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

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. 

Currently, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, international students must have a valid study permit or study permit approval to enter and study in Canada. For full information about COVID-19 travel exemptions, refer to the IRCC Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International Students webpage. 

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 form. 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. 

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. 

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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 eligibility for having a study permit will be determined by a border immigration officer. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this option. 

For the latest COVID-19 study permit processing measures, refer to the IRCC Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): International Students website.

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. 

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. Please visit or contact us as soon as possible to connect with an international student adviser.

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 UVic Calendar for the 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), please contact CAL for your full-time definition. The requirements for full-time studies used for scholarships, bursaries, student loans and external providers may differ from the minimum UVic requirements for a full-time student.

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 when 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 $200.00 CAD 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?

Use the online tool to see if you need to provide biometrics. 

Use the check status tool to find out if your biometrics are still valid.

Refer to the IRCC website for detailed information about biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) requirements. Exemptions may apply.

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 service point to give your biometrics in person.

Keep in mind that application processing time estimations do not include the time needed to complete biometrics. 

Do I need to study in summer session?

For undergraduate students, depending on your program of study, summer session can be a scheduled break. For example, for undergraduate students in the Faculties of Humanities, Science and Social Sciences, summer session is a scheduled break unless you start your program of study during summer session. Be sure to consult with your Academic Adviser if you have questions about your program’s scheduled breaks.

For graduate 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.

If your study permit is still valid and you are currently in Canada, you can submit a replacement application. This application must be submitted by paper; there is no online application.

Please refer to the IRCC website for instructions to replace your study permit.

My study permit has wrong information on it.

Please refer to the IRCC website for instructions to amend your study permit. This application must be submitted by paper; there is no online application.

How can I check the status of my application?

Please refer to the IRCC website for instructions. Do not submit multiple IRCC Web Forms regarding the same inquiries 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.

If you apply for a study permit outside Canada, you will be issued an entry document automatically upon study permit approval, if needed.

If you apply for a study permit inside Canada, you will not automatically receive a new entry document.

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.

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 2021