On January 22, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) announced a number of updates and measures to the International Student Program. The complete details can be found on the IRCC website on our News & Updates page.


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.

Transferring to SFU from FIC or another Canadian institution?

You must log in to your MyCIC account and notify IRCC that you have transferred to SFU from your previous institution before you begin your studies at SFU. This is required each time you transfer between institutions in Canada.

If your study permit will soon expire, in addition to the process above you must also apply to extend it before the expiry date. Visit the extend your study permit section for instructions on how to extend your status.

Coming to SFU from a Canadian high school?

You may need to extend your study permit if it will expire soon, and/or you may want to change your study permit conditions so that you can work during your studies.

See High School Students in Canada for information on what you'll need to do as a study permit holder joining SFU from a high school in Canada.