Immigration Documents

Virtual Exchange Students

If you have been accepted to a virtual exchange to SFU, your studies will be completed remotely. A virtual exchange does not require, nor endorse, travel to Canada, and does not permit for the in-person participation of courses or services at SFU.

Admission into a virtual exchange program cannot be used as a basis to apply for immigration documents or travel to Canada.

Prospective In-Person Exchange Students

This website contains general information and resources related to policies, procedures, and application processes.

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:


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.

Studying in Canada for less than 6 months?

If you are here for one term or less as an exchange, visiting or ESL student, you may enter Canada as a visitor and study at SFU without a study permit (visit the IRCC website for more information). 

If there is a possibility that your studies will extend to longer than 6 months, we recommend that you obtain a study permit before coming to Canada. Holding a valid study permit also permits you to accept on-campus employment as long as you meet the eligibility requirements to work on campus.

Please note that depending on your nationality or citizenship, you may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), even if a study permit is not required for your studies. Most travelers require a TRV or eTA to enter Canada. Visit the IRCC website to find out if you need a TRV or eTA.

Studying in Canada for 6 months or more?

Before you can study in Canada, you must apply to your closest Canadian Embassy or Consulate for a Study Permit

Depending on your nationality or citizenship, you may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) as well. To see if you require a TRV or eTA, please visit the IRCC website.

The visa officer will process your application for a TRV or eTA at the same time as your study permit. You do not need a separate application.