All foreign Visiting Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows coming to UBC are required by Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) to obtain either a Work Permit or a Visitor Visa. Individuals performing work, whether paid or unpaid, will normally be issued a work permit. In the case of unpaid positions it is up to CIC whether a Work Permit or Visitor Visa will be issued.UBC must issue a Letter of Invitation (LOI) for Visiting Faculty, Visiting Scholars or Postdoctoral Fellows, which the individual will use to apply to CIC for the appropriate permit/visa. The LOI must be signed by either the Unit Head/Director or a Faculty Relations officer. Note LOIs may not be used for any other UBC appointments. Refer to the Foreign Academic process for details on immigration for other appointments.
- Visiting Faculty (Excluding Visiting Scholars)
- Visiting Scholars
- Postdoctoral Fellows
- Medical Coverage & Work Permits
- Renewal Letters
- FAQS – General
- FAQs – Visitors
- FAQs – Posdoctoral Fellows
CIC recognizes that opportunities exist for academic exchanges and thus have allowed individuals holding academic appointments abroad to be issued a work permit without obtaining a Labour Market Opinion.
The individual must retain their position abroad. Note that CIC may request confirmation from the home institution that the individual has a position to which they will return.
- Appointments may be salaried or unsalaried.
- The title of the visitor appointment at UBC corresponds to their title at their home institution.
- Where a work permit is required the maximum length of a work permit is 2 years. CIC will not normally renew work permits beyond the 2 year limit.
The following Letter of Invitation templates are for inviting visiting Faculty to UBC:
CIC will issue permits/visas for Visiting Scholars as long as the individual is self-funded and will therefore not be paid by UBC. If UBC wishes to pay the individual the position must be advertised and a Labour Market Opinion obtained.
- The appointment must be unsalaried.
- If the individual is completing a degree it must be a graduate degree.
Note that under UBC policy the maximum length of a visitor appointment is 1 year, but may be renewable for a further year.
Use the LOI for Visiting Scholars (DOC). This letter is different from the LOI for unpaid visiting faculty as visiting scholars do not qualify under CIC’s Visiting Professor exemption. The faculty member extending an invitation to a visiting scholar will need to provide details on what the individual will be doing while visiting UBC and must confirm the individual is self-funded.
CIC allows individuals holding a PhD (or near completion of the PhD) to be appointed to time-limited positions for postdoctoral teaching and research. UBC Policy allows individuals to be appointed for up to 3 years within 5 years of obtaining a PhD or 10 years of obtaining a DDS or MD. Note that with the Dean’s approval a postdoc appointment could be extended for a further 2 years.
- Individual should have received their PhD by the time an application for a work permit is made. CIC may request proof of the PhD or expectation that it will be awarded shortly. CIC may allow some flexibility if the individual has not yet completed their thesis defense but has completed all requirements for a PhD.
- Appointments may be salaried or unsalaried.
The following Letter of Invitation templates are for inviting Postdoctoral Fellows to UBC:
It is important to note that the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) will only extend coverage to individuals with a work permit. Individuals who do not receive a work permit are not eligible for MSP coverage and must arrange for their own coverage.
New residents arriving from outside Canada should arrange for private coverage during the waiting period for MSP. Visiting Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows from outside Canada and their dependent(s) may purchase private coverage through the David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) Global Campus Plan for UBC Faculty and Staff.
Appointments of Visiting Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows may be renewed within the allowable limits. If you are considering issuing a renewal letter for a Visitor or Postdoc who does not fit the applicable criteria please contact Faculty Relations. For individuals who fall within the applicable criteria use the letters below to renew:
- Renewal Letter for paid Visiting Faculty (DOC)
- Renewal Letter for unpaid Visiting Faculty (DOC)
- Renewal Letter for Visiting Scholars (DOC)
- Renewal Letter for paid Postdoctoral Fellows (DOC)
- Renewal Letter for unpaid Postdoctoral Fellows (DOC)
How far in advance do I need to send the Letter of Invitation?
- Normally the letter should be sent approximately 3-4 months in advance of the expected start date. This should allow the Visitor or Postdoc enough time to request the necessary permit/visa from the CIC office at their nearest Canadian embassy, and for CIC to process the request.
I’d like to invite an individual but I’m unsure of what letter of invitation to use?
- Please contact Faculty Relations for assistance.
I’m unsure of what rank the individual should hold at UBC?
- To find out more about Visiting ranks please refer to the general information on Visiting appointments. To find out more about Postdoctoral appointments please refer to our Postdoctoral Fellow appointment information.
I’d like to hire a Visiting Scholar and pay him or her. Can I do this?
- If CIC has issued a work permit to the Visiting Scholar then it will be possible to pay the individual. If CIC has not issued a work permit then it is not possible to pay any salary or lump sum honorarium to the visitor.
A foreign visiting faculty member who has already been at UBC for 2 years would like to stay another year. Will this be possible?
- This will likely not be possible. CIC will not normally renew a foreign visitor’s work permit if they have already held an appointment for 2 years. In special circumstances CIC may choose to extend a work permit beyond the 2 year limit. This would be dealt with directly by CIC on a case by case basis.
The visitor I am inviting will only be at UBC for one month. Should I still issue a letter of invitation? Should I still create an appointment form for this person?
- A letter or invitation should be created for all foreign visiting faculty coming to UBC. This letter must be presented to CIC, who will then decide whether a work permit will be required. If the individual will be paid they must have a work permit and the department must create an appointment form to process the appointment and salary. If the appointment is without salary and is less than 1 month an appointment form does not have to be created.
Our visitor has already arrived and only has a visitor visa. Do they still need a work permit?
- If the appointment is without salary no work permit is required. The visitor visa will be sufficient. Remember to send a photocopy of the visitor visa to Faculty Relations along with the appointment form.
The individual we want to hire has not yet received his/her PhD. Can he/she be hired as a Postdoctoral Fellow?
- A job offer as a Postdoc can be made contingent upon the individual being awarded the PhD degree. Normally CIC will require proof of the postdoc’s PhD, which means the degree should be awarded by the time they apply for a work permit. However, CIC does allow some flexibility if the individual has not yet completed their thesis defense but has completed all requirements for a PhD. Please contact Faculty Relations to discuss additional wording that should be added to the LOI and the Letter of Offer for such cases.
If the individual the unit wants to hire is beyond 3 years of being awarded the PhD can he/she be hired as a Postdoctoral Fellow?
- No this individual may not be hired, unless there are extenuating circumstance such as time off due to the birth of a child or a change in career path. This is as per UBC policy 61. Prior to extending the offer or issuing an LOI to the Postdoctoral Fellow in this circumstance Faculty Relations must be contacted. Whether an exemption is to be made or not will be determined by Faculty Relations.
The postdoc we want to hire received their PhD over 3 years ago and there are no extenuating circumstances. What do we do?
- Under UBC Policy we are unable to hire this individual as a Postdoc. However, they could be hired as a Research Associate as long as all the advertising and immigration requirements are met.
We want to renew a postdoc who has already held a 3 year postdoc appointment. Can we do this?
- In accordance with policy 61 the term of a postdoc appointment is limited to 3 years, but may be extended for a further 2 years with the approval of the Dean. Approval must be obtained prior producing a new LOI.