How to get a BCID as an international student or Working Holiday in Canada

May 22, 2018
Posted in How To Guide, Working Holiday

NOTE: Please note that at Stepwest WE DO NOT ISSUE BCID CARDS. This is just an informative blog post for our Stepwest clients (Working Holiday holders or students registered in our study programs in Canada). If you have any questions about BCID, PLEASE CONTACT ICBC at 1-800-663-3051 or check their website here.

Welcome to Canada! You are finally in British Columbia for your program with Stepwest, maybe you are doing a study and work program at a College or a working holiday program! Congratulations! You made it to Canada!

We think this information will be useful for you as we receive a lot of questions from our College students and working holiday participants asking us about how to get a BCID once they arrive to Canada.

The main reason why most of our participants in BC want to get their BCID card is because it’s the best way for you to avoid losing your passport or permits while studying or working in Canada. The BCID is helpful because you can leave your passport and study or work permit at home and use your BCID card to help identify you instead. It can be a long and annoying process if you lose either your passport or permits and takes a long time to get them back, so that’s why the BCID card is very useful!

We’ve rounded up a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that will help make the process of getting your BCID as an international student or Working Holiday in Canada easy!

FAQ on how get your BCID as an international student or Working Holiday

What is a BCID card?

The British Columbia identification card (BCID) is a piece of government photo ID that will help you access services or situations that will require identification in Canada, as it is recognized as a Government ID. 


Do I have to get a BCID if I will only be in Canada temporarily?

NO, it is not mandatory to get a BCID if you have other photo ID from your country, but it is useful if you don’t want to carry your passport or country’s ID around with you during time studying or working in Canada. 

You can keep on using your country’s ID and this will be accepted in many places, as it is a government piece of ID, but if you want to make sure you don’t lose it, you can easily get a BCID card instead. Remember that in Canada you will be asked to show ID for things like having a beer with friends, buying a bottle of wine at a restaurant, etc… so you MUST have a valid ID with you.


Where do I go to get my BCID?

Go to any ICBC Driver licensing office to apply for your BCID. Even though it is the driver licensing office, they are the ones providing the BCID Cards. You do not need to have a previous driving license in your country to get your BCID.

The office in Downtown Vancouver is located at 1055 West Georgia St. room 221 Vancouver V6E 3R5. This office is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm. If you want to visit another office rather than the one in Downtown Vancouver, check this list for more.


What documents do I need when getting my BCID if I am a student or working holiday holder? 

Bring the following documents:

  • Original study or work permit (or both if you have them)
  • Original passport 
  • Original Second piece of ID from your home country, like your country’s ID or driving license. This second ID must show your name, signature and/or photo

Ah! and also remember that they will take your picture there as well as part of the application process, so be ready for it! 😉


I am working holiday or student in BC for less than 6 months, can I get my BCID card?

For you to get your BCID card you must have at least 6 months or more in your work or study permit, so if your permits have less than that duration when you go to request your BCID card, unfortunately you will not be able to get one.


How much does the BC ID cost?

It costs $35 to get your BCID and you will pay right away once you request it at the ICBC offices. 


Will I get my BC ID card right away?

No, you will need to provide an address where the BCID Card will be mailed to, so you will go to the office to request the card only.


I just arrived to Canada and I don’t have a permanent address yet, where do I mail my BCID to?

If you are one of our clients and you don’t have a permanent address, you can mail your BCID card to our office.

Email us if you do, and we’ll let you know when to pick it up!

IMPORTANT: We will only accept BCID Cards for  Stepwest participants, either during your Working Holiday, Internship, or Study and Work program in Canada. If you are not a Stepwest client, please do not request your BCID card be mailed to our office.

How long does it take to receive my BCID?

Your BCID should arrive in about 4-6 weeks.


And that’s it! We want to help make the process of getting your BCID as an international student or Working Holiday in Canada simple and easy! Contact us if you other questions or concerns! Enjoy your time in Canada!

Still have questions? Contact us today!

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