ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS: STUDYING AND WORKING IN CANADA

On January 22, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) announced a number of updates and measures to the International Student Program. A cap will be placed on the intake of outside Canada study permit applications, resulting in approximately 360,000 approved permits. The number allocated to British Columbia or SFU is not known at this time.

The following updates are highlighted into two parts for undergraduates and graduate students. Note that the information on this page is current as of February 2, 2024.

Undergraduate Students:

1.     Beginning January 22, 2024, unless exempted, most international students must include an attestation letter with their outside Canada study permit applications.

2.     Current students applying to extend or change the conditions of their study permits within Canada are exempt from having an attestation letter.

3.     In the weeks ahead, spouses/common-law partners of undergraduate students will no longer qualify for open work permits. IRCC has yet to announce the implementation date.

Graduate Students:

1.     Master’s and PhD students are exempt from the study permit intake cap and requirement of attestation letter for their study permit applications.

2.     Post-Graduation Work Permit of three years will soon be available to some graduates with master's degrees whose program duration was less than two years.  More details on the eligibility criteria have not been announced yet by IRCC.

For more information about how the above updates may impact you, review our News and Updates section.  We will update the page with new details as they become available.

Requirement and Definitions

As an international student holding a study permit, you are required to actively pursue studies. According to IRCC, this means that you must remain enrolled and make reasonable and timely progress towards completing your program.

To be considered enrolled at SFU, you must be enrolled in a minimum of 1 unit for credit in a given term (excluding audit courses).

To be considered actively pursuing studies as required by IRCC, you may be enrolled in a full-time or occasionally a part-time unit/credit load.

However, you must be enrolled full time to legally work on or off campus (see Working on campus and Working off campus for more information).

Full Time Status

Each institution determines the minimal course load required for a student to be considered full time.

Full-time enrollment is one of the requirements to work on or off campus (see IRCC website). It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet IRCC’s eligibility requirements to work on or off campus.

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