1. Documents for International Students
    1. Renewing Documents in Canada
  2. Taking a Trip Outside of Canada
    1. Visiting the United States
    2. Maintained Status and Travel Outside of Canada
  3. 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 carry correct and current documents so that you can return and continue your studies without interruption.

All international travellers coming to Canada must show proof of their identity. This is usually a passport.

In addition, most people need a travel authorization, which is 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 and permanent residents of the United States don’t need either.

Find out if you need a TRV or an eTA to travel to Canada.

Having a TRV or an eTA does not guarantee that you will be admitted into Canada. That decision is always made by an officer of the Canada Border Services Agency following their examination of you.

Documents for International Students

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 Canada and to study, subject to certain 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 Temporary Resident Visa (or eTA) allows you to travel to Canada. You don’t need a valid TRV or eTA to remain 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. (There is an exception if you travel only to the United States with a study permit that is valid for the entire duration of your trip.)

A Temporary Resident Visa remains valid for travel up to its expiry date. TRVs are coded as V-1(visitor), S-1 (student) or W-1 (worker), but a visa is not invalidated when the holder’s status in Canada changes.

Renewing Documents in Canada

When you applied for your first study permit from outside of Canada, your eTA or TRV was automatically issued once your application was approved. The study permit was issued to you when you arrived in Canada.

When you are in Canada, there is a different process for getting new documents.

Step One: Apply to renew your 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 for a new TRV after you get your new study permit. This is very similar process to applying for a study permit and you can use many of the same supporting documents.

After your visa 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.

Taking a Trip 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.

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 should carry these documents:

  • Passport
  • Study permit
  • Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), valid for the duration of your trip
  • Carleton University Certificate of Enrolment or proof of continuing studies

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.

Visiting the United States

The US Visa Wizard can help you determine which type of visa or authorization is right for you and the purpose of your visit to the United States. 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.

Maintained Status and Travel Outside of Canada

If you apply for a study permit extension and your old permit expires while you are waiting for the decision, you have maintained status as a student as long as you remain in Canada. You lose this  status when you leave.

You may wish to delay your travel if possible. If you cannot, you may be able to return to Canada if you have a valid visa or eTA. A CBSA officer will make a decision about whether to re-admit you or not. Read about the possible decisions in this situation.

Invitation Letter for Family Members and Friends

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, to explain the purpose of their visit to Canada. 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.

The ISSO’s Letter of Invitation Template (Word doc) shows a suggested format that includes the information that the visa office needs.