Transportation at Providence may be very different from where you live. Because Providence is in a rural area, public transportation is not available. Many Canadian students come to Providence with a car to serve their transportation needs, however, this is more difficult for international students because either you do not drive or you do not have the proper licencing to drive in Manitoba.
Some international students come with a driver’s licence from their home country. There are rules about using your foreign licence while in Canada and you may be required to obtain your Manitoba Driver’s Licence. The following information will help you understand the process to obtain proper licencing so that you can drive in Manitoba.
Driver Licencing and Insurance
A government agency called Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is responsible for issuing driver licences, providing vehicle registration, and for providing insurance called Autopac. MPI will allow you to drive with a foreign licence for three months from the time you enter Canada. You will need your valid foreign driver’s licence and an International Drivers Permit if your foreign licence is not in English or French. After three months you must either stop driving, obtain an offshore student exemption letter (a temporary licence that allows students to drive in Manitoba if they have a valid driver’s licence from their home country) or obtain a Manitoba Driver’s Licence. You can contact the International Student Services Coordinator to help you through this process.
Getting your Manitoba Driver’s Licence (info for Experienced Drivers)
If you already have a driver’s licence from your home country Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) will consider you an experienced driver. This means that you will be able to acquire a Manitoba Driver’s Licence without any waiting periods. However, you may have to undergo a written test and a road test before acquiring a Manitoba driver’s licence. Citizens of the USA, Germany, Austria, South Korea, Switzerland, and the UK are exempt from the written test and may take the road test any time with the first three months of entry into Canada.
If you hold a valid driver’s licence from the USA, you can use your American licence while you are a student in Canada without any obligation to obtain a Manitoba driver’s licence. Manitoba recognizes American driver licences and licence plates as long as you are a student.
Be sure that you bring a driving record (showing your accident record) from your home country along with a translation, if not in English or French (for example if you are from South Korea you should bring a “Certificate of Driver’s Licence” issued by the Korean National Police Agency). Good driving records may entitle you to a discount on the purchase of your driver's licence and qualify you for insurance discounts.
Getting your Manitoba Driver’s Licence (info for New Drivers)
Any person can get a Manitoba Driver’s Licence if they are 16 years of age or older. The first step is to take a written test. Once you have passed this written test you will receive a Learner’s licence. You are not permitted to drive alone with a Learner’s licence but must have supervising driver. After receiving your Learner’s licence you will have to wait nine months before you can take a road test and receive your Manitoba Driver’s Licence. It is recommended that you take driving lessons and practice during this nine-month period.
Bring Your Own Car (Information for American Students)
Many American students bring their own car with them from the U.S.A. Americans do not need to register their vehicles in Manitoba while they are students at Providence if their vehicle is currently registered and insured in another jurisdiction (i.e. in a home state). However, you will need to obtain a student sticker after providing proof that you are a full-time student at Providence and have valid vehicle registration and insurance.
Remember: Winter Driving is Dangerous
Snow or freezing rain can make Manitoba roads icy and extremely slippery. If you are not used to these conditions you may want to take lessons in winter driving. You and your car need to be prepared to survive cold winter temperatures. Having proper survival kits and properly maintaining and equipping your vehicle will ensure safe and enjoyable driving experiences while you are in Canada.
Providence recommends that you buy an annual membership with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA Manitoba). This insurance is a good investment for students who drive regularly, particularly in the winter months when you may slide off the road, need to be towed, have a flat tire, or have a dead battery. With this insurance if your vehicle breaks down CAA will come and get it started for you or tow it to a service centre for no charge. CAA Manitoba also has highway maps and many kinds of useful information for travelers.
Long-distance travel (outside Manitoba)
You do not need a visa or any special documents to travel between provinces in Canada. However you may not drive into other parts of Canada with an “offshore student exemption letter”, this type of student licencing is valid within Manitoba only.
For more information, see the International Student Services Coordinator.
10 College Crescent
Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
Phone: (204) 433-7488 or (800) 668-7768
Fax: (204) 433-7158
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Providence University College & Seminary