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IRCC Guidelines For International Students

IRCC Guidelines for International Students

Studying internationally in Canada has undoubtedly become more difficult given the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is certainly not impossible. Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) understand the difficulties many prospective and current students are facing with their application process. There is a great deal of flexibility with documents and requirements but the general rule is to always submit a letter of explanation if you are unable to provide the requested documents

Below are a series of questions commonly asked by international students who are considering studying in Canada and information for those who are already here. 

Will my application be refused because I am unable to provide the required documents? 

IRCC is not currently in a position to waive any requirements or to accept alternative documents. That said, applicants will not be refused for non-compliance. No application will be refused if incomplete, however, required documents must be submitted within 90 days. If the required documents cannot be obtained in the specified time, an additional 90 days will be granted. 

Applications should include an explanatory note detailing the circumstances that are beyond their control and designated learning institution (DLI) should be prepared to provide letters of support and/or accompanying documentation.

Can I still apply for my post-graduation work permit even though I don’t have a letter of completion or my official transcripts? 

Yes. You should provide a letter of explanation on why you cannot provide these documents and IRCC will list your work permit status as pending a decision. While your application is pending a decision, you may start working full time as soon as you submit your application.

If I’m taking classes online, do I need to maintain full-time studies? 

Yes, you should maintain a full-time course load unless your program of study does not allow for full-time studies. In this event, you should submit a letter of explanation as to why you are unable to meet the full-time studies requirement. 

I’m studying online from my home country, am I eligible for a post-graduation work permit? 

Anyone is welcome to study online at a Canadian DLI but only those who have an official student permit, and have completed at least 50% of their studies in Canada, are eligible for a post-graduate work permit. 

My semester has been canceled. Is this considered a scheduled break? Can I work full-time?

IRCC does not consider a canceled semester a scheduled break and therefore you are not eligible to work full-time. You can continue working part-time, on or off-campus until the next scheduled break in your program of study. 

Because of school closures, I can’t complete my studies before my student permit expires. Do I need to apply for a new one?

International students in Canada are advised to apply online to extend their status before it expires, thus triggering implied status and allowing them to continue studying and/or working (subject to the same conditions listed on their expired work or study permit) while their extension is being processed. As always, you should include an explanatory note detailing the circumstances that are beyond your control and obtain as much supporting documentation from your DLI to back up your case.

Adam Pinsky

Adam Pinsky has a keen interest in all things immigration and has been working in the industry for 11 years.

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