Immigration documents

For COVID-19 related information, please note, as information can change without notice, for the most current immigration information, always visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and the Government of Canada website

Information on this page has been reviewed by a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) and Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIA) in compliance with the Government of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

If you are not an international student, visit the UVic Immigration website for additional immigration information for the campus community. 

Please be aware that information can sometimes change without notice. For the most current information, always refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

The information below is specific to Canadian immigration documents. If you plan to visit other countries, either on your way to Canada or during your time at UVic, you should connect with the appropriate representative of that country to inquire about the necessary immigration documents.

Notice: IRCC announces changes to Canada's international student program

On January 22, 2024, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced several measures intended to protect the integrity of Canada's international student program. 

Learn more about the changes


Study permits

Most international students need to obtain a study permit before beginning their studies in Canada.

Visit the IRCC website to determine if you need a study permit. 

For full information about COVID-19 entry requirements for international students, refer to the Government of Canada's website.

Yes, applying for a study permit for a short-term program can be beneficial if you decide to study longer inside Canada or if you wish to work inside Canada during your program of study, if you meet the eligibility requirements.  If you apply for a study permit when studying in a program of less that 6 months in length you should include an explanation letter with your application to explain why you are applying for a study permit with a short-term program.

Visit the IRCC website for more information on study permits.

It can take weeks or even months for IRCC to process a study permit application, so it is important to apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance from the Program Registration Team with the Division of Continuing Studies at UVic.

For current estimated processing times, refer to the IRCC website. The estimated processing times are subject to change without notice, and do not include the time you need to complete your biometrics or medical exam (if required).

You must use your Continuing Studies Letter of Acceptance (conditional or unconditional) sent by email from the Continuing Studies Program Registration Team. 

In most cases, study permit applications must be submitted online. If you meet certain exceptions, you may be allowed to apply by paper. 

Online study permit application

Refer to the IRCC website and follow the instructions to complete your study permit application online. 

If you meet the eligibility criteria to submit a study permit application via the Student Direct Stream (SDS), visit the IRCC - SDS webpage for detailed steps and instructions. 

If your application is approved, you will receive a port of entry (POE) letter (also known as a study permit approval letter, or letter of introduction). A POE letter is not a study permit. It is proof that your study permit application is approved. When you arrive in Canada, you must show your POE letter to a Canadian border officer, who will then issue your study permit.

Applying at a Port of Entry (POE)

In most cases, students should travel to Canada only after they receive their study permit approval. However, according to Section 214 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, you have the option to apply for a study permit at a port of entry (e.g. your airport of arrival, sea or land border crossing into Canada) if you are:

  • a citizen of the United States,
  • a lawful permanent resident of the United States, or
  • a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon 

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

When you apply for your initial study permit, you will need:

  • Letter of acceptance 
  • Passport
  • Digital photo
  • Proof of funds
  • Documents required by your specific visa office

Additional documents you might need:

  • Letter of explanation
  • Study plan
  • Biometrics
  • Valid English language proficiency test result (SDS requirement)
  • Medical exam
  • Tuition deposit
  • Family information form [IMM 5707]
  • Schedule 1

All documents submitted to IRCC must be in English or French. If your documents are in a language other than English or French, refer to the IRCC website – Translation of supporting documents for applications for instructions on how to prepare your official translations of the original documents.

Refer to the IRCC website for general guidelines about financial support requirements for your study permit application, including minimum required amounts and a list of acceptable documents.

You may need to use various documents to prove that you have enough money to cover tuition and living expenses for yourself and any family members who will accompany you while you complete your program at UVic. Living expenses include housing, utilities, food, clothing, personal care, child care, and recreation for you and any accompanying family members.

Although IRCC requires applicants to show at least $10,000 CAD in addition to tuition to cover living expenses in the first year of studies (for a single student), it’s important to note that this amount is significantly lower than what most students need in order to live in Victoria. When budgeting for your stay, the Student Aid BC website could be a helpful tool for predicting current living expenses in British Columbia (BC), but keep in mind that your actual living expenses will depend on your lifestyle and the choices you make.

Note: Continuing Studies non-credit certificate and diploma programs require students to pay for tuition at the time of course registration.  There may also be a mandatory program deposit required at the time that you accept a seat in your desired program of study; the program deposit amount may vary depending on the program. The Student Direct Stream (SDS) and some Visa Offices may require you to pay one-year tuition deposit.

If you are in Canada as a visitor, you are allowed to apply online for a study permit. When you apply, you must follow the instructions for applying from outside of Canada. IRCC will process your application in the same amount of time as though you’d applied from your home country, outside of Canada. Refer to the IRCC website for detailed instructions.

If your application is approved, you will receive a port of entry (POE) letter (also known as a study permit approval letter, or letter of introduction). You will need to take this letter to a Canadian port of entry such as a land or sea border crossing and ask for your study permit to be issued. Keep in mind that you will need to leave Canada to reach the port of entry. For more information, visit the IRCC website.

If you would like to stay in Canada while awaiting processing of your outside-Canada application, you must also maintain valid visitor status until you receive your study permit. If your visitor status will expire before you receive your study permit, you should apply to extend your stay or leave Canada before your visitor status expires.

If you are coming to UVic from a high school, college, university, or language school in Canada, you can continue to use your study permit if it is still valid and you will start your UVic program within 150 days after you end your last program. However, you must notify IRCC that you have changed your institution.

