UBC definitions for immigration purposes

UBC's enrolment definitions for immigration purposes clarify the eligibility of international students to work on and off campus.

Enrolment status

Having a study permit comes with certain responsibilities; that is, to actively pursue studies and make reasonable progress towards completing your program.

Your enrolment status impacts whether you can

  • Remain in Canada as a student

  • Work as a student

  • Remain eligible for a post-graduation work permit

Enrolment status on the SISC

The record of your enrolment status is on the Student Information Service Centre (SISC), which is accessed by UBC staff. If you are unclear about your student status for immigration purposes, you can confirm with graduate studies staff, academic advisors or your Enrolment Services Advisor to see what is on record in the SISC. The following definitions include the 4-letter code that is on your record as your enrolment status in the SISC.

"Scheduled Break"

This definition is for immigration purposes to denote students who are not required to be enrolled during program breaks. Students are considered to be ‘actively pursuing studies’ while on a scheduled break.

Scheduled breaks include:

Break

Start Date

End Date

Dates are based on the UBC Vancouver and Okanagan Calendar

Midterm Break (Okanagan only)

First day of mid-term

Last day of mid-term

Winter Break

Last day of posted final exam period for winter term 1

Day before start of classes for winter term 2

Reading Week

First day of reading week

Last day of reading week

Break between Winter Term 2 and Summer

Last day of posted final exam period for winter term 2

Day before start of classes for summer term 1

Summer Session (not available for students in graduate programs or the Diploma in Accounting Program [DAP])

Start of classes for summer term 1

Last day of posted final exam period for summer term 2

Break between Summer and Winter Term 1

Last date of posted final exam period for summer term 2

Day before start of classes for winter term 1

Exception: If an international student’s academic program has start and end dates which differ from those specified in the applicable academic calendar, the program dates will apply.

Graduate & DAP students in summer: Students in graduate programs or the Diploma in Accounting Program (DAP) are deemed to be on an academic summer session, not a scheduled break.

Working during a scheduled break

Students might be eligible to work full-time on or off campus during a scheduled break [1].

Registered, eligible, or continuing students in UBC degree, diploma, or certificate programs are considered to be eligible to work while on a “scheduled break” if:

  • They were full time for immigration purposes in term before the break, and 
  • Their degrees have not been conferred, and
  • They will resume full-time studies in the term following the break 

Students on a scheduled break who meet the above requirements are permitted to work full-time on or off campus for a total of 180 days per calendar year, but not more than 150 consecutive days.

Students on a scheduled break who do not meet the above requirements are not eligible to work.

Undergraduate students on a scheduled break who do not meet the above requirements may work during the summer term in which they are enrolled in a full-time course load off campus up to 20 hours a week and unlimited hours on campus. If they are part-time they are not eligible to work on or off campus.

International students eligible to work on a scheduled break can start work on the first day after the posted final exam period of the term as per the UBC Vancouver or UBC Okanagan academic calendar. They can work until the day before the first day of classes of the term that follows the break.

Exception: If an international student’s academic program has start and end dates which differ from those specified in the applicable academic calendar, the student can start work on the first day after the posted final exam period of their program’s term. They can work until the day before the first day of classes of the term that follows the break.

[1] Work refers to work which is authorized by a study permit. Students who also hold work permits may be able to work supplemental days/hours in addition to work authorized by their study permits.

"Full time"

This definition is for immigration purposes to denote students who are actively pursuing studies and who may be eligible to work on or off campus [1]. Full-time status is the minimum requirement to work on or off campus.

International students with full-time status can start work on the first day of the term as per the UBC Vancouver or UBC Okanagan academic calendar. They must stop work on the last day of the posted final exam period according to the academic calendar.

Exception: If an international student’s academic program has start and end dates which differ from those specified in the applicable academic calendar, the student can start work on the first day of their program’s term, and they must stop work on the last day of their program’s term.

Notes

  • Students who meet the "full time" definition in summer and are not eligible for a scheduled break during the summer session will be deemed full time from May 1 to August 31. 
  • Courses spanning two terms are counted as half the credit value per term (e.g. a 6 credit course counts as 3 credits in Term 1 and 3 credits in Term 2).

