As an international student in Canada, you are responsible for maintaining your immigration status and adhering to immigration regulations while you are living here.

As an international student, you should have a valid Study Permit and a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) depending on where you are from. You should check these documents to ensure that they are accurate and valid. In most cases, your Canadian immigration documents will not be issued past the expiry date of your passport.

Communication with IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, & Citizenship Canada)

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC), previously known as Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC), is the Canadian federal department that facilitates the arrival of immigrants to Canada, provides protection to refugees, and offers programming to help newcomers settle in Canada.

Application 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

Communicating with IRCC 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.

Communicating by IRCC’s Case-Specific Enquiry Portal

If you have submitted an application and would now like to amend the 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.

Changing your Designated Learning Institution (DLI)

Students are required to remain enrolled and make “reasonably and timely” progress towards completing their program. Designated learning institutions 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.

Students who switch from one designated institution to another (and international students are only allowed to attend designated institutions) are required to notify IRCC of this change. Notification is made through your MyCIC account with instructions here.

Study Permits

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.

Extending your Study Permit

It is recommended that you apply online to extend your Study Permit at within 30-90 days before your status expires. Applying as early as possible will enable you to follow up with your application if there are any issues or if it is refused.

    1. Meet an Academic Adviser in Student Services to get a Study Permit Extension Letter.
    2. Apply online through your MyCIC account.
      • You need to have electronic copies of all of your documents and be able to pay the fee online by credit card.
      • When required to upload the “Letter of Acceptance” you must upload the Study Permit Extension Letter with your new program completion date. Do not upload your original Letter of Acceptance from Columbia College.
      • You will need to submit the Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number of Columbia College: this is O19279591302 (the first character is the letter ‘O’, not a zero).

When you receive your new Study Permit, you must show it to a member of staff in Student Services as soon as possible. For full information on the Study Permit application process, click here

Amending your Study Permit

If you believe that a mistake was made when your study permit was issued, you can apply to amend your document. If your circumstances have changed since you arrived in Canada, such as changing program or level of study, you must apply for a brand new study permit. Visit this page for more information.

This process can only be completed by mail, and you must send the original copy of your study permit with your application. Ensure that you have read the instructions fully and included all of the relevant documentation to avoid delays.


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.

Renewing your Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

To renew your Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), you should:

  1. Log into your MyCIC account and complete the questionnaire. It is recommended that you apply at least two months before you plan to leave Canada.
  2. Once you have completed all of the required documents and paid your fee, you will receive a confirmation message inviting you to send your passport for final processing via recorded, express delivery to:

CPC – Ottawa
P. O. Box 9640
Ottawa, ON, K1G 6T2

Renewing your Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

If you are from a visa-exempt country, you should check the validity of your Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). You can apply to renew your eTA here.

Post-Graduation Work Permit

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.

Important Facts about the Post-Graduation Work Permit


  • You must have a valid study permit when you submit your application.
  • After completing your studies, you can work full-time while waiting for a decision on your post-graduation work permit application if, at the time you submitted your application, you:
    • had a valid study permit,
    • had completed your program of study,
    • were eligible to work off campus, and
    • did not work off campus more than 20 hours a week during academic sessions.
  • You can obtain only one post-graduation work permit in your lifetime.
  • The PGWP is an open work permit. You can work for any employer, in any occupation, anywhere in Canada. You do not need a job offer to apply.
  • Normally, your post-graduation work permit will not be issued beyond the expiry date of your passport. If you are eligible for a longer work permit than your passport will allow, you must apply for a new work permit for the remaining time (accompanied by a letter of explanation) after renewing your passport.
  • If you plan to leave Canada while your PGWP application is being processed, talk to an International Student Advisor in Student Services before leaving as there may be risks associated with doing this.
  • For more details about the post-graduation work permit, view this summary PDF written by Columbia College.
How do I apply?

We recommend that you apply online as it is safer and there is less room for errors in your application. Go to this page for information and to start your application.

After you get your permit
  • Renew your BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage. If you do not have MSP coverage, you should apply for it immediately.
  • Renew (or apply for) your Social Insurance Number (SIN). You must have a SIN to work in Canada.
  • Apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada, if your country of citizenship requires one.

Every time you enter Canada, be prepared to prove at the border that you can support yourself financially (i.e. carry an updated bank statement). If you do not have a job, bring proof that you are actively looking for work (your resume, a list of jobs that you have applied for, etc.).

Lost or Stolen Documents

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.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must replace it immediately. You will need to have your new passport before you can apply for any new immigration documents.


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 28, 2019.