Visas and Study Permits

  • Study Permit Extension
    All students who are studying in Canada for more than six months are required to have a valid study permit for the duration of their program.
  • Renewal of Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)
    Most international students will require a visa to stay in Canada. However, if you are from a visa-exempt country, you will need an electronic Travel Authorization instead. If you are unsure about which rule applies to you, click here.

    If your visa is expiring or has already expired, you must apply to renew if before you travel.

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
    Columbia College students can obtain a post-graduation work permit if they have continuously studied full time in Canada and have completed an Associate Degree. You must submit your application within 180 days of the date that your final exam results for your final semester are published.
  • Open Work Permit (OWP) for Spouse
    Spouses or common-law partners of Columbia College students who are enrolled full-time in an Associate degree are eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit in Canada.
  • Inviting Friends and Family to Visit Canada


  • Processing Times
    Processing times vary depending on the type of application that you have submitted and the time of year. To check the current processing times for an application that you have made, click here.

Students may be allowed to work on and off campus part-time for up to 20 hours per week or full-time during semester breaks.


    • On Campus
      “On campus” is defined as employment facilities within the boundaries of the campus.  Students are only allowed to work on the campus of the educational institution at which they are registered in full-time studies. To know more, please visit IRCC’s webpage.
    • Off Campus
      Students can work off-campus provided that:
      – They hold a study permit that authorizes them to work on and off campus
      – They are enrolled full-time in a post-secondary program that leads to a degree (ie. Associate Degree)
      – They have started studying
      – Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
    • Part-time / Full-time Status
      A student is considered to have a full-time academic status if s/he is registered in at least three courses or a minimum of 9 credits in one of the College’s academic programs, or a student registered in the ESL program taking at least 25 hours a week of instruction.

      A student is considered to be part-time if s/he registers in less than 9 credits.

      Students must stop working off campus as soon as their full-time status becomes part-time during a regular academic session (for instance, a student may begin a regular academic session on a full-time basis and become part-time during the same session as they drop courses). In this case, they are no longer authorized to undertake off-campus work.

      Students who have maintained full-time status for the duration of their program of study, and who only require a part-time course load in their final academic session in order to complete their program of study, may work off campus up to 20 hours per week during their final academic session.
    • Semester Break
      One semester in Columbia College typically lasts 14 weeks. Semester break is defined as the time between the last day of final exams until one day prior to the first day of classes of the next semester.

Amendment and Changing Conditions on Study Permit

Columbia College operates in a tri-semester system. We do not have a scheduled Summer break. Students, however, may apply for a semester off if they meet the eligibility of one of the two categories – Authorized Leave and Regularly Scheduled Break (RSB).

  • Authorized Leave
    There are a few cases where you may be able to take a leave of up to a maximum of 150 days from your program of studies and still be considered to be actively pursuing your studies.

    It counts as authorized leave if:
    • medical reasons or pregnancy
    • family emergency
    • death or serious illness of a family member

      You cannot work on or off campus during an authorized leave from your study program, even if your study permit says you’re allowed to work in Canada.

      To apply for Authorized Leave, please book an appointment onlinewith any Student Services Counsellor/Academic Advisor.

Students are required to remain enrolled and make “reasonably and timely” progress towards completing their program. Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) will be making regular reports to IRCC on students’ enrollment and progress. Students who are not enrolled or not considered to be making progress could be removed from Canada.

  • DLI Reporting
    International students are only allowed to attend DLIs. Students who switch from one DLI to another are required to notify IRCC of this change. Notification is made through your MyCIC account with instructions here.
  • By Phone
    If you have any questions about your situation or about an application that you are making, you can call the IRCC Call Centre (1-888-242-2100) from within Canada. The Call Centre is open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm local time.

    Be prepared to be on hold for some time. We recommend that you try calling early in the morning. Keep records of the conversation, including the date and time of your call, the name of the agent that you speak to, and the exact information that they give to you.

  • Through IRCC’s Case-Specific Enquiry Portal
    If you have submitted an application and would now like to amend or update any information provided, such as your contact information or to add an additional document, you can use the Case-Specific Enquiry form. You will be asked to provide information on the application that you have submitted so you must also have access to your MyCIC account.

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission of the U.S. immigration inspector to enter the United States.

A “visitor” visa is a nonimmigrant visa and generally is used to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1), for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2), or a combination of these purposes (B-1/B-2).

To know more how to apply, click our handout provided below and read this guide from the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.”

Handout (PDF)

  • Canadian immigration documents and permits
    If your study permit or work permit are lost or stolen, you must request a replacement from IRCC, following the instructions on the IRCC website. There is a $30 processing fee for replacing a document.

    You may continue studying and/or working while your documents are being replaced. You should not leave Canada until you have received your replacement document. 
  • Passports or any national documents from your home country
    If your passport is lost or stolen, you must replace it immediately. Contact your home country’s Consulate/Embassy/High Commission in Vancouver to know how you can replace your passport. You will need to have your new passport before you can apply for any new Canadian immigration documents.

The Student Services Office regularly runs the following workshops every semester. The exact dates will be posted in our Events Calendar.

  • Study Permit Extension Workshop
    • Weeks 2 and 3 of the semester
  • Pathways to Permanent Residence
    • Week 10 of the semester
  • Post-Graduation Work Permit Workshop
    • Week 12 of the semester


The information contained on this page may change without notice. Always refer to the Government of Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship website for the most updated information.

The information on this page was last updated on March 5, 2020.