The information on this page is intended to help you prepare for your move to Ottawa, adjust to life in a new city, and begin your studies at Carleton. We invite you to read the CU Start guide, however, there is important information specifically for international and exchange students that is only provided here. If your questions are not answered below we encourage you to explore our success pillars or use our service search tool.
Please click on the checklist that applies to you, and use it as a guide to prepare yourself for studying at Carleton. Each item on the checklist is further explained on this page, below.
Be sure to also check out the International Graduate Student Handbook 2016.
Receive your student number, set up your MyCarletonOne
Your Carleton email will be your main point of contact with the ISSO and the University. Set up your MyCarletonOne and your Carleton email and make sure to check it regularly. The PIN is your date of birth (YYMMDD format). For more information and additional instructions, please visit the Information Technology Services (ITS) website. ITS can be reached by phone at + 1 (613) 520-3700 or email@example.com. With your MyCarletonOne, you will also be able to access CU Learn, which is the platform that your course information (such as the syllabus, class slides, grades, etc.) will be available on.
Exchange students: your Letters of Acceptance will only be sent to your Carleton e-mail account.
On-Campus Housing: Apply for Residence
For information on securing a room on campus in residence, residence and meal plan options, and residence application dates and deadlines, visit the Housing website. For questions regarding residence, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The application for residence is done through Carleton Central and can only be completed after you receive your Carleton student number. Please note that on-campus housing is assigned by lottery and is not guaranteed.
It is suggested to arrive 1-2 weeks prior to the start of the term, should finances allow you to do so. If you will be arriving in Ottawa prior to your move-in date, you will want to make arrangements for temporary housing before arriving in the city. Ottawa Tourism is a helpful resource for finding hotels, motels, and hostels in the city.
Fall Semester (August arrival) only- For first-year undergraduates who have been offered a space in residence, and who have accepted their offer and paid all relevant deposits, may be eligible for an early move-in date in order to attend their International Student Orientation (orientation registration is required in order to qualify). After you have accepted a room assignment in residence, you will be contacted by email with further details (including cost if applicable).
Off-Campus: Search for a place to live
It is important that you secure a place to stay before you arrive in Ottawa. It is suggested to arrive 2-3 weeks prior to the start of the term, should finances allow you to do so. If you will be arriving in Ottawa prior to your move-in date, you will want to make arrangements for temporary housing before arriving in the city. Keep in mind that the first weekend in September is a holiday in Canada and hotels will fill up very quickly. Ottawa Tourism is a helpful resource for finding hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, and hostels in the city.
If you are planning to live off-campus, there are some resources available at Carleton to assist in your search and the City of Ottawa also has a list of resources regarding tenant rights in the city. Carleton’s Department of Housing has an Off Campus Housing page with resources and you can also e-mail email@example.com with questions. If you encounter conflicts during your tenancy, the office of Ombuds Services at Carleton may be able to assist you in finding a solution.
Check the important dates for the academic year
Obtain the necessary study permit/ immigration documents
In terms of Canadian visa requirements, you need to consult the Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate nearest you. Your letter of acceptance from Carleton will be required for any visa application.
All students coming to Canada to study for a period of longer than one semester, require a Study Permit. Students coming to Canada to study for less than 6 months do not require a study permit but do require a Visitor Visa, (TRV), or an Electronic Travel Authorization, (eTA). Students from Visa exempt countries, must apply for an electronic Travel Authorization, (eTA), in order to enter Canada. To find out if you require a Visitor Visa or an eTA, you can use this self-assessment tool. Students applying for a Study Permit from a non-Visa exempt country, will automatically be issued a TRV in addition to their Study Permit, no additional application is required for the TRV.
While a study permit is not required if your study period is less than six months, it is a requirement if you would like to be able to work on campus, so you may choose to apply for one even if your exchange period is only for one semester.
Citizens of the United States are Visa and eTA exempt, but do require a study permit if they would like to work on campus or if they are studying for a period of longer than 6 months.
*Exchange and visiting students are not permitted to work off-campus.
Register for classes
International students: Register for your courses through Carleton Central- be sure to make note of your Timeticket with your specific registration start time. For information on the registration process visit the Registrar’s Office website or contact the Student Registration Assistance Team.
