Where to refer international students

You may refer international students to:

  1. The International Student Guide 
    The International Student Guide information is for basic guideline purposes only. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) regulations and procedures are subject to change without notice.

  2. ISSAC is the first point of contact for faculty and staff regarding immigration matters involving students.
    International students can access drop-in support at ISSAC, Monday to Thursday, 9 am to 12 pm and consult with an international education officer. Appointments will be scheduled as needed.

 Please refer students to ISSAC for assistance if they are in any of the following situations:

  • student is pursuing, or would like to pursue a degree program, but does not have a valid study permit;
  • students application for a study permit was denied;
  • student has concerns or questions about their ability to work, both on and off campus;
  • students temporary resident status (visitor visa) has, or is about to expire;
  • student wants to invite his or her spouse, child(ren) or other relatives to Canada;
  • student has lost their study permit or passport;
  • student has been discontinued from / has withdrawn from their academic program;
  • student has to take a break from their studies for any reason;
  • student has an expired health card; or
  • any other situation that you are concerned might adversely affect the student’s immigration status, academic situation or personal well-being.

ISSAC does not provide assistance in the following situations:

  • advice on applying for permanent residence;
  • advice on making a refugee claim;
  • advice on obtaining travel documents for countries other than Canada (eg. the United States).

The Basics

Application and issuance of study permits

Most students apply for a study permit from their home country prior to coming to Canada. If the application is successful, they receive a letter of invitation which they present to the Canada Border Security Agency (CBSA) Agent at their first port of entry. The CBSA Agent then issues the study permit. If a student’s study permit is to expire before completion of their degree program, they can apply to renew it from inside of Canada.

Some foreign nationals are able to apply for their first study permit from inside of Canada. If you know a foreign national who does not currently have a study permit but wishes to study at the University of Saskatchewan, please refer them to ISSAC.

Please reference the International Student Guide Immigration for more information.


As of 2018, IRCC is phasing in the requirement for study permit applicants to give biometrics (fingerprints and photos). A foreign national applies for a study permit as they normally would, they then receive a letter instructing them to obtain biometrics within 30 days. This new requirement to obtain biometrics may prolong the study permit application process as some foreign nationals may have to travel to neighboring countries if a biometric collection facility does not exist in their home country.

Please refer to the IRCC website for more information.

Processing Time

Processing time of applications varies depending on the location the application is made and other individual factors of the applicant. Anyone can check approximate processing times on the IRCC website. 

DLI number

As a result of regulatory chances in 2014, institutions are now designated by provinces and territories on the basis of meeting minimum standards. A student must be accepted to a DLI in order to be eligible for a study permit.

The designated learning institution (DLI) number for University of Saskatchewan is: O19425660421.

Study permit requirements

Study permit holders are required to actively pursue their studies while in Canada. This is interpreted to mean that they must be registered each term their program of study requires them to be. A student is allowed to study part-time on a study permit but part-time study will make them ineligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit.


Study permit holders who are registered full-time in a degree, diploma or certificate program may be eligible to work. They must meet the eligibility requirements listed by IRCC.

Contact ISSAC if you have any questions regarding particular cases where you are unsure if an international student would meet eligibility requirements.

Please reference the International Student Guide Working in Canada as well as the IRCC website.

All study permit holders who wish to work in Canada must obtain a social insurance number (SIN) from Service Canada. In order to apply for a SIN, study permit holders must have one of the following conditions or remarks printed on their study permit:

  • May work 20 hours per week off campus or full time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in paragraph 186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
  • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria, per paragraph R186(f), (v) or (w) and must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.

If a study permit does not have any of the above remarks, please refer the student to ISSAC for advice.

Working after studies: Post Graduate Work Permit

A majority of international students who complete a program of study at the University of Saskatchewan apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). A PGWP is an open work permit that is valid for up to three years (depending on the length of program the student completed) that allows them to work for any employer in Canada. For students who wish to remain in Canada permanently, skilled work experience is required in most permanent residency applications. As such, work accumulated on a PGWP is invaluable to being eligible for permanent residency.

On February 14, 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) made changes to the application process of the post-graduate work permit (PGWP). The International Student Guide has details on eligibility and applying for a PGWP.

 The primary eligibility requirements are:

  • Have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution that is at least 8 months in length;
  • Have maintained full-time student status in each academic session of the program of study (with exceptions for authorized leaves of up to 150 days and part-time status for final academic session);
  • Held a study permit for the duration of their studies and at the time of application hold valid immigration status if in Canada (eg. visitor status);
  • Apply within 180 days of receiving written confirmation of degree completion from the designated learning institution.

In most cases, PGWP applicants are allowed to work after submitting the application and pending a decision.

Temporary resident visa

Students are often confused as to the difference between a study permit and a temporary resident visa (also known as a visitor visa). A Temporary Resident Visa is documentation foreign nationals must obtain in order to enter Canada if they are nationals of a visa-required country. A student from a visa required country needs to apply for both a study permit and a TRV before coming to Canada.

Learn more on the International Student Guide Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

IRCC reporting requirements

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have made changes to the International Student Program (ISP). One change is that designated learning institutions (DLIs), such as the University of Saskatchewan, are required to report to IRCC the enrollment status of international students who have applied for a study permit (including renewals) and have received it on or after June 1, 2014. 

The International Student and Study Abroad Centre is taking the lead on completing the compliance report with the support of the designated learning institution strategy team and various units across campus.

ISSAC will be contacting students if we have questions about their enrolment status. We will be contacting the students via PAWS email and setting up one-on-one appointments. For further information about the compliance reporting and student enrollment status options, please visit the IRCC website. If you have further questions, please email

Students are required to inform IRCC if they have switched Designated Learning Institutions. They are able to do this in their IRCC Portal.



Settlement services

ISSAC provides settlement support for all new degree-seeking, exchange or visiting international students to the University of Saskatchewan.

  • ISSAC has a team of Student Assistants who provide one-on-one and small group arrival and settlement support, and a team of International Education Officers who offer individual advising during drop-in hours.
  • After students’ arrival, international students should be advised to come to ISSAC to receive an arrival package, including the student guide, and receive settlement support and referrals. Incoming students can learn about healthcare in Canada, setting up a bank account, housing and childcare – and more. 
  • ISSAC can also provide limited financial support for emergency accommodation.

ISSAC hosts an international Student welcome for both the fall and winter intake of international and exchange students.  Students can register via the main website once the event is made available. Other locally hosted events, student-led activities and learning sessions can be found on the USask International Student Facebook page.

Incoming International Students

In addition to degree programs, exchange programs and visiting student options, there are a number of short-term academic opportunities for international students to study and research at the University of Saskatchewan. These opportunities are organized independently from the U of S and often include scholarship and research components in addition to studying at the U of S. Some of the programs and organizations that send students and scholars to the U of S include:

Visiting Research Student

Visiting research students require formal application and admittance to the U of S.

Visiting research students are here on short-term research (up to 12 months) under a faculty supervisor. The Visiting Research Student Program is administered through the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

English language support

Do you know of students who would benefit by improving their English? The USask Language Centre (USLC) specializes in helping students whose first language is not English to improve their English language skills in complex academic contexts. Our classes and tutoring sessions have helped students to improve on their term papers, oral presentations, and build overall confidence.

General ESL classes focus on key skill areas, such as writing, speaking, listening, and pronunciation.

Bursaries are available for international graduate students .

In addition, the USLC works with colleges and schools across campus to develop customized programs specific to their students’ needs.

Email for information.

Visit the USLC's website to learn more about these programs.