Immigration

Immigration information

International and exchange students are temporary residents in Canada. So, it’s important for you to learn about the procedures and documentation you need to enter and study in Canada.

Immigration is facilitated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a department of the Canadian federal government.


Disclaimer
Information

The information on this website is provided for your information only. While we strive to be accurate, it is provided “as is,” without any guarantees and subject to change.

For official, up-to-date information about immigration, refugee, and citizenship matters go to the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada  website. You can also see up-to-date versions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and relevant regulations for students.

Our services

International student advisers/immigration advisers

Our international student advisers are Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or Regulated International Student Immigration Advisers (RISIAs) who can support you in your temporary stay in Canada. More specifically, they can help you with your temporary resident status in Canada.

Here are the different ways that you can get immigration information:

  • See our frequently asked questions: Our immigration advisers have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and have provided answers. They continue to update this information regularly.
  • Attend a weekly virtual “SOS Immigration” drop-in session: Our immigration advisers offer weekly virtual SOS Immigration Q&A sessions on temporary residence. Please note that the Zoom link to join remains the same every week. These sessions are delivered in a group setting. Therefore, you can also benefit from listening to other students’ queries. If your query is confidential, you can email us at uointl@uOttawa.ca. Here are the dates and times of the English sessions for the Fall 2021 term:
    • Monday, September 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, September 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Monday, October 4 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, October 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Monday, October 18 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, October 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Monday, November 1 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, November 11 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Monday, November 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, November 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Monday, November 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, December 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Monday, December 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Immigration information sessions: We offer several immigration information sessions each term. Some are given by our immigration advisers while others are given by our partners. Here are examples of recurring topics:
    • How to apply for a study permit: Are you a newly admitted student? Find out how to apply for it, what the different streams are, the supporting documents you may need and more!
    • Work authorization: If you’re not sure of the rules related to working on or off campus, this session will clear your doubts! It covers eligibility, number of hours allowed and many other questions about working in Canada as an international student.
      • For the Fall 2021 term, this session will take place on Wednesday September 29, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Please click on the Zoom link to join the session at the time of the event.
    • How to extend your study permit: During your studies you may have to extend your study permit. This session can help you understand the documents you need and the steps to take to submit your application.
      • For the Fall 2021 term, this session will take place on Friday, October 29, 2021, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Please click on the Zoom link to join the session at the time of the event.
    • How to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP): As an international student, you might be able to stay and work in Canada after your studies. Learn more about this work permit, including eligibility criteria, application timelines and documents required.
      • For the Fall 2021 term, this session will take place on Thursday, November 18, 2021, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Please click on the Zoom link to join the session at the time of the event.
    • Journey to permanent residence in Canada for international students: If you wish to live in Canada after your studies as a permanent resident, this information session can be helpful. It covers many topics, such as the different pathways available, eligibility criteria, and the process.
      • This session is offered by IRCC and isn’t recorded. For the Fall 2021 term, this session will take place on Friday December 3, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Please click on the Zoom link to join the session at the time of the event.

See the full schedule of upcoming information sessions held by our immigration advisers by visiting our Facebook page.

  • Recordings and tutorials: Our immigration advisers add recordings of their information sessions and tutorials to the uOttawa International YouTube channel Immigration Information Sessions Playlist. In addition to the recording, you can find a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation in the video’s description.
    • Available tutorials cover topics such as making an urgent request and overcoming a study permit refusal.
  • One-on-one advising: You can email simple questions to our immigration advisers. For more complex situations or to have your application reviewed before submission, we recommend that you email us to book an advising appointment. See the above resources first, though, as they may answer your questions.

Before booking an advising appointment, consider attending a weekly virtual “SOS Immigration” drop-in session. You might get your answers in real-time.

Who can access our services

International students admitted to the University of Ottawa have access to our full range of services. We offer our services for up to six months after you graduate.  

If you’re thinking of applying to the University of Ottawa, you can email us for general immigration information or advice.

Types of advice our immigration advisers provide

Our immigration advisers can provide advice on temporary residence matters. Topics include:

Study permits:

  • First-time study permit applications (including dependents)
  • Temporary Resident Visas
  • Electronic Travel Authorizations
  • Study permit extensions and changes of conditions
  • Student status conditions
  • Work authorization for international students

Work permits:

  • CO-OP work permits
  • Post-Graduation Work Permits
  • Open work permits for spouses or common-law partners.

Other topics:

  • Review of application forms or study plans
  • Travelling and returning to Canada
  • Impact of part-time student status
  • Impact of taking a leave from studies
  • Work authorization and gaining skilled work experience in Canada

Our immigration services aim to support you throughout your application process. However, our immigration advisers can’t represent you on your Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada applications.


If your immigration query isn’t on the above list or it deals with permanent residence, you may wish to consult an immigration professional. You can find an immigration professional through the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

Tuition fees and immigration status

Tuition fees at uOttawa vary according to your immigration status in Canada. If you change your status, you must submit proof of your new status to InfoService to update your information in our database and possibly qualify for Canadian tuition fees. For more information on tuition, see the rules governing university fees.

