Immigration Process for Foreign Clinical Fellows

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

Before Arrival

1. Once the clinical fellow has been offered a position at UBC, their Department or School will start the immigration process, and will also commence the preliminary steps to arrange for temporary registration from the College of Physicians & Surgeons of BC.

2. The department will provide a letter of offer to the Clinical Fellow and the Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Offer ID Number. Once the necessary confirmation has been obtained from the College of Physicians & Surgeons, this will also be provided. Clinical Fellows do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment, but the employer must pay a $230 compliance fee and provide Offer of Employment details to IRCC.

Medical Examination: IRCC requires individuals who will be working in the health sciences field to undergo a medical examination prior to the issuance of a work permit. Please refer to the IRCC’s website for a list of designated health practitioners. Note that the medical examination must be completed before entry into Canada.

Work Permit: The clinical fellow must apply for a temporary work permit from a Canadian Immigration Office. Details on how and where to apply are found on the IRCC website. The application must clearly identify UBC as the employer. In the case of joint appointments with a hospital/agency, both employers must be clearly identified on the application. The 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. Individuals are advised to review the website of their local Canadian Immigration Office to ascertain processing times and required documentation.

If a clinical fellow will hold an unpaid appointment at UBC, an application for a work permit must still be made. Please note that a work permit of at least 6 months duration is required in order to be eligible for medical coverage under the BC Medical Services Plan. Additionally, a work permit for one year’s duration is required for coverage of school fees of school aged children. Please refer to our Things to Know Before You Arrive page for further information on this and other related matters.

If the temporary work permit is approved, the Canadian Immigration Office will issue a letter approving the issuance of a work permit (the temporary work permit is actually issued at the Canadian port of entry – see “Arrival”). The clinical fellow can now finalize their travel and moving arrangements. At the Canadian port of entry, the immigration officer issues the work permit, which allows the new clinical fellow to work at UBC on a temporary basis. For more information on working in Canada, please refer to Working Temporarily in Canada.

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 (subject to change) associated with this. Families applying together for a visitor visa will pay a maximum biometric fee of up to $170 CAD.

Preparing for Arrival

Foreign clinical fellows are strongly encouraged to take the time to familiarize themselves with UBC and the benefits and amenities of the campus and surrounding area. The following websites provide helpful information:

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

  • Letter of approval from the IRCC Office
  • The offer letter from the academic unit
  • IRCC Offer of Employment ID Number
  • Letter from the BC College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • Up-to-date CV (may be required and should have on hand)
  • Passport(s)
  • Temporary resident visa(s) and/or eTA (as applicable)
  • Biometric Data (if 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 immigration officer may ask for other documents. The new clinical fellow should ensure that they review the documentation checklist found in the work permit instruction guide on the IRCC website.

A temporary work permit will normally be issued for the dates outlined in the letter of offer. However, there are other factors—such as passport expiry date—which the immigration officer will take into consideration when issuing a work permit. It is important that the work permit be specific to UBC.

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.

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4. At the Canadian port of entry, the immigration officer issues the work permit, which allows the foreign clinical fellow to work at UBC on a temporary basis. It is important for the new foreign clinical fellow to make sure that they have all of the necessary documents (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 should correspond to the clinical fellow’s new position).

NOTE: The issuance date of the work permit is the date upon which UBC may lawfully employ a foreign clinical fellow. For example, if your appointment is effective July 1st but you do not arrive in Canada until August 15th, your work permit is not effective until that date and your appointment start date will therefore be August 15th.

After Arrival

5. After arrival, the new clinical fellow must apply in person for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) at a Service Canada office. Upon receipt of the SIN confirmation information, a copy of this and the temporary work permit must be supplied 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 a Temporary Work Permit

Should a Clinical Fellow appointment be extended for another term, the department/school will prepare the necessary letter that will be submitted to IRCC with the application to extend the work permit. Please refer to steps 6 through 8 on our Renewal of Work Permits page for further information.

For further information, please contact Faculty Relations at or Human Resources (UBCO) at

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