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Immigration

As an international student, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the necessary immigration documents to live and study in Canada. International Student Advisors are available to answer your questions and help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

If you are a new student, please review how to apply for your initial study permit.

Note

Information on this page has been reviewed by a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) or Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA) in compliance with the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. However, please be aware that this is not a legal document and information may sometimes change without notice. For the most current information, always refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Immigration documents

Study permit

A document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows foreign nationals to study and remain in Canada as a temporary resident for a specific amount of time-usually the duration of your program.

Note:Your study permit is not the same as a temporary resident visa (TRV) and does not allow you to enter or re-enter Canada. To enter Canada, you also require a Temporary Resident Visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Study permit example

Maintaining your student’s status – rules and regulations associated with your study permit

There are a number of conditions associated with your study permit that you must meet. These include:

  • be enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • show you are actively pursuing your studies by:
  • being enrolled full-time or part-time during each academic semester (excluding regularly scheduled breaks)
  • making progress towards completing your program's courses, and
  • not taking authorized leaves longer than 150 days from your study program

Please note that part-time studies have implications for working and post-grad work permit eligibility.

As an international student, it is your responsibility to be aware of when your status will expire and ensure that you take the necessary steps in order to extend your status if necessary.

Studying part-time during the academic semester means that you are no longer eligible to work (if you were previously). Part-time studies can also affect your eligibility to apply for a post-graduation work permit upon completion of your program. If you are considering studying part-time, please visit the International Centre to meet with an advisor first.

The Canadian government mandates that international students should be actively and continuously pursuing studies. Having a gap in studies (not including your scheduled break) can impact your eligibility to work while studying, and your eligibility to apply for a post-graduation work permit. If you are considering taking a leave in studies, please meet with an advisor first.

If you need to continue studying, we recommend that you apply to extend your study permit 3-4 months prior to the expiration date on your current study permit.

If your study permit will be expiring shortly and you are graduating, please meet with an advisor in the International Centre.

You can extend your study permit online within Canada. It costs $150 to apply.

Once you have signed into your account, you will complete a questionnaire to generate your own personalized document checklist. The application form that you will be submitting is the Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Student (IMM5709).

In addition to the application form, the standard required supporting documents for all students include:

  • Letter of acceptance or enrolment — current SAIT international students can request the letter by completing the online letter request form.
  • Proof of means of financial support — you must provide proof that you can support yourself and any accompanying family members while you are in Canada. Proof may include:
  • your bank statements for the past four months
    • bank draft in convertible currency
    • pay stubs
    • an employment letter
    • proof of assets or business
    • proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees
    • tax reports, declarations or statements
    • proof of a student or education loan from a financial institution
    • a letter from the person or institution providing you with money
    • proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program
    • proof of a Canadian bank account in your name if money has been transferred to Canada
  • Passport — scans of the page that shows your birth date and country of origin and any pages with stamps, visas or markings. Please note that your study permit cannot be extended past the validity date of your passport.
  • Digital Photo

You can follow the application instruction guide to complete the process.

The answer depends on which situation applies to you:

  1. I applied to extend my study permit before it expired — — In this situation, you now have "maintained status". This means that you can continue to live and study in Canada (and continue working if you meet eligibility requirements) until a decision is made on your extension application.

    If you plan on leaving Canada while you are on implied status, please review the Government of Canada guidelines on implied status as a temporary resident.

  2. I did not apply to extend my study permit before it expired — In this situation, you do not have implied status and are now out of status.

    You will need to stop studying (and working) immediately and will need to apply to restore your status. Please visit the International Centre to talk with an advisor if this happens.

No. Once you receive your extended study permit, you can then apply for a new TRV - if required for your country.

Your family member’s immigration status won’t be extended automatically together with your study permit extension if no application is submitted for them. You could choose to include your family members’ immigration application into your study permit extension into a same application package when you take the IRCC eligibility test, or they could apply for extension separately.

Yes. You can visit a registry office to extend your Albert Health Care coverage and visit a Service Canada location to extend your SIN. Coverage duration is tied to the validity on your study permit.

If you lose your study permit (or co-op work permit), you will need to request a replacement from IRCC as soon as possible. To do so, please follow the steps to submit an Application for Replacement of an Immigration Document.

We recommend that you always keep a photocopy of your immigration documents and passport.