Study Abroad students: Your registration will be facilitated by the Study Abroad Coordinator and completed by the Registrar’s Office, based on the courses you requested on your application. Any requests for registration changes should be sent to the Study Abroad Coordinator. While Study Abroad students cannot add courses in Carleton Central, they are able to withdraw from courses on their own. Study Abroad students must be registered in full-time studies, (minimum 1.5 credits – maximum 2.5 credits per term). The regular course load is 2.0 credits per term.
Exchange students: The courses that you have listed on your Incoming Exchange Application form will be reviewed by Carleton’s departmental advisors. If you have selected courses from more than one discipline, a request will be sent to the designated department contact for each discipline. Once we have received permission for a full time, conflict free course load, you will receive an email regarding your course registration details. Exchange students must be registered in a minimum of three courses (1.5 credits) per term.
Please refer to the Exchange Student Application to find important instructions on choosing your courses.
The ISSO shares exciting opportunities and event information on the following social media accounts:
Feel free to follow or like us before you arrive in Canada to get an idea the programs, activities, and services that the ISSO has to offer! During the academic year, the ISSO will also publish bi-weekly newsletters and notify you via your Carleton e-mail. These newsletters contain important information and updates.
Make a Budget
Refer to our Sample Budget to get an idea of what expenses you should account for throughout the year. You may want to consider opening a Canadian bank account upon arriving to Canada; however you should, along with your parents, meet with your financial institution at home to inquire about receiving money from Canadian ATM machines and transferring funds while you are in Canada. Please visit our scholarships and money matters page to find more resources.
Book your plane ticket(s)
When you arrive you need enough money to pay for accommodation (first and last months rent), buy some set-up items and pay for health insurance, food and so forth. Generally, you should have approximately $2,000 (minimum) to help cover your initial costs.
Register for orientation
The ISSO runs various orientation programs that are mandatory for incoming international and exchange students, which focus on supporting students’ academic and social transition to life at Carleton. Registration is required- please visit the ISSO orientation website for more details. Fall Semester (August arrival) Only- Feel free to visit the Student Experience Office’s orientation page to learn more about various optional orientation programs (including a campus-wide orientation week) that you might be interested in registering for.
If you will arrive after your mandatory orientation date, you must visit the ISSO (128 University Centre) upon your arrival.
Read about UHIP: University Health Insurance Plan and Supplementary Health Insurance
The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) covers basic and primary health care and is mandatory for international as well as exchange and study abroad students. It will be added to your student account upon full-time course registration. Since UHIP is mandatory, we suggest that you do not purchase health insurance at home for the duration of your stay in Canada. We do recommend obtaining travel insurance to provide you with coverage during your transit. As a new student you will not be able to print your UHIP card until September 1st.
You can check to see if you can be exempt from UHIP by visiting our UHIP information page. If you are eligible, you must submit a request within 45 days of arrival in Canada.
Supplemental health and dental insurance:
- Undergraduate students: The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) provides an optional, supplementary health and dental insurance plan. This plan extends coverage beyond what UHIP offers, including prescription drugs, vaccinations, dental, and vision care.
- Graduate students: The Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) provides a supplementary health and dental insurance plan.
Pre-order your Campus Card online
Your student identification card allows you to make purchases on campus, use campus photocopy and printer services, borrow books from the library, and more.
Students living on campus will need their Campus Card at all times to enter residence. If you have accepted a room offer from Housing, you must pre-order your Campus Card online before arriving on campus. Failure to do so will results in delays in the check-in process. Please visit the Campus Card website for more information.
Sign up for the ISSO International Student Mentoring Program
Our volunteer mentors are upper-year undergraduate and graduate students who act as resources for new students as they make the transition to Carleton and Ottawa. You can learn more about the program and register now on the Mentorship Programs page.
Pay fees and/or tuition
Please visit the Student Accounts Receivable website for important information on fee payment deadlines, payment methods, and late payment penalties. You can review your Student Accounts summary online through Carleton Central.
Exchange students do not pay tuition to Carleton, however there are several mandatory fees (for UHIP, UPASS, etc.) that will need to be paid on your student account.
For questions regarding student accounts and balances, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you arrive
Continue to the Post-Arrival Information page for steps you can take to get settled in after you arrive!