ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS: STUDYING AND WORKING IN CANADA

In general, IRCC requires you to enroll in classes, remain enrolled until you complete your program, and actively pursue your studies as this is the primary reason for you to be here in Canada.

Taking a term (or more) off may affect your study permit, your ability to work on or off campus, and/or your eligibility to work after graduation.

Contact an International Student Advisor, Immigration Specialist well in advance if you plan to take time away from studies during your program.

Undergraduate Students

As an undergraduate student you may take the Summer term off with no impact on your study permit or work eligibility, as long as you enroll full time for both the Spring and Fall terms (see Full Time Status, below).

If you choose to take the Fall or Spring term off:

  • You will not be eligible to work on or off campus until you resume full-time enrollment. 
  • Speak with an International Student Advisor, Immigration Specialist about the potential impact on your Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility. IRCC policy requires you to have continuously studied full time in order to qualify for this work permit.
  • If you will be away from school for more than 150 days in a row, please see "Taking multiple terms off" below.

Refer to SFU’s reactivation/readmission policy if you are not enrolled in three or more consecutive terms and were not required to withdraw in the last term at SFU.

Graduate Students

As a graduate student, you are required by SFU to maintain continuous enrollment. Refer to the Graduate General Regulations: section 1.4.3 Continuity of Enrollment. If you need to take a break from your studies, apply for a leave of absence.  

If you choose to take a leave of absence:

  • You will not be eligible to work on or off campus until you resume full-time enrollment.* 
  • Speak with an International Student Advisor, Immigration Specialist about the potential impact on your Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility. IRCC policy requires you to have continuously studied full time in order to qualify for this work permit.
  • If your leave will be more than 150 days in length, please see "Taking multiple terms off" below.

*Exception: graduate students who are approved for an academic break may be eligible to work. See "Scheduled break" for more details.

Note: some intensive programs may not permit breaks in your studies unless there are extenuating circumstances. It is your responsibility to check with your academic program prior to taking any term(s) off.

Taking multiple terms off (all students)

If you will be away from your studies for more than 150 days consecutively, IRCC policy requires you to either leave Canada or apply to extend your stay under a different status. In most cases, this means you will need to apply for visitor status if you would like to stay in Canada during an extended break or leave from studies.

You must submit an application to change your status within the first 150 days after you stopped studying.

Full Time Status

SFU students are considered full time for immigration purposes in a given term if they are:

Undergraduate Students (including post-baccalaureate programs)

  • enrolled in a minimum of 9 units in the Spring, Summer and Fall term

Graduate Students in one of the following categories

  • Graduate students enrolled in per term fee programs
  • Graduate students enrolled in a thesis, project, capstone course or field exams
  • Graduate students enrolled in 6 or more units per term in per unit fee programs  

OR any one of the following:

  • Undergraduate and Graduate students enrolled in a full time Formal Exchange Program (“FEP”) or Field School (outbound exchange and field school), or
  • Undergraduate and Graduate students enrolled in a full-time co-operative education placement (“Co-op”), approved internship or practicum as per program requirements, or 
  • Undergraduate students enrolled in a total minimum of 9 units as part of the Dual Degree partnerships between SFU and Langara, Douglas and Kwantlen or
  • Graduate students enrolled full time under the Western Deans Agreement in any given term, or 
  • Visiting International Graduate Research Students ( see more information) enrolled in “Grad 800”, or
  • Visiting International Undergraduate Research Students (see more information) enrolled in "UG 400", or
  • Students for whom the Centre for Accessible Learning has approved full-time equivalency, despite their carrying a reduced load