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Once you're here

At the airport
Getting to Waterloo
Waterloo weather - what to wear
University of Waterloo - first stops

At the airport

Customs and immigration: When you arrive at the airport, make sure that you go directly to Canadian Immigration. Have the following documents ready so that immigration officials can review them:

  • Your passport
  • A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and/or Study Permit, if required
  • Evidence of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay in Canada
  • Proof of acceptance from the University of Waterloo

Your next step is to go through customs. Have a list of items that you are bringing with you ready, as Canada Customs officials will want to know what you are bringing into the country. You are permitted to bring a reasonable amount of clothing, books or other items for your personal use. If you are bringing any electronic items (e.g. computer, digital camera, etc.) make sure to declare them at customs so that you will not be taxed on them when you leave Canada.

If you have arranged to have additional items shipped to Canada, you must inform the customs officials when you enter Canada and present your shipping records.

Detailed information about Canadian customs regulations are available from the Canadian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in the country from where you are applying. A listing of the offices abroad is available.

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Getting to Waterloo

If you have not already done so, you will need to make arrangements to get to Waterloo from the airport, a distance of 105 kilometres, approximately 90 minutes by car.

Airport bus pick-up service

The International Student Experience team in the Student Success Office organizes an airport pick-up service in the Fall and Winter terms from the Toronto Pearson Airport to the University of Waterloo. 

Exchange students who have been admitted to the University of Waterloo will receive information by email from the Student Success Office once registrations are open. Question about this service should be addressed to the International Student Experience team in the Student Success Office.

Other transportation arrangements outside of the ISO airport pick-up service should be made directly with Airways Transit airporter.

Airways Transit airporter

Airways Transit runs a van service between the Pearson Airport and the University of Waterloo. The Airways Transit airporter picks up at Terminals 1, 2 and 3. The airporter provides 24-hour service; however, if you travel at one of the regularly scheduled times listed below, you will receive a discounted price. If you cannot take one of the regularly scheduled buses, you must make reservations in advance by contacting Airways Transit before you leave your country. When you arrive at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, you should go to the Ground Transportation Booth to ask for assistance.

For additional information or to make reservations, you should contact Airways Transit at:
Phone: 519-886-2121

The airporter to Waterloo leaves Pearson International Airport at the following times:

Monday to Friday Saturdays/Holidays Sundays
8:15am No Service  
3:15pm   3:15pm
6:15pm   6:15pm

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Waterloo weather - what to wear

In Canada there are four distinct seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. You will need to bring appropriate clothing for the varied weather conditions of the Canadian climate. Note: In Canada, temperature measurements are expressed in degrees Celsius (°C).

  • Fall (September - December). It is usually warm at the beginning of September, but becomes colder in the later months. The temperature gradually drops from ~20°C to 0°C. Pants, sweaters and a light-weight waterproof coat are advisable.
  • Winter (December - March). In winter, temperatures can range from ~0°C to -20°C. It is essential to have appropriate clothing for this season, including a warm coat, gloves, a hat, scarf, and waterproof boots.
  • Spring (March - June). Spring is usually mild and sunny, but can be cool and rainy at times. The temperature gradually rises from ~0°C to 20°C. A light-weight waterproof coat and umbrella are handy.
  • Summer (June-September). Summers are usually quite warm and sunny. The temperature can rise (~20°C to ~30°C) and conditions can become hazy, hot, and humid in July and August. Light-weight clothing and sunscreen are advisable.

Check the current weather conditions in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

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University of Waterloo - first stops

1. Check into your accommodation

Your first stop in Waterloo should be your accommodations.

If you have chosen to live on-campus with Waterloo Residences, please ensure that you arrive at your assigned residence during office hours. Further information in regards to move-in, room assignment etc. will be sent to you by email approximately 6 weeks prior to the start of your contract. If you have questions about your residence accommodations or require assistance, please contact Waterloo Residences at or 519-888-4567, ext. 32679.

If you will be living in one of the University College Residences or WCRI, you will need to contact the appropriate college or WCRI directly for move-in procedures.

If you are living off-campus, be sure to make move-in arrangements with your landlord prior to arriving in Waterloo.

2. Student Life Centre

Standard business hours for the administrative departments of the University of Waterloo are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you arrive at the University outside of these hours, you should go to the Student Life Centre, which is the only building on campus that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The information desk in the Student Life Centre - the Turnkey Desk - is always open. Staff at the Turnkey Desk can provide you with any information or assistance you my need.

Turnkey Desk, Student Life Centre
Phone: 519-888-4567 ext. 34434

3. International Student Experience, Student Success Office

The International Student Experience (ISE) team in the Student Success Office provides a range of services for international undergraduate and graduate students. You can visit them for assistance with immigration information and non-academic international student support services.

The ISE is open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The ISE is located within the Student Success Office in South Campus Hall, Room 217

4. Student Accounts Office

The Student Accounts Office is responsible for the management of student accounts, including University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), Student Supplementary Health Plan (SSHP), and residence fees.

During the first weeks of term you can pick up your UHIP card from Student Accounts Office and pay any outstanding fees - both credit and debit card processing are available. Note: If you are bringing any dependents (i.e. spouse, children) you can purchase additional coverage for them from Student Accounts Office once you are on campus - this must be done within 30 days of arriving in Canada.

The Student Accounts Office is open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Student Accounts Office, Needles Hall, Room 1110
Phone: 519-888-4567 ext. 33611 or 33374

5. WATCARD office

All students at the University of Waterloo must have a student identification card, called a WATCARD. This card is the only valid piece of student identification on-campus. It is also your library card and your meal card, if you have signed up for a meal plan. You will need a WATCARD to use the athletic and recreational facilities and to pick up documents from the Registrar's Office.

Getting a WATCARD is easy. Just go the WATCARD office on the lower level of the Student Life Centre and present your acceptance letter and a piece of photograph identification. You'll have your photo taken and be given your University of Waterloo WATCARD within minutes.

The WATCARD office is open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

WATCARD Office, Student Life Centre, Lower Level
Phone: 519-888-4567 ext. 32751

6. Registrar's Office

The Registrar's Office provides a number of services including exam scheduling and preparation of official transcripts.

The Registrar's Office is open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Registrar's Office, Needles Hall, Room 2001
General inquiries: (519) 888-4567 ext. 33106

7. Graduate Studies Office

The Graduate Studies Office provides a number of services for graduate exchange students.

The Graduate Studies Office is open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Graduate Studies Office, Needles Hall, Room 2002
General inquiries: (519) 888-4567 ext. 35411
Graduate Admissions Specialist: Susanna Fiorelli,

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