We recommend that you apply to extend your study permit at least 4-6 months before it expires. Applying before your study permit expires will allow you to continue studying while you await processing, and applying early is recommended since you will need to renew your other government-issued documents (e.g., BC MSP, SIN and driver's license) after receiving your new study permit.

Please contact your Program Area to request a valid Study Permit Information Letter for your study permit extension application.

Refer to the IRCC website for detailed information about when and how to extend your study permit in Canada. We recommend applying to extend your study permit 4-6 months before it expires. 

Please contact your Program Area to request a valid Study Permit Information Letter for your study permit extension application.

If your study permit expires while you have a study permit extension application in process, you can stay in Canada and continue studying (and working, if eligible) until IRCC makes a decision on your application. During this time, you will have maintained status as long as you remain in Canada. 

If you are in Canada and your study permit expires before you submit an extension application, you must stop studying immediately. Refer to the IRCC website for information about what to do if you have lost your student status.  You can also contact our office at if you have questions about your situation.

As a study permit holder in Canada, you need to meet a number of study permit conditions. One of the conditions is that you must show that you are actively pursing your studies. You can demonstrate this by enrolling full-time or part-time during regular academic sessions.

However, to be eligible to work while studying or to be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), you must maintain full-time enrolment except for regularly scheduled breaks, or during your final term or an authorized leave.

Full-time enrolment definitions at the Division of Continuing Studies at UVic

The Division of Continuing Studies deems full-time status for non-credit certificate and diploma programs as studying a minimum of 3 courses per term. Each course must be a minimum of 36 instructional hours.

An easy way to confirm your registration status at UVic is to check your verification of enrollment, which you can access through DCS My Account  > Dashboard > Transcripts and request forms.

If you are a newly admitted non-credit certification or diploma program student, you will receive a letter of acceptance from the Continuing Studies Program Registration Team via email once your admissions process is complete and you have paid all required fees.  

If you have already received the Letter of Acceptance and cannot locate your Letter of Acceptance, please contact your Program Registration Team to request a copy of your Letter of Acceptance.

The letter of acceptance you will need to apply to extend a study permit is the same Letter of Acceptance that you received when you were admitted to your program of study.

If you cannot locate your original Letter of Acceptance, please contact your Program Registration Team to request a copy of your Letter of Acceptance. 

Please note that the expiry date on the Letter of Acceptance is noted as the start date of the program and cannot be changed.

Refer to the IRCC website for detailed information about biometrics (fingerprints and photo) requirements. Exemptions may apply. You can use the online tool to see if you need to provide biometrics. 

If you are not sure whether your biometrics are still valid, use the check status tool to verify.

If you are required to provide biometrics, make sure to follow the steps to give your biometrics. You will:

  • Pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application. (The biometrics fee is $85 CAD in addition to the application fee.)
  • Receive a biometrics instruction letter from IRCC after your application is submitted.
  • Use the instruction letter to book an appointment with an official biometrics collection point to give your biometrics in person.

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

For Continuing Studies non-credit certificate and diploma program students, summer sessions may be considered regularly scheduled breaks in your program. You are not required to take courses or maintain full-time status during regularly scheduled breaks in order to maintain your work eligibility in Canada, provided that you are a full-time student during the winter sessions immediately before and fall sessions immediately after the break. 

Please see the Continuing Studies Working in Canada web page for more information about working off-campus during regular scheduled breaks, which can be found in the 'I want to work off-campus" section.

Consult with your Academic Advisor for your program if you have questions about your program’s scheduled breaks.

To replace a lost, damaged or stolen temporary document that is still valid, you can submit a replacement application. This application must be submitted by paper. Refer to the IRCC website for instructions to complete a replacement application. 

The application fee to replace your valid study permit is $30.00CAD and you must make the payment via the IRCC online payment tool. You will be prompted to log into an IRCC Online Services account to proceed. If you don't have an Online Services account with IRCC, you must first register for one in order to proceed with the payment. After completing the payment, you must print out a copy of the payment receipt to include in your application package.

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

The amendment process is only used to correct mistakes made by IRCC. If you need to change the conditions or update information on your study permit due to a change in your situation or your work eligibility, you will need to apply online to change the conditions of your study permit.

Refer to the IRCC website for instructions. Do not submit multiple IRCC Web Forms regarding the same inquiry as it may slow down their response time. 

Entry documents

Canada has two types of entry documents: the electronic travel authorization (eTA) and the temporary resident visa (TRV).

Most international students need to obtain one of these entry documents before travelling to Canada. US citizens travelling with a valid US passport, and US permanent residents with official proof of status, do not need an eTA or a TRV. 

Visit the IRCC website to determine if you need an entry document.

If you apply for a study permit outside Canada and you are from a country whose citizens require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), your TRV or eTA will be issued automatically upon approval of your study permit application. You do not need to submit a separate application for a TRV or eTA. 

Refer to the IRCC website for information about who needs a visa to enter Canada.

If you need an entry document, you must apply for one before travelling to Canada.

Detailed instructions and requirements for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) application are available on the IRCC website.

Detailed instructions and requirements for a temporary resident visa (TRV) application are available on the IRCC website. You may be required to give biometrics (fingerprints and a photo). Refer to the IRCC website to find out if you need to complete this procedure. 

Even if you do not need an entry document, you still need to meet certain requirements to enter Canada.

If you have questions about any of the immigration information on this page, please contact our Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA) at