Considerations for study permit delays

UVic Global Community Newsletter: September 19, 2022

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.

Considerations for study permit delays

While we have enjoyed welcoming new international students to our campus this fall term, we know that many new students are still outside Canada awaiting processing of their study permit applications. We understand that this is a very stressful experience, especially as students deal with the logistics of moving and starting studies in Canada after classes have begun.

Unfortunately, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a significant backlog and many students are facing delays this year. The (IRCC) website currently indicates a wait time of 12 weeks, however, we know that in many cases this time is being exceeded.  

The University of Victoria (UVic) has joined institutions from across Canada to advocate for improved study permit processing times. However, UVic is unable to intervene on behalf of individual students, and visa offices do not generally consider requests from institutions to expedite processing of applications.

If you have been impacted by these delays, we know that this is disappointing for you. We are disappointed too and want you help ensure that you have a successful start at UVic. Please consider the following:

Undergraduate students

  • Sept. 20 is the last day for 100% reduction of tuition fees for standard first term and full-year courses.
  • Unless you have made special arrangements with all your instructors, we recommend that you drop your fall (September-December) and full-year (September-April) courses if you do not have study permit approval by Sept. 20. Contact your Admission Officer to explore your options for starting in a future term or deferring the start of your program.
  • Starting your program remotely while your study permit application is being processed does not guarantee a study permit approval. Study permit refusals can and do occur. Please consider this possibility if you choose to remain enrolled in courses after the Sept. 20 deadline. Courses dropped after Sept. 20 are not eligible for a 100% tuition fee reduction.
  • If you choose to start your studies in a future term:

Graduate students

  • Study permit refusals can occur. If you do not yet have a study permit, we strongly encourage you to contact your supervisor and department to discuss your options for the fall term.

Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility

  • IRCC has implemented some transitional measures which allow students to study online from outside Canada through August 31, 2023 without negatively impacting their PGWP eligibility. However, full-time enrolment in all academic sessions throughout your program of study is still required in order to qualify for a PGWP.
  • The definitions of full-time studies for undergraduate students and for graduate students are available in the UVic Calendar.

Wait for your study permit approval (and visa if applicable) before travelling

  • Ensure you have all the required documents prior to travelling to Canada. When your application is approved, you will receive a letter of introduction confirming the approval. This letter is not a study permit. It is proof that your study permit application is approved, and it authorizes the issuance of a study permit at any Canadian port of entry.
  • If you require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada, when your study permit is approved you will receive a request to submit your passport to the processing office for visa issuance. The process to submit and retrieve your passport will take additional time, so please factor this in to your planning.

Please know that we are here to support you during this challenging time, and we are looking forward to welcoming you to our campus when you are able to join us.

If you have questions about any of these topics, make sure to contact International Centre for Students (ICS) via email () or by phone (+1 250 721 6361) for advice. Phone and email inquiries are responded to from Monday to Friday between 9:00am and 4:30pm (PT).

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