Notices and Updates

February 29, 2024

Change in visa requirements for Mexico

The Federal Government of Canada decided to partially re-impose a visa requirement on Mexican nationals, effective February 29, 2024, at 11:30 p.m. EST. This change aims to balance mobility for Mexican visitors with the sustainability of Canada’s immigration program and supporting services at all levels of government.

When this change takes effect, Mexican study permit holders in Canada will not be impacted. Students with a valid study permit and valid electronic travel authorization (eTA), including those who have yet to travel to Canada, can continue to use their existing eTA until it expires. We are committed to working with you to minimize any impacts you experience as a result of this change.

There will be no change to the study permit application process for Mexican nationals going forward.

Under a partial visa requirement, Mexican nationals seeking to visit Canada can still travel to Canada without a visa if they are flying to Canada, and hold a valid U.S. visa, or have held a Canadian visitor visa in the past 10 years. These clients will still be able to apply for a light-touch eTA.

Mexican citizens who do not meet these new rules will need to apply for a visa. All Mexican nationals (including students) seeking entry to Canada via the land border now require a visa.

As part of this change, Canada is opening more Visa Application Centers in Mexico. This will improve IRCC’s service to Mexican study permit applicants.

Please note that Mexican students participating in an exchange, or visiting scholars, who do not require a study permit due to the short duration of their studies, will be subject to these new rules. These students will need to apply for an eTA, or a visa, in accordance with the above criteria. Mexican students participating in an exchange or visiting scholars, who are already in Canada when this change is made, do not have to leave Canada until the end of their authorized period of stay. However, their eTA will be cancelled, and after they leave Canada, should they wish to return, they will need to apply for a new eTA or a visa.

February 29, 2024

Extension of the IRCC Temporary Public Policy for Iranian Nationals

The IRCC Temporary Public Policy for Iranian Nationals was extended for one more year, until February 28, 2025.

IRCC has introduced special measures to support Iranian temporary residents in Canada as well as Canadian citizens and permanent residents living in Iran. These measures will make it easier for Iranians who wish to extend their temporary status in Canada and to move between temporary streams, allowing Iranians to continue studying, working or visiting family by applying for a new permit from inside Canada. An open work permit pathway has been made available for Iranians already in Canada as well. Applications from Iranians in Canada are also being processed on a priority basis. 

Under these special measures, the following clients may be eligible:

  • a national of Iran (holds a passport issued by Iran) in Canada with valid temporary resident status; who applies for an extension of their authorization to remain in Canada as a temporary resident or to change their temporary resident status via the following applications:
    1. a work permit or extension or
    2. a study permit or extension or
    3. a visitor record extension or
    4. a temporary resident permit
  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents who reside in Iran and have applied for
    1. a citizenship certificate – if the client does not have a certificate for passport issuance (as eligible via the online application or through the paper stream via Canadian consular services) or
    2. a passport (see below for details)
      1. a one-year limited validity passport (no fees to be charged)
        • Should the client wish to obtain a full-validity passport, fees apply
        • Fees for the temporary passport are to be waived at all times.
      2. permanent resident travel documents
The program-specific measures are listed on IRCC’s website. Students are strongly advised to discuss their situation with International Student Specialists at the University of Alberta to see whether, and if so how, they meet these eligibility criteria.

January 22, 2024

A number of important immigration updates were announced by the Government of Canada on January 22, 2024Announced changes are designed to protect international students and strengthen Canada as a top study destination for international students. A two-year cap on the number of initial study permits that will be issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be distributed by the province.  Measures are designed to enhance predictability and distribution of the number of international students in Canada, and to ensure enriching academic experiences such as those provided by institutions like the University of Alberta. 

This cap does not apply to students who are currently in Canada on a study permit and are in application to extend or will need to extend their study permit. 

The changes announced impact graduate and undergraduate students differently.

Graduate Students 

  • The announced cap will not apply to students in Masters and PhD programs.
  • Spouses of graduate students will continue to be eligible for open work permits.
  • It was also announced that graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will be eligible to apply for a 3-year PGWP even if the length of their program of study is less than 2 years in duration. We will provide updated information when more details are available.   

Undergraduate Students

  • The announced cap will apply to new undergraduate students but does not apply to students currently enrolled in undergraduate programs needing to extend study permits.
  • While new undergraduate students applying for a first time study permit will be required to provide attestation from the province where they study, this is not a requirement for those already studying in an undergraduate program and applying to extend their study permit.
  • There are no changes to the PGWP for undergraduate students enrolled in University of Alberta programs.
  • Spouses of undergraduate students will no longer be eligible for open work permits. We are seeking clarification about the implementation dates for this policy and the application of the change to current undergraduate student spouses holding open work permits. We will provide updates as we are able. We are currently in the process of updating information and updates will be posted here

Temporary policy that allows students to work more than 20 hours/week comes to an end on April 30, 2024.

The temporary policy that allows some international students to work more than 20 hours per week between January 1, 2024, and April 30, 2024 will end as of April 30, 2024. For detailed information about eligibility requirements for this policy, please click here.

Updated financial requirements for Study Permit applications 

International students who submit their study permit applications to IRCC on or after January 1, 2024, are now required to show $20,635 CAD (for a single applicant) in funds to cover their cost of living for the first year in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs. The cost-of-living amount will be adjusted each year based on Statistics Canada's low-income cut-off, so students will need to review the adjusted yearly amounts. For detailed information, please click here

January 30: Update Information Session - 11 a.m. via Zoom
The International Student and Visitor Services (ISVS) team will be hosting a webinar on January 30, 2024, where staff will provide information on these updates, share any clarifications received from IRCC and answer questions from the attendees.
Register for the webinar here.

December 7, 2023

The federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) announced the following updates to better protect international students:

  • International students who will submit their study permit applications to IRCC on or after January 1, 2024, will be required to show $20,635 in funds for the cost of living for the first year in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs for a single applicant. Note: students are required to provide proof of ongoing financial support for subsequent years of their studies. This threshold will be updated on a yearly basis moving forward and will take into account Statistics Canada low-income-cut-off (LICO). Implications: applicants for study permits should ensure sufficient proof of funds.
  • Temporary policy that allows some international students to work more than 20 hours per week off campus during regular academic sessions will be extended till April 30, 2024. This applies to international students who are in Canada on valid study permits (issued on or before December 7, 2023), as well as applicants who submitted a study permit application to IRCC on or before December 7, 2023. 
  • Temporary measure that allows students to count time spent studying online from outside Canada towards the length of their Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) will continue to be in place past December 31, 2023, as long as online studies constitutes less than 50% of the program and the program starts before September 1, 2024 (note: other requirements that must be met can be found here). 
  • Temporary policy that was introduced to provide an additional 18-month work permit to post-graduation work permit holders will come to an end on December 31, 2023, and this policy will not be extended. 

Access this news release here

International students with questions about these updates should contact the ISVS team for assistance.