McMaster University

McMaster University

Immigration Procedures for Foreign Visitors


Foreign visitors are required to obtain the necessary visas or permits in order to visit or be paid by McMaster University. Normally, visiting appointments are held for a maximum of 2 years and are only made when the appointee holds an ongoing appointment or has emeritus status at another university or institution to which they expect to return.  The information below provides details to assist with the immigration process:

Before Arrival -

After Arrival -


Applying for a Temporary Work Permit

1.  Once the visitor has received a letter of invitation from McMaster, he/she can begin the immigration process.

Prior to arriving in Canada, foreign visitors are advised to familiarize themselves with McMaster and the benefits and amenities of the campus and surrounding area.  Information can be found on our Things to Know Before You Arrive Page.

2.  Upon receipt of the letter of invitation, the foreign visitor must contact the nearest Canadian Immigration Office to determine what visas and/or work permits are required.  Depending on the activities and/or salary, a foreign visitor may require a work permit.  Work permits are issued for "an activity for which wages or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian Labour Market" (from CIC's Working in Canada).

Please refer to the CIC website for information on how and where to apply. If a work permit is required, the application form is found on the CIC website. Currently the cost of a work permit or a multiple entry temporary resident visa (TRV) is $150 each.  Depending on the immigration office, it can take several days to several weeks to process an application. Visiting academics are advised to review the website of their local Canadian Immigration Office to ascertain processing times and documentation required. Additionally, foreign visitors are advised not to make travel arrangements prior to receiving the necessary authorization from the Canadian Immigration office.

Please note that a work permit of at least one year duration is required in order to be eligible for medical coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), and for coverage of school fees for school aged children.

Citizens of the United States or Mexico do not require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada and may apply for a work permit at the Canadian Immigration Office at a port of entry or border crossing upon their entry into Canada.  Foreign visitors who require a TRV and who are planning to travel outside of Canada during their stay at McMaster should ensure that they notify CIC at the time of application to obtain a multiple entry visa. Please note that not all persons are eligible for multiple entry visas.

3.  At the Canadian border or port of entry, the immigration officer issues the work permit which allows the visitor to work on a temporary basis at McMaster.

Upon entry into Canada, the visitor should have the following documents ready for the immigration officer:

a)  The letter of approval from the Canadian immigration office (only issued in the case of work permits)

b)  The letter of invitation from the University

c)  Passport(s)

d)  Marriage Certificate or Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union (if requesting a spousal work permit)

e)  Children's birth certificates (if applicable)

A work permit will normally be issued for the dates outlined in the letter of invitation, however, there are other factors such as passport expiry date, which the immigration officer will take into consideration when issuing a work permit. If applicable, a spousal work permit and a visitor record for accompanying dependent children will be issued at the same time.

Note: Send all documents and correspondence by a means you are able to track and ALWAYS keep a copy.

If you require further assistance, please contact Barb Eftekhari, (barb@mcmaster.ca), Manager, Faculty Appointments & Records, Office of the Provost, ext. 23065 or Jen Caruