Travelling During Your Stay at Centennial

Information for ALL International Students Travelling Outside of Canada

Most students require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada.

If you are planning to travel outside of Canada be aware of the expiry date of your Temporary Resident Visa (TRV-this document is the sticker in your passport) and your current Study Permit (the paper that CIC usually staples to your passport). If you have submitted an application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for a Study Permit extension, it is recommended that you do not leave Canada prior to approval of the new permit, as you may have difficulty  re-entering Canada.

A Study Permit does not allow you back in the country, you must have a valid TRV to re-enter Canada, except if you are visiting the United States. THIS IS AN EXCEPTION and only applies if you are traveling from Canada to the USA and back to Canada. You must have a valid US Visa to enter the USA.

If you have a valid study permit and an expired TRV and travel only to the USA, you may present yourself at the Canadian port of entry without a valid TRV. 

If you plan on traveling from Canada to your home country to US and back to Canada, you will require a valid TRV to enter Canada (if you are from a country that requires a TRV for entry into Canada).

If you are unsure which documents you require, bring your documents to your international office advisor and we'll be able to help you.

When crossing the border (whether you're driving to the USA or travelling by air or train), you will be asked to show proof of your status. Always carry your original and valid Study Permit with you, along with your passport that has a valid TRV (if you are from a country that requires a TRV for entry into Canada). CIC officials may ask you to prove that you are a student at Centennial College. You may show them a copy of your timetable, transcript or proof of payment of your fees for the next semester.

Border-crossing etiquette in Canada may be different from what you have experienced elsewhere. The following are some tips to ensure that your border experience is as smooth as possible.

  • Have all your documents ready.
  • Answer every question truthfully and consistently.
  • Don’t offer more information than is requested; give short answers, and offer only the information that is requested; don’t hesitate.
  • Expect waits of one to three hours.
  • Cross the border during office hours if your case is complicated.
  • You may be asked to pay tax (duty) on goods you bring back to Canada. It is your responsibility to know the rules.


Current Students - Taking a Break and Travelling During the Semester

Students sometimes take a short break from their studies because of an illness, academic pressure, or a family emergency.

  • Talk to your international student advisor and your program advisor if you are considering taking a break during your semester.
  • If you plan to leave the country during your break, you must request a letter from the International Office that states you are eligible to return to Canada to complete your studies. If asked by a customs officer (at the airport), you may present this letter along with other documentation as proof of why you took the break (e.g. a doctor's note if you were ill, a copy of the death certificate if there was a death in the family, etc.)
  • If you are in your co-op, placement or internship semester you must consult your supervisor at work, your co-op advisor and your international student advisor before you take a break.
  • You are not allowed to work in Canada during a break from your studies.
  • If you have an Off Campus Work Permit and take a break from your studies, you may have to return your work permit to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Talk to your international student advisor for more information. 


Travelling After You Complete a Semester

You may travel after you complete your semester and before your next semester starts.

It is your responsibility to pay fees online and build your timetable. Check the school calendar for important dates and deadlines to ensure you register for the courses you want. For our popular programs, courses get full and students may be forced to go off their model route. For more information regarding the courses and model routes that are available, please speak with your program advisor.

School letters are not required documents for travel. CIC officials may ask you to prove that you are a student at Centennial College. You may show them a copy of your timetable, transcript or proof of payment of your fees for the next semester.


Taking a Semester Off

According to the rules of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), international students can take one semester off if they have completed two consecutive semesters.

You must consult with both your program advisor and an international student advisor if you are considering taking a semester off.

Students are not permitted to take two consecutive semesters off.

Taking semesters off will have implications for your Off Campus Work Permit and your Post Graduation Work Permit. If you have an Off Campus Work Permit and take a break from your studies, you may have to return your work permit to CIC. Speak with your international student advisor for more information.

School letters are not required documents to travel. CIC officials may ask you to prove that you are a student at Centennial College. You may show them a copy of your timetable, transcript or proof of payment of your fees for the next semester.


Travelling After You Complete Your Program

We STRONGLY encourage you to apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) before you travel outside of Canada. You can apply for your PGWP online and anywhere in Canada. Once you have a PGWP, your status changes from a student to a worker. If you are from a country that requires a TRV, you will need to apply for a new TRV that reflects the change in your status.

Travelling on a Post-graduation Work Permit is different than travelling on a Study Permit. You may leave and re-enter Canada when you have a PGWP, but you must always carry:

  • You original and valid PGWP, passport with a valid TRV (this TRV must say worker).
  • If you have a job, you may show them a document that proves you are employed.
  • If you are not employed, you may be asked to show your bank statement to prove that you are able to financially support yourself.
  • You do not need a letter from the International Office for travelling purposes after you complete your program.

If you must leave Canada and have not received a Work Permit, please consult with an international student advisor.

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