What do I like best about OCAD? "The programs are so diverse and give you so much flexibility."
Can I give you piece of advice? "Don’t underestimate the work load. It’s a lot harder than you think, mentally and physically. Don’t be afraid to try new media and try all the different types of classes you can. Mix media!"
~ Aanchal M., Second-year Printmaking
CANADIAN PERMITS & VISAS
- Extending your Study Permit
- Applying to Extend Your Study Permit by Mail
- Applying to Extend Your Study Permit Online
- Checking the Status of Your Application
- Visiting the United States
Applying for an Initial Study Permit
All international students require a valid Study Permit to register for courses at OCAD. You should apply for your Study Permit as soon as you receive your offer of admission from OCAD. Processing times vary and it may take as long as 90 days for your application to be processed.
To apply for your initial Study Permit, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for detailed instructions and to download and print out an application kit. An application kit includes a Guide, an Application Form, and a Document Checklist. If you are a citizen of the USA, Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon, you can apply for a Study Permit at a Canadian Port of Entry.
You will submit your application, fees, and required documents to a Canadian visa office at the Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate responsible for the country in which you are living. Prior to submitting your application, consult the visa office where you plan to submit your Study Permit application to determine:
- if you need to fill out any additional forms
- if you need to provide them with any additional documents (e.g., medical examination results, police certificates/certificate of good conduct, etc.)
- how to pay the application fees
If you are from one of these countries, the Visa Officer will process your application for a Temporary Resident Visa (i.e., entry visa that permits you to travel to and enter Canada) as well as a Study Permit. A separate application or fee is not needed. It is recommended that you request a multiple-entry TRV which allows you to leave (e.g., for visits home, field trips, etc.) and re-enter Canada multiple times.
If your Study Permit application is approved:
- The Canadian visa office will issue you a Letter of Introduction confirming the approval. This letter is not your Study Permit. Make sure to bring this letter with you to show to immigration officials when you enter Canada. You will then be issued a Study Permit.
- A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) will be included in your passport if you are from one of these countries. Check the Temporary Resident Visa (if applicable) in your passport and note the date by which you must enter Canada, and how many times you can enter Canada. You must arrive in Canada before your TRV expires.
Unless you are a U.S. citizen, do not leave for Canada until you have been issued the Letter of Introduction and TRV (if applicable).
Extending Your Study Permit
It is important to know when your current Study Permit is going to expire. You should apply to extend it at least 90 days before the expiry date. You can apply from within Canada either online or by mail.
Remember that you need to have a valid passport when you apply to extend your Study Permit. If you need to obtain a new passport, you are recommended to begin this process 4 to 6 months before your passport expires by contacting your country’s Embassy or Consulate in Canada.
Applying to Extend Your Study Permit by Mail
- Download and Print the Application Kit: Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website to download and print out the application kit. An application kit includes an Extension Guide, Application Form, and Document Checklist.
- Read the Extension Guide and Prepare all of your Documents: Read the Extension Guide carefully, complete the application form and checklist and prepare all required supporting documents.
- Pay your Application Fee: You can pay your application fee either online with a credit card or at a Canadian financial institution. Check the Extension Guide to ensure that you pay the correct amount.
To pay at a financial institution, you will need a Fees Receipt Form, which can be ordered online in the “Application to change conditions or extend your stay in Canada as a student” section of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
If you pay online, be sure to print your official receipt, complete the Payer Information section and attach the bottom portion (Copy 2) of the receipt to your application.
- Review and Mail Your Application: Make sure that your application is complete and signed before you mail it. CIC will return your application if it is incomplete and you will then have to re-apply and pay the fee again.
Before you mail your application, you should make a photocopy of the forms and documents to keep for your records.
All applications must be mailed to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta:
Citizenship & Immigration - Study Permit
Case Processing Centre
6212 - 55th Avenue, Unit 101
Vegreville, Alberta, Canada
When mailing your application form to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta, it is recommended that you use a courier service, such as Xpresspost, Purolator, Federal Express, etc. to ensure that it will arrive faster, to confirm that CIC has received your application, and to have a record that the application was sent.
Applying to Extend Your Study Permit Online
You can now apply online to extend your Study Permit through MyCIC, Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s new online portal. MyCIC allows you to apply and pay online to extend your stay and renew your Study Permit. You can also use MyCIC to update your e-mail address and view your application correspondence from CIC.
- Prepare your Documents
Before you begin your application make sure to have your Client ID number (as listed on your current Study Permit), your passport, and your required documents scanned. To find out which documents you need, make sure to read the Guide and Document Checklist from the application kit which can be found in the “Application to change conditions or extend your stay in Canada as a student” section of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
To scan your documents, you will need a scanner that allows you to scan multiple pages on one document. Each document cannot be larger than 2MB.
Scanners are available in OCAD's Academic Computing Studios.
- Create an E-Pass and log in to MyCIC
You will need a Government of Canada e-pass to access MyCIC. Visit MyCiC to log in or to register for an e-pass.
