How to get a BCID as an International Student or Working Holiday Traveller in Canada

Welcome to Canada! You have finally landed in beautiful British Colombia to start your program with Stepwest, now it’s time to hit the ground running. Whether you are an international student or a working holiday traveller, having a BCID is extremely useful. Here, we cover everything you need to know about what the BCID is, why you need it and how to secure one as an international student or working holiday participant in Canada.

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.

Why Do I Need One?

The main reason our participants in BC want to get their BCID card is that it is the best way to avoid losing their passports or permits while studying or working in Canada. having an identification card 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 this card is very useful!

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 your 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 permit 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 a working holiday or student in BC for less than six months, can I get my BCID card?

For you to get your BCID card you must have at least six 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 a BCID cost?

It costs $35 and you will pay right away at the ICBC offices. 

Will I get my card right away?

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

I just arrived in 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.

Have More Questions?

Are you planning on coming to Canada through International Experience Canada (IEC) or as an international student?

Get started on your adventure to Canada on our Working HolidayInternship and Study and Work Programs.

Fill in the form below and we will be happy to reply to your inquiry about our programs within one business day. Our team can set up a FREE consultation where we will discuss how we can help make the process of coming to Canada and getting work experience easy!