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Leave of Absence

If you need to take a temporary pause during your academic program, you may apply for a leave of absence. A leave of absence may be granted for reasons including: bereavement, paternity leave (commonly referred to maternity/paternity leave), medical requirements, physical or mental wellbeing, military service, or political service.

Certain leaves of up to 150 days are allowable for international students. If you meet the criteria there may be no impact on your immigration status or your ability to extend your study permit. More information can be found here.

If seeking a leave of absence, connect with a program advisor in your faculty.

Considerations when Seeking a Leave of Absence

A leave of absence must be approved in writing by UCalgary. Ideally, this leave should not exceed 150 days. Although university policy may allow for a leave of absence for 12 – 18 months, as an international student you must recognize that the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requests that a leave of absence be no more than 150 days. 

  • If you are on a leave, you will no longer be able to work on and off campus.
  • If you take a leave longer than 150 days, you must apply to change your status to a visitor or leave Canada. Depending on when your study permit will expire, you may need to re-apply for a study permit.
  • Review information found in section D at the following link for additional information and reasons for a leave of absence: Study Permits: Assessing study permit conditions - As an international student, if you are seeking a leave of absence for greater than 150 days, ensure that you speak with an immigration advisor in International Student Services to discuss the potential immigration impacts or additional steps you will need to take in order to maintain status in Canada.
  • Potential PGWP Eligibility Impacts and study permit extensions
    Taking a leave of absence may affect your  eligibility to obtain a post-graduation open work permit (PGWP) and/or extending your study permit. Ensure that you keep all records documenting why you have taken a leave of absence. If you need to apply for a study permit extension and/or a post-graduation open work permit (PGWP) you will need to use this documentation to help  explain your  period of leave from studies. The final decision on your application will fall to the officer assessing whether the leave was acceptable based on immigration requirements. Taking a leave of absence longer than 150-days may render you ineligible for a PGWP.
  • Maintaining your Alberta Health card and medical insurance.
  • Ensure that you have valid study permit and visa if you are travelling
  • If leaving Canada, pay your bills prior to leaving, you may want to consider ending your lease or close/suspend certain services/accounts in your absence
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