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.     Starting on February 15, 2024, a longer, 3-year post-graduation work permit will be available to those who are graduating from a master’s degree program that is less than 2 years and who meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria. For undergraduate students and other short-term graduate level programs (e.g. graduate certificate/diploma), there are no changes to the eligibility criteria for the PGWP. 

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.

Each institution determines the minimum course load required for full-time status.

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 considers students to be 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 scenarios:
    • enrolled in per term fee programs
    • enrolled in a thesis, project, capstone course or field exams
    • 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