Updated: May 12
What is a BC Services Card and why do you need it?
Basically, it is a form of ID that provides access to government services. Its most important use is to enable you to get access to publicly funded health services - under the Medical Services Plan (MSP). It is also needed to access services that require a photo ID - like opening a bank account.
If you have a BC Driver’s License, it serves both the purposes. But many new immigrants tend not to have a Driver’s License on day one - either because they don’t know how to drive in Canada, or because they haven’t been able to schedule an appointment for a driving test right when they land. That’s why it may make sense to get a BC Services Card in the interim.
There is no fee to get a BC Services Card. There are two types: one with a photo, and one without. Usually you would go for a photo version. The most common reason you would get a non-photo version is if you’re a minor and it is issued automatically. You can get more information about who is eligible for what type of card here.
To get a photo version, you would go to your local ICBC Driver Licensing office. You can find your nearest one here. You would need to carry two acceptable pieces of ID. A detailed description of what is considered an acceptable piece of ID is available here. Be prepared to have your photo taken, and the card will be sent to you in the mail.
If you have trouble getting to an ICBC location, or don’t have the requisite pieces of ID, you can contact the BC Government here.
Keep in mind that you need to be enrolled in the MSP to be eligible for a BC Services Card. Don’t bother applying until you have been in British Columbia for three months and are eligible to be covered under MSP.
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