Permits, Visas and More

Important changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Important changes to the PGWP were announced by the Canadian government on February 14, 2019. If you have ever taken an unofficial break or studied part-time, please contact an International Student Advisor before submitting your application.

 

In order to maintain your status as an international student in Canada, there are a number of documents you will need, and a number of restrictions and regulations with which you will need to be familiar.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), previously known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), is the formal government body that deals with the laws and regulations that affect international students, among others. So keep yourself updated on any updates from them.

*Please note that Canadian immigration laws are always subject to change. Please refer to the IRCC official website for the most up-to-date information.

On this page, you will find information about:

IRCC or CIC Processing Times

Be sure to allow for sufficient time when applying for any of your immigration documents. Check application processing times.

 


Study Permit

Your study permit allows you to legally study in Canada. Make sure you know when your study permit expires - put it in your phone, write it on your calendar, tell your family! If your study permit is due to expire before you complete your program, you will need to apply for an extension to be able to continue studying in Canada. As long as you're a student at the college, you must not let your study permit expire!

For more information on how to extend your study permit, visit the Step-by-Step Guides.

Being Compliant

If you have a study permit, it is extremely important to remember that you are expected to actively pursue your studies. This means:

  • You must be enrolled and remain enrolled at a designated learning institution (such as Centennial College)
  • You must make reasonable and timely progress continuously towards completing your program of study

If you do not comply with above conditions, it could jeopardize your status in Canada. Academic institutions, such as Centennial College, are required to report to IRCC on your enrolment and academic status; so it is important that you follow the rules and stay in compliance.

It is important to note that a study permit alone does not allow you to travel in and out of Canada. Please review your travel documents (i.e. Temporary Resident Visa or Electronic Travel Authorization) to ensure you have everything you need to leave and re-enter Canada.

Depending on your citizenship, you may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada when you first arrive, and re-enter Canada when you travel during your studies. While a TRV or eTA allow you to enter Canada, the Study Permit allows you to remain in Canada as a student.

Check which document you need by visiting Find out if you need a visa.

Last reviewed: December 3, 2016


Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

If you are a citizen of a country that needs a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), you will have obtained this when you first arrived. Although it is not mandatory to have a valid TRV while you are studying in Canada, it is advisable to keep your TRV valid in case you are required to leave the country or go back to your home country unexpectedly.

For more information on how to extend your TRV, visit the Step-by-Step Guides.

Tip: A TRV is normally issued up to your study permit expiry date. If your study permit is set to expire prior to the end of your program, you will need to extend your study permit first before you can apply to extend your TRV.

Last reviewed: December 3, 2016


Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

An Electronic Travel Authorization is a new entry requirement for foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries who wish to enter Canada. Find out if you need an eTA to enter Canada and apply for it online. It only costs $7 and most eTA applications are approved within minutes of applying.

Last reviewed: December 3, 2016


Co-op Work Permit

If you are in a program that requires you to complete a co-op, placement, internship, practicum or clinical, you must have a Co-op Work Permit before you begin. Applying for a Co-op Work Permit is easy and free, but processing times fluctuate and can sometimes take several months or even longer – so we encourage you to apply for your Co-op Work Permit as soon as possible!

For more information on how to apply for a co-op work permit, visit the Step-by-Step Guides.

Last reviewed: December 3, 2016


Working While Studying at Centennial

As an international student, you are allowed to work while you are studying. However, there are a few limitations, so keep reading!

Before you start earning any money in Canada, it is important that you obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

In order to apply for a SIN, you need to have the following documents:

  • A study permit that states you "may accept employment" or "may work" in Canada; or
  • A study permit and a "confirmation to work off-campus" letter issued by CIC prior to February 2, 2015; or
  • A work permit (co-op or post-graduation work permit)

If you are eligible to work in Canada as an international student but you do not have one of the above documents, you must first obtain a corrected study permit before you can apply for a SIN. Check conditions and remarks on your study permit and:

  • If your study permit does not state you "may accept employment" or "may work", submit a request for an amendment to your study permit. There is no fee for this request.
  • If your study permit states "This does not permit the holder to engage in off-campus employment in Canada" and you have changed your program of study, you must apply to change the conditions of your study permit and pay the $150 fee.

Working Off Campus

You can work up to 20 hours per week if:

  • You are registered full-time in an eligible program at the College (English Language Learning and English for Academic Purposes students are not eligible to work off-campus), and
  • You have a valid study permit, which states you "may work" or "may accept employment" on or off campus.

You can work full-time hours if:

  • You are on a scheduled break from your program, and
  • You have been registered full-time in the semester prior to and will be registered full-time in the semester subsequent to the scheduled break.

You cannot work if:

  • You are registered part-time. (If this is your final semester before graduating and you are studying part-time, you may still be able to work part-time. Please see an International Student Advisor to verify.)
  • You are taking an unscheduled semester break. An unscheduled break refers to taking a semester off when it is not part of the model route of your academic program. International students are not advised to take an unscheduled break during their full-time studies at Centennial College as it goes against the stipulations of their study permit.
  • You are an exchange student.

For more information, please visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Study Permits: Off-Campus Work page, or visit the International Education Centre at your campus.

Working On Campus

Working on campus is a great way to build your personal and professional network and gain valuable work experience. International students are permitted to work on campus if they are a full-time student and have a valid study permit.

On-campus work includes working at any of our College campuses, Centennial Residence, and CCSAI.

The IRCC does not have restrictions on the number of hours a student can work on campus; however, your employer may restrict the number of hours you can work. Learn more information on regulations.

