Studying in America and Canada  
6.4.3 Upon your arrival to a Port of Entry

What happens when I arrive in Canada?

When you arrive in Canada, the immigration officer at the port of entry will determine

whether you may enter Canada and how long you may stay. You must leave Canada on or before the date set by the immigration officer or have your status extended by an immigration officer in Canada.

May I change schools?

Your student authorization is valid only for the educational institution and program of study named on your authorization. If you wish to change schools or study programs, phone your nearest Canada Immigration Centre in Canada to obtain an application.

May I work during my stay in Canada?

Generally, foreign students are not allowed to work while studying in Canada. However, there are some exceptions for full-time students at post-secondary institutions who may obtain employment authorizations. These are only issued if:

  • the intended employment is an essential and integral part of your course of study (this does not apply to accounting students, medical interns, or medical residents);
  • the intended employment is related to an approved research or training program;
  • the employment is on campus at a community college or university where you are registered as a full-time student; and
  • you have successfully completed a community college or university program in Canada and wish to work for a maximum of one year in employment related to your course of study.

Note: Some student authorizations are arranged with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). These students must obtain an approval letter from CIDA to be eligible for an employment authorization related to their course of study.

How do I obtain an employment authorization if I am a student?

If you have received a job offer on campus as a graduate assistant or research assistant, or for work that is related to a research or training program, you may obtain the employment authorization at the same time as you obtain your student authorization. To do so, include written proof of the offer of employment with your application for a student authorization.

If you do not have a job offer before leaving your country, you must apply for an employment authorization by phoning your nearest Canada Immigration Centre, and you must obtain it before you start working.

Note: Full-time post-secondary students may apply in Canada for an open employment authorization to work on the campus of the post-secondary institution they are attending. The employer may be a private contractor operating on the campus.

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