Most international students arrive at the Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, the closest major airport to Waterloo. You will need to make arrangements to travel from the airport to campus, a distance of about 100 kilometres. It is a good idea to make these arrangements when you book your flight. We have some helpful advice when it comes to:

Making travel arrangements

The most convenient time to arrive at the University of Waterloo is between 8:30am and 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, when offices on campus, including the Student Success Office, are open and services are readily available.

Please note: The first Monday in September is a holiday in Canada (Labour Day) and all university offices, banks, and government offices are closed that day. For students arriving in January for the winter term, be sure to check when New Year's Day falls, as the university and other businesses will also be closed.

If you have not made housing arrangements before you travel, it is important to arrive in Waterloo at least one week before Orientation. This will give you time to find housing and get acquainted with the campus and the city before classes begin.

You will need to bring enough money with you to cover travel expenses. We recommend that you also bring enough money to cover your expenses for two months. You can exchange currency at the airport and banks.

Arriving at the airport

When you arrive at the airport, make sure that you go to Primary Inspection to speak with a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer.  It is here they will want to see your passport, Letter of Acceptance and proof of funds, as well as your Letter of Introduction in order to receive a Study Permit.

Have a list of items that you are bringing with you ready, as officials will want to know what you are bringing into the country. If you are bringing food, plants, animals and their products, they must be declared on the Customs Declaration Card. If you have sent anything else to Canada, inform the officer and present your shipping records.

Arranging transportation to Waterloo

Airways Transit offers different services to get you to and from the airport. Taking a taxi, or a combination of public transit and a taxi is also an option. Keep in mind that you may be travelling alone and you will have to consider how much luggage you also have to transport.

Transportation options Service description
Door-to-door service This service will pick you up and drop you off at a location and time that is convenient for you. Reservations are required.
Airporter bus service Departs from Pearson International Airport and drops off at the University of Waterloo Student Life Centre at scheduled times thought the day, Monday to Saturday. This service does not operate on holidays. This service will also take you from the Student Life Centre back to the airport.
University of Waterloo bus pick-up service

We organize an airport pick-up service in the Fall and Winter terms from the Toronto Pearson Airport to the University of Waterloo.

Students who have been admitted to the University of Waterloo will receive information by email from the Student Success Office once registration is open.

Travelling around Waterloo and Ontario

You have many options when it comes to travelling from place to place if you do not have your own personal form of transportation. Whether you need to get around the city of Waterloo or you need to travel a little further away, some popular modes of transportation are listed below.

Transportation options Service description
Grand River Transit (GRT) A public transit bus system which operates in the Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge area. GRT bus fares are included in your student fees, so all you need to do is show your WatCard to ride the bus.
Feds Bus The Federation of Students organizes affordable and convenient bus services to and from Toronto, Hamilton, and London.


Coach Canada

Mega Bus

Intra-city bus transportation throughout Canada.
VIA Rail Passenger train services throughout Canada.
GO Transit Bus and train services primarily throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area that also extends to Kitchener-Waterloo.

Waterloo Taxi

City Cabs

United Taxi

Local taxi services.