UBC definitions for immigration purposes

UBC's enrolment definitions for immigration purposes clarify when international students are in active pursuit of studies, and when you are eligible to work on and off campus.

During your studies at UBC, there may be different definitions for different purposes, such as academic, tax, funding/financial aid, etc. The definitions below are for immigration purposes.

Importance of 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

Twice a year (or more) UBC is required to report on your enrolment status to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) based on the definitions below.

Four-letter codes that define your student status for immigration purposes

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.

"Regular academic session"

This definition for immigration purposes describes the academic sessions during which you are expected to be engaging in full-time or part-time studies at UBC to be ‘actively pursuing studies’:

  • Undergraduate students: you must be enrolled in each term of the winter session (summer session is considered a scheduled break for undergraduate students) 
  • Graduate students and students in the Diploma in Accounting Program: you must be enrolled throughout the year (winter term 1 and 2 and summer session)

"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.

Dates are based on the UBC Vancouver and Okanagan Calendar

Scheduled breaks include:

Break

Start Date

End Date

Midterm Break (Okanagan only)

First day of mid-term break

Last day of mid-term break

Winter Break

Day after 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

Day after 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

Day after posted final exam period for summer term 2

Day before start of classes for winter term 1

Exception: If your 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

You 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:

  • You were full time for immigration purposes in the term before the break, and 
  • Your degree has not been conferred, and
  • You will resume full-time studies in the term following the break 

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

If you do not meet the above requirements, you are not eligible to work during a scheduled break.

Undergraduate students on a scheduled break who do not meet the above requirements may work up to 20 hours a week off campus and unlimited hours on campus during the summer session only if enrolled in a full-time course load. If you are enrolled in a part-time course load you 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. You can work until the day before the first day of classes of the term that follows the break.

Exception: If your academic program has start and end dates which differ from those specified in the applicable academic calendar, you can start work on the first day after the posted final exam period of your program’s term. You 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 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.

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. You must stop work on the last day of the posted final exam period according to the academic calendar.

Exception: If your academic program has start and end dates which differ from those specified in the applicable academic calendar, you can start work on the first day of your program’s term, and you must stop work on the last day of your 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 study permits.

UBC students are considered by UBC to be “full time for immigration purposes” if meeting 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 your 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), you can be registered for any number of credits during this period. Your full-time status continues until your 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 you 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 you are registered in 6 or more credits and have reduced course load accommodation as determined by the Centre for Accessibility (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 you 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 you 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 you 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 your start date to be delayed to a subsequent term/session:
    • because UBC has postponed the program of study, or 
    • at your request

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 your academic program.

"No show"

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

  • The Letter of Acceptance was issued, and
  • Your offer was not revoked, and
  • The Add/Drop date for first term has passed, and
  • Enrolment was not deferred, and
  • You 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.