In the Know: Academic Enrolment Status

UVic Global Community Newsletter: September 14, 2020

In the Know: Advice for International Students is a section of the UVic Global Community Newsletter that includes valuable information and important dates for undergraduate and graduate international students in the following categories: degree-seeking, incoming exchange, and incoming study abroad/visiting.

Study permit conditions and enrolment status

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), if you are in Canada with a valid study permit, you must be compliant with study permit conditions to actively engage in your studies and make timely progress towards completing your program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). You should demonstrate your active enrolment by:

  • being enrolled full-time or part-time during each academic semester (excluding regularly scheduled breaks)
  • making progress towards completing your program’s courses, and
  • not taking authorized leaves longer than 150 days from your study program

To monitor your compliance, IRCC requires DLIs to submit regular reports on the academic enrolment status of international students on study permits.

If you don’t have full-time studies or part-time enrolment during regular academic sessions, then your academic enrolment status will be reported as one of 9 other options.

As a result, it is important that you know and understand your academic enrolment status at UVic because it will be reported to IRCC and will therefore have a direct impact on your temporary resident status or working privileges in Canada.

Note: Depending on the program you are in, your regular academic sessions may be winter sessions or both winter and summer sessions. If you have questions about your program structure, undergraduate students may contact your academic adviser for a consultation. If you are a graduate student, continuous enrollment is required according to UVic calendar.

Make sure your academic enrolment status is reported by UVic

If you came to UVic from a high school in Canada, you may have to change conditions of your study permit before starting classes or report your institution change. 

If you came to UVic from a college, university or language school in Canada, and you are using the same study permit, you must notify IRCC that you changed institutions. Similarly, if you applied for your current study permit with a letter of acceptance from a different DLI, but then changed your mind and decided to attend UVic, you must notify IRCC that you changed institutions, even if you never attended the other institution. Follow the instructions on the IRCC website to complete your school change notification.

If you applied for your current study permit with a letter of acceptance from UVic, you do not need to take any action. IRCC will know that UVic is the DLI responsible for reporting on your academic enrolment status.

Understand UVic full-time definitions for immigration purposes

As IRCC does not have definitions for full-time enrolment, they defer to each DLI for enrolment status definitions. Thus, you must understand the structure of an academic year at UVic and familiarize yourself with the definitions for undergraduate students and graduate students available in the UVic Calendar.*

Please note that there are different definitions for JD students in the Faculty of Law.

An easy way to confirm your enrolment status is to check your Verification of Enrolment on UVic My Page > Student Services > Online Request Forms tab. If you meet the full-time definition but the online VOE does not reflect the right enrollment status, you may contact Student Support Service at studentsupport@uvic.ca to adjust your VOE manually.

Note: Even though UVic may allow authorized leaves, these leaves may impact your study permit work authorization and post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility. If you have questions about immigration implications associating with authorized leave, please contact ISS to speak with an adviser.

Academic enrolment status and possible implications

Your academic enrolment status at UVic impacts the validity of your study permit and your authorization to work in Canada, now and in the future.

For the purpose of meeting study permit conditions, you do not necessarily need to maintain registration in full-time studies to remain in compliance with the conditions of your study permit. Part-time registration may sometimes be considered acceptable.

But if you need to take a leave of absence during regular academic sessions from your studies at UVic and stay in Canada, you should contact ISS in advance to learn about potential implications on your student status and how it may affect your work authorization and future IRCC applications. In the case that your leave of absence is longer than 150 days, you may need to apply for a visitor status to keep your study permit valid.

For the purpose of having the privilege to work while studying or apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) as an international student, you must remain full-time continuously during your regular academic sessions except for the final term or an authorized leave.

Note: In response to the impacts of COVID-19, some students may continue to work if they meet the IRCC COVID-19 special measures for student with authorization to work. It is your responsibility to only work with proper work authorization.

If your enrollment status is impacted by COVID-19 and you need an official UVic letter regarding COVID-19 impacted terms (spring, summer, and fall 2020) for your IRCC application, you can refer to this page for the letter request process.

Whenever you have questions about the immigration implications of your academic enrolment status at UVic, please contact us.

What other supports can help me with program planning?

Careful program planning is very important for international students as your enrollment status may allow you to work during studies or apply for a PGWP after graduation. Seek academic advice early and often to make sure you are on the right track:

The ISS International Student Advising (ISA) team is the best resource to help you navigate the impact of your program planning choices on your temporary resident status, work privileges in Canada during your studies and transitioning to a PGWP after graduation.

Note: UVic is subject to the British Columbia's privacy legislation.  UVic staff must follow UVic's privacy and access to information policies. We will not discuss your situation with unauthorized people or government officials, including IRCC. Regular reports on the academic enrolment status of international students at UVic are submitted by the Office of the Registrar through a formalized process and will not include personal information shared with UVic staff when accessing resources and supports.