International Visiting Graduate Students (IVGS)

What is the International Visiting Graduate Student (IVGS) process?

The International Visiting Graduate Student (IVGS) process allows an international graduate student attending a university outside of Canada to participate in research activities at UWaterloo and be recognized as a legitimate visitor under the supervision of a UWaterloo faculty member and academic unit.

This process does not pertain to admission for the purpose of enrolling in courses. If you are an International graduate student who plans to enrol in courses for transfer to your home institution/program you should use the regular application and admission process (Discover Graduate Studies website) for non-degree admission.

How do I get started?

  • A visit must be arranged initially by your supervisor (or equivalent) at your home university and by your proposed supervisor at UWaterloo.
  • You are responsible for obtaining appropriate immigration permission, work permit or temporary resident visa (if required), from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to enter Canada for your invited purpose.
  • You will require proof of acceptance that you are visiting UWaterloo on sponsored or self-funded research.
    • Arrange with a University of Waterloo faculty member for an invitation to attend as an international visiting graduate student.
    • Complete the International Visiting Graduate Student acceptance form (Graduate Studies forms website).
    • Submit the IVGS acceptance form and supporting documents to your UWaterloo supervisor.
    • The UWaterloo supervisor will arrange for all required signatures and submit to the Associate Vice-President (AVP), Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA).
    • The AVP, GSPA at UWaterloo will authorize and communicate your acceptance as an international visiting graduate student to your supervisor. 
    • You will be issued a letter of acceptance, as required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Travelling to Canada

  • You should not proceed to travel to Canada without receipt of a copy of your signed IVGS acceptance form, Letter of Invitation and your Letter of Acceptance.
  • Make sure you have valid immigration documentation before leaving for Canada. You should apply for a work permit or other immigration permission issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC website) from a Canadian visa office serving your country at least 3 months before you begin your visit. 

Upon arrival

How can I open a Canadian bank account?

To open a Canadian bank account following your arrival to Canada, find out more on how to get started by reviewing the International Student Guide.

How do I arrange for UHIP coverage?

1. Go to the Human Resources Office located in building East campus 1, upon arrival to campus.

2. Advise the receptionist that you wish to enroll for UHIP.

3. Bring the following information with you when you visit the Human Resources department:

  • Passport.
  • Letter of invitation from the University of Waterloo supervisor.
  • Letter of Acceptance from University of Waterloo's Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.
  • Permission from IRCC to be in country; i.e. work permit, temporary resident visa.
  • Payment for UHIP coverage:
    • Personal cheque – must be issued through a Canadian bank account.
    • Money order – must be issued through a Canadian bank account  (If a Canadian bank account will not be set up, money order is purchased through Canada Post Office).

4. During your appointment with the Human Resources department, UHIP coverage will be explained, your payment is made, and you will be enrolled in the Sun Life plan.

How do I obtain a WatCard?

Visit the WatCard website for information about how to obtain the card.

Is there information on supplemental and dental coverage?

Visit the Graduate Student Association website for information about how to apply for Supplemental Health and Dental coverage.

How do I set up an account on Quest, the student information system?

To sign into Quest you must first activate your Waterloo account by creating a userid and password  - connect to WatIAM (Waterloo Identity and Access Management credentials system): WatIAM Activate your Waterloo Account page

Are visiting students allowed to take a course?

  • Visitors who are accepted through the International Visiting Graduate Student (IVGS) program are not permitted to enroll in courses regardless if taken for credit or audit. 
  • As an IVGS student you can sit in on a course, with the approval of your UWaterloo supervisor and the course instructor.
  • Visitors who plan to enrol in courses at the University of Waterloo for the purpose of transfer to their home institution/program will use the regular application and admission process for non-degree admission.

Where can I find information about housing?

  • Information and assistance to find accommodation for the length of your stay is available on the Off-Campus Housing website. 
  • St. Paul's offers various accommodation styles for graduate students, post-graduate scholars, visiting professors, and upper-year students in our Grad Apartments Building right on campus.