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Definitions for immigration purposes

To help you understand the immigration requirements that you must meet to comply with the conditions of your study permit, refer to the Dalhousie definitions for immigration purposes below. The definitions apply to international students enrolled at Dalhousie University-Halifax and Truro campuses

Dalhousie University operates on a three term system with the calendar year divided into three academic terms. The following is an academic year:

  • Fall term: September - December
  • Winter term: January - April
  • Summer term: May - August
  • Regular term: September – April

(Please note that IRCC regulations reference a "calendar year" as January to December and not an "academic year".)

Effective May 1, 2015, Dalhousie has changed the definitions of some of the terms below to comply with IRCC’s regulations and definitions.

All of the terms outlined below provide details to help you understand how Dalhousie University defines your status at the institution for immigration purposes. 

 

Actively pursue studies

As an international student holding a study permit, you are required to actively pursue studies. According to IRCC, this means that you must remain enrolled and make reasonable and timely progress towards completing your program.

To be considered enrolled at Dalhousie, you must be enrolled in a minimum of one course (3 credit hours) for credit in a given term (excluding audit courses). You may be enrolled in a full-time or occasionally a part-time unit/credit load to be considered “actively pursuing studies” as required by IRCC. 

However, full time status is one of the eligibility requirements to work on or off campus. 

Full Time Status

Each institution determines the minimal course load required for a student to be considered having full time status.

Full time status is one of the eligibility requirements to work on or off campus (see IRCC website). It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet IRCC’s eligibility requirements to work on or off campus.

Dalhousie students are considered by Dalhousie to be “full time for immigration purposes” in a given term, if they are:

Undergraduate Students enrolled in a minimum of 3 courses (total 15 credit hours) in the Spring, Summer and Fall term. Please note full time is determined by the total number of credit hours you are enrolled in a given term.

Graduate Students (Program Fee). A full-time graduate student paying program fees is registered in more than 9 credit hours per term. A full-time graduate student (Per Course Fee) is taking more than nine credit hours (more than 3 half-credit courses) in a term.

Part Time Status

Undergraduate students registered for fewer than 3 full-credit courses (18 credit hours for UG, AC, HP level, 12 credit hours for TC level) or the equivalent of three half-credit (nine credit hours for UG, AC, HP level, six credit hours for TC level) courses in either the Summer, Fall or Winter term.

Graduate Students (Program Fee). A part-time graduate student paying program fees is registered in less than 9 credit hours per term. A part-time graduate student (Per Course Fee) is registered in less than nine credit hours ( less than 3 half-credit courses) in a term.

Full-time

Students who may be eligible to work on or off campus. Starting June 1, 2014, full time status is what you need if you want to work on or off campus

International students who are eligible to work may start work on the first day of the term. New regulations state that international students will not have to wait 6 months after the start of their studies before working off campus.

Dalhousie students will be considered by Dalhousie to be “full time for immigration purposes” in a given term if they are:
• Undergraduate Students, registered for 9 or more credits per term
• Graduate Students
     ◦ Registered (“REGI” on the SISC) or
     ◦ Continuing (“CONT” on the SISC)

OR any one of the following:

  • Undergraduate summer students registered for 9 or more credits in summer session (both terms combined) or
  • Undergraduate summer students registered or eligible undergraduate students during summer session who were registered for 9 or more credits during each of the previous two winter terms and whose degrees have not been conferred or
  • Final term Undergraduate studentsregistered for any number of credits in their final term (final term as determined by their academic advising office)

Taking a term off

Taking a term (or more) off could affect your study permit and/or ability to work on or off campus. In general, IRCC requires you to enroll, remain enrolled until you complete your program, and actively pursue your studies as this is the primary reason of you being here in Canada.

Contact an International Student Advisor if you plan to take time away from studies during your program.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students are expected to maintain enrollment to be considered a continuing student. Refer to your department/faculty  if you are not enrolled in one or more consecutive terms and were not required to withdraw in the last term at Dalhousie.

Graduate Students

Graduate students are considered as having an ongoing enrollment status/relationship with Dalhousie . Refer to the Graduate Studies Calendar: Section V Registration Procedures and Regulations. If you need to take a break from your studies, apply for a leave of absence.  
 

Please note: some intensive programs may not permit breaks in your studies unless there are extenuating circumstances. It is your responsibility to check with your academic program prior to taking any term(s) off.

Academic Suspension

Dalhousie students are considered by Dalhousie to be on “academic suspension for immigration purposes” in a given term if they are: 

  •  Required to withdrawal from a program due to unsatisfactory academic performance.

Please meet with an International Student Advisor if you fall in any of the above scenarios. 

Working On Campus

Your ability to work on campus is dependent on you meeting two factors:

  1. Your academic program’s (graduate or undergraduate)  definition of full time* (see above) in the term you wish to work on campus 
  2. IRCC’s work eligibility requirements for working on or off campus

*Please note: IRCC recognizes students enrolled for any number of courses in their final term of study to be eligible to work (more information on eligibility). If you are not full time (see definition above), it is your responsibility to ensure that the term you would like to work is indeed your final term as determined by your departmental advisor.  

The definitions, permitted or restricted hours, and eligibility requirements differ between working on or off campus. Some students are eligible to work only on campus, off campus, or both. Please consult an International Student Advisor for assistance.

Working Off Campus

Your ability to work off campus is dependent on you meeting two factors:

  1. Dalhouise’s definition of full time* (see above) in the term you wish to work off campus
  2. IRCC’s work eligibility requirements for working on or off campus

Review IRCC’s self-assessment tool to check your eligibility to work off campus.