[1] Work refers to work which is authorized by a study permit. Students who also hold work permits may be able to work additional days/hours in addition to work authorized by their study permits.

UBC students are considered by UBC to be “full time for immigration purposes” if they meet any one of the following definitions:

Graduate students (enrolled in a graduate program)

  • Registered (“REGI” on the SISC), or
  • Continuing (“CONT” on the SISC) 

Undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students*

This category also includes Diploma in Accounting (“DAPP” on the SISC), Juris Doctor (JD), Unclassified (“UNCL” on the SISC), Access Studies (“ACES” on the SISC), Exchange (“EXCH” on the SISC), and Visiting (“VISI” on the SISC) students.

* Students taking graduate-level courses but not enrolled in a graduate program fall into this category.

WINTER TERM 1 OR 2:

  • Registered ("REGI" on the SISC) in 9 or more credits per winter term

​SUMMER (MAY TO AUGUST):

  • Registered ("REGI" on the SISC) for 9 or more credits, and
  • Do not meet the definition of "scheduled break"

FINAL ACADEMIC TERM:

  • Registered ("REGI" on the SISC) in any number of credits in the “final” term – “final” as determined by their academic advising office before program completion

  • If a final course spans two terms (e.g. 6 credits), each term may be determined to be a final term.

  • If final coursework is taken during the summer session (May to August), the student can be registered for any number of credits during this period. Their full-time status continues until their letter of completion is available.

Visiting International Research Students and Visiting Research Exchange Students

Visiting International Research Students (VIRS or VIRO) and Visiting Research Exchange Students are considered by UBC to be “full time for immigration purposes” if they are registered (“REGI” on the SISC). Please check with Go Global if you think this applies to you.

Students with academic accommodations

Students with academic accommodations are considered to be “full time for immigration purposes” if they are registered in 6 or more credits and have reduced course load accommodation as determined by the Centre for Accesibility (Vancouver), or the Disability Resource Centre (Okanagan) in line with Policy 73, Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.

Outbound exchange students

UBC students away on exchange term(s) abroad are considered "full-time for immigration purposes” if they are registered (“REGI” on the SISC).

Co-op students

UBC students on a co-op work term are considered by UBC to be "full-time for immigration purposes” if they are registered (“REGI” on the SISC).

UBC Okanagan English Foundation Program students

UBC students enrolled in the UBC Okanagan English Foundation Program are considered by UBC to be "full-time for immigration purposes”.

Graduating students

UBC students who completed program requirements and whose program completion letter is not yet available are considered by UBC to be “full-time for immigration purposes”.

"Part-time"

UBC students are considered by UBC to be “part-time for immigration purposes” if they are

  • Registered (“REGI” on the SISC), and
  • Do not meet the “full time” or “scheduled break” definition

No minimum number of credits is required to have “part-time” status.

Part-time students are considered actively pursuing studies but cannot work on or off campus [1].

Part-time studies (except during a final term) also impact eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit.

[1]  Work refers to work which is authorized by a study permit. Students who also hold work permits may be able to work additional days/hours in addition to work authorized by their study permits.

"Authorized leave"

UBC students are considered 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.

Some authorized leaves can be considered ‘actively pursuing studies’, see the taking time away from studies page.

"Deferred enrolment"

UBC students are considered by UBC to have “deferred enrolment” if:

  • The Letter of Acceptance was issued, and
  • The offer was not revoked, and
  • UBC allows the student’s start date to be delayed to a subsequent term/session:
    • because UBC has postponed the program of study, or 
    • at the request of the student

Deferred enrolment is determined by Admissions, the Faculty, or program.

"Academic suspension"

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

"No show"

UBC students are considered to be “no-shows for immigration purposes” if:

  • The Letter of Acceptance was issued, and
  • Their offer was not revoked, and
  • The Add/Drop date for first term has passed, and
  • Enrolment was not deferred, and
  • The student never registered or enrolled in the current program of study at UBC

"Not started"

This status applies to students who, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, have “not started their program yet. This status is intended for students who have not entered the country as of yet but were issued a study permit at the DLI [Designated Learning Institution].”

UBC does not use this status as it requires data not available to the institution.