Immigration Documents

Last Updated: April 26, 2022 -The information in the box below is current as of the 'last updated' date but is subject to change without notice.

In-Person Exchange Students

This website contains general information and resources related to policies, procedures, and application processes. Please see below the updates pertaining to the Fall 2022 semester.

In accordance with IRCC guidelines, if you are traveling to Canada to study for six months or less, you do not need a study permit. As a result, if you are coming to SFU for an exchange term, you might be able to travel to Canada as a visitor. Depending on your country of nationality, you can either apply for a visitor visa or an eTA. To summarize, for an exchange term of 6 months or less, the following immigration options are available:

If you will come to SFU for a one-term exchange, you must either:

  • Apply for a visitor visa or an eTA. Click here to determine whether you need an eTA or a visitor visa. OR
  • Apply for a study permit.

Keep in mind the processing time when choosing between a visitor visa/eTA and a study permit. The processing time for a visitor visa could be longer in certain countries than for a study permit. Click here to check the processing time.

Furthermore, you will not be permitted to work in Canada as a visitor. A study permit would be required if you plan to work on campus.

Under the current travel restrictions, you must also qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to be allowed entry to Canada either as a visitor or as a study permit holder.

The final decision on whether you are eligible to enter Canada as a fully vaccinated traveller will be made by a Border Services Officer (BSO) upon your arrival at a Canadian Port-of-Entry (POE). 

If you will come to SFU for a two-term exchange, you must:

  • Apply and be approved for a study permit before you travel. If you require a temporary resident visa or eTA, this will be issued when your study permit is approved outside Canada. 
  • Be fully vaccinated in order to enter Canada as a study permit holder. You must also qualify as a fully vaccinated traveler to board a flight or train departing Canada at the end of your exchange.

Eased testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers

The government of Canada has implemented the following adjustments to lighten its current border measures as part of transition of the pandemic responses:

  1. Starting April 1, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test results to enter Canada by air, land, or water. Visit here for more information about the removal of pre-entry testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers. 
  2. Starting April 25, 2022, all fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to provide a quarantine plan upon entry. Visit here for more information and the full announcement about the additional eased border measures. 
  3. Mandatory random testing (which was temporarily suspended) has been resumed as of July 19, 2022, for travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated, arriving in Canada by air to the four major Canadian airports, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

As a reminder, all travellers are still required to use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information within 72 hours of their arrival to Canada and/or before boarding a plane or cruiseship destined for Canada. 

Note that travel restrictions and entry requirements are subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information on travelling to Canada, visit the Government of Canada website.

For updates and specific information on COVID-19 including impacts on immigration applications (e.g. study permits, work permits, visas), travel restrictions, work eligibility, and medical insurance, you may also refer to the:


Before you arrive in Canada, you must obtain the correct immigration document that accurately reflects your student status. Apply early to ensure your application is processed in time.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada introduced biometrics requirements in 2018. Most people who apply for a study permit or visitor visa are now required to provide biometrics as part of the application.

Exchange students from Ukraine

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has put new measures in place to help applicants affected by the ongoing situation in Ukraine. Should you require further information, please contact an International Student Advisor, Immigration Specialist for assistance.