*Please note: IRCC recognizes students enrolled for any number of courses in their final term of study to be eligible to work (more information on eligibility). If you are not full time (see definition above), it is your responsibility to ensure that the term you would like to work is indeed your final term as determined by your departmental advisor. 

Definitions, permitted or restricted hours, and eligibility requirements differ between working on and off campus. Some students may be eligible to work only on campus, off campus, or both. Please consult an International Student Advisor for assistance.

Scheduled Break (on and off campus work)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada defines a 'scheduled break' as winter (i.e. Spring) breaks, summer holidays, reading week and during the transition period to a post-graduation work permit (if certain requirements are met). Based on Regulation 186(v)(iii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, eligible students can work full time during a scheduled break

According to IRCC, a scheduled break is no more than 4 months consecutively in a calendar year and eligible students must hold full time enrollment prior to and subsequent to the term that is considered a scheduled break.

The reading week, breaks between terms and the summer term (for undergraduate students only) are considered scheduled breaks for immigration purposes at Dalhousie. 

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students may work off campus up to a maximum of 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring terms (provided they meet Dalhousie’s definition of full-time and IRCC’s work eligibility requirements).

Your ability to work on and/or off campus full time during a scheduled break in the Summer term if you are enrolled part time (less than 9 units) or not enrolled is dependent on you meeting two factors:

  1. Dalhousie’s definition of full time (see above) in the Spring term and intend to be full time in the Fall term (within a calendar year)
  2. IRCC’s work eligibility requirements for working on or off campus

Note: Undergraduate students enrolled full time in the Summer are restricted to working up to 20 hours off campus per a week as per IRCC’s rules.

Graduate Students

Graduate students are normally considered to have an ongoing, full-time relationship with the University and therefore may work off campus to a maximum of 20 hours per week throughout the year (provided they meet Dalhouise’s definition of full-time and IRCC’s work eligibility requirements).

(Effective January 1, 2016)

An academic break (or scheduled break) can be taken when no courses are offered for a student’s program within a particular term, or there is a scheduled break within a program (e.g. summer term). The maximum number of terms that are permitted for an academic break is one term per year with no consecutive academic breaks. Students in a thesis program are not eligible for an academic break. For more information about the Graduate Leave of Absence Policy, please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies

Eligible graduate students may work full time during an academic break, reading week, and breaks between terms.  

Definitions, permitted or restricted hours, and eligibility requirements differ between working on and off campus. Some students may be eligible to work only on campus, off campus, or both. . Please consult an International Student Advisor for assistance.

Please note the information placed on this page is subject to change as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada continues to provide updates on the International Student Program and the compliance report institutions are required to complete.

Passport

If your passport will expire while you're in Canada, all of your immigration documents, your provincial health coverage and Social Insurance Number (SIN) will normally expire at the same time. In most cases, you can only apply to extend them after you obtain a new passport. Passport applications can take up to three months, so apply for a new passport as soon as possible to avoid interrupting your studies. 

Study Permit

A valid study permit authorizes you to remain in Canada while you study. If you are an international student, you require a valid study permit to study in Canada. The only exception: if you are accepted in a program that is less than six months (e.g. one term exchange students) and you will complete the program by the end of your original stay in Canada, you do not need a study permit. If you are in a mandatory co-op program, you require a co-op work permit

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) is used only for entry into Canada. Only citizens of certain countries require a TRV. It is recommended that you maintain a valid TRV for the duration of your studies, but it is not mandatory while you are inside Canada. Learn more about a TRV.

Documentation for your family

If you're bringing your family to Canada with you, make sure they have the immigration documentation they need. Learn more. 

Ammending immigration documents

If your study permit, work permit, or temporary resident visa (TRV) have any mistakes (for example, your name or date of birth are incorrect), you must contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and request to amend your documents. Mail your documents to the address in Ottawa indicated in the Instruction Guide. You should plan to remain in Canada until your documents have been corrected. For step by step instruction please visit (link to amendment page for working)

If you are currently outside Canada, make sure to amend your documents before you travel to Canada to avoid issues or delays at the Canadian border.

Please note that amendments apply only to the mistakes that are made by CIC when your documents were issued.

Your valid temporary resident documents are meant to demonstrate to employers, schools, or other authorities that you are authorized to work, study, visit, or remain in Canada. The information contained in these documents should be the same as the information contained in your entry passport.

Changes made to personal information after you entered Canada will not be amended on your temporary resident document. The information on this document should match your passport. If the information on your passport changes, you should apply for a new document.

Lost or stolen documents

Contact the Dalhousie Security Services and the Halifax Regional Police Department to report that your passport/study permit or work permit has been lost or stolen. Keep any file numbers or documents they provide so you can prove you contacted them.

If your documents such as study or work permits are lost or stolen, you must request a replacement from IRCC. Follow instructions on the IRCC website, submit your application for replacement and a $30 processing fee, and expect your documents to arrive by mail in approximately two weeks. You may continue studying and/or working while your documents are being replaced. However, you should not leave Canada until you receive your replacement study or work permit.

If your passport has also been lost or stolen, you must replace it as well. If you had a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) in the lost or stolen passport, make sure you apply for a new TRV. 

TIP:  It’s a good idea to keep photo or scanned copies of all your important documents (including your credit cards, passport, immigration documents, bank information, and health insurance cards) in a safe place in case the originals are lost or stolen.

 

NEED HELP?

Meet with an International Student Advisor

  • Email international.centre@dal.ca. Please include your student number (B00) in the subject line and in the body of the email, include your name, your citizenship(s), Permit/Visa expiration dates (if applicable) and if you are currently in Canada (YES or NO).
  • Book an appointment via MyDal under "Find a service"
  • Or drop by one of our locations across campus.