Immigration Documents

In-Person Exchange Students - Spring 2022

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

Based on IRCC’s recently-updated guidelines for short-term studies, if you will come to SFU for one term (less than 6 months) you are not required to have a study permit to legally study in Canada. However, under the current travel restrictions you may require a valid study permit or study permit approval letter to be allowed to enter Canada.

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

  • Qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller (click here to see if you qualify) and hold a valid travel document (temporary resident visa or eTA) to enter Canada as a visitor, or
  • Hold a valid study permit or study permit approval and a valid travel document (temporary resident visa or eTA - issued to you upon approval of your study permit application)

The decision on whether you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller will be made upon your arrival at the port of entry to Canada.

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.

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 the latest 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, please refer to the:


Study Permit and Immigration Documents Application Tips

Below are a few steps to begin with once you have determined the type of immigration document/s to apply for.

SFU's Designated Learning Institution's (DLI) number is O18781994282 (begins with the letter “O”).

When you are applying for your immigration documents:

(1) Check the application processing times

Processing times vary and fluctuate. Apply as early as you can to avoid any disappointments and allow extra time for any additional steps that may be required (such as giving your biometrics or undergoing a medical exam).

} Check application processing times

(2)  Determine where and how you will submit your application

Submit your application either online (preferred) or by mail to the visa office that is responsible for the country or region where you live.

Most study permit applications can now be submitted online. Visit the IRCC website for eligibility details and application instructions.

US Citizens: If you are a citizen or permanent resident of the USA, you have the option of submitting your application upon your arrival at a Canadian port of entry (e.g. your airport of arrival or land crossing into Canada). Please see US students: Apply at a port of entry for details.

(3) Read the Application Guide and collect the necessary Forms and Documents required

The IRCC website provides the resources you will need to apply for your documents. Please note that to apply for a study permit, you will typically require the following items:


Available on the IRCC website.


Most study permit applicants are required to provide fingerprints and have their photograph taken as part of their application. To find out if you need to meet this requirement, visit the IRCC website.

If you are required to give your biometrics, you must arrange to do so at an official collection point. Visit the IRCC website for details of where you can give biometrics.


Must be valid during the period of your academic program in Canada. If it will expire before the end of your studies, start the process to renew six months before the expiry date. If you are a US citizen, you do not currently need to have a passport to enter Canada, but you will be asked to show proof of citizenship. As this policy may change, we advise all US citizens to have valid passports.


Include your SFU Exchange / Study Abroad letter of acceptance (also known as an admission letter; sent to you via e-mail) in your application for a Study Permit and (if applicable) Temporary Resident Visa.


You must prove you have enough money to pay for your tuition and living expenses for at least one year, as well as for your return transportation to your home country. If your spouse and/or children are accompanying you, you will need to show adequate funds to support them as well. You can demonstrate proof of sufficient funds using documents such as a bank draft, transfer letter of credit, scholarship funding letter, official letter of your sponsorship or, as in the case of some graduate students, a letter offering employment at SFU as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant.  Please review typical estimated costs of living on the SFU Financial Aid website.

For more information regarding proof of financial support, please visit the IRCC website

(4) Consult the instructions provided by the Canadian visa office serving the country or region where you live to determine if you are required to provide additional requirements, forms or documents

Contact us if you have any questions about your application or the application process. Some applicants may also require:


A medical examination is required if you have resided or stayed temporarily for six or more consecutive months in a designated country or territory in the year preceding your application.

If this is a requirement for you, start the process early. Medical examinations may take several months to process. If your medical examination result has expired, you must allow enough time to obtain a new one before returning to Canada. The Canadian representative from your home country will inform you of the procedures, and you should familiarize yourself with the requirements before leaving your home country.

For more information about medical examination requirements, please visit the IRCC website.

(B) CUSTODIANSHIP DECLARATION FORMS (impacts students under the age of 19 only)

Students under 19 years of age may also require custodianship declaration forms certifying that they will have a legal custodian in Canada.  Please see Students under 19 years: Custodianship for further details.

(C) OVERCOMING CRIMINAL INADMISSIBILITY (for students who have been convicted of a criminal offense)

If you have previously been convicted of a crime, please visit the IRCC website for information on overcoming criminal inadmissibility.