Immigration documents

For COVID-19 related information, visit the COVID-19 Information webpage and the UVic Return to Campus website. Please note, as information can change without notice, for the most current immigration information, always visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and the Government of Canada website

Information on this page has been reviewed by a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) and Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIA) in compliance with the Government of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

If you are not an international student, visit the UVic Immigration website for additional immigration information for the campus community. 

Please be aware that information can sometimes change without notice. For the most current information, always refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

The information below is specific to Canadian immigration documents. If you plan to visit other countries, either on your way to Canada or during your time at UVic, you should connect with the appropriate representative of that country to inquire about the necessary immigration documents.


Study permits

Do I need a study permit?

Most international students need to obtain a study permit before beginning their studies in Canada.

Visit the IRCC website to determine if you need a study permit. 

For full information about COVID-19 entry requirements for international students, refer to the Government of Canada's website.

How long will it take for IRCC to process my study permit application?

It can take weeks or even months for IRCC to process a study permit application, so it is important to apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance (i.e., admission and study permit information letters via email) from UVic.

For current estimated processing times, refer to the IRCC website. The estimated processing times are subject to change without notice, and do not include the time you need to complete your biometrics or medical exam (if required).

How do I apply for a study permit? I am a newly admitted student outside Canada.

You must use your UVic admission letter (conditional or unconditional) and study permit information email sent by the UVic Office of Registrar as your letter of acceptance for a study permit application. 

In most cases, study permit applications must be submitted online. If you meet certain exceptions, you may be allowed to apply by paper. 

Online study permit application

Refer to the IRCC website and follow the instructions to complete your study permit application online. 

If you meet the eligibility criteria to submit a study permit application via the Student Direct Stream (SDS), visit the IRCC - SDS webpage for detailed steps and instructions. 

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If your application is approved, you will receive a port of entry (POE) letter (also known as a study permit approval letter, or letter of introduction). A POE letter is not a study permit. It is proof that your study permit application is approved. When you arrive in Canada, you must show your POE letter to a Canadian border officer, who will then issue your study permit.

Applying at a Port of Entry (POE)

In most cases, students should travel to Canada only after they receive their study permit approval. However, according to Section 214 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, you have the option to apply for a study permit at a port of entry (e.g. your airport of arrival, sea or land border crossing into Canada) if you are:

  • a citizen of the United States,
  • a lawful permanent resident of the United States, or
  • a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon 

If you plan to apply for a study permit at the POE, you should expect to spend at least a few hours at your arriving POE and your study permit application will be processed by a border services officer. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this option.

What documents are required for my initial study permit application?

When you apply for your initial study permit, you will need:

  • Letter of acceptance 
  • Passport
  • Digital photo
  • Proof of funds
  • Documents required by your specific visa office

Additional documents you might need:

  • Letter of explanation
  • Study plan
  • Biometrics
  • Valid English language proficiency test result (SDS requirement)
  • Medical exam
  • Tuition deposit
  • Family information form [IMM 5707]
  • Schedule 1

All documents submitted to IRCC must be in English or French. If your documents are in a language other than English or French, refer to the IRCC website – Translation of supporting documents for applications for instructions on how to prepare your official translations of the original documents.

What is the minimum funding requirement for an initial study permit application/a study permit extension?

Refer to the IRCC website for general guidelines about financial support requirements for your study permit application, including minimum required amounts and a list of acceptable documents.

You may need to use various documents to prove that you have enough money to cover tuition and living expenses for yourself and any family members who will accompany you while you complete your program at UVic. Living expenses include housing, utilities, food, clothing, personal care, child care, and recreation for you and any accompanying family members.

Although IRCC requires applicants to show at least $10,000 CAD in addition to tuition to cover living expenses in the first year of studies (for a single student), it’s important to note that this amount is significantly lower than what most students need in order to live in Victoria. When budgeting for your stay, the Student Aid BC website could be a helpful tool for predicting current living expenses in British Columbia (BC), but keep in mind that your actual living expenses will depend on your lifestyle and the choices you make.

