McMaster University

McMaster University

The immigration information on this page has been reviewed and endorsed by Baker & Mackenzie, in compliance with the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and related Regulations, Policies and Procedures. For more information, call Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's Help Centre: 1-888-242 2100. Students with a hearing impairment may access a TTY service at 1-888-576 8502. To speak with an agent, call between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (local time).

“Entry Visa” – Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) allows you to present yourself at a port of entry (“POE”) at a sea, land, or airport location, to enter or re-enter Canada for the duration of your study permit; hence, the colloquial “Entry Visa”.  Note that a TRV does not guarantee entry: issues such as (undeclared) criminality, lack of proof of financial sustainability, or medical infirmity can result in inadmissibility, and if you are concerned about one of these issues, you may wish to consult counsel, which we can recommend.

A TRV is a small counterfoil sticker attached to one of the pages of your passport.  It shows the country where it was issued, the date that it was issued, the expiry date and whether it was issued as a single-entry visa or a multiple-entry visa.  This is what it looks like:

Temporary residence visa (Canada)

If you do not have a TRV attached to one of the pages of your passport and are already in Canada, you may be from a country that is exempt.  Check to see if you need a TRV.

A TRV was issued for the first time when you received your passport back from the Canadian Consulate in your home country (when first applied for a study permit).  This was how you were allowed to enter Canada for the first time.  If your TRV expires and you are in Canada, you may either apply for a new TRV in Canada, which can take a few weeks, or you may wait to obtain a new TRV by applying once again in your home country, or another country to which you are travelling.  However, note that the processing times posted at those VACs or visa offices abroad continue to apply for “renewal” TRVs. The default is now for a multiple entry visa; however, if you have a valid TRV which you plan to use to travel, you should check to see if it's a multiple-entry visa before travelling.

When you leave Canada with the intention of returning

You do not need a TRV if you leave Canada to travel to the US or St. Pierre and Miquelon (as per R190(3)(f)), and then directly return back to Canada.  The travel has to have originated in Canada.  Read more about it at Justice Laws Website.

Travelling to a country other than the US (even for a short period of time) is a different story. If your TRV has expired, it is advisable to renew it within Canada before leaving.

If you leave Canada without renewing your TRV, you can still apply for a TRV once outside of Canada in your current country of residence. The application can be submitted online or to the nearest VAC or Consulate General of Canada (or High Commissioner), but you will be using a Consulate’s service and processing times are slower and vary drastically. ISS strongly recommends that you plan your travels outside Canada diligently, always allowing enough time for the processing and mailing of your passport with the TRV counterfoil sticker.

In either case, you will need to make sure that both your passport and study permit are not going to expire within the next 6 months before you leave Canada.

Check whether Canada requires a TRV for your country.  Do not attempt to enter or re-enter Canada in possession of your study permit only.  You will not be allowed to enter Canada without a valid TRV, if from one of the countries on this list After March 15, 2016, you may also require a valid eTA unless you are an American citizen.

Follow instructions on IRCC's website if you need to obtain a new TRV within Canada (recommended). Apply at least two months before departing Canada. 

If you intend to apply for a TRV outside of Canada, you should check the processing times for a TRV at the Canadian Consulate in your home country or country where you will be applying for the TRV to ensure you will have enough time to renew your TRV before your planned return to Canada.  We do not recommend this option.

McMaster University faculties are not responsible for late arrivals.  You may not be allowed to continue in your program for that term if you are late.  Consult the web page of the appropriate Canadian immigration office to be sure your TRV application can be processed during the time period that you will be in your home country.  If not, you will have to wait in your country until the visa is issued.


If you are from a visa-exempt country (not including American citizens) you must have a valid eTA to enter Canada if travelling by air. IRCC recently announced that from March 15, 2016 until September 29, 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport. However, we strongly encourage you to obtain an eTA before travelling, as the September 29, 2016 is fast approaching and you will be unable to enter Canada without an eTA after this time. If you are travelling by land, sea and rail modes, an eTA is not required for entry. These measures have been designed as a key component of the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan and will mirror the United States' Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

Before travelling to Canada (ideally before purchasing an airfare ticket to Canada), you must apply for an eTA through an online application process on the IRCC website. There is a processing fee of CDN$7.00 for the submission of an eTA request. Upon submission and payment, you will receive an automated confirmation email confirming submission.

Unlike a TRV, no counterfoil will be provided for your passport. Instead, air carriers will use the CBSA’s IAPI system to confirm that a IRCC authorization to travel (visa or eTA) is linked to the your passport.

eTAs will be processed and automatically approved in a matter of minutes. That being said:

  • there is an in-Canada processing centre which will resolve any straightforward issues (ie. name mismatch between passport and eTA application); and
  • eTA applications where more in-depth examinations are required will be referred to overseas immigration offices (i.e. high-risk cases for medical or other admissibility issues).

Once approved, the eTA will be electronically linked to the passport your provided in your online application.

Approved eTAs will be valid for 5 years from the date of issuance, or:

  • the expiry date of an applicant's passport if sooner than 5 years;
  • the eTA is cancelled by an Immigration Officer; or
  • a new eTA is issued


Laws in Canada, including immigration regulations, as in most countries of the world, are enforced, regardless of whether the individual knows about them or not. It is your responsibility, not that of McMaster University, to maintain your immigration status and to obey immigration regulations while studying in Canada. Check your immigration documents (Study Permit, Work Permit and/or Temporary Resident Visa) to ensure that they are accurate and that they have not expired. It is your responsibility to take action to renew your documents before they expire. If you have questions about any of your immigration documents, if you need help understanding them or if you have questions about any other immigration issues, please visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).