Taking a break from your courses

Find out what to do if you need to take a break from your studies.

How do I take a break from my studies

International students

If you're an international student, you have special considerations when taking time off. 

  • Talk to an academic advisor (undergraduate students) or graduate program advisor (graduate students) to discuss your options for taking a break and returning to studies later.
  • Talk to an International student advisor to discuss your eligibility to stay in or return to Canada during a break and after a break. Be prepared to share details about your immigration documents (e.g., issue and expiration date) and anticipated travel plans.

Implications on your study permit and ability to work

  • Immigration regulations concerning your study permit may impact your ability to stay in Canada during a break from your studies. In general, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires you to "enroll", remain enrolled until completion of your studies, and actively pursue studies if you want to remain in Canada on a study permit.

  • UBC is required to report to IRCC on your enrolment twice a year. See UBC's definitions for immigration purposes below.

  • you will not be eligible to work on campus  or off campus with a study permit during a break from your studies.
  • it may be difficult to extend your study permit from inside Canada during a break from your studies. In some cases, you may be required to apply for a new study permit from outside Canada. An International student advisor can help you understand your options.

Leaving the country

If you leave Canada during your break, request a letter from your academic advisor or graduate staff before re-entering Canada.

This letter should state that you are eligible to return to your program of studies at the end of your break. If you are asked by an immigration officer, present this letter along with any documentation of your break, if available (e.g., leave approval from G+PS, copies of plane tickets proving when you left Canada).

UBC definitions for immigration purposes

"Authorized leave"

UBC students are considered by UBC to be on an “authorized leave for immigration purposes” in a given term if they are:

  • On leave (“OLVE” on the SISC)

This status is available to graduate students only.

"Academic suspension"

UBC students are considered by UBC to be on “academic suspension for immigration purposes” (with or without the option to return) as determined by their academic program.

Get help

International Student Advising

Talk to an advisor

International Student Advisors are Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) who can help.

When emailing us, include the following information in the email:

  1. Your student number in the subject line
  2. Your name
  3. Your citizenship(s)
  4. All permit and visa expiration dates (if applicable)
  5. Currently in Canada (YES or NO)
  6. If you request specific assistance, please provide detailed information including applicable documents, such as a rejection letter
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