Note: UVic does not require students to pay for tuition at the time of registration. Refer to the UVic important dates calendar to avoid penalties. However, Study Direct Stream (SDS) and some Visa Offices may require you to pay one-year tuition deposit.

How do I apply for a study permit? I am inside Canada with visitor status.

If you are in Canada as a visitor, you are allowed to apply online for a study permit. When you apply, you must follow the instructions for applying from outside of Canada. IRCC will process your application in the same amount of time as though you’d applied from your home country, outside of Canada. Refer to the IRCC website for detailed instructions.

If your application is approved, you will receive a port of entry (POE) letter (also known as a study permit approval letter, or letter of introduction). You will need to take this letter to a Canadian port of entry such as a land or sea border crossing and ask for your study permit to be issued. Keep in mind that you will need to leave Canada to reach the port of entry. For more information, visit the IRCC website.

If you would like to stay in Canada while awaiting processing of your outside-Canada application, you must also maintain valid visitor status until you receive your study permit. If your visitor status will expire before you receive your study permit, you should apply to extend your stay or leave Canada before your visitor status expires.

I already have a study permit. When should I renew my study permit?

If you are coming to UVic from a high school, college, university, or language school in Canada, you can continue to use your study permit if it is still valid and you will start your UVic program within 150 days after you end your last program. However, you must notify IRCC that you have changed your institution.

We recommend that you apply to extend your study permit at least 4-6 months before it expires. Applying before your study permit expires will allow you to continue studying while you await processing, and applying early is recommended since you will need to renew your other government-issued documents (e.g., BC MSP, SIN and driver's license) after receiving your new study permit.

How do I apply to extend my study permit or change the conditions?

Refer to the IRCC website for detailed information about when and how to extend your study permit in Canada. We recommend applying to extend your study permit 4-6 months before it expires. 

If your study permit expires while you have a study permit extension application in process, you can stay in Canada and continue studying (and working, if eligible) until IRCC makes a decision on your application. During this time, you will have maintained status as long as you remain in Canada. 

If you are in Canada and your study permit expires before you submit an extension application, you must stop studying immediately. Refer to the IRCC website for information about what to do if you have lost your student status. You can also visit or contact us to meet with an International Student Adviser to assess your situation.

Do I need to remain full-time in order to meet the conditions of my study permit?

As a study permit holder in Canada, you need to meet a number of study permit conditions. One of the conditions is that you must show that you are actively pursing your studies. You can demonstrate this by enrolling full-time or part-time during regular academic sessions.

However, to be eligible to work while studying or to be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), you must maintain full-time enrolment except for regularly scheduled breaks, or during your final term or an authorized leave.

Full-time enrolment definitions at UVic

The definitions of full-time studies for undergraduate students and for graduate students are available in the UVic Calendar.

Please note:

  • If you are registered with the UVic Centre for Accessible Learning, consult with your CAL adviser to confirm the full-time definition based on your academic accommodations. The definition of full-time enrolment used for scholarships, bursaries, student loans, and external providers may differ from the full-time definitions in the UVic Calendar.
  • There is a different full-time definition for undergraduate (e.g. JD and JID) students in the Faculty of Law.
An easy way to confirm your registration status at UVic is to check your verification of enrolment, which you can access through UVic Online Tools > Student Services > Online Request Forms.

I’m a new student. How do I request a letter of acceptance?

The letter of acceptance you will need to apply for a new study permit is called a study permit information letter at UVic.

If you are a newly admitted graduate student, you will receive an admission letter and a study permit letter from UVic Graduate Admissions and Records Office via email after you accept your offer. These 2 letters need to be included in your study permit application as your letter of acceptance.

If you are a newly admitted undergraduate student, you will receive an admission letter and a study permit letter from UVic Undergraduate Admissions Office via email after you pay your $200.00CAD deposit. These 2 letters need to be included in your study permit application as your letter of acceptance.

I'm currently a UVic student. How do I request a letter of acceptance?

The letter of acceptance you will need to extend a study permit is called a study permit information letter at UVic.

If you are currently a UVic student and your study permit information letter has expired, you can request for a study permit information letter via Online Tools > Student Services > Online request forms as your letter of acceptance.