If you’re in the process of obtaining permanent residence status, InfoService will need a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirming that it has received your application.

University Health Insurance Plan and immigration status

Changes to your status will affect your University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) coverage. Make sure there are no gaps between the end of your UHIP coverage and the start of your provincial  coverage. Normally your provincial coverage starts three months after the change to your status.

For more information about insurance coverage and deadlines to make changes or apply
for refunds, email us.

Travel outside Canada

Your Canadian study permit, temporary resident visa or electronic travel authorization doesn’t guarantee entry to any other country.

If you’d like to travel to another country during your stay in Canada, contact its
consulate or the embassy to find out which documents you need. Here’s a list of consular offices in Canada.

Our immigration advisers can offer advice only on Canadian immigration matters and
can’t help you with your application for a visa to another country. However, to know what type of travel restrictions you might face when coming back into Canada, review the immigration frequently asked questions.

Newly admitted international students

Can I begin my studies outside Canada with or without a study permit?

International students studying online from outside Canada do not need to hold a valid study permit. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has confirmed that international students can study online outside Canada without an approved study permit. However, it is strongly recommended to apply for a study permit before starting your studies online, as the program of study may still require you to be in Canada in the future (subject to travel restrictions). IRCC also confirmed the following: 

“If you’re inside Canada, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) if: 

  • your in-person classes in Canada have been moved to an online-only format and you are taking your classes online because of COVID-19, or 
  • you had to put your studies on hold, or study part-time, during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters because of COVID-19 
    • As of the fall 2020 semester, you must be studying full-time to be eligible. 

If you’re outside of Canada, you can’t travel to Canada at this time and you’re taking your classes online, you’re still eligible for a PGWP.  To be eligible, you must 

and 

  • have been enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020, or 
  • have started or will start a program between spring 2020 and fall 2021, and 
    • you have a study permit, or 
    • you’ve been approved for a study permit, or 
    • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program 
      • your study permit must eventually be approved 

You can complete up to 100% of your studies online from outside Canada. 

All your time studying online outside Canada between spring 2020 and December 31, 2021 counts toward the length of a PGWP. This applies even if you’re completing 2 study programs. Only the time you spent studying outside Canada after IRCC received your study permit application counts towards the length of your PGWP.

If you’re completing 2 study programs, you can finish 100% of your studies online if the programs were ongoing or started between March 2020 and fall 2021, and 

Time spent studying outside Canada after December 31, 2021, won’t count towards the length of a PGWP.

Can I still apply for my study permit? Is IRCC continuing to process applications in spite of the situation?

IRCC has confirmed that they are continuing to receive and process study permit applications. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. As a reminder, you can watch the recording of the How to Apply for your Study Permit information session. If you have any questions, you can attend our weekly virtual drop-in sessions called “SOS Immigration” where our immigration advisors answer questions pertaining to temporary residence. 

IRCC has indicated on their website that Visa Application Centres (VACs) won’t accept or process most paper applications for a visitor visa, study permit or work permit until further notice. You must apply for your study permit online.  Some VACs have reopened with limited-service capacity. Please consult the VAC’s website to confirm. If you have all the mandatory documents required to submit your application, we encourage you to submit your application now. If you are not able to include a specific document because of measures in place due to COVID-19 (e.g., digital photo, IELTS results, etc.), we still encourage you to submit your application. However, for every document you are not able to provide due to COVID-19, you should instead provide a letter of explanation detailing the reasons you are unable to provide it with proof and mentioning that you will provide the missing documents as soon as you are able to using the IRCC web form. Please note that you must provide a letter of acceptance (Offer of Admission) when you apply. IRCC won’t process applications that are submitted without this document.  

International students are still required to provide biometrics, undergo a medical exam, and submit original travel documents when required to have an application fully approved. International students whose study permit applications are approved are now able to travel to Canada, as per the measures detailed by IRCC on Oct 20, 2020. Travel to Canada by international students studying at the University of Ottawa is now considered non-discretionary and non-optional. We encourage you to submit your study permit application online as soon as possible if you have not already done so. As a reminder, a study permit is required for studies completed in person in Canada.  

Please know that IRCC is working tirelessly on processing study permit applications and understands how important it is for students to be able to begin their studies on time. 

I’ve received a Biometrics Instruction Letter (BIL); however, all offices that collect biometrics in my country or territory are temporarily closed, and I am unable to provide them. What should I do?

Many applicants can now give their biometrics, since most visa application centres (VACs) and US Application Support Centers (ASCs) have reopened. If you’re not exempt from giving biometrics, IRCC needs the biometrics to process your application. As a result, IRCC will no longer automatically extend the deadline to give biometrics. This means that if you have not provided biometrics, you will receive a request (final letter) from IRCC asking you to provide them. You must respond to this request within 30 days from the date on the letter. To ensure that you can meet the deadline, you should try to book an appointment to give your biometrics before IRCC contacts you. Note that IRCC has indicated that you should not travel to another city or country to give your biometrics. IRCC will consider extending your deadline if you have a reasonable explanation that shows you’re affected by COVID-19 (for example, if the biometrics collection site in your country or territory is still closed). If you can’t give your biometrics by IRCC’s deadline, they may give you another 30-day extension if you: 

  • explain how you can’t meet the deadline due to COVID-19 (for example, if you weren’t able to get an appointment within 30 days, tell us the date of your appointment), and 
  • follow the instructions in the letter to submit your explanation 

Please note that if you have received a BIL and you are currently inside Canada, you must inform IRCC in order to get exempted as all biometric offices in Canada are currently closed to temporary residence applicants. Please communicate directly with IRCC using either the IRCC Webform or calling the Client Support Centre

What will be the status of my application if I am not able to submit biometrics, additional documents or send my passport?