If you are eligible to work under your study permit, and you find your study permit doesn’t have the conditions or remarks printed with the wording: ”may work” or “may accept employment”, then you need to amend your study permit before you can work in Canada. There’s no cost of this application.

If you weren’t previously eligible to work off-campus but now you have changed to a program that allows you to work off-campus (for example, you completed an English or Upgrading program, and are now starting a diploma , degree or certificate program), you can apply to change the conditions of your study permit. You can apply to change the conditions of your study permit online from within Canada. This is the same process as extending your study permit, and costs $150.

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

Your TRV is a document (counterfoil sticker) issued by IRCC, which is placed in your passport. This means that you have met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident. A TRV can be issued for a single entry or for multiple entries. Typically, international students are issued multiple entry visas.

If you are from a visa-exempt country, you require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) instead of a TRV.

When your initial study permit gets approved, you will automatically get your TRV stamped on your passport. However, if you need to extend your study permit or apply for your PGWP from inside Canada, your TRV will not be automatically renewed with your study permit or PGWP, and you shall renew your TRV separately.

It is okay if your TRV expires as your status in Canada is tied to your study permit. TRV is only required for your entering or re-entering to Canada. Therefore, if you intend to travel outside Canada, you will need a TRV to re-enter Canada. We recommend that students maintain a valid TRV in case emergency travel is required.

We recommend that you apply for a TRV online within Canada and the application fee is $100. Typically, your TRV will be granted for the duration of your study permit.

Once you have signed into your account, you will complete a questionnaire to generate your own personalized document checklist. The application form that you will be submitting is the Application for Visitor Visa (Temporary Resident Visa) Made Outside of Canada (IMM5257).

In addition, you’ll also need to provide the following supporting documents:

  • Recent Education Transcript
  • Proof of Next Term’s Enrolment — current SAIT international students can request the letter by completing the online letter request form
  • Your Study Permit
  • Proof of Means of Financial Support — you must provide proof that you can support yourself and any accompanying family members while you are in Canada.
  • Passport and Digital photo

Once you apply online and if your application is approved, IRCC will ask you to mail your passport so that the visa can be added to it.

Note: If your study permit is expiring soon, you should renew your study permit before you apply for your TRV. The validity date on your TRV will be tied to your study permit.

International students might be eligible for working during their studies or work in Canada after graduation. Typically this includes:

Work with a study permit

International students with a valid study permit might be eligible to work while studying without a work permit. Depending on the program you are enrolled in, you might be able to work on-campus only, or both on-campus and off-campus. International students cannot work before their studies begin.

Working on campus

You can work on-campus if:

  • you have a valid study permit which lists a condition that says you are allowed to work on campus, and
  • you are currently enrolled in full-time studies or are on a scheduled break. Or,
  • you are studying part-time in your final semester, but you have been a full-time student in all previous academic semesters before

“On-campus” is defined as employment facilities within the boundaries of the campus, including SAIT Main Campus, Mayland Heights Campus, Art Smith Aero Centre, Crane and Ironworker Facility and The Tastemarket by SAIT.

There’s no maximum number of hours you can work when it comes to on-campus work, but the hours must follow provincial labour standards.

If you are enrolled full-time in Academic Upgrading, ELF, or Open Studies, you are eligible to work on-campus but not off-campus.

Working off campus

You can work off-campus if:

  • you have a valid study permit, which lists a condition that says you are allowed to work on or off-campus, and
  • you are enrolled as a full-time student in a program, which is at least six months long and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • you have started your program - you can't work before your studies begin.

If you qualify, your study permit will allow you to work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or reading week.

Visit the IRCC website for further information about working off campus.

No. The only exception is if you are enrolled in part-time studies and it is your final semester of your program and you were enrolled in full-time studies for your previous semesters.

Please note that SAIT students enrolled in the Academic Upgrading or English Language Foundations are not allowed to work off-campus.

A SIN is a 9-digit number issued by the government which allows you to work in Canada. If you receive a job offer, you will need to present your employer with your SIN.

You can obtain a SIN at a Service Canada location. You will need to bring your passport and valid study permit with you in order to obtain the SIN.

Your SIN is a confidential number and should be protected as private information.

Co-op work permit

This is a work permit issued to international students who have mandatory work experience (co-op, internship or practicum) as part of their program of study. The co-op work permit allows you to work full-time if necessary during your work experience.

