International students: Remember to apply for a study permit

International students: Remember to apply for a study permit

Unless you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you’ll likely need to apply and receive a study permit before you travel to Canada and start your UBC classes, and you’ll need to ensure your permit remains valid for the duration of your studies. Study permits are issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Learn more about study permits at UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver.

Depending on your country of citizenship, you may also need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada. Once your initial study permit application is approved, you will automatically be issued a TRV or eTA if you need one.


When do you apply?

You should apply for a study permit online as soon as you receive your letter of admission to UBC. Applications can take several months to process.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada recently announced that if you submit a complete study permit application by May 15, 2021, you will receive a decision by August 6, 2021. We urge you to apply by May 15 if you are able.

If you are missing some required documents

If you are unable to provide all your documents, you can apply for your study permit by May 15 and add a section to your letter of explanation to address the reasons why a document is missing. You’ll need to include proof for the delay, such as your future medical exam appointment confirmation, and then combine this with your other supporting documents in the ‘client information’ section of your application. When you receive your outstanding document, you should send it to IRCC by uploading it in your online portal. If you don’t have a request in your online portal, send it through a webform and request that the document is added to your application.

If you cannot apply by May 15 due to documents you still require, such as biometrics or a medical exam, submit a complete application as soon as possible for your study permit to be processed in a timely manner.

If IRCC sends you a request for documents after you apply, it is important to submit it by the deadline indicated or provide an explanation and proof for why you are unable to submit it in time. Find out more information for UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver.


How do you apply?

To prepare your application, visit UBC’s step-by-step initial study permit tutorial for UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver. Here, you’ll learn about the application process, how to fill out the application form, and what documents to provide .

If you are a resident of China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal, or Vietnam, and are considering applying through the Student Direct Stream, we recommend you apply through the regular stream. Please see our frequently asked questions.

If you are a US citizen, US permanent resident, or a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon, you can apply for a study permit at the airport or land border crossing on arrival. Read through the study permit tutorial above to find out more, and remember to bring all your original documents with you.


What if you’re already studying in Canada?

You are coming to UBC from a Canadian high school

If you have been studying in secondary/high school in Canada and you have been admitted to UBC, you must apply to extend your study permit. You must do this within 90 days after receiving written confirmation of high school completion or before your study permit expires – whichever comes first.

You should apply as soon as you receive your letter of admission from UBC.

  • If you are inside of Canada, apply for a study permit extension for UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver.
  • If you will not be in Canada in time to apply to extend your study permit, apply for an initial study permit from outside of Canada. Learn more about what to do for UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver.

You are transferring to UBC from a Canadian college or university

If you already have a valid study permit for post-secondary study in Canada, you might be able to use that permit to study at UBC.

  • If you did not complete your previous program and your study permit has not expired, you must inform the government by changing your Designated Learning Institution (DLI) online via your MyCIC account.
  • If you completed a program at your previous institution, you must extend your study permit for UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver within 90 days after you received written notification of program completion or before your study permit expires – whichever comes first.


What do you need to prepare before travelling to Canada?

Before making travel plans, be sure to carefully review all pages of our Travelling to Canada Guide for UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver to learn about COVID-19 testing, making a quarantine plan, what documents to bring, health insurance, and more.


If you still have questions

We understand that this may be a stressful time for you, given the global disruptions due to COVID-19. Remember: you are not alone. If you’d like to talk to a UBC advisor, our International Student Advising team at UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver is here for you. The UBC International Student Guide for UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver is also a great resource and reference handbook for everything you need to know about coming to UBC.

We also recommend that you enroll in iPREP, a pre-arrival course designed for new students to learn about immigration documents, health insurance, and more.



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