You are required to complete all steps of your application despite the current situation. IRCC has confirmed that: “The COVID-19 facilitation, where request letters for additional information or documents were issued with 90-day extensions, applies until April 11, 2021. On April 12, 2021 and later, an officer will send a final request letter with a 30-day deadline to the affected applicants, to allow for either of the following to be provided by the applicant: 

  • the submission of the missing documents or information, or 
  • a request for extension to submit documents at a later time with a reasonable explanation and proof of the explanation that would allow the application to remain open” 

Please note that IRCC has also confirmed that: “All immigration and citizenship applications currently in progress at IRCC will continue to be processed but may experience delays.” Please note that the current processing times may not reflect the disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 

I am eligible to apply for the Student Direct Stream (SDS), but I cannot submit all required documents, such as the International English Language Testing System results and proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate. How can I apply to the SDS?

The SDS is available to legal residents who also reside in: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Vietnam. 

IRCC has confirmed that international students who do not have the required documents for the SDS upon submitting their application should be directed to apply through regular study permit channels or apply through the SDS once they are able to submit the required documents. 

If I’m fully vaccinated and still waiting for a decision on my study permit application, can I travel to Canada now?

To be authorized to study in Canada (online or in person), you must have a valid study permit.

We don’t recommend travelling to Canada until your study permit application has been approved and you have received your port of entry (POE) letter of introduction. It’s very complicated to try and get a study permit when you’re in Canada if you’ve applied for it from outside Canada. 

International students studying online from outside Canada don’t need a valid study permit. Please see the question “Can I begin my studies outside Canada with or without a study permit?” above fore more information.

What should I do if I have to be on campus and I still don’t have a decision on my study permit application?

If you have to be on campus for an in-person course, contact your faculty and/or supervisor to see if there’s a distance or online section available or if there are any possible accommodations. 

If your course is hybrid, contact your professor and say that you can’t be on campus and need instructions to complete the course components remotely. You can also ask IRCC to urgently process your study permit application. See our video about requesting urgent processing of your study permit application.  

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your request will be approved by IRCC, but it will not harm your application to make it.

What happens if my study permit is refused?

There is no guarantee that IRCC will approve your study permit application, even if you receive an approval in principle. This will depend on the strength of your application. If you begin your studies through distance learning while outside Canada and receive a refusal from IRCC on your study permit application, you will have three options:    

  1. Reapply for a study permit: If you feel that the reasons for the refusal can be overcome, reapply for a study permit. Remember that a study permit is required for in person classes in Canada. Here are resources you can consult following a refusal: 
    1. YouTube Tutorial: Our immigration advisers have prepared a YouTube tutorial on how to overcome a refusal.  
    2. Information Sheet: Our immigration advisers have prepared an information sheet which contains detailed information on how to overcome a study permit refusal.  
    3. Reasons for Refusal: When a study permit application is refused, this refusal will be noted in a letter issued by the visa officer which will indicate the reason(s) for refusal. You also have the right to submit an Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) online request to request further details on why your application was refused which will include the visa officer’s notes supporting the reason for refusal. A request under the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act can only be made by a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or an individual or corporation currently present in Canada.     
      1. If you are outside Canada, you can hire a representative to do so on your behalf. Please note that this is not a service offered by uOttawa. 
    4. Find a representative: You are not required to have a professional working with you to submit an application. However, if you choose to find one, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) maintains a registry of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs). Please refer to their website in order to identify a regulated immigration professional. 
    5. Consult our immigration advisers: As we currently have limited resources, we are not able to offer our full suite of services for study permit refusals such as one on one appointments and full application reviews. However, our immigration advisers are now offering virtual bi-weekly study permit refusal drop-in sessions called “SOS Study Permit Refusals” Thursdays from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ET on the following dates: August 12, August 26, September 9, September 23, October 7, October 21 and so on. Please note that these are individual sessions. Upon joining, you will be placed into the meeting room where you can either chat with other students or remain on mute. Once it is your turn, you will be assigned to a breakout room one at a time for a 10-15-minute (maximum) consultation with the adviser. Please note that the service will be offered on a first come first served basis. 
  2. Finish the term and receive uOttawa credits: Since IRCC has confirmed that a study permit is not required for online courses taken while outside Canada, you can finish courses taken between March 2020 until December 31, 2021. Even if your study permit is refused and you choose not to reapply for a study permit, you can receive the credits if you successfully pass the courses.  
  1. Drop courses before the reimbursement deadline: If you receive a refusal of your study permit application before the deadline to withdraw from a course or an activity and receive a financial credit (less administrative fees), you can drop your courses and request a refund. If you withdraw from your courses after this deadline, you will not be able to request a reimbursement. If you want to opt for this option and still plan on studying at uOttawa at a later term, please contact the Admissions Office (undergraduate students) or your academic unit (graduate students) to enquire about the impact on your offer of admission and your available options.    