Last reviewed: December 3, 2016


Travelling as a Student

If you are planning to travel outside of Canada, be aware of the expiry date of your Temporary Resident Visa or Electronic Travel Authorization, and your Study Permit.

If you do not have a valid TRV, you will not be granted re-entry into Canada.

Travelling during the semester

Students sometimes take a short break from their studies because of an illness, academic pressure, or a family emergency. Talk to your International Student Advisor and your Success Advisor within your academic department so that you are aware of any immigration and academic implications.

We recommend you request a letter of enrolment from the International Office that states you are enrolled in a program at Centennial College. If asked by an officer at the border, you may present this letter along with other documentation as proof of why you took the break (e.g. a doctor's note if you were ill, a copy of the death certificate if there was a death in the family, etc.)

If you are in your co-op, placement or internship semester you must consult with your supervisor at work, your co-op advisor and your International Student Advisor before you take a break.

Travelling between semesters

Some students decide to travel in between semesters or during an official scheduled break. It is your responsibility to pay your fees and register in courses by the appropriate deadlines. Check the Events Calendar for important dates and deadlines and make note of them in your agenda. For more information regarding the courses and model routes, please speak with your Success Advisor in your academic department.

A Letter of Enrolment is not a required document for travel. Border officials may ask you to prove that you are a student at Centennial College. You may show them a copy of your timetable, transcript or proof of payment of your fees for the next semester.

Travelling to the USA

Please note that you may need to obtain a valid US visa before you plan a trip to the USA.

If you are from a country that is required to have a TRV to enter Canada, and if you are only travelling from Canada to the USA and back, you may request to return to Canada without a valid TRV as long as you are returning to the country while your study permit is valid.

If you plan on travelling to any other country on the same trip before the US, you will be required to have a valid TRV to re-enter Canada.

Crossing the border

When crossing the border (by land or air), you will be asked to show proof of your status in Canada. Always carry your original and valid Study Permit with you, along with your passport that has a valid TRV or eTA. You may be asked to prove that you are a student at Centennial College. You may show a copy of your timetable, transcript or proof of payment of your fees for the next semester.

Find out more information on the border-crossing procedure in Canada, as it may be different from what you have experienced elsewhere.

Travelling after you complete your program

You must apply for your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) within 90 days of your program completion date AND while your study permit is valid. You can apply for your PGWP online and anywhere in Canada. Once you have a PGWP, your status changes from a student to a worker. If you are from a country that requires a TRV, you will need to apply for a new TRV that reflects the change in your status.

When you travel while on a Post-Graduation Work Permit, you must always carry:

  • Your original and valid PGWP, passport with a valid TRV (this TRV must say "worker").
  • If you have a job, you may show them a document that proves you are employed.
  • If you are not employed, you may be asked to show your bank statement to prove that you are able to financially support yourself.

If you must leave Canada and have not yet received a Post-Graduation Work Permit, please consult with an International Student Advisor.

Last reviewed: December 3, 2016


Inviting Family Members

Download a printable version of this information Inviting Family Members and Sample Letters PDF

If your family or friends want to visit you in Canada for either your convocation or just a vacation, they may need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). TRV applications can be submitted online or at the Canadian Visa Office closest to where they live (if they are from a country which requires a TRV to enter Canada). An eTA can be applied for online.

Ask your family to check what document they need to enter Canada by clicking on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

If your family/friends need to apply for a TRV, you may support their application by providing the following documents.

  1. Copy of your passport
  2. Proof of your current status:
    1. Copy of your study permit (if you are currently a student), or
    2. Copy of your post-graduation work permit (if you already have your PGWP)
  3. Confirmation of Enrolment Letter or Confirmation of Graduation Letter
  4. Letter of invitation written by you

The International Office does not provide letters of invitation; you must write the letter of invitation yourself. Please refer to the guidelines below taken from the IRCC website.

Include the following information about the person you wish to invite:

  • Complete name
  • Date of birth
  • The person’s address and telephone number
  • Your relationship to the person being invited
  • The purpose of the trip (if you are inviting your parents for convocation, you must include the date of your convocation ceremony)
  • Duration of the trip (include expected arrival and departure dates)
  • Details on accommodation and living expenses

Include the following information about yourself:

  • Complete name
  • Date of birth
  • Address and telephone number in Canada
  • Occupation (if applicable)
  • Status in Canada (e.g. student, worker, Canadian citizen, permanent resident)

Your family/friends will have to provide proof of economic and social ties to their home country as part of their application. The stronger the ties to their home country, the greater the chance that they could successfully prove to an Immigration Officer that they will return to their home country after visiting Canada.

Economic ties include: Bank statements, proof of financial investments, letters of employment, proof of business ownership, proof of property ownership, etc.

Social ties include: Evidence of their relationships to people (e.g. family, relatives, community, etc.) back home and that they must return to their home country after visiting Canada in order to meet social obligations to these people.

If you state that you will be supporting your family/friends financially during their visit to Canada, you need to show proof of financial support using documents such as a bank statement and/or pay stubs or a letter of employment.

Last reviewed: December 3, 2016


Post-Graduation Work Permit

Important changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Important changes to the PGWP were announced by the Canadian government on February 14, 2019. If you have ever taken an unofficial break or studied part-time, please contact an International Student Advisor before submitting your application.

 

A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) allows graduates to work in Canada. To get more information on how to apply for a PGWP visit the IRCC website. You may also download our step-by-step guide for applying for your PGWP.

If you have just completed your program and have not yet applied for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), you can work up to 20 hours per week until your Confirmation of Graduation Letter is issued by the College. Once this is issued, you must stop working until you submit your PGWP application. Once your PGWP application has been successfully submitted, you may begin working full-time.