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Immigration information for international students

As an international student, you will need valid immigration documents to live and study in Canada.

It is your responsibility to make sure that all of your immigration and legal documents are maintained and up-to-date. However, we understand that navigating government regulations and important paperwork can be challenging.

The Centre for International Experience (CIE) immigration advising office is here to help:

On this page you will also find immigration information and links to further support you.

Be diligent about your immigration status!

  • If you haven’t already, create your IRCC online account and familiarize yourself with the online application system.
  • Keep a record of the expiry dates of your Passport and your Study Permit.
  • Apply for a Study Permit extension two or three months before the expiry date.
  • Always keep a scanned copy of each of your documents (for example, you could email it to yourself).
  • Make note of your IRCC ‘Client ID Number’, also called ‘UCI’. It is an 8-digit number found on your Study Permit. This is your personal identification number assigned to you by IRCC.

Study permit

A study permit is an immigration document that allows you to live and study in Canada. It is the most important document that international students get. You MUST have a study permit to enroll in any degree, program or course that takes more than 6 months to complete.

Your study permit gives you legal status in Canada. It also helps you apply for your student card, a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and work permits. Therefore, you should always make sure that your study permit is valid for the duration of your program of study and stay in Canada.

Visit our Get a study permit page.

Work Permits

Visit our Get a work permit page.

Entry Visa

The Temporary Resident Visa (Entry Visa) is a stamp placed on your passport that allows you to enter Canada. It is usually granted by the visa office which processes your study permit application. Once you apply for a study permit, the visa will be granted automatically when your study permit application is approved (by a visa office outside Canada). You don’t have to submit a separate application with your initial study permit application. Upon entry to Canada you also need to have a valid study permit if you are a student, or a valid work permit if you have finished your studies and hold a post-graduation work permit.

Whether you need an entry visa depends on your country of citizenship. The  IRCC website has a list of countries whose citizens are required to have an Entry Visa for Canada.

In most cases your entry visa will have the same expiry date as your study permit. If you don’t finish your program of study before the expiry date of your study permit, you will need to extend your study permit before extending your entry visa. Both documents can be extended from within Canada. While you are in Canada, an entry visa will not be given to you automatically when you successfully renew your study permit. You need to submit a separate entry visa application once your study permit application is approved.

Visit our Temporary Resident Visa page for additional information.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

If you are from a visa-exempt country, you will be required to have a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). The eTA is a granted automatically once a study permit application is approved.

Permanent Residency

If you decide to stay in Canada permanently, there are several ways you can apply to become a permanent resident of Canada. The Government of Canada website contains detailed information about the different Permanent Residency (PR) options, the eligibility criteria and the application process. CIE advisors are not able to provide any guidance/advice about Permanent Residency.

Visit our Permanent Residency page.

Inviting family members

As an international student, you may invite your spouse, common law partner, children or parents to visit you in Canada. Any visiting family members must apply for a Visitor Visa if they are coming from a country whose citizens require a visa to enter Canada or an eTA if they are from a visa-exempt country.

Read more about how to get Visitor Visas.

Spouses of students

Spouses of international students are eligible to apply for an open work permit if they wish to stay in Canada long-term with their spouse (i.e. you, the international student). The Immigration Canada webpage provides information about how you can get an open work permit for your spouse.

Children of students

If you are bringing children with you, we recommend that you apply for a study permit for them, especially if they will be attending school in Canada. Children are usually given a study permit with the same expiry date as the parent’s permit. They will also be granted a visa or an eTA automatically once their study permit application is approved. Children may also be included on their parent’s application for a visitor’s visa or eTA. However, children will be allowed to stay in Canada for up to only six months with the visa or eTA. You will have to apply to extend their stay if you would like them to stay longer.