Some of the programs at SAIT involve students participating in a co-op or internship/practicum work placement. For an international student to participate in a co-op or internship, the work must form an integral part of their studies, and the student must obtain a co-op work permit prior to commencing the work placement.

In order to apply, you must first obtain a letter from the International Centre to confirm you are eligible for a co-op work permit.

A co-op work permit is not valid for any other off-campus work.

Visit the IRCC website for further information about a co-op work permit.

You only need this permit if your program has a mandatory work component. At SAIT, this is typically called a co-op or practicum. If you are unsure, please speak with your academic advisor.

If your Letter of Acceptance has such working requirements mentioned in Box 24, you may apply for your co-op work permit with your initial study permit application. You can also apply for your coop work permit once you arrive in Canada at least 3-4 months before your coop term starts.

If you are a current student with a study permit, the application can be submitted online. This is a free application.

You will be submitting the Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710) application form and your coop letter from SAIT.

Yes, that is normal. The co-op permit should list your post-secondary institution as the employer.

Your co-op work permit allows you to work full-time during academic semesters, but it only authorizes you to work for the specific internship hours approved by SAIT and will grant you your program credits. You are responsible for tracking your hours and should stop using your co-op work permit once you reach the hours required by your program even your co-op work permit is still valid.

If you decide to continue for the same employer after completing the required hours, you might work under your study permit working authorization (maximum 20 hours per week during academic semesters) if you meet the eligibility.

As international students are considered as being enrolled full-time at SAIT during their coop term, you might simultaneously work for another off-campus job for a maximum of 20 hours under your study permit in your coop term.

Yes, you must have a co-op work permit if you have mandatory work experience as part of your program. The co-op work permit is for work pertaining to your program only.

Your study permit does not allow you to work full-time during your academic semester, it is for non-program related work.

Post-graduation work permit

A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) is an open work permit that allows international graduates to live and work in Canada for a designated period up to three years. It has no geographic or field of employment restrictions.

Upon graduation from a SAIT designated learning program that was a minimum of eight months in length, international students may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). This work permit is an open work permit allowing graduates to work for any employer.

An application must be submitted within 90 days of completing your program and you must have a valid study permit when you apply. You will also need to submit proof of your graduation with the application. You can request a letter from the International Centre to confirm this.

Visit the IRCC website for further information about a post-graduation work permit.

If you weren’t previously eligible to work off-campus but now you have changed to a program that allows you to work off-campus (for example, you completed an English or Upgrading program, and are now starting a diploma, degree or certificate), you can apply to change the conditions of your study permit.

You can apply to change the conditions of your study permit online from within Canada. This is the same process as extending your study permit, and costs $150.

You can apply for a PGWP if you have completed a degree, diploma or certificate program at a DLI (such as SAIT) that is a minimum of 8 months in length. You also need to meet the following criteria:

  • maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your program (except your scheduled break and final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took an authorized leave from studies)
  • Have a valid study permit (or a study permit that was valid at some point in the last 180 days since you completed your program)*

*As many students attend their program online from outside of Canada due to Covid, eligible students can apply for a PGWP from outside Canada as long as they’ve been approved for a study permit. For more information on outside Canada graduates, please see here.

As a student, it is your responsibility to understand and meet the full eligibility requirements.

If you completed a program with duration:

  • Shorter than 8 months — not eligible
  • 8 months to less than 2 years — eligible for a work permit for the same duration as your program. For example, if you completed a 1-year program, you are eligible for a 1-year work permit
  • 2 or more years — eligible for a 3-year work permit

Important: Your PGWP validity date can never extend past the date of your passport validity. Make sure your passport is valid for the entire length of time you should be eligible.

You must apply within 180 days of SAIT issuing your final marks and it’s recommended for you to apply for your PGWP as soon as you receive your Letter of Completion from SAIT while your study permit is still valid.

Your study permit will be valid till the expiry date it’s noted or 90 days after you receive your letter of completion, whichever comes earlier. If you apply for your PGWP while on a valid study permit, you might be eligible to start to work immediately. However, if you plan to apply after your study permit expires, you need to either:

  • Change your status to a visitor before your study permit expires

Or, if your study permit expires, you need to:

  • Leave the country and apply from outside of Canada, or
  • Apply for restoration and your PGWP at the same time.

