Request an authorized leave from studies for immigration purposes

This form is not to request a leave from University of Waterloo. University of Waterloo’s absence from studies policy in the academic calendar for undergraduate students explains that an application for readmission would be required if you do not enroll for more than three academic terms in a row. It is important that you speak with your academic advisor in your faculty about taking any length of leave, including dropping all courses in a term, to understand the academic impacts.

This form is for international undergraduate students studying at University of Waterloo on a study permit to request an authorized leave letter for immigration purposes prior to a leave from studies in the current term or next term i.e., you are not enrolling in a term or dropping all courses in a term. This formal process was put in place for immigration purposes as of March 1, 2022. This letter would be used as a supporting document in a study permit, temporary resident visa (TRV) or post-graduation work permit (PGWP) application.

As an international student in Canada, to stay in compliance with study permit conditions enacted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), you must actively pursue studies. If you need to take one or more terms off, IRCC requires that you include documentation proving the leave was authorized by the institution in an immigration application. You cannot work at all in Canada using your study permit or co-op work permit during an authorized or unauthorized leave. Studying part-time is not the same as being on leave. For information on the impacts of studying part-time, please see our immigration policy page.

If you are an international Masters or PhD student, your authorized leave process at University of Waterloo and for immigration purposes is through Graduate Studies and Post-Doctoral Affairs (GSPA). If you’re approved for a change of enrolment to inactive status by GSPA, when submitting an immigration application, make sure the enrolment letter from the Student Service Centre includes that you had an approved leave of absence.

When an authorized leave letter is required

An authorized leave for immigration purposes would be required for an international undergraduate student during certain terms depending on the study program.

If you are in a regular program, this would be for a fall or winter term. Spring terms are regularly scheduled breaks and do not require an authorized leave letter.

If you are in a co-op program, this would be for any study or co-op work term, except if the co-op sequence you are enrolled in has the first spring term off.

Note: IRCC has an exception in place for March 2020 to August 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you were not enrolled in a study or co-op work term in spring 2020, or dropped your courses in March 2020 to end of spring 2020 term, you do not need an authorized leave letter from us for those terms only, however, you should still address the off term and IRCC exception policy in your study permit, TRV or PGWP application.

Reasons an authorized leave letter could be granted

An authorized leave for immigration purposes could be for the following reasons with documentation:

  • Medical illness or injury (physical health or mental health): for students who are submitting a request for medical purposes, please submit your medical documents through Accessibility Services
  • Pregnancy/parental leave
  • Family emergency (death, medical illness, or injury)
  • Mandatory military service
  • Change in program of study within University of Waterloo
  • Suspension
  • Required to withdraw/repeat term
  • Other

Submitting this form does not mean you have been given authorized leave for immigration purposes. You will need to meet with an immigration consultant from the Student Success Office before or after submitting this form and the official authorized leave letter is the approval.

If you are going to be away from studies for more than 150 days, including going to another academic institution, IRCC requires you to change your status to visitor (or worker, if applicable) or leave Canada until you are ready to study again, even if you are issued an authorized leave letter. If you don’t do this, you would be considered as non-compliant with study permit conditions. When a leave is longer than 150 days or multiple leaves occur during studies, even with an authorized leave letter from us, the immigration officer processing an immigration application has the discretion to refuse an application if they feel reasonable progress has not been made towards completion of the degree.

If you take a leave from studies, you may not have coverage under the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). It is important to check with Student Financial Services whether you will be covered if you stay in Canada.

Note: If you took a leave from studies prior to the winter 2022 term, for one of the reasons listed above, you can fill out this form to instead request a support letter for your immigration application.

Information and privacy: questions regarding the collection of information on this form can be directed to the form administrator.

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Please briefly describe the reason for requesting an authorized leave.

The immigration consultant you spoke with will reach out to you within 5 business days.

(state winter, spring or fall and the year)

Upload your documents

Please note: This web form was developed in accordance with Waterloo's Policy 46 - Information Management, which outlines the rules for appropriate collection of confidential information within the University.

If your supporting documentation is not in English (University of Waterloo is an English-speaking institution), we require that you have it translated to English under the same translation requirements outlined by IRCC.

Medical purposes: please complete the form below but do not submit your medical documents below. Please submit your medical documents via AccessAbility Services.

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Keep this documentation to use in future immigration applications to IRCC.
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If you've recently applied for or been approved for a study permit, please also upload the confirmation letter from your online IRCC account.
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Please attach the photo page of your passport, also known as the biographical or biodata page.
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Depending on your country of citizenship, you’ll have either a temporary resident visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) – not both. The TRV is the Canada visa in your passport. If you don’t have your eTA approval letter, you can check your eTA status on the IRCC website and upload a screenshot. If you're a U.S. citizen, please upload the photo page of your passport.
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