Foreign visitors are required to obtain the necessary visas or permits in order to visit or be paid for UBC. The steps outlined below provide details on obtaining temporary permits and a Social Insurance Number (SIN), if necessary. Normally visiting appointments are held for a maximum of 2 years and are only made when the appointee holds an ongoing appointment or has emeritus status at another university or institution to which they expect to return.
1. Once the invitation of the visitor has been confirmed, their Department or School will start the immigration process.
2. UBC sends a letter of invitation to the visitor. Visiting Professors, Visiting Scientists and unpaid Visiting Scholars do not require a Labour Market Opinion (LMO), and a letter of invitation is used instead. Note that in the case of paid Visiting Scholars Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) requires that UBC obtain a positive LMO for the individual.
Prior to arriving in Canada foreign visitors are advised to familiarize themselves with UBC and the benefits and amenities of the campus and surrounding area. Information on these is found on our Things to Know Before You Arrive Page.
3. Upon receipt of the letter of invitation, the visitor must contact the nearest Canadian Immigration Office to determine what visas and/or work permits are required. Please refer to the CIC website for information on visiting or working as well as details on how and where to apply. If a work permit is required the application form is found on the CIC website. Currently the cost of a work permit or a multiple entry temporary resident visa (TRV) is $150 each. Depending on the immigration office it can take several days to several weeks to process an application. Visiting academics are advised to review the website of their local Canadian Immigration Office to ascertain processing times and documentation required. Additionally they are also advised not make travel arrangements prior to receiving the necessary authorization from the Canadian immigration office.
Depending on the activities and/or salary, a visitor may require a work permit. Work permits are issued for “an activity for which wages or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian Labour Market” (from CIC’s Working in Canada).
Please note that a work permit of at least one year duration is required in order to be eligible for medical coverage under the BC Medical Services Plan, and for coverage of school fees for school aged children. Please refer to our Things to Know Before You Arrive page for further information on this and related matters.
Citizens of the United States do not require a TRV to enter Canada and may apply for a work permit at the Canadian Immigration Office at a port of entry or border crossing upon their entry into Canada.
A visitor who requires a TRV and who is planning to travel outside of Canada during their stay at UBC, should ensure that they notify CIC at the time of application to obtain a multiple entry visa. Please note that not all persons are eligible for multiple entry visas.
4. At the Canadian border or port of entry the immigration officer issues the work permit which allows the visiting academic to work on a temporary basis at UBC.
Upon entry into Canada the visitor should have the following documents ready for the immigration officer:
a) The letter of approval from the Canadian immigration office (only issued in the case of work permits)
b) The letter of invitation from the University
d) Marriage Certificate or Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union (for accompanying spouse/partner)
e) Children’s birth certificates (if applicable)
A work permit will normally be issued for the dates outlined in the letter of invitation. However, there are other factors such as passport expiry date, which the immigration officer will take into consideration when issuing a work permit.
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 CIC as this has an impact on benefits coverage.
Biometric Data Requirements: As of September 4, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) requires citizens of certain countries to supply biometric data (fingerprints and a photograph) in order to enter Canada. Please refer to the CIC website for a list of countries whose citizens will be required to provide this data. Note that there is an $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. Minors under the age of 14, the elderly over the age of 79, and diplomats travelling on official business and their family members will also be exempt.
Once an individual arrives in Canada, their biometric data will be checked to ensure that the individual who was approved to travel is in fact the same person who is entering Canada. The use of biometrics as an identity management tool will bring Canada in line with many other countries that are now using, or preparing to use, biometrics in immigration and border management.
5. After arrival the visitor must apply in person at an HRSDC office for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Upon receipt of the SIN card, the visitor must provide a copy of this and the temporary work permit (if applicable) to Faculty Relations. In the event that the SIN card is not issued prior to the employment start date, a copy of the SIN application receipt will be sufficient in the interim. Please note that SINs are valid for the duration of the temporary work permit.
Please note that the individual is not allowed to begin working until the effective date of his/her work permit; for example, if a visitor’s appointment is effective July 1 but his/her work permit is not effective until August 15, the employment start date will now be August 15th.
Renewal of a Temporary Work Permit
Please see our Work Permit Renewal Page for more information.
If you have any questions about the immigration process, please contact Faculty Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.