Please note that you can only receive a PGWP once in your life. If you intend to continue your studies, you might want to wait to apply for your work permit.

The application can be submitted online and costs $255.

The application form that you will be completing is the “Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM5710)”.

How to submit your PGWP

As PGWP application made from outside of Canada has different requirements. If you will apply for your PGWP from outside of Canada, please contact the International Centre.

PGWP Letter of Completion: After you apply to graduate, we will run a graduation audit to confirm you are eligible to complete your program. We will then upload the letter to MyCreds™. Look for an email from MyCreds™ in your personal email address. Review how to access through MyCreds™ for more details.

Final transcript: Find steps to request your transcripts here.

  • We recommend including SAIT’s Definition of Full-Time Studies with your PGWP application. This document can be found here.

Please note that as of Feb. 14, 2019, both the letter of completion and transcript are required for the PGWP application.

It depends. Refer to the IRCC Help Centre for more information before you travel.

No. Once you receive your PGWP you can then apply for a new TRV.

  • Before you receive written notice of program completion: If you were eligible to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during your final semester, you can continue working part-time until you receive notice of program completion (letter from SAIT)
  • Once you receive the notice of completion: you must STOP working until you submit the PGWP application
  • After you submit the PGWP application you can start working full-time if you:
    • Were eligible to work part-time during your academic semester and didn’t work off-campus more than 20 hours during academic semesters
    • Have a valid study permit at the time of applying for your PGWP a
  • If your PGWP is refused, you must stop working immediately.

You can now order your unofficial transcript simply through your MySAIT account. Please check the Quick Reference Guide on easy steps to follow.

You MUST have a valid temporary status as a student or a visitor in order to apply for a PGWP. If your study permit expires around your program completion time, you should consider to apply for your study permit extension early so that you still hold a valid status to bridge your graduation period. If you have not applied to extend it before it expires, you must stop studying and working and apply for a restoration of status.

Volunteer or unpaid work

Some volunteer positions and internships (paid or unpaid) may be considered work by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If your volunteer position or internship is considered work, you must have the right work authorization before you start.

Student Employment and Career Centre

Career readiness begins the moment you step foot on campus. SAIT’s Student Employment and Career Centre will help connect you with employers who are looking for great candidates — whether you are a current student, new grad or experienced alum. Services offered include:

  • My Career Hub – access to our online job board so you can view employment opportunities available to SAIT students and alumni, including full-time, part-time, contract, summer, volunteer and work experience positions.
  • Labs, workshops and consultations – covering topics such as resume writing, interview preparation, creating an effective LinkedIn profile, networking tips and more.
  • Co-Curricular Record – by participating SAIT approved activities, you’ll have your leadership, communications and more skills recorded as an official document that complements your academic transcript

Bring your family to Canada

As an international student in Canada, you can have your family members live with you or visit you. You can provide documents to support their temporary resident application to come to Canada.

Spousal open work permit

If you are an international student studying full-time and have a valid study permit, your spouse or common-law partner can apply for an open work permit. Your spouse/partner do not need a job offer to apply, and the Spousal open work permit will be valid for the same period as your study permit. With an open work permit, your spouse/partner can work while you study for any employer unless restricted on the work permit itself.

In order for your spouse to be eligible for an open work permit, you need to study full-time in a certificate, diploma, or degree program that is at least 8 months long. If you are studying in ELF, Academic Upgrading, open studies or a certificate program that is shorter than 8 months, your spouse/partner will not be eligible for an open work permit.

The spousal open work permit can be applied together with your initial study permit, or at a later time after you come to Canada. If the application will be submitted after you start your program, you can include a Confirmation of Enrollment letter from SAIT and a copy of your study permit in the application. For the process to apply for a spousal open work permit, you can visit it here.

Study permit for your children

If you’d like your minor children to accompany you and to study in Canada, you can submit study permit applications for them as part of your initial study permit application or at a later time.

Parents who will have or currently have a valid study permit do not need to include a Letter of Acceptance for their minor children when applying for a study permit.

If the study permit application for your child is submitted after your study permit application has been approved, you should include a copy of your study permit and a Confirmation of Enrollment letter as part of the application.

