As an international student, you might need to leave Canada to visit your home country or travel abroad for a conference. Whatever the case may be and whether you plan to travel for a few days or a few months, make sure your immigration documents are in order before you leave Canada.

If you need to extend any of the immigration documents before you leave Canada, make sure to check the IRCC processing times so you can plan your travels ahead of time.

Valid documentation for re-entry

If you leave Canada, you need proper and valid immigration documentation to re-enter Canada so be sure to renew your documents before you travel.

If you leave Canada and want to return, you must have a:

  1. Valid passport- It is your responsibility to keep your passport valid at all times and to contact your country’s embassy or consulate in Canada for instructions on how to renew your passport. 

  2. Valid study permit - If your study permit will expire while you are outside Canada, you should come to ISSAC to speak with an International Education Officer. While it is possible to apply for a new study permit while outside Canada, it may take longer depending on where you are.

  3. Valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) if you are from a visa-required country. You must re-apply for a new TRV if your visa has expired or your visa was valid for a single entry to Canada. 

  4. Valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if you are from an eTA-required country

Important to remember: It is not advisable to leave Canada while an immigration document extension is being processed and your current document will expire while you are abroad. If you think you will be facing this situation, please consult the Implied Status and Travelling Outside Canada by IRCC and come to ISSAC to speak with an International Education Officer. 

Crossing the Canadian border

If you leave Canada and want to return to study, these are things to consider and prepare for when crossing the border into Canada. Start by reading the IRCC’s arrival tips and the following information:

  1. Make sure your immigration documents are in order. See above. 

  2. Check the terms outlined in your immigration documents and makes sure your name, dates and all other information is correct. 

  3. When asked questions by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer, always answer every question truthfully, consistently and calmly. The officers can provide services in English and French. They might have an interpreter on site who speaks your language so ask if this is an option when you do not understand what is being asked. Border crossings are very busy so expect to spend couple of hours while being processed during which time you might not be able to leave the immigration and customs area. 

  4. When making your trip plans, visit the Canadian Border Services Agency website for travel tips, customs regulations, current border wait time, etc. Consult the Border Reminder Checklist and when in doubt and need clarification, ask the CBSA officer for assistance.   

Travelling to the United States

If you are planning to travel to the United States, it is your responsibility to have the most up to date information regarding visa and entry requirements before you make any trip plans. Therefore, please consult the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada website on entering the U.S. 

Coming back to Canada after your visit to the United States

If you have a valid study permit and leave Canada to visit only the United States, St. Pierre and Miquelon, you do not need a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to re-enter Canada, provided that you re-enter Canada before the expiry of your study permit. 

If you are visiting the United States and returning to Canada without a TRV we recommend that you make a copy of this regulation (See Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulation, Part 9, Division 5, Section 190-3f). and take it with you in case your airline is not aware of this regulation and to avoid any potential boarding delays.

Safe travelling

It is your responsibility to take care of your safety and security while travelling. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Be aware of the latest travel safety alerts and plans your trip ahead of time whenever possible.
  • Have you emergency contacts in Canada always at hand.
  • Have your country’s consulate contact information always at hand.
  • Be in the know of Canada Visa Offices abroad.
  • Make sure your family back home and your contacts in Canada have a copy of your immigration documents and your trip itinerary.
  • Do not take immigration advice from your friends. When in doubt, contact the appropriate authorities or come to ISSAC to speak with an International Education Officer before you travel.

The immigration information on this page has been reviewed and endorsed by an immigration lawyer in compliance with the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. However, this is not a legal document and information may change without notice. Always refer to www.cic.gc.ca for the most up-to-date information, or contact ISSAC.


Getting help

Use the International Student Guide to learn about life as an international student at the U of S including immigration matters and information on working and living in Canada.

International Student Guide

If you can't find what you need in the International Student Guide contact The International Student and Study Abroad Centre (ISSAC). We are here to help! Drop-in advising is available.

ISSAC