Immigration

Immigration information

New testing and quarantine requirements will start on February 22nd and apply to students travelling to Canada. We will update the content of our websites and registry to reflect the new changes soon.

International and exchange students are temporary residents in Canada. It is therefore important to learn about the procedures and documentation necessary to enter and study in Canada. Immigration is regulated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a department of the Canadian federal government.


Immigration law
Information

Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, educational institutions such as the University of Ottawa cannot give advice on immigration questions. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has up to date information about how to study in Canada. If you have questions, including about IRCC services and programs or your application, contact the IRCC client support centre.

The University of Ottawa cannot contact IRCC on your behalf, for example, to speed up the processing time or to inquire about your immigration application.

Outside experts available to you on campus

While we are not authorized to give immigration advice, we do bring in outside experts to offer information and advice.

 

Immigration Consultant

We offer appointments with a certified immigration consultant who can answer questions from students about temporary residence in Canada. To make an appointment with him, email us at uointl@uOttawa.ca.


If you have questions on permanent residence or Canadian citizenship, contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Student advising with our consultants is limited to temporary residence in Canada.

Immigration Workshops

We often invite experts to give workshops about immigration. Here are some typical
workshops:

Workshops are announced on our Facebook page (UOttawa Bureau International Office). Not all workshops are offered every year.

Impact of changes to your immigration status

Tuition fees at the University of Ottawa 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 are in the process of obtaining permanent residency status, we require a letter from
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirming that it has received your complete
application.


Changes to your status will affect your University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) coverage. You
must make sure that 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 any changes or apply
for refunds, speak to the information officer at the International Office in person (Tabaret
M386) or email uointl@uOttawa.ca.

Travel outside Canada

Your Canadian study permit or student visa does not guarantee entry to any other country. If
you would like to travel to another country during your stay in Canada, you must contact its
consulate or the embassy to find out which documents you need to travel there.

Here is a list of consular offices in Canada.

Our immigration consultant is able to offer advice only on Canadian immigration matters and
cannot help you with your application for a visa to another country.

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 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). In addition, IRCC has announced that if you submit a complete study permit application by May 15th, 2021, you will receive a decision by August 6th, 2021, in time to attend the fall semester. 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 applied for a study permit before starting your program and you’ve been approved, or
    • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program but haven’t received a decision yet
      • 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.

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. In addition, IRCC has announced that if you submit a complete study permit application by May 15th, 2021, you will receive a decision by August 6th, 2021, in time to attend the fall semester. IRCC may not be able to process your application by August 6, 2021, if you’re unable to submit a complete application because of COVID-19 restrictions, such as reduced service at visa application centres (VACs) or other providers. If you submit a complete application after May 15, 2021, IRCC will process it as quickly as possible—but you may not get a final decision before the fall semester begins. 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 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 IRCC website to find out about VACs reopening. 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 for residents of China, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan, Senegal and Morocco.

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 services resume and they are able to submit the required documents.

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. You can find more information about how officers assess a study permit application on IRCC’s website. 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. Consult our tutorial on How to Overcome a Refusal
  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. 
  3. 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 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) 

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 winter 2021 and spring-summer 2021 terms, all our courses, with some exceptions, will include a distance-learning option. 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..

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)?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has released specific measures relating to 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 applied for a study permit before starting your program and you’ve been approved, or
    • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program but haven’t received a decision yet
      • 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.

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)?

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)
  2. Your study permit must be valid or must have expired in less than 180 days.
  3. If you have lost your status you must apply for a restoration of status in addition to the PGWP.

If you leave Canada right after the end of your studies, you can apply for a PGWP from outside Canada if:

  1. You are applying within 180 days of receiving a written confirmation that you have officially completed your program, and
  2. Your study permit is valid or was valid at some point during these 180 days.

Application Process: You can apply online using your 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 Post-Graduation Work Permit 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 post-graduation work permit is determined based on the length of the program or programs of study. In order to apply for your PGWP you will need:  

  • 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, or a copy of your transcript accessible through your uoZone account  

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 confirm the right 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: 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.  

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 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 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.  

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, the University will 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, we recommend that you book an advising appointment to discuss your options in 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 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.  

Please note that in person services are currently closed. 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. 

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 applicationIRCC 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). 

BiometricsIRCC 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 advisor 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 must prioritize your visa application with IRCC by following the instructions outlined on their website. You must indicate in the Webform how you meet the travel exemption criteria, why you are travelling for a non-discretionary/non-optional purpose and provide acceptable documentation.

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   

Canada announced that it has closed its borders to non-citizens or non-permanent residents of Canada arriving by air from a country other than the United States with some exemptions. In addition, the Canada-US borders are also restricted to non-optional or non-discretionary travel. As an international student, you are exempt from travel restrictions and can be allowed to enter Canada if you satisfy the following conditions:  

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. Registering your quarantine plans is also how you can request a travel support letter. 
 
Students in Ontario are required to go for a COVID-19 test during their quarantine.

If your quarantine plan is not considered satisfactory, you may be sent to a designated place chosen by the border officer at your own expense.  

 

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. Immediate family members 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.
      • Please note that in person services are currently closed. 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.
  • 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
  • A plan for your quarantine (shared via the ArriveCan app)
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 checklists 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)?

Please note that if you are travelling to Canada when you are not currently enrolled full time for courses or a work term, there’s a risk your travel may be deemed non-essential at your departure airport or at customs when you arrive in Canada.

Therefore, if you won’t be studying during the Spring-Summer term, select a travel date that’s as close as possible to the start of your courses, to avoid this situation.

For students studying in the Fall 2021 term, we are currently waiting for further guidelines from IRCC and CBSA regarding when is an appropriate time to enter Canada.


Last review by a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC): 04-29-2021


 

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