If your minor children are already in Canada as visitors, they can study without a study permit as long as you have a valid study permit. However, if they will apply for a study permit from inside of Canada, then the application needs a Letter of Acceptance from their school. For more information about minor children studying in Canada, you can visit it here.

Please contact the school board where you intend to enroll your child for information about tuition costs.

Invite family to visit canada

Most visitors to Canada need a Visitor Visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization to enter Canada. The documents that your family must submit to apply to visit Canada depend on many factors, such as their nationality and how they will travel to Canada. Your family can discover what documents are needed to apply to visit you in Canada here.

Supporting documents from you:

  • Copy of your passport
  • Copy of your study permit
  • Should be valid for the duration of your family’s proposed visit
  • Confirmation of Enrollment Letter
  • Letter of Invitation (a letter drafted by you and include information about you, your family members applying to visit Canada, and the purpose of your family’s visit to Canada)
When your family travels to Canada, they may want to carry the above supporting documents in case a border services officer asks to see them.

Documents for immigration purpose

International students need documents from SAIT to support their application for Canadian visa and permits. The following documents are listed for you to understand where to apply and get these documents at SAIT.

Letter of Acceptance

A Letter of Acceptance is issued to applicants who have been offered a seat in a SAIT program and have paid a deposit to confirm their seat. This letter is needed to apply for a study permit.

Conditional Letter of Acceptance

A Conditional Letter of Acceptance is issued to applicants who have been offered seat with a condition in a SAIT program and have paid a deposit to confirm their seat. Once the applicant meets the condition(s), e.g. by submitting the final transcript, or completing a prerequisite course/program, an updated regular Letter of Acceptance (unconditional) will be issued.

Confirmation of Enrolment

A Confirmation of Enrolment letter proves your current enrolment status at SAIT and depending on the purpose of it, you might need to request it from different places.

If you need to show proof of your address, such as opening a bank account or applying for your Alberta Health Care card. You can request a Confirmation of Enrolment – Non-Immigration Purpose through mySAIT and it will be uploaded to MyCreds™️ approximately five business days after you submit your request.

If you need to extend your study permit, renew your TRV, apply for a Co-op Work permit or invite your family members to visit you in Canada, you need to request a Confirmation of Enrolment – Immigration Purpose from the international letter request logi form here. The letter will be issued to your SAIT email approximately xxx business days after you submit your request.

PGWP Letter of Completion

A PGWP Letter of Completion is a letter confirms your program completion at SAIT and it’s required for your Post-Graduation Work Permit application. You do not need to request this letter. As long as you’ve applied to graduate in your last semester, this letter will be automatically issued to you through MyCreds™️ approximately after 3-4 weeks once all your final grades are entered.

To share your Letter of Completion with a third party or download a version for yourself, you must purchase “share credits” directly from MyCreds™. Each credit costs $10 + applicable taxes and allows you to share your letter once.

Immigration definitions at SAIT

Full time

SAIT students are considered to be full-time for immigration purposes when enrolled a minimum of nine credits in a semester.

Students are also considered to be full-time for immigration purposes when registered in their mandatory work placement (co-op/practicum/internship course)

Part time

SAIT students who are enrolled in less than 60% of a full course load or less than nine credits are considered to be part-time.

Scheduled breaks

Breaks that are a part of SAIT's academic calendar and that are pre-scheduled as breaks for all students in a particular program and intake.

Please note that if a student decides to take a semester off, this is not considered to be a scheduled break by SAIT. Students cannot create their own scheduled breaks.

Authorized leave

An international student may request and be approved to take an authorized leave for up to 150 days under an extenuating circumstance that adversely affects student’s academic progress. If a request is approved, the student will receive a written confirmation from their school. For further information on taking a leave at SAIT, please see AC. 3.19 and AC. 3.19.1 policy here.

A student on leave who resumes to study within 150 days is considered to be actively pursuing studies during their leave and complying with their study permit conditions. However, they cannot work on or off campus during their leave.

A student on leave will not return to study after 150 days should:

  • Change their status to visitor or worker,
  • Leave Canada

Maintained status

When a temporary resident applies to extend their permit of authorized stay before it ends, their period of stay is legally extended until a decision is made on the application. For example, when a student applies to extend their study permit before their current permit expires. If the study permit expires before a decision is made, individuals with maintained status may continue studying or working under the same conditions while waiting for a response (as long as they remain in Canada).

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