Current international students

Can we leave Canada and return to our home country?

We strongly advise avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Canada due to multiple factors including the difficulty for international students to be able to re-enter Canada after a short trip. When deciding whether you should stay in Canada or leave, there are multiple factors that may influence your decision.  

For instance, the most important factor is your health and safety. We strongly recommend verifying your destination’s safety situation as well as the countries in which you are transiting if it is not a direct flight. Additionally, students need to ensure they are well enough to travel so as not to present a risk to themselves or others. Check the Frequently Asked Questions section on the how to protect yourself section on the university’s Coronavirus website to learn more about what to do to protect yourself and others around you should you decide to travel.  

Furthermore, make sure to check the entry/exit requirements put in place by your home country or countries where you plan to transit to see if you are legally able to enter and exit those countries with the current situation. Canada also announced that it has closed its borders to non-citizens or non-permanent residents of Canada arriving by air with some exemptions. As an international student, you are exempt from travel restrictions and can be allowed to enter Canada if you satisfy the following conditions:  

  • You hold a valid study permit or received a letter of introduction from IRCC; and  
  • You are attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) who is on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans (uOttawa is on the list)  

In addition, as of August 9, 2021, American citizens or permanent residents of the United States who currently reside in the U.S. and who qualify as fully vaccinated travellers are able to enter Canada for discretionary travel. As of September 7, 2021, travellers who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption can also enter Canada for discretionary travel (i.e., they may enter Canada as visitors).

We encourage you to consult the  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) webpage  for the most updated information and further details. Academic integrity and continuity remain a priority. Our goal is to ensure that students can complete all courses in which they are currently registered and receive their evaluations and credits without any interruption.   

For the Fall 2021 term, the University is preparing a return to on-site learning with an increase in in-person and hybrid learning formats all while following public health guidelines. The University’s commitment to flexibility for students who wish to only study online will remain for the Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 terms. The University will try to let students adjust their course sequence and postpone taking in-person courses until the following year. Please note that this may affect the total length of your studies. Please consult the uOttawa COVID-19 Student information webpage for the most up-to-date information. 

Another factor to consider, secondary to your health and safety, is if you can continue to study outside of Canada. As an example, you need to make sure that you can access your courses and exams from the country you are traveling to.  

The situation continues to change, and we cannot guarantee you will be allowed to enter Canada in the near future. The institution is not able to act and override any measures or restrictions imposed by the Government of Canada as the situation evolves. We encourage you to consult the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) webpage for the most updated information. 

How will this situation impact my post-graduation work permit (PGWP)?

IRCC has confirmed that the effects of COVID-19 will be taken under consideration when assessing PGWP program eligibility. According to IRCC: 

“If you’re inside Canada, you’re still eligible for the PGWP if 

  • your in-person classes in Canada have been moved to an online-only format and you are taking your classes online because of COVID-19, or 
  • you had to put your studies on hold, or study part-time, during the winter, spring or summer 2020 semesters because of COVID-19 
    • As of the fall 2020 semester, you must be studying full-time to be eligible. 

If you’re outside of Canada, you can’t travel to Canada at this time and you’re taking your classes online, you’re still eligible for a PGWP. 

To be eligible, you must 

and 

  • have been enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020, or 
  • have started or will start a program between spring 2020 and fall 2021, and 
    • you have a study permit, or 
    • you’ve been approved for a study permit, or 
    • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program
      • your study permit must eventually be approved 

You can complete up to 100% of your studies online from outside Canada.

All your time studying online outside Canada between spring 2020 and December 31, 2021, counts toward the length of a PGWP. This applies even if you’re completing 2 study programs. Only the time you spent studying outside Canada after IRCC received your study permit application counts towards the length of your PGWP.

If you’re completing 2 study programs, you can finish 100% of your studies online if the programs were ongoing or started between March 2020 and fall 2021, and 

Time spent studying outside Canada after December 31, 2021, won’t count towards the length of a PGWP. 

How do I apply for my Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

PGWP Eligibility: For information on PGWP eligibility, you can visit the PGWP Eligibility webpage

Application Timelines: If you want to remain in Canada after the end of your studies you must apply to extend your status as visitor, student or worker. 

Your study permit becomes invalid after 90 days of receiving a written confirmation that you have officially completed your program. This written confirmation can be an email from your Faculty, a Diploma, an Official Final Transcript or an Official Letter confirming Completion of Studies. Please consult the Important Academic Dates and Deadlines webpage to determine when your final grades and academic standing will be available. 

To apply for a PGWP from inside Canada you must: 

  1. Have a valid status in Canada (visitor, student or worker). 

  1. Your study permit must be valid or must have expired in less than 180 days. 

If you have lost your status you must apply for a restoration of status in addition to the PGWP. 

