An international student is a foreign national who:
- holds a study permit issued under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; or
- satisfies one of the criteria outlined in article 188 of the regulations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which allow for study without a permit.
In certain very specific circumstances (e.g., a student on a parental work permit or submission of specific Permanent Residency documents), students can request a change from international student fee status to domestic. For fee changes to be approved and take effect all required documentation must be submitted prior to the start of term/program. If documents are received part way through a semester, changes can only be made to future terms and not retroactively.
International students are exempt from international student tuition fees under certain conditions, as determined at the time of the students’ enrolment in a college course or program of instruction. International students, regardless if they have been approved for reduced fees, are still required to have a valid study permit while they are still considered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to be a foreign national, with the exception of those with diplomatic status with official accreditation from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs.
Where changes to federal legislation regarding immigration and refugee status are in conflict with the fee exemption eligibility requirements described in this document, federal legislation is to take precedence. For all categories of individuals who are exempt from paying international student tuition fees, the status they hold (e.g., permanent resident, protected person, Convention refugee, worker) that enables them to be eligible for exemption is to be valid and their permits/documents current during the academic period for which they have sought exemption. Otherwise, they will be subject to the international student tuition fees.
In cases where a permit will expire partway through the first semester, the student should be advised to obtain an extension before the semester starts in order to be exempt from the international fee for the first semester.
Where a requirement for fee exemption eligibility is met partway through a semester, the exemption is to apply to the next semester of the student’s enrollment. For example, if a student’s permit is current for the first semester, but will expire some time during the second semester the student is to be exempt from the international fee for the first semester, but should obtain an extension on the permit before the second semester starts in order to be exempt from the international student tuition fees for the second semester.
Where the status of a student who was eligible for exemption from international student tuition fees changes partway through his or her program of instruction due to circumstances beyond the student’s control (e.g., as in the case of the dependent of a diplomat whose parent is reassigned to another country), the exemption is to continue while the student completes the original course or program of instruction for which he or she was granted exemption from international student fees. The continuation of the fee exemption does not apply to any other course or program of instruction that the student may undertake following completion of the original course or program.
Family Member Eligibility
Family members are defined consistent with the regulations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for purposes of exemption as:
- a spouse or common-law partner;
- a dependent child, or the dependent child of a spouse or common-law partner; and
- a dependent child of the dependent child referred to above. A dependent child is a child who is a biological child who has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner, or an adopted child, and who is in one of the following situations of dependency:
- Under the age of 22 and not a spouse or common-law partner;
- a person with a disability who has been financially supported substantially by his or her parents, and who is unable to be self-supporting because of the disability.
Categories of Individuals Exempt from International Tuition Fees
A citizen of Canada as defined in the Citizenship Act or a person registered as an Indian as defined in the Indian Act.
A permanent resident as defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
- a person who has been granted “permanent resident” status and has not had that status revoked; or
- a person who has met all the preliminary requirements for permanent resident status and presents a copy of the letter which confirms that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada has accepted his or her application for permanent resident status.
An applicant who has been determined to be a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) or by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. A student eligible for international fee exemption as a protected person is to present a protected person status document issued under section 31(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or a “notice of decision” issued by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada or by the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Applicant for Convention refugee status prior to 1989
A person admitted to and remaining in Canada, who applied for Convention refugee status prior to January 1, 1989, and his or her spouse and dependents. The applicant must provide documentation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada indicating that his or her application for Convention refugee status was made prior to January 1, 1989, or a letter indicating his or her exemption from the requirement for employment authorization. All refugee claimants who applied for Convention refugee status prior to 1989 should have been issued this letter.
A person who is a spouse or dependent family member of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
Official visitor and spouse or dependent family members and staff
An official visitor is a foreign representative who, with official accreditation from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, has entered Canada or is in Canada to carry out official duties:
- as a diplomatic agent or consular officer; or
- as a government-accredited representative or official of a country other than Canada, of the United Nations
or any of its agencies, or of any intergovernmental organizations of which Canada is a member. A spouse or dependent family member or a member of the staff of any such official visitor is also exempt from international student tuition fees.
Foreign worker and spouse or dependent family members
A foreign worker is a foreign national who is authorized to work in Canada having been issued a work permit. For purposes of this category, a foreign worker is to present a valid work permit which names a Canadian employer situated in Ontario and the prospective occupation, and is valid for at least six months. The family member must present the foreign worker’s work permit. If a student has a work permit without naming a specific Canadian employer situated in Ontario, the student and his/her family members are not exempted from international student fees.
Foreign clergy member and spouse or dependent family members
A person who will be providing services to a religious congregation in Ontario for at least six months and the family members of such personnel.
Foreign military and spouse or dependent family members
A member of a foreign military force or of a civilian component thereof, admitted to Canada under the Visiting Forces Act, and the family members of such personnel.
Institutional exchange student
A person admitted to and remaining in Canada under provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, who is studying in Canada under a formal agreement between a provincially assisted institution in Ontario and a postsecondary institution in another country, provided that, under such agreement, the number of places made available in postsecondary educational institutions in
Ontario normally equals the number of places made available to Ontario residents in the other country or institution as the case may be.
Students Considered Not Eligible
The following students are not considered automatically eligible for exemption from international student tuition fees, but colleges may choose to waive, in full or in part, the international student tuition fees:
- International students holding scholarships or awards from international agencies or foundations.
- Students who are sponsored and financially assisted by one of the following agencies:
- Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
- Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA);
- Foundations registered as charitable organizations either in Canada or in another industrialized country;
- United Nations or any of its affiliated financial aid agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), etc.
- Other international financing / funding agencies such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, the African Development Bank, etc.
Enrolment of these students is not eligible for base funding.
The following students are NOT exempt from international fees:
- An international student holding a work permit for post-graduation work.
- An international student holding a work permit to complete his / her co-op or internship employment
- An international student whose spouse or common-law partner has received a work permit as a result of the international student holding a valid study permit.
English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
Students who are eligible to pay domestic tuition rather than international will be registered in R105 EAP. Students in R105 are required to register for a minimum of one semester (16 weeks) rather than one session (8 weeks). These students will pay for and receive international student health insurance rather than the domestic plan.
Health insurance for exempt students will be adjusted to the premium rate. Additionally, exempt students are to pay the regular or high demand tuition fees and their enrolment is eligible for base funding.
Fee Change Approval
For fee changes to be approved and take effect all required documentation must be submitted prior to the start of term/program. If documents are received part way through a semester, changes can only be made to future terms and not retroactively. The validity of the required documents and/or eligibility conditions must be for the entire semester in order to be eligible.