Immigration advising

The Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) has an International Student Advisor (ISA) who provides non-academic support of immigration advice related to being a student (e.g. study permit, work authorization) throughout your program of studies at the DCS at UVic.

Katie McDonald (ISA) is a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA S712752) who can provide advice about Canadian immigration documents and how UVic policies relate to your international student status. She has worked with the Student Services Admissions team at DCS since 2009. Katie has also worked as a regulated immigration practitioner with students in DCS non-credit programs since May 2019. 

Please note: Katie can only provide advice for the program of study that students are currently registered in with the DCS. She cannot advise students if they are asking about adding more programs, switching into programs at UVic or enrolling into programs at another institution. Katie is available to answer immigration questions related to the current program of study by email, or in-person appointments on Thursdays and Fridays. Appointments are unavailable on statutory holidays or scheduled office closures. 

Please also note: Katie cannot complete your immigration applications for you or advise on Permanent Residence (PR) programs. Students seeking immigration representation or PR consultations should consider hiring an authorized immigration representative.

Katie McDonald
Katie McDonald, Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor

In-person appointments

To make a 20 minute in-person immigration advising appointment:

  • you can make an appointment to meet in-person through the following online booking web site:
  • to book an appointment, please click on the ‘Students log in here’ button and create an account. You will then be able to view the schedule and select a time. 
  • on your appointment day: visit the Continuing Studies Building Registration Office (room 240), and check in with the Student Services Team.

Prepare for your in-person appointment with the following:

  • Student number (V#) or UVic ONECard
  • original or copy of your Canadian temporary resident documents (e.g. study permit, work permit, temporary resident visa) and passport
  • any other relevant documents you have that may be needed for the consultation
  • your list of questions

By email

Emailing is another great way to connect with Katie. However, if you need more immediate assistance, it might be faster to make an in-person appointment as she is currently the only advisor for more than 1000 students.

When emailing our office, be sure to use the email address on your UVic student record and include the following:

  • your questions
  • your student number and full name
  • your country of citizenship, study permit expiry, passport expiry
  • where you are currently residing (in Canada or elsewhere)

*Due to the large volume of requests often received in office, we do kindly request that students do not send multiple emails as this can delay response times. Everyone’s inquiry is equally important, and Katie works to respond as quickly as possible to all student inquiries in the order they are received. Your patience is greatly appreciated.

You may also wish to review the DCS web pages for more information about Immigration documents, study permits,  entry documents and Working in Canada.

Advice for parents, guardians, and supporters of international students

We know that support is important for a student’s successful transition to university. If you play a supporting role in your student’s life, here are two helpful tips:

  • British Columbia's privacy legislation strictly limits the information that we are able to disclose to anyone other than the student in question.
  • if a DCS student is unable to communicate with our office regarding their own record, they may designate a proxy to act on their behalf. Contact for further information.

Frequently asked questions

Most international students need to obtain a study permit before beginning their studies in Canada.  Visit the IRCC website to determine if you need a study permit. 

For full information about COVID-19 entry requirements for international students, refer to the Government of Canada's website.

It can take weeks or even months for IRCC to process a study permit application. It is important to apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance from Continuing Studies at UVic.

For current estimated processing times, refer to the IRCC website. The estimated processing times are subject to change without notice, and do not include the time you need to complete your biometrics or medical exam (if required).

The Division of Continuing Studies deems full-time status for non-credit certificate and diploma programs as studying a minimum of 3 courses per term. Each course must be a minimum of 36 instructional hours.

For Continuing Studies non-credit certificate and diploma program students, summer sessions may be scheduled breaks in your program. For example, students in the Certificate or Diploma in Business Administration Programs, the summer session (May to August) is a scheduled break.

You are not required to take courses or maintain full-time status during scheduled breaks in order to maintain your work eligibility in Canada, provided that you are a full-time student during the sessions immediately before and immediately after the break. 

Consult with your Academic Advisor for your program if you have questions about your program’s scheduled breaks.

Some of the non-credit certificate and diploma programs offered at the Division of Continuing Studies currently meet the requirements set by IRCC for students to apply for the PGWP upon successful completion of the program. Please note that study programs that are offered 100% online are not eligible for the PGWP immigration program. 

Please be aware that immigration policies are subject to change at any time. We cannot guarantee that students will receive a PGWP upon completion of these program. Students should continue to monitor the IRCC web page for updates on PGWP eligibility criteria.