International students at UBC
June 4, 2018
2 mins read

International students: What you need to know about your study permit

Your study permit is the key that unlocks all that UBC has to offer.

If you’re planning to study for more than six months in Canada, you need to have a valid study permit before you can begin your classes. This is true whether you’re coming to UBC from abroad, from another college/university, or from a high school in Canada.

When to apply

Apply for your study permit as soon as possible, as it can take several months to be approved.

Student typing on laptop

How to apply

If you're coming from abroad

Apply for your initial study permit online, by mail, or in person at a Visa Application Centre. If you are a US citizen or permanent resident (or a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon), you can also apply at the border.

Learn more by visiting these sections on UBC’s International Student Guide:

  • Get an overview of initial study permits
  • Access our tutorial with detailed instructions on how to apply

If you're coming from a Canadian college/university

If you’ve completed a program in Canada, you must apply to extend your study permit within 90 days of receiving a letter or notification of program completion – even if your study permit isn’t due to expire.

If you have not completed a program in Canada and your study permit is not due to expire soon, you can continue to use your existing permit, but you must update your Designated Learning Institute (DLI) number.

If you're coming from a Canadian high school

Your current high school study permit will not allow you to study at the post-secondary level.

Apply to extend your study permit while you are still in Canada to obtain a post-secondary study permit. You can do this online or by mail. Review our tutorial to learn more.

How you’ll get your study permit

If you're coming from abroad

If your study permit application is approved, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will email you a Letter of Introduction (also known as 'port of entry' letter).

You must print and present this letter to the border officer when you arrive at the Canadian border or airport. The border officer will then issue your study permit.

If you're coming from a Canadian high school or college/university

If your study permit application has been submitted in Canada and is approved, IRCC will mail your study permit to your Canadian address.

Student walking in a foreign city

Coming from abroad and wondering if you need a visa?

Study permits give you permission to study and stay in Canada. To enter Canada, depending on your country of citizenship, you may require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

If you do, IRCC will issue your TRV or eTA once your study permit is approved. When applying for your initial study permit, you do not need to apply separately for either the TRV or eTA.

If you have questions

Explore the International Student Guide for help on a wide variety of topics related to immigration, health insurance, and international student life.

If you still have questions, International Student Advisors are available to help. Send an email to Be sure to include your student number in your email.

And finally…

Have a great summer! We look forward to saying a warm hello when you arrive on campus.