Exam accommodations in the online learning environmentFinancial assistance Understanding Policy LR7 I Am Accessible Award AccessAbility Week Temporary injuries and short-term illness Contact the Disability Resource Centre
Find out what to do if you need to take time away from your studies as an international student. For ease, time away from studies will be referred to as ‘gaps’ in the sections to follow.
You may need time away from studies, whether it be for health reasons, a family emergency, or because you are in-between programs.
As an international student, you have special things to think about when taking a gap. In order to:
You must ‘actively pursue studies’.
Good news: In some situations, you can take a gap in studies and still be considered ‘actively pursuing studies’.
After your gap, you can resume studies on your current study permit if it is still valid.
The length and the reason for your gap in studies will have an impact on whether or not you are considered to be actively pursuing studies during your gap.
No immediate action is necessary.
No immediate action is necessary.
You need to take immediate action to have appropriate status if you are in Canada during your gap or may need to leave Canada.
You must do one of the following:
Important: Contact International Student Advising to discuss your options.
Whether you have had a gap in studies in the past, are currently on a gap, or plan to take a gap in studies in the future, you are not required to notify IRCC right away.
However, no matter the reason or length of your gap, you must keep documentation in case you are asked to show why you took the leave and/or include them in your next application with IRCC. Prepare the below documents and connect with an International Student Advisor before submitting.
This letter affirms UBC’s policy towards time taken away from studies.
Create a timeline in chronological order of all decisions, events, and action steps leading up to your gap in studies. Include key dates which would be helpful for the officer to understand your circumstances; for example, the date that you withdrew from courses, received approval for a deferral, left Canada, received medical care, had a family emergency occur, etc. Keep this timeline for your records as they will become handy if you are asked for information from IRCC or need to write a letter of explanation for a future immigration application.
Gather as many documents as possible which can attest to your gap in studies and keep scanned and original paper copies (if applicable) in an accessible, safe place.
Examples include a doctor’s recommendation for treatment, hospital documents, flight tickets, letters issued by your program or faculty, documents relating to a family emergency, etc.
If possible, contact an appropriate person to request a letter of support with the below guidelines:
You should also bring your Letter of Enrollment from the Student Service Centre (SSC) (under ‘grades and records’) if registered, your unofficial transcript from the SSC, and proof of finances (such as a bank statement showing funds available).
If you have not registered for courses before returning to Canada, request a letter from your academic advisor or graduate staff before re-entering Canada. This letter should state that you are eligible to return to your program of studies at the end of your gap. Upon return to Canada, if you are asked by an officer, present this letter along with any documentation of your break (e.g. leave approval from G+PS if applicable, copies of plane tickets proving when you left Canada, etc.)
If your study permit will expire during your gap, contact an International Student Advisor well in advance (three to four months) before the expiry date. You may need to provide additional documents to explain how you plan to resume your studies.
If you take a gap in studies, you are not eligible to work on- or off-campus using your study permit during the gap.
You also cannot use a co-op work permit, if you have one.
Note: students on a scheduled break are eligible to work if meeting eligibility requirements.
To work legally during a gap in studies, you would need a work permit, for which students are normally not eligible. International Student Advisors cannot provide case-specific advice on work permits unrelated to studies.
Taking a gap may impact your eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after studies, particularly for gaps 150 days or longer.
Taking a gap which is considered to be actively pursuing studies might not impact your eligibility for the PGWP.
UBC is required to report to IRCC on your enrolment status twice a year based on UBC’s definitions for immigration purposes.
Students who are on a gap in studies will be reported as being ‘no longer registered/enrolled’ or on ‘authorized leave’ (for graduate programs with leaves of absences policies only).
It is very important to maintain valid health insurance at all times. Your MSP coverage is usually valid for the same length as your study permit.
If you will leave Canada for an extended time or your study permit will expire during your gap, see our MSP page for information on next steps.
Check if you maintain eligibility for the Alma Mater Society (AMS), Graduate Student Society (GSS), or UBC Students’ Union Okanagan (UBCSUO)Health & Dental Plan. Coverage ends on August 31 each year and relies on your basic health insurance, such as MSP.
If your common-law partner or spouse has a work permit as a result of your study permit, it remains valid until the expiry date indicated on the work permit.
If you have children, they may continue to study without a study permit while your study permit is valid, even if you have applied for visitor status.
However, if you are on visitor status due to taking a gap of 150 days or more and your study permit and your spouse’s open study or work permit has expired, your children must obtain their own study permit. For more information see documentation for your family.
If you are currently receiving funding, such as a fellowship, scholarship or award, check with your funding agency if taking a gap will impact your eligibility.
Confirm your eligibility to remain in on-campus housing with Student Housing & Hospitality Services.
The immigration information on this page has been reviewed and endorsed by Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) in compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. However, this is not a legal document and information may change without notice. Always refer to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the most up-to-date information.
UBC’s Okanagan campus is situated on the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation