limit to Enter Canada After Getting a Student Visa?

Yes, there is a time limit. Students are usually allowed to enter Canada up to four weeks before the start date of their study program.


Can I Enter Canada a Couple of Months Before School Starts After Receiving a Visa?

Students can only enter Canada after their program begins. Attempting to arrive earlier can result in being denied entry at the Canadian border.


To stay updated, it is essential to regularly check the official Canadian immigration website or consult with a reliable service such as Borderpass.

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