As an international student, you will need valid immigration documents to live and study in Canada.
It is your responsibility to make sure that all of your immigration and legal documents are maintained and up-to-date. CIE holds regular information sessions and workshops to help you understand your responsibilities.
It is your responsibility to make sure that all of your immigration and legal documents are maintained and up-to-date. However, we understand that navigating government regulations and important paperwork can be challenging. CIE's immigration advising office is here to help.
The Student Advising office is located in room 202 at the Centre for International Experience, 33 St. George Street. We are open Monday to Friday by appointment only.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the department of the Government of Canada which manages everything related to immigration including your application. As an international student you should always follow the instructions found on the IRCC website.
Any application you want to submit online must be through this official government website.
Learn how to submit an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
We recommend that you keep up-to-date with all the changes in regulations that may affect your status.
Be diligent about your immigration status!
- If you haven't already, create your Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) online account and familiarize yourself with the online application system.
- Keep a record of the expiry dates of your Passport and your Study Permit.
- Apply for a Study Permit extension two or three months before the expiry date.
- Always keep a scanned copy of each of your documents (for example, you could email it to yourself).
- Make note of your Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) ‘Client ID Number’, also called ‘UCI’. It is an 8-digit number found on your Study Permit. This is your personal identification number assigned to you by IRCC.
A study permit is an immigration document that allows you to live in Canada temporarily while you study at a post-secondary institution. It is the most important document that international students get. Your study permit gives you legal status in Canada. It also helps you apply for your student card, a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and work permits. Therefore, you should always make sure that your study permit is valid for the duration of your program of study and stay in Canada.
If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and you want to study in Canada in a program of 6 months or more, then you must have a valid study permit.
The Temporary Resident Visa (Entry Visa) is a stamp placed on your passport that allows you to enter Canada. It is usually granted by the visa office which processes your study permit application. Once you apply for a study permit, the visa will be granted automatically when your study permit application is approved (by a visa office outside Canada). You don’t have to submit a separate application with your initial study permit application. Upon entry to Canada you also need to have a valid Study Permit if you are a student, or a valid Work Permit if you have finished your studies and hold a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
Whether you need an Entry Visa depends on your country of citizenship. The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website has a list of countries whose citizens are required to have an Entry Visa for Canada.
In most cases your Entry Visa will have the same expiry date as your Study Permit. If you don’t finish your program of study before the expiry date of your Study Permit, you will need to extend your Study Permit before extending your Entry Visa. Both documents can be extended from within Canada. While you are in Canada, an Entry Visa will not be given to you automatically when you successfully renew your Study Permit. You need to submit a separate Entry Visa application once your Study Permit application is approved.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
If you are from a visa-exempt country, you will be required to have a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). The eTA is a granted automatically once a study permit application is approved.
If you decide to stay in Canada permanently, there are several ways you can apply to become a permanent resident of Canada. The Government of Canada website contains detailed information about the different Permanent Residency (PR) options, the eligibility criteria and the application process. CIE advisors are not able to provide any guidance/advice about Permanent Residency.
Inviting family members
As an international student, you may invite your spouse, common law partner, children or parents to visit you in Canada. Any visiting family members must apply for a Visitor Visa if they are coming from a country whose citizens require a visa to enter Canada or an eTA if they are from a visa-exempt country.
Spouses of students
Spouses of international students are eligible to apply for an open Work Permit if they wish to stay in Canada long-term with their spouse (i.e. you, the international student). The Immigration Canada webpage provides information about how you can get an open Work Permit for your spouse.
Children of students
If you are bringing children with you, we recommend that you apply for a study permit for them, especially if they will be attending school in Canada. Children are usually given a study permit with the same expiry date as the parent’s permit. They will also be granted a visa or an eTA automatically once their study permit application is approved. Children may also be included on their parent's application for a visitor’s visa or eTA. However, children will be allowed to stay in Canada for up to only six months with the visa or eTA. You will have to apply to extend their stay if you would like them to stay longer.