Information for Foreign Nationals

This page describes the documentation require for foreign nationals who plan to work at the University of Alberta, including obtaining immigration documents to travel to and work in Canada and applying for permanent residence.


Obtaining immigration documents

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Most people need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) OR an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada—not both. Find out if you need a TRV or an eTA.

A TRV or eTA allows entry into Canada only and does not replace the need for a study permit or a work permit. IRCC offers information on TRV applications and on-line eTA applications. TRV processing times vary and are subject to change.

If a TRV has not reached its expiry date, it can be used to enter (or re-enter) Canada an unlimited number of times.The validity of a TRV or permit of any kind will never extend beyond the expiry date of the foreign national's passport.

eTA's are valid for either five years, or to the expiry date of the foreign national's passport, whichever comes first. If an eTA has not reached its expiry date, it can be used to enter (or re-enter) Canada an unlimited number of times.

Work Permits

If you live outside of Canada, you can apply online from your country of citizenship or your country of residence. If you currently live in Canada, you can apply for your work permit online from within Canada. If you are visa-exempt, you may be eligible to apply at the port of entry.

Depending on which country you are from and what type of application you are applying for, processing times will vary. If the processing timeline has passed on the website, you can submit a webform to inquire about the status of your application. We are unable to expedite processing timelines.

Visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Foreign workers on the Government of Canada website to learn about how COVID-19 has changed how you’ll apply for a work permit.

Extensions, Changes and Renewals

If you are extending or changing the conditions of your work permit, ensure your department supervisor has consulted with a Shared Services Immigration Consultant to get the supporting documents for your work permit application (i.e. Offer of Employment number or LMIA and Invitation Letter).

Your work permit application must be submitted prior to the expiry of your current permit in order to gain maintained status to legally continue working. It is recommended to apply for your extension 90 days prior to the expiry of your current work permit.

Spousal Open Work Permits

A spouse (husband, wife, same-sex partner or common-law partner) of a skilled foreign national may be eligible to apply for a Spousal Open Work Permit.

They can apply either at the same time or after the skilled foreign national applies for a work permit. For a spousal work permit to be issued, the primary foreign national must have more than six months' left on their work permit.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

A Post-Graduation Work Permit allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Students who have completed their program of study are allowed to work (under paragraph 186(w) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations [IRPR]) while they are waiting for a decision on their PGWP application, provided they meet all of the following criteria outlined on the IRCC website.

 

Biometrics

Biometrics are an entry requirement where foreign nationals provide their fingerprints and a photo when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit (except U.S. nationals).

Applying for permanent residence

Express Entry

Express Entry is a points-based permanent residence application process. Profiles are ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Calculate your score through the CRS calculator tool and use the Come to Canada tool to determine if you are eligible and record the reference number.

Prior to submitting a profile under Express Entry, you are required to:

Once you have submitted your eligibility profile, you may receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA). ITA's are sent at unspecified times to candidates with top-ranked scores. Once you receive an ITA, you will have 60 days to apply for permanent residence. Note: failure to comply with the timelines will render your ITA invalid, and you will be required to submit a new profile.

When you receive an ITA, a personal document checklist will be provided. You must provide all the required supporting documents.

  • Police clearances
  • Medical exam by a panel physician
  • Employment reference letters from previous employers and your current employer(s) -- see section below
  • Travel history for the last 10 years
  • Employment history for the last 10 years
  • Personal history for the last 10 years
  • Bank statement
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate(s), if applicable
Permanent Residency Letter of Reference

If you are applying to become a permanent resident, you will need a letter of reference (sometimes called a letter of experience) signed by the current supervisor of your current and/or former position. You will need one letter for each position held.

For positions outside of the University of Alberta, use this template. You will need to contact those employers, apply the template text to their letterhead, and request their signature.

Steps for a U of A letter of reference
  1. Contact the Staff Service Centre and request permanent residence letters of reference for the positions you’ve worked at the university.
  2. Shared Services will email you with a Word document for each position that includes your position title, start date, end date, hours worked per week and annual salary and benefits. You will be required to fill out the National Occupational Classification (NOC code) and duties and responsibilities sections.
  3. Use the NOC code system to look up your NOC code. Make note of your job classification code and the main duties described for your role. If you need help, contact the Staff Service Centre for guidance.
  4. Connect with the supervisor(s) of the position(s). Work together to fill out the [bold] fields.
    • Don’t copy the NOC code duties directly; instead, use them as examples of how to describe your own job duties in the position.
    • You and the supervisor may want to refer to your job card, job fact sheet or position description. 
    • Be concise and informative using five bullets to describe your duties and responsibilities. 

    Common NOC codes

  5. Save the document as a PDF and have the supervisor sign it.
  6. Submit the completed and signed letter of reference with your permanent residence application.
Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) is an economic immigration program operated by the Government of Alberta alongside Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada. AINP Nominees receive an additional 600 points when applying for permanent residence.

An AINP nomination cannot be used for the federal Express Entry program. If you have created an Express Entry profile, do not indicate that you are an Alberta Provincial Nominee. As an AINP Nominee, you must submit a paper application by mail to IRCC.

Please contact the Staff Service Centre with questions regarding your permanent residence application.