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Immigration Information for Exchange Students

Immigration and Travel Documents for Exchange Students

To travel to Canada to study you must have a passport that will be valid for the duration of your stay in Canada. 

Exchange students coming for two semesters are required to have a study permit, and typically require an entry document.

Exchange students coming for only one semester are not required to have a study permit, but usually require an entry document.

Most foreign students require an entry document to travel to Canada. Depending on your country of citizenship, you may need a temporary resident visa (TRV) or an electronic travel authorization (eTA), which are the two types of entry documents for Canada. IRCC provides a tool to help you find out if you need a TRV or an eTA.  If you apply for a study permit outside Canada and you also need an entry document, you will be issued one automatically; you do not have to submit a separate application or pay additional fees.

If applying for a study permit, you may also need to provide:

  • Biometrics: Learn what biometrics are and how to provide them here
  • A medical exam: Find out if you will need a medical exam here

To apply for a study permit or a temporary resident visa (TRV), you will need two University of Lethbridge documents:

  • Letter of Acceptance
  • Exchange Letter

When to Apply

You must apply for and obtain approval of your study permit and/or entry document before you travel to Canada. We recommend you apply for your study permit as soon as possible upon receiving your Letter of Acceptance from the University of Lethbridge.  Application processing times vary. You can find detailed instructions on the application process here.

Working in Canada

If you hope to work part-time while you study in Canada, you should apply for a study permit, even if you are coming for a one-semester exchange. If you hold a study permit, you may be able to work part-time as long as you are a full-time student.


In compliance with the Government of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA) has reviewed the information on this page. Please be aware that this information can change without notice. For the most current information, always refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.