- Documents for International Students
- Renewing Your Documents in Canada
- Taking a Trip Outside of Canada
- Invitation Letter for Family Members and Friends
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If you plan to travel outside of Canada while you are studying at Carleton, it’s important that you have correct and current documents. Otherwise you may not be allowed to return and your studies will be interrupted.
All international travellers coming to Canada must show proof of their identity. This is usually a passport.
In addition, most people need one of these documents.
- Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) — A number sent via email.
- Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) — A counterfoil that is laminated into the passport.
Whether you need an eTA or a TRV depends on the country that issued your passport. Citizens of the United States don’t need either.
Having a TRV or an eTA does not guarantee that you will be admitted into Canada.
Students sometimes talk about their “student visa”, but there are really two separate documents, with different purposes:
- Your study permit shows that you have temporary resident status in Canada. It allows you to stay in this country and to study, subject to certain terms and conditions. You should apply for a new study permit before your current study permit expires if you need more time to finish your program.
- Your TRV or eTA allows you to travel to Canada. Typically, there is no problem if your TRV or eTA expires while you are in Canada. But if you travel outside of Canada, you can’t return without a valid TRV or eTA, even if your study permit is valid.
When you applied for your first study permit from outside of Canada, your eTA or TRV was automatically issued once your application was approved. Then when you entered Canada, the study permit was issued to you.
When you are in Canada, there is a different process for getting new documents.
Step One: Apply for a new study permit. If you need an eTA, it will automatically be issued to you with the study permit.
Step Two, for students who need a TRV: Apply online for the TRV after you get your new study permit. This is very similar to applying for a study permit and you can use many of the same supporting documents. Come to the ISSO if you need help. After the application is approved, you will receive instructions for sending your passport to an IRCC office in Ottawa.
It is best to plan ahead with reference to IRCC’s processing times and complete both of these steps before you travel outside of Canada.
You should have the correct documents to enter the country or countries you plan to visit. The ISSO cannot advise on immigration to other countries, but we can help you find the right sources of information.
You can learn about safety and security issues for your destination(s) at the Canadian Government’s Travel Advice and Advisories.
For your return to Canada you need to carry these documents:
- Passport, valid for the duration of your trip
- Study permit, valid for the duration of your trip
- Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), valid for the duration of your trip
- Carleton University Certificate of Enrolment
When you return to Canada, your documents will be examined by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer. You can expect questions about the purpose of your entry to Canada. Stay calm and answer truthfully.
International students should be sure they have the right documents to enter the United States and to return to Canada afterwards.
- Visa or ESTA for the United States
- Citizens of some countries may be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program when visiting the USA for tourism. This requires approval for an ESTA (similar to Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorization).
- Other persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for tourism or business will need a visa.
To find out which type of visa or authorization is right for you, and to begin an online visa application, use the US Visa Wizard.
You will need to undergo an in-person visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You must book a visa interview appointment online.:
2. Returning to Canada
For a trip to the United States only, you should have a study permit that is valid for the duration of your trip. A valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) is not needed for Canadian immigration purposes. However, if you are flying, check with the airline about their policies regarding the visa.
If you apply for a study permit extension and your old permit expires while you are waiting for the decision, you have implied status as a student if you remain in Canada. You lose this implied status when you leave.
You may wish to delay your travel if possible. If you cannot, when you return to Canada, a CBSA officer will make a decision about whether to re-admit you or not. Read about some of the possible decisions in this situation.
Your family or friends may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to travel to Canada to visit you. You can write an invitation letter for them to use as one of the supporting documents for their visa application. You can write one letter for both of your parents and for any young children who will travel with them.
You aren’t legally responsible for the people you invite, but your letter should be sincere and truthful.
This Letter of Invitation Template (Word doc) shows a suggested format that includes the information that the visa office needs.
- Learn more about applying for a TRV
- Find the Canadian embassy or consulate for your home country
- Information about short-term accommodations in Ottawa is available here.