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’s 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, UVic provides additional immigration information for the campus community on the other Immigration website. 

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 Entry 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 requriements for international students, refer to the Government of Canada's website

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

The time for IRCC to process a study permit application can take weeks or even months, 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.

Refer to the IRCC website to find the estimated processing time based on the location you submit your study permit application. The estimated processing times 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 document sent by the UVic Office of Registrar as your letter of acceptance for a study permit application. 

Most of you should submit an online study permit application if possible. If you meet execptions, 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 Student Direct Stream (SDS), visit the IRCC - SDS webpage for detailed steps and instructions. 

When your application is approved, you will receive a port of entry (POE) letter (aka. study permit approval). Below is a sample POE letter. A POE letter is not a study permit. It is proof that your study permit application is approved. When you arrive Canada, you must show your POE letter to a Canadian border officer to get a study permit from them.


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 R214, certain foreign nationals are allowed to apply for a study permit at the POE. To be eligible, you must be:

  • a citizen of the United States or
  • a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States (eTA may be required) or
  • a resident of Greenland, or St. Pierre and Miquelon 

If you plan to apply for a study permit at the POE, you will expect to spend at least a few hours at your arriving POE and your study permit application will be processed by a border immigration 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.

As a COVID-19 special measure, 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 you submit a study permit application online while your visitor status is valid, you can stay in Canada while your study permit application is being processed. However, you must not start studying until you receive your physical study permit.

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 to continue using your study permit for studying.

You must extend your study permit at least 4-6 months before it expires in order to continue studying and update other IDs (e.g., BC MSP, SIN and driver's license) in Canada.

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 recomment students to extend their study permit 4-6 months before it expires. 

If you want to submit an extension application more than 6 months before your study permit expires, be sure to include a brief letter of explanation to indicate the reason for an early extension.

If your study permit expires while you have a study permit extension application under process, you can stay in Canada and continue studying 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 sudent 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 enrollment except for regular scheduled breaks, or during your final term or an authorized leave.

For immigration purposes, refer to the appropriate UVic Calendar for full-time definitions:
Full-time definition for undergraduate students
*Please note there may be a different definition for JD and JID undergraduate students in the Faculty of Law. 
Full-time definition for graduate students

Note: Students with active registration with the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) should contact CAL for your adjusted full-time definition. The requirements for full-time studies used for scholarships, bursaries, student loans and external providers may differ from the full-time definitions for immgration purposes. 

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 program 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 program student, you will receive an admission letter and a study permit letter from UVic Undergraduate Admissions Office via email after you pay for 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.

Do I need to give biometrics?

Refer to the IRCC website for detailed information about biometrics (fingerprints and a 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 is still valid, you should 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 an application is submitted.
  • Use the instructions letter to book an appointment with an official biometrics collection point to give your biometrics in person.

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

Do I need to study in 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 Fine Arts, summer session (May to August) between regular academic sessions (Septmber to April) is a scheduled break. You are not required to take courses or maintain full-time status during scheduled breaks. 

Be sure to 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.

To replaced 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.

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

This application is used to correct mistakes made by IRCC. If you need to change conditons or update information on your study permit, you should submit a change conditon application online. 

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 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.

If you apply for a study permit outside Canada and you are from a counrty reuqiring a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), your TRV or eTA will be issued automatically upon a study permit approval. You do not need to submit a seperate application to obtain your entry document. 

Refer to the IRCC webiste for information about who needs a visa to neter Canada. 


I do not intend to apply for a study permit.

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 visit or contact the International Centre for Students (ICS) team.

Last updated: September 2021Back to Top