Make sure to carefully review your study permit information letter when you receive it to ensure all details are correct and that your estimated completion date is accurate before submitting your application to IRCC. If you notice any errors in the letter, please contact the Office of the Registrar to request a corrected letter to include with your study permit extension application:

Undergraduate students

Contact Student Support Services:

Graduate students

Contact Graduate Admissions and Records:

Do I need to give biometrics?

Refer to the IRCC website for detailed information about biometrics (fingerprints and photo) requirements. Exemptions may apply. You can use the online tool to see if you need to provide biometrics. 

If you are not sure whether your biometrics are still valid, use the check status tool to verify.

If you are required to provide biometrics, make sure to follow the steps to give your biometrics. You will:

  • Pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application. (The biometrics fee is $85 CAD in addition to the application fee.)
  • Receive a biometrics instruction letter from IRCC after your application is submitted.
  • Use the instruction letter to book an appointment with an official biometrics collection point to give your biometrics in person.

Keep in mind that estimated application processing times do not include the time needed to complete biometrics. IRCC will only start assessing your application after receiving your biometrics data.

Do I need to study in the summer session?

For undergraduate students, summer sessions may be scheduled breaks in your program. For example, for undergraduate students in the Faculties of Humanities, Science, and Social Sciences, and in select programs in other faculties, the summer session (May to August) is a scheduled break. You are not required to take courses or maintain full-time status during scheduled breaks in order to maintain your work eligibility in Canada, provided that you are a full-time student during the sessions immediately before and immediately after the break. 

Consult with your Academic Adviser if you have questions about your program’s scheduled breaks.

For graduate program students, you are required to have continuous registration. As a result, summer session is not a scheduled break.

My study permit has been lost, damaged, or stolen. What should I do?

To replace a lost, damaged or stolen temporary document that is still valid, you can submit a replacement application. This application must be submitted by paper. Refer to the IRCC website for instructions to complete a replacement application. 

The application fee to replace your valid study permit is $30.00CAD and you must make the payment via the IRCC online payment tool. You will be prompted to log into an IRCC Online Services account to proceed. If you don't have an Online Services account with IRCC, you must first register for one in order to proceed with the payment. After completing the payment, you must print out a copy of the payment receipt to include in your application package.

My study permit has wrong information on it. How can I correct it?

Refer to the IRCC website for instructions on how to amend your study permit. This application must be submitted by paper. There is no option to submit your amendment application online.

The amendment process is only used to correct mistakes made by IRCC. If you need to change the conditions or update information on your study permit due to a change in your situation or your work eligibility, you will need to apply online to change the conditions of your study permit.

How can I check the status of my application?

Refer to the IRCC website for instructions. Do not submit multiple IRCC Web Forms regarding the same inquiry as it may slow down their response time. 


Entry documents

Will I need an entry document?

Canada has two types of entry documents: the electronic travel authorization (eTA) and the temporary resident visa (TRV).

Most international students need to obtain one of these entry documents before travelling to Canada. US citizens travelling with a valid US passport, and US permanent residents with official proof of status, do not need an eTA or a TRV. 

Visit the IRCC website to determine if you need an entry document.

I intend to apply for a study permit outside Canada. How can I get a TRV or eTA?

If you apply for a study permit outside Canada and you are from a country whose citizens require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), your TRV or eTA will be issued automatically upon approval of your study permit application. You do not need to submit a separate application for a TRV or eTA. 

Refer to the IRCC website for information about who needs a visa to enter Canada.

I do not intend to apply for a study permit. How can I get a TRV or eTA to come to Canada?

If you need an entry document, you must apply for one before travelling to Canada.

Detailed instructions and requirements for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) application are available on the IRCC website.

Detailed instructions and requirements for a temporary resident visa (TRV) application are available on the IRCC website. You may be required to give biometrics (fingerprints and a photo). Refer to the IRCC website to find out if you need to complete this procedure. 

Even if you do not need an entry document, you still need to meet certain requirements to enter Canada.

If you have questions about any of the information on this page, please contact an International Student Adviser.


Last updated: July 2022Back to Top