Visiting Research Students (Graduate)

Qualified Visiting Research Students are admitted to SFU in order to foster the exchange of ideas, receive specialized training and participate in research collaboration.

International students are admitted as non-credit seeking students typically for one term (4 months) but visits may be as brief as one month.

Admission Requirements

Visiting Research Students at Simon Fraser University must meet the following criteria.

·         Registered full-time at their home institution in a graduate program (Masters and Doctoral), in good academic standing, and proficient in the English language.

·         Must not take graduate or undergraduate courses while attending SFU.

·         Responsible for adequate hospital and medical coverage for the duration of their stay.  

Application Process

* The type of visa that a visiting research student requires depends on a number of factors including length of stay, purpose of visit and funding source.

Step 1

Establish a research agreement with a faculty member in a department or school with compatible research interests. Here are some tips for finding a supervisor (add link:

Step 2

Complete the Visiting Research Student form and submit it with current transcript and all required documents to your host Department. 

Forward the completed Visiting Research Student Form, transcript and supporting documents to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (, at least three months prior to the arrival at SFU.

Step 3

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies:
Send the admission letter to the student.

Consult the specific visa instructions provided by the Canadian visa office serving the country or region where you live for a list of application forms supporting documents required. (link it to IRCC website here-

Step 4

Contact Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to request registration in GRAD 800 (which provides access to the SFU library and the U-Pass BC for Metro Vancouver's transit system). You can receive your library/ID card 24 hours after you have been enrolled in the Grad 800 course. You will need to present a valid photo ID (e.g.  government issued ID or driver’s license) in order to pick up your library/ID card at one of the three campuses. 

Immigration Application

Conducting research for 120 days or less

o   Visiting research students may come to Canada under visitor status for which a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will be required, depending on the country of citizenship.

o   However, we encourage visiting research students to apply for a study permit or work permit if there is a possibility of extending their stay in Canada -- having a valid study or work permit can make the extension process easier.

Conducting research for more than 120 days

o   Depending on the details of your visit, you may require either a study permit or a work permit.

o   A work permit is required if you are:

§  Receiving remuneration or a research award specific to this visit (either from SFU or elsewhere), or

§  Performing work for your SFU supervisor, even if unpaid (for example: joining their lab, doing collaborative research, or directly contributing to research projects at SFU).

If you require a work permit, please contact to assess your eligibility and for assistance with the application process.

A study permit may be appropriate if you are:

o   Self-funded (i.e. you are not receiving any award or funding for your visit), and

o   Working solely on your own project (e.g. thesis or dissertation) under the supervision of an SFU faculty member


If your visit will be six months or less in duration, you may study without a study permit. However, we do advise that you apply for a study permit if there is a possibility you will want to extend your stay. A valid study permit along with full-time enrollment in GRAD 800 will also allow you to legally work on campus at SFU during your visit. For details on the study permit application process, visit the International Services for Students (ISS) website.


If you are not sure which permit would be appropriate, please contact an International Student Advisor, Immigration Specialist at for guidance.



International Student Advisor/RCIC
International Services for Students (ISS)

For VRS Registration