- Pay your Application Fee
You can pay your application fee either online with a credit card or at a Canadian financial institution with a Fees Receipt Form (this form cannot be downloaded and must be original), which can be ordered online in the “Application to change conditions or extend your stay in Canada as a student” section of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
If you pay the fee at a financial institution, you will need to input the receipt number, found on the top right corner of the receipt, a letter followed by a number. The letter must be upper case. You will also be asked to scan the receipt (scan receipt Copy 2, both sides) and attach it to the online application.
You can check the status of your Study Permit Extension by calling the Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Call Centre at the following toll-free telephone number: 1-888-242-2100. Their automated telephone service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have a touch-tone telephone, you can listen to pre-recorded information about Citizenship and Immigration programs, order an application kit, and check the status of your application. You can also speak directly to a Call Centre Agent by pressing "0" at any time during your call. Agents are available to answer your questions Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., your local time. Since call volumes are higher from Monday to Wednesday, you are encouraged to contact the Call Centre later in the week.
If your Study Permit expires and you have made an application to renew it, but have not yet received a decision from CIC, you will have "implied status", which gives you permission to continue studying until you receive a final decision.
Visiting the United States
Many students travel to the United States over the course of their studies at OCAD. Visit the Mobility/ Exchange section of the OCAD website if you are interested in studying in the United States on a formal exchange program.
Visiting the United States for Tourism
Applying for a B1/B2 “Visitor” Visa
Citizens of a select group of countries who fulfill all requirements do not require a visa to enter the United States as a visitor. Instead they may participate in the Visa Waiver Program.
Citizens of all other countries must get a visa to be eligible to enter the United States. The visitor visa is usually known as a B1/B2 (Visitor for Business or Pleasure) visa.
Students who require a visa must apply and attend an interview. You can schedule a U.S. visa appointment through the secure website. To book an appointment online you must pay the $8.75 CAN appointment fee by credit card. It usually takes approximately 6 weeks to obtain an interview. After the interview, it can take a few days to a few months for a final decision to be made. Most decisions are made within a few days of the interview. In addition to the appointment fee, a U.S. visa application costs $131 US.
The standard length of a U.S. "visitor" visa is 10 years. Information on the current country-specific fees and limitations can be found through the U.S. Department of State. Note: The visitor visa is the B1/B2 visa.
The Visa Waiver Program
Students from a select group of countries who qualify for the Visa Waiver Program who are planning to enter the U.S. by air or sea must complete the online Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)application prior to their visit to the United States. This is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. While there is no cost to complete the application, participants must pay a small fee (less than $10 US) upon entry to the United States. It is a good idea to have some U.S. currency to pay this fee.
If you will be entering the U.S. by air or sea then you must complete the ESTA application. You should do so as soon as you have all the necessary information. It will take a minimum of 72 hours to process an application. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization will remain valid for 2 years or until the expiry of your passport (whichever comes first). If Travel Authorization is denied, you will be required to apply for a visitor visa.
Before leaving for the United States
It is strongly recommended that all OCAD students get proof of their relationship to OCAD before leaving Canada. This may make entering the U.S. and/or returning to Canada easier. Students can get proof of enrollment for no cost from the Office of the Registrar. Graduate students may be able to get proof of their status from their academic department. Exchange students are asked to see the Mobility/Exchange Coordinator in the International Student Services Office at 51 McCaul Street, Level 1.
Health care costs in the United States are much higher than costs in Canada and the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) offers very limited coverage outside of Canada. It is extremely important that you buy supplemental health insurance when planning to visit the United States (or any country outside of Canada).
Entering the United States
A visa does not guarantee entrance to the United States. You may be inspected at the point of entry. You will be enrolled in the United States Department of Homeland Security US-Visit program, which includes collecting a digital photograph and fingerprints.
If allowed to enter, you will be issued an Arrival/Departure Record (I-94 white or I-94W green) that will be placed in your passport. It will include the date by which you must leave the country.
Returning from the United States
You may be inspected by Canadian Immigration officials before being allowed to re-enter Canada from the United States. It is helpful to have your proof of enrolment with you. When leaving the United States, please return your Arrival/Departure Record (I-94 white or I-94W green) to immigration or airline officials. If you leave the United States with your Arrival/Departure Record (I-94 white or I-94W green) in your passport, it is possible that your departure will not be recorded properly.
If you depart by a commercial air or sea carrier (airlines or cruise ships), your departure from the U.S. can be independently verified, and it is not necessary to take any further action, although holding on to your outbound (from the U.S.) boarding pass can help make your re-entry easier the next time you visit the United States.
If you depart by land, private vessel or private plane, you will need to take steps to verify your departure. If you do not validate your timely departure from the United States, or, if you cannot reasonably prove you departed within the time frame given to you when you entered, the next time you apply your visa may be subject to cancellation or you may be returned immediately to your foreign point of origin.
Further instructions on how to record your departure from the United States after you have returned to Canada is available through United States Customs and Border Protection.
Last Modified:1/24/2012 12:57:15 PM
Steve Kang welcomes new international students. Photo: Arslan Shahid.
For an insightful story on OCAD's International Student Services Office, please see OCAD GOES GLOBAL