In-Person Exchange Students
This website contains general information and resources related to policies, procedures, and application processes.
In accordance with 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 processing time 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.
You will not be permitted to work in Canada as a visitor. A study permit is required if you plan to work on and 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 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 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:
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
(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.
Student Direct Stream: Depending on where you live, you may be able to get your study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream (SDS).
Nigeria Student Express: Study permit applicants in Nigeria may be eligible to apply through the Nigeria Student Express (NSE) pilot. Please refer to the Nigeria visa office instructions for further details.
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:
(A) APPLICATION FOR A STUDY PERMIT
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.
(C) VALID PASSPORT
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.
(D) OFFICIAL SFU EXCHANGE / STUDY ABROAD ADMISSION LETTER
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.
(E) PROOF OF FUNDS.
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.
Contact an International Student Advisor, Immigration Specialist if you have any questions about your application or the application process. Some applicants may also require:
(A) MEDICAL EXAMINATION
An immigration 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 immigration 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.