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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Study Permit Updates

Note that the details provided on this page are based on information available at the time of publication.

It's important to be aware that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and other government departments frequently revise their policies.

Visit IRCC's official website for the most current and up-to-date information. As information is provided, we will continue to update this page and connect with the TRU community directly.

While it is too early to provide specific details on the impacts of this announcement, rest assured that TRU is actively working to understand the potential effects on our students and their families.

If at any time you are feeling uncertain or concerned, TRU has teams here to support you throughouta this transition period. Current TRU students can connect directly with our International Student Advisors, while students in the application process are welcome to chat with one of our International Marketing Services Representatives.

Information for new students

What is a provincial attestation letter?

A provincial attestation letter (PAL) is a letter written and signed by the provincial government confirming that an applicant has a space within the provincial allocation for study permit applications. Once the process for obtaining the attestation letter is announced, we will update the TRU student community.

Do I need a provincial attestation letter?

Most students need to provide a provincial attestation letter (PAL) from the province or territory where they plan to study. Each province or territory is developing a process to get an attestation letter. BC's PAL process begins on March 4, 2024.

You do need an attestation letter when applying for study permit for:

  • most post-secondary study permit applicants
  • most non-degree granting graduate programs (for example, certificate programs and graduate diplomas)
  • anyone else not included in the exception list below

You do not need an attestation letter when applying for a study permit if you're:

  • primary and secondary school students
  • master's or doctoral degree students
  • in-Canada visiting or exchange students studying at a designated learning
  • in-Canada study permit and work permit holders (includes study permit holders applying for an extension)
  • in-Canada family members of study permit or work permit holders
  • students whose application we received before 8:30 a.m. EST on January 22, 2024

Please visit visit IRCC's website for an exhaustive list of exemptions.

At TRU, visiting or exchange students and applicants for our master's degree programs are exempt from requiring a PAL. We encourage you to apply for your study permit as soon as you have all the necessary documents gathered.

How do I get a provincial attestation letter?

IRCC has also updated their website to note that as of January 22, 2024, all study permit applications will require a provincial attestation letter from the province or territory where they plan to study with their study permit application, except those who are exempt.

The government of British Columbia is developing a process to create and distribute these attestation letters. These processes are expected to be in place by March 31, 2024.

Any study permit application without a PAL will be returned unless you are exempt. Students enrolled in one of TRU's master's degree programs do not require an attestation letter. We are still working with the government closely to understand if any other programs at TRU are exempt from the attestation letter requirement.

We do not have any further information on this process therefore our recommendation is that you don't submit your study permit application until we provide further updates from IRCC, although you can continue to gather the necessary documentation.

What happens if I submitted my study permit application before January 22, 2024, without a provincial attestation letter?

If you submitted your study permit application, with all the necessary documentation, before 8:30 a.m. EST on January 22, 2024, you would not require a PAL.

Can I change my application to a master's program to better my chances?

Yes, you can! To facilitate these requests and aid in the transition, we have established the following interim solutions to support your move from the post-baccalaureate diploma to a master's program if you qualify.

If you wish to apply for a master's program for the Fall 2024 intake, rest assured that your seat in the post-baccalaureate diploma program will be reserved until a decision is made on your master's application.

There are some important considerations to take before making a switch to a master's level program. The application process for these programs is longer, with higher requirements and potentially higher fees. It is crucial to note that transitioning to a master's program should be considered only if you meet the qualifications and eligibility criteria as per the academic and English requirements of the program. Furthermore, any program change requests into a graduate program requires the student to submit a new application on EducationPlannerBC (EPBC), including the initial application fee of $100.

To ensure the timely processing of your application, it is imperative to provide a complete set of documents as outlined in the graduate admissions checklist. Incomplete applications will not be processed. Once your complete application is received, please anticipate a processing time of four to six weeks for a response regarding your master's application.

There are a lot of details that will come out within the next few weeks and months that may change the study permit application process. As we await these changes, we encourage you to monitor your inbox for updates from TRU and IRCC's website for the most up-to-date information.

What if I don't meet the deadlines for my Fall 2024 TRU application?

TRU is monitoring the study permit processing and approval closely. When necessary and capacity permits, TRU may adjust application and study permit confirmation deadlines to support our incoming students. All students are encouraged to continue submitting their applications as soon as they are ready and their study permit approval confirmation immediately after approval. As information is updated, we will keep you posted on deadline adjustments as they arise.

You can find the most up-to-date deadlines here.

Is TRU impacted by the recently announced pause of international student enrolment by new post-secondary institutions by the provincial government?

No, TRU is not impacted.

Are TRU's Post-Baccalaureate Diplomas, Graduate Diploma in Business Administration or Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies considered master's degree programs?

No, TRU's Post-Baccalaureate Diplomas, Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (GDBA), and Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (GCES) are not considered master's degree programs and thereby require a provincial attestation letter at this time.

Information for current students

This information applies to students who are already studying on campus at TRU:

How will this impact my study permit extension?

How will this impact my study permit extension? Current TRU Students applying to extend their study permit are not impacted by the new study permit process and the provincial attestation letter requirement. You should be able to proceed with your study permit extension as per IRCC's current requirements.

Kindly note that when you are applying for a study permit extension you must use a current Letter of Enrolment. If you have further questions, our International Student Advisors are here to support you.

Can I change my current program to a master's program?

At this time, we cannot confirm how this policy announcement will impact TRU's processes and procedures. We don't have enough information, but we assure you that we will promptly communicate an update once we have gained more clarity on the matter. We encourage you to await further information before making significant changes to your plan of study.

How does this impact my PGWP?

Starting on February 15, 2024, a longer, 3-year post-graduation work permit will be available to those who are graduating from a master's degree program that is less than 2 years and who meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria.

Graduates of all other non-master's degree programs that are at least two years in length should continue to refer to IRCC's website for further updates.

If you have further questions, our Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors are here to support you.

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