Immigration Process for Foreign Academics

Foreign academics are required to obtain a temporary work permit in order to be employed and perform work for UBC. The following steps outlined below provide details on obtaining a temporary work permit and Social Insurance Number (SIN), and also provide information on what is expected after the foreign academic arrives at UBC:

Before Arrival

1. Once the recruitment process for a foreign academic has been completed, their Department or School will submit the necessary paperwork to Faculty Relations (UBCV) or Human Resources (UBCO) to start the immigration process. Administrators should refer to the immigration documents list for the listing of paperwork that the academic unit must submit.

2. As soon as Faculty Relations/HR has obtained authorization from Service Canada (SC) or Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC), they email the new faculty member to provide the necessary documentation and information so that they can apply for a work permit.

Faculty members are advised not to confirm travel or moving arrangements to enter Canada until they have received the necessary documentation from Faculty Relations/HR and have obtained approval for the issuance of a temporary work permit.


3. Once the foreign academic has received the LMIA or LMIA exemption documents, they must apply to IRCC for a temporary work permit. Refer to IRCC’s website for details on where and how to apply, and whether a medical exam may be required. The application form and important information regarding applying for a temporary work permit can be found on the work permit link above. A temporary work permit currently costs $155 CDN and depending on the immigration office, it may take several days or several weeks to process the application. Faculty members are advised to review the website of their local Canadian Immigration Office to ascertain processing times and required documentation.

When the temporary work permit is approved, the Canadian Immigration Office will issue a letter approving the issuance of a work permit. The work permit will actually be issued at the border. Travel and moving arrangements can now be finalized.

In addition to a work permit, the IRCC may also require the following items:

Temporary Resident Visa: In addition to the temporary work permit, citizens of some countries & territories will also require a temporary resident visa (TRV). If a TRV is required, it is not necessary to make a separate application; the immigration officer will issue the TRV at the same time as the approval for a work permit. A list of countries and territories whose citizens need a TRV can be found on the IRCC website.  If you are planning to travel outside of Canada while at UBC, please ensure that you notify IRCC at the time of application to ensure that, if eligible, a multiple entry visa is obtained.

Electronic Travel Authorization: IRCC requires visa-exempt nationals who arrive or transit through Canada by air to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in addition to acceptable travel documents and identification. A visa-exempt national is a foreign national who does not normally need a visa to enter Canada. Please refer to the IRCC website for a list of countries whose citizens will be required to apply for an eTA. Exceptions include citizens of the United States and foreign nationals with a valid visa.

This entry requirement allows IRCC to screen travellers before they arrive. In most cases, an eTA will be approved within minutes of applying. It costs $7 CAD per person to get an eTA, and once approved, an eTA is valid for five years or upon passport expiry, whichever comes first. Application is made online on the IRCC website prior to entry into Canada.

Biometric Data Requirements: IRCC also requires citizens of certain countries to supply biometric data in order to enter Canada. Please refer to the IRCC website for a list of countries whose citizens will be required to provide this data. Note that there is a $85 CAD per person fee associated with this. Families applying together for a visitor visa will pay a maximum biometric fee of up to $170 CAD.

Preparing for Arrival

New faculty members are strongly encouraged to take the time to familiarize themselves with the immigration process as well as with UBC and the benefits and amenities of the campus and surrounding area. The following additional resources provide helpful information:

4. In preparation for arrival, the new faculty member should gather the following necessary documents and have them ready for the immigration officer’s inspection upon entry into Canada:

  • The letter of approval from the Canadian Immigration Office (if applicable)
  • A copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (Note: CRC’s must provide a copy of the CRC confirmation letter). In cases where an LMIA exemption is applicable, a copy of the IRCC Offer of Employment ID number is required along with a copy of the fee receipt instead of the LMIA
  • The offer letter from the academic unit
  • Proof of eligibility for position (Up-to-date CV and Degree. May be required and should have on hand)
  • Passports
  • Temporary resident visa(s) and/or eTA (as applicable)
  • Travel documents (i.e. airline tickets)
  • Marriage certificate or Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union (for accompanying spouse/partner)
  • Children’s birth certificates (if applicable)
Additional documentation:  The new faculty member should ensure that they review the documentation checklist found in the work permit instruction guide on the IRCC website.

The duration of the temporary work permit will vary and is up to the discretion of the immigration officer, who will consider factors such as the duration of the Labour Market Impact Assessment, passport expiry date and dates of the job offer.

Spouses and accompanying children: If applicable, a spousal work permit and/or visitor records and/or study permits for accompanying dependent children will be issued at the same time. It is important for accompanying family to have the necessary documentation from IRCC as this has an impact on benefits coverage.

For more information on working in Canada, please refer to Working Temporarily in Canada.


5. At the Canadian port of entry, the immigration officer issues the work permit, which allows the new faculty member to work at UBC on a temporary basis. It is important for the new faculty member to make sure that they have all of the necessary documentation (as listed above and on the IRCC website) with them and to check the work permit once it has been issued to them in order to ensure that all of the information contained within is correct (for example, the employer listed should be UBC and the job title should correspond to the new faculty member’s position).

NOTE: The issuance date of the work permit is the date upon which UBC may lawfully employ a foreign academic. For example, if the effective date of a foreign academic’s appointment at UBC is July 1st, but the work permit is not issued until August 15th, the start date of the position will be August 15th.

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After Arrival

6. After arrival, the new faculty member must apply in person for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) at their local Service Canada Office. Service Canada will issue a receipt for the SIN card application which will have the Social Insurance Number listed. The faculty member must provide a copy of this and the temporary work permit to Faculty Relations (UBCV) or Human Resources (UBCO). Please note that SINs are valid for the duration of the temporary work permit.

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Renewal of Temporary Work Permit

Please see our Work Permit Renewal Page for information.

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Permanent Residency

7. It is expected that faculty members with tenure or tenure-track appointments will obtain permanent resident status in Canada.  It is important to start this process  well in advance of the expiry of the initial work permit. See the Permanent Resident Visa Information page for further information on obtaining permanent residency.

8. After obtaining a Permanent Resident Visa, an application for a permanent SIN must be submitted to Service Canada. Upon receipt of the permanent SIN card please forward a copy to Faculty Relations.

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Questions About the Immigration Process for Foreign Academics?

If you have any questions about the above process, please contact Faculty Relations (UBCV) at or Human Resources (UBCO) at

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