If you graduate from outside Canada and wish to apply for a PGWP from there you: 

  1. Do not need to hold or have held a valid study permit within 180 days of applying for the PGWP. 

  1. Must either have a study permit or have received a study permit approval, and you must apply within 180 days of receiving a written confirmation that you have officially completed your program. 

Application Process: You can apply online using your IRCC account. It is also possible to apply from inside Canada or from outside Canada, and there is an instruction guide available for each option. 

Information session: We recently held an online information session on How to apply for a PGWP which was recorded. We recommend that you consult it as it explains all of the steps and documents required in great detail. You can view the schedule of our next upcoming live sessions on our Facebook page

PGWP length and documents to apply: According to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the validity period of the PGWP is determined based on the length of the program or programs of study. In order to apply for your PGWP you will need:   

Before your degree is conferred:  

  • an official letter that confirms you’ve completed your study program (Undergraduate students may obtain this letter from their Faculty. Graduate students may obtain this letter from InfoService.)   
  • an official transcript (requested from InfoService), or a copy of your unofficial transcript accessible through your uoZone account   

After your degree is conferred:  

  • an official enrolment verification letter (requested from InfoService) with the mention of “degree awarded” (When requesting the document, be sure to select “Include my Earned Degrees”.  
  • an official transcript (requested from InfoService), or a copy of your unofficial transcript accessible through your uoZone account (with mention of degree conferred) 

When assessing your application, the immigration officer will determine the length based on the completion letter provided by uOttawa and your final transcripts. The wording that will be used to describe the duration of your program of study in the letter of completion issued by the University will be the same wording that is used to describe your program in its official description. You may consult the official duration of your program by visiting the University Programs and courses website and clicking on your program of study. The duration can then be found on either the “Overview” tab or the “Program Requirements” tab. You may read more about how the length of a permit is determined on the IRCC website. There is no guarantee of how long the work permit will be as each immigration officer uses his or her discretion to assess the application. 

Please note that the validity period of the PGWP may not go beyond the applicant’s passport validity date. PGWPs can be extended only when the length of the permit could not be provided at the time of the application, due to the expiry date of the applicant’s passport. 

Flag poling: The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has also confirmed that traveling to the border for the sole purpose of processing immigration documents is not considered non-optional/non-discretionary travel. If you are currently in Canada, do not visit a land border (flagpole) to apply for immigration documents until further notice.  

Work authorization: You are eligible to work full-time after you have submitted your application if you meet the conditions listed on IRCC’s website. This section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (R186w) confirm the authorization to work without a permit until a decision is made on your application. 

What is the impact of studying part-time for an international student?

Here are the immigration impacts of studying part-time:   

Actively pursuing studies: From an immigration standpoint, you may study part-time and still be considered to be actively pursuing your studies and therefore, meeting the conditions of your study permit.    

Work during the academic term You will no longer be authorized to work on or off campus as a part-time student. In order to be eligible to work on campus or off campus on a part-time basis during an academic term, you must be a full-time student. Please note that if you’re in the last semester of your study program and you don’t need a full course load to complete your program, and you were a full-time student in your program in Canada up until your last semester, you may continue to work and your eligibility for the Post Graduation Work Permit will not be affected.    

Work during a scheduled break (reading week and spring-summer term): In order to be eligible to work full-time during a scheduled break, you must be enrolled full-time in the term preceding and the term immediately following the break. More information is available under the “Can I work full-time during the spring-summer term?” section of this FAQ.   

Unauthorized Study/work: As stated on IRCC’s website: Non-compliance with study permit conditions or engaging in unauthorized work or study may also negatively affect future applications that are made under the IRPA and IRPR. For example, a subsequent study permit or work permit may not be issued until a period of 6 months has passed, since the cessation of the unauthorized work or study or failure to comply with a condition, per section R221 and subsection R200(3).   

Working after your studies: One of the eligibility criteria for the Post Graduation Work Permit is to have continuously studied full-time during an entire program of study. We recommend that you keep copies of all relevant documents if you plan to apply for this type of work permit in the future, in order to justify and explain your part-time studies.   

For the impact on your University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) coverage eligibility, please contact the International Office: uointl@uOttawa.ca.

How many hours am I allowed to work during a regular academic term?

Your study permit authorizes you to work up to 20 hours a week off campus and also work on campus during an academic term when you are studying full-time. IRCC does not indicate a maximum number of hours for on campus work. There is also no rule that restricts you to combine on and off campus work experiences.  Having said that, we would like to remind you that your studies should remain the focus of your experience in Canada.  It is very important to work with time management to ensure you continue to make reasonable progress towards the successful completion of your academic program. 

Please note that the University has a policy where graduate students (both Canadian and international) can only work up to 10 hours a week during a term in which you are enrolled full-time. If you wish to work more than this, you must request for an exception to this rule in your uoZone account. You can find more information on how to request the exemption on the University website.   

What is the impact of a leave or withdrawal from studies for an international student?

Please consult your faculty or academic unit about their leave of absence and leave from studies policies. Here are the immigration impacts of a leave or withdrawal from studies:   

Leave from studies and study permit: According to the guidelines from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on study permits, you have no action to take regarding your immigration status if your leave from studies is less than 150 days or if you leave Canada. Your study permit remains valid until the expiry date indicated on the permit. If you decide to leave Canada, we encourage you to access the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Government of Canada websites for the most up to date information, as the situation is constantly changing due to the evolving situation with COVID-19. If your leave from studies will be more than 150 days and you wish to remain in Canada, you must apply to change your status to visitor or worker. The same timeline applies for a program withdrawal. You would have 150 days from the date you have been withdrawn to either change your status or secure admission into a different program.     

Work during your studies: You will no longer be authorized to work on or off campus during a leave from studies or during a scheduled break following a leave from studies (for example, the spring-summer term or holiday break). You must be enrolled as a full-time student in order to be authorized to work using your study permit. You can learn more about on campus and off campus work on IRCC’s website.    

Unauthorized Study/work: As stated on IRCCs website: Non-compliance with study permit conditions or engaging in unauthorized work or study may also negatively affect future applications that are made under the IRPA and IRPR. For example, a subsequent study permit or work permit may not be issued until a period of 6 months has passed, since the cessation of the unauthorized work or study or failure to comply with a condition, per section R221 and subsection R200(3).   

Post-graduation work permit: One of the eligibility criteria for the Post Graduation Work Permit is to have continuously studied full-time during an entire program of study. For this reason, we recommend that you keep copies of all relevant documents if you plan to apply for this type of work permit in the future in order to justify and explain your leave from studies in a future application. You can learn more about the eligibility requirements for this type of permit on the IRCC website.   

IRCC Compliance Reporting: If you take a leave from studies or are withdrawn from a program, the University may report your academic status as “no longer enrolled” or “authorized leave” in the next compliance reporting period with IRCC. You may receive an email from IRCC at a future date asking for clarification on your leave from the University. We encourage you to keep copies of all supporting documents to this end.   

For the impact on your University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) coverage eligibility, please contact the International Office: uointl@uOttawa.ca.  

Can I work full-time during the spring-summer term?

This depends on whether or not the spring-summer term is considered to be a regularly scheduled break based on your program of study. Please see the two options below.  

Undergraduate students: Your study permit authorizes you to work full-time during regularly scheduled breaks (i.e. reading week, etc.) if you are registered as a full-time student in the period preceding and following the break. In order to determine if the spring-summer term is a regularly scheduled break, you must consult the suggested course sequence for your program of study. If the sequence indicates that you are expected to take courses during the fall and winter terms only, the spring-summer term (from May 1 to August 31) is considered a regularly scheduled break. For more information on work authorizations and taking courses during a scheduled break, please visit IRCC’s website. Note that should you decide to take courses during a regularly scheduled break, it is still considered a break and the requirement to study full-time therefore does not apply, and you can still work full-time.  

Graduate students: Your study permit authorizes you to work full-time during regularly scheduled breaks (i.e. reading week, etc.) if you are registered as a full-time student in the period preceding and following the break. If your academic program does not have any scheduled breaks and requires continuous enrolment, you will only be eligible to work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week off campus. We encourage you to check directly with your Academic Unit to see if you are expected to enroll during the spring-summer term.  

Please note that the University has a policy where graduate students can only work up to 10 hours a week during a term in which they are enrolled full-time. If you wish to work more than this, you must request for an exception to this rule in your uoZone account. You can find more information on how to request the exemption on the University website

Both my study permit and temporary resident visa (TRV – student category) will expire soon. What should I do to extend them?

IRCC has confirmed that students already in Canada must apply to extend their study permit in order to continue their studies in Canada even if their program has been shifted to an online format. If you are outside Canada and need to extend your study permit, you will need to submit a new study permit application from outside Canada and include documentation that confirms you are a returning student. Please email the International Office if you wish to book an advising appointment to discuss this in more detail.  

Study Permit Extension: Information on the study permit extension process is available on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website. You must submit your application online. If you do not have an account, you may register for one. Get more information on how to create a GCKey (IRCC account) on the IRCC website. There is also a video available that goes through all of the steps. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months when you apply. Therefore, it is always recommended that you renew your immigration documents in the following order: 1- passport, 2- study permit 3- visa. Due to the high processing times and the disruptions we are currently experiencing, we recommend you apply for an extension up to 6 months before the expiry date of your current permit. If your permit expires in less than 6 months, please apply as soon as possible.  

Documents to apply: We recommend that international students include three academic documents in their application: an official enrollment verification letter, a transcript and the original Offer of Admission. You can request official academic documents from InfoService. The document you should request is called Official Enrollment Verification. You must ask them to add a remark that indicates where you are in your program of study (for example, that you are in your second year of a four-year program). You can also request a remark that confirms the date enrolment opens for the upcoming term if you are not enrolled in courses. If you wish to request a special comment, you must submit your document request by email. Please see instructions below.   

InfoService accepts document orders online through your uoZone account, as usual. There is a tutorial available on their website that can help you with your document request. If you would like a copy of your official documents (transcripts or enrolment verifications) sent by e-mail, please follow these steps: 

1. Select the Send to a different address option. 

2. Add the email address of the recipient on the first line of the address field. 

3. Add the mailing address of the recipient on the remaining address lines. 

A PDF copy of your documents will be sent by email and the original copy will be sent by mail. 

For students who are not able to order their documents online or who wish to have a comment added, InfoService accepts document requests by email at document@uottawa.ca. If you decide to send your request by email, you will be asked to fill out the Request for Documents form and send in a scanned copy. On the request form or in the email you must explain the comment that you would like on the document.  

Missing documents: If there are any documents that you are unable to include in your application due to COVID-19 (for example, a passport), you will need to instead upload a letter of explanation detailing why you are not able to obtain the document at this time (and attach proof of your inability to obtain the document) and informing them that you will provide the missing document using the IRCC Web form as soon as it is available. If an officer deems that your explanation is reasonable, you should receive a request for the missing document giving you 30 days to provide the missing document. Your application will remain pending until you are able to provide the missing document(s) and you will benefit from maintained status until a decision is made on your application. Maintained status will allow you to continue working and/or studying while you wait for your study permit.  

Proof of financial support: There are several options you can use as proof of financial support. As a reminder, you must demonstrate that you have the minimum funds necessary to support yourself as a student.  

TRV Application: Information on applying for a new temporary resident visa (TRV) is available on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website. You may submit an application online, as soon as you receive your study permit. Please note that a TRV is solely a travel authorization. You are not required to have a valid TRV unless you have plans to travel outside of Canada and return.  

Information session: Please note that we held an information session on how to apply for a study permit extension where we go over all the steps. You may view the recording of the session on the International Office’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/jYV_Qxima9I 

Processing of the application: IRCC has confirmed that: “All immigration and citizenship applications currently in progress at IRCC will continue to be processed but may experience delays”. The current processing times may not reflect the disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  

Biometrics: IRCC has announced that students who are applying for a study permit,  extending their study permit, or restoring their status as a student within Canada are currently exempted from giving biometrics. This exemption applies to all new applications and applications that are already in progress. IRCC has also confirmed that students are currently not required to pay the biometrics fee. For those who paid the biometrics fee, a refund will be processed when IRCC finalizes the application. Please note that this temporary measure does not apply if you are outside Canada. If you are outside Canada, you are still required to provide biometrics.  

I have applied to extend my study permit, but I have not received an answer yet. My current study permit expires soon. What should I do?

If you applied before the expiry date of your current study permit, you benefit from maintained status until a decision is made on your application and have no additional action to take. As indicated on IRCC’s website: “If a temporary resident applies for renewal of their work or study permit before the expiry of their existing permit and their permit expires before a decision is made, paragraph R186(u) or section R189 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) (authorizes them to work or study without a permit under the same conditions pending a determination of their application for renewal and only as long as the person remains in Canada.” In order to benefit from maintained status, you must apply to extend your status before midnight Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on the expiry date indicated on the permit. If the application is submitted after midnight UTC on the date of expiry, you do not maintain your status under subsection R183(5).

What happens if my study permit expires, and I was not able to apply for an extension before the expiry? 

According to IRCC, temporary residents who are inside Canada and who were not able to extend their stay before the expiry date of their last permit may restore their status within 90 days from the expiry date of their legal status. Visitors, students, and workers whose status expired, or expires, between January 30, 2020 and May 31, 2021 and were not able to apply for a restoration of their status before the 90-day timeline, will have until August 31, 2021 to restore their status.  Unlike maintained status, visitors, students, and workers applying for restoration have lost their status and may not continue to work or attend school until their status has been restored and a new work or study permit has been issued. 

Visitors, workers, and students who are outside Canada and whose status has expired are ineligible for restoration and encouraged to submit an application for a new study or work permit from outside Canada. 

If you have questions regarding your immigration status and the impacts, we encourage you to contact an immigration adviser at the International Office by e-mail at uointl@uOttawa.ca or attend a Virtual "SOS Immigration" Drop-in Session. You may also contact IRCC directly using the Webform

Do I need a work permit or a study permit to work remotely for a Canadian employer from abroad?

You do not need to have a work permit or study permit for remote work done from outside of Canada. Note that each employer will have their own internal hiring processes and requirements; however, for immigration purposes, no work permit nor study permit is required if you are not physically in Canada.

I have a valid study permit, but my temporary resident visa (TRV – student category) is expired. I need a new one urgently. What should I do?

We strongly advise avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Canada due to multiple factors including the difficulty for international students to be able to re-enter Canada after a short trip. However, if you need to travel for an essential reason, you should submit your application asap if you have not already done so. Please see the IRCC website for detailed information on supporting documents you should include in your TRV application based on your situation. You may also attempt to prioritize your visa application with IRCC by following the instructions outlined in our tutorial.

Traveling to Canada

I am an international student. Can I travel to Canada?

The Government of Canada recommends against any non-essential travel. Please note that travel restrictions, exemptions and immigration measures are subject to change at any time. See the latest Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) information on student travel

Since October 20th, 2020, international students who satisfy certain conditions may travel to Canada. Please consult the Travel to Canada Program Delivery Instructions and the Flying to Canada or Driving to Canada checklists for important information regarding travelling. 

Exemptions to travel restrictions    

To be able to enter Canada as a student, you must meet two requirements:   

In addition, as of August 9, 2021, American citizens or permanent residents of the United States who currently reside in the U.S. and who qualify as fully vaccinated travellers are able to enter Canada for discretionary travel. As of September 7, 2021, travellers who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption can also enter Canada for discretionary travel (i.e., they may enter Canada as visitors). 

Make sure to check whether your country has restrictions in place that may affect your ability to travel (i.e., flight suspensions). 

Obligations related to testing, quarantine, and travel to Canada 

Please consult the University’s Planning your own quarantine website which houses all of the information about your obligations before, during, and after your trip to Canada. 

As part of the COVID-19 readiness plan all students must register their quarantine plans with the University and follow the directions given on how to quarantine effectively. This is mandatory, even if you are fully vaccinated. Registering your quarantine plans is also how you can request a travel support letter.  
  
 Travel for family members 

Certain family members may also be eligible to travel with you or reunite with you if you are already in Canada.  Effective September 7, 2021, travellers who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption can enter Canada for discretionary travel (i.e., they may enter Canada as visitors). This means that if your family member is considered fully vaccinated, then they should be eligible to travel to Canada with just their temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA).

Immediate family members who do not qualify under the fully vaccinated traveller exemption and who do not otherwise fall under the existing travel exemptions for students or workers need a written authorization from IRCC to travel to Canada. There are specific instructions on how to proceed depending on whether your family member has already applied for their visa or permit or have yet to submit their application. You may read more about requesting this authorization on the IRCC website
  

Supporting documents when travelling 

To travel to Canada as an international student, you must have the following documents in addition to your usual valid electronic travel authorization (eTA) or temporary resident visa (TRV) (visa stamp):   

  • A valid study permit or a port of entry letter of introduction that shows you were approved for a study permit.   
  • A valid letter of admission and a confirmation of attendance (official enrollment verification letter) from uOttawa for a program that has not been suspended or cancelled.   
    • You can order an official enrollment verification letter from InfoService. If your travel is imminent, you should request an electronic copy of your document. 
    • InfoService accepts document orders online through your uoZone account, as usual. There is a tutorial available on their website that can help you with your document request. If you would like a copy of your official documents (transcripts or enrolment verifications) sent by e-mail, please follow these steps: 
      • Select the Send to a different address option. 
      • Add the email address of the recipient on the first line of the address field. 
      • Add the mailing address of the recipient on the remaining address lines. 
      • A PDF copy of your documents will be sent by email and the original copy will be sent by mail. 
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada. You may use documents like those used in your study permit application, but up to date or recently issued (for example: proof that you have paid tuition, bank statements for the past four months, etc.). 
  • Proof of valid immigration medical examination results (e-medical sheet or IMM1017b form) that was issued within the past year, if you are coming from a designated country or territory (meaning a country or territory for which they are required), or if you are: 
    • a medical student 
    • a student in a health sciences field who will have placements in health-care or home-care settings 
    • an education student who will have placements in primary or secondary schools 
    • teaching small children 
  • English or French language test results if they were required in your study permit application (note that these must have been valid at the time you submitted your application) 
  • A plan for your quarantine (shared via the ArriveCan app) even if you are fully vaccinated 
When can I travel to Canada?

The Government of Canada recommends against any non-essential travel. Please note that travel restrictions, their exemptions, and immigration measures are subject to change and may be modified at any moment. We encourage you to consult the IRCC Website for the most up-to-date information. You may find these resources from the Public Health Agency of Canada helpful as you plan your trip by air or by land. 

The decision when to travel to Canada is up to you. You should consider the following when deciding to travel to Canada: 

  • Do I fall under the exemptions outlined above? 
  • Am I able to obtain all the recommended supporting documents? 
  • Am I entering Canada in order to attend an approved Designated Learning Institution (DLI) (in other words, will I be enrolled as a full-time student when I enter Canada)? 

As of September 7, 2021, travellers who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption can also enter Canada for discretionary travel (i.e., they may enter Canada as visitors). However, to be authorized to study in Canada (online or in person), you must have a valid study permit.

We don’t recommend travelling to Canada until your study permit application has been approved and you have received your port of entry (POE) letter of introduction. It’s very complicated to try and get a study permit when you’re in Canada if you’ve applied for it from outside Canada.

Please note that if you are travelling to Canada when you are not currently enrolled full time for courses or a work term and you do not qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption, there’s a risk your travel may be deemed non-essential at your departure airport or at customs when you arrive in Canada. For this reason, we do not recommend arriving more than four weeks before the start of your courses. Some students have been allowed to travel this early while others have been denied.  If you are travelling more than 4 weeks before the start of classes, we recommend having documentation to show why you must travel early (for example, difficulties in booking flights/hotels/quarantine facility due to availability/affordability, etc.). 

Final decisions for entry to Canada are always determined by the border officer at the port of entry. 

FAQ last review by a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC): 09-27-2021

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