In-Person Exchange Students
This website contains general information and resources related to policies, procedures, and application processes.
In accordance with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) guidelines, if you are traveling to Canada to study for 6 months or less, you do not need a study permit. If you are coming to SFU for one exchange term, you might be able to travel to Canada as a visitor. Depending on your country of citizenship(s), you may need to apply for a temporary resident visa/TRV (also known as a visitor visa) or an eTA to travel to Canada. To see whether you require a TRV or an eTA visit the IRCC website.
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 TRV or an eTA (if needed). Visit the IRCC website to determine whether you need an eTA or a TRV. OR
- Apply for a study permit
Keep in mind the IRCC processing times when choosing between applying for a TRV/eTA or a study permit. The processing time for a TRV could be longer in certain countries than for a study permit. Visit the IRCC website to check the most current, estimated processing times.
A study permit is required if you want to work on and/or off campus. In addition to having a valid study permit, you must also meet IRCC's requirements to work while studying in Canada. If you apply for a TRV or eTA only you will not be permitted to work on campus or off campus while in 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 (TRV) or eTA, this will be issued when your study permit application is approved outside Canada.
Note that due to current global events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian entry requirements are subject to change without notice. For the most current, up-to-date information on travelling to Canada, visit the Government of Canada website.
For updates and information about immigration applications (e.g. study permits, work permits, visas), entry requirements to Canada, work eligibility, and medical insurance, you may also refer to the:
US Students: Apply at Port of Entry
You have the option of submitting your study permit application upon your arrival at a Canadian Port of Entry (e.g. your airport of arrival or land crossing into Canada) if you are:
- a national or permanent resident of the United States (US)
- someone who has lawfully been admitted to the US for permanent residence
- a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon
Fill out the IRCC application form in advance and prepare the required documentation to present upon arrival. You will need proof of citizenship, a secondary piece of official identification, your official letter of acceptance (also known as an admission letter) from SFU, the application fee and proof of sufficient funds. Visit the IRCC website for more information about making a study permit application upon entering Canada.
If you are not a US citizen, in most cases you will be required to give your biometrics upon arrival at the port of entry to Canada when making your application. Visit the IRCC website to find out if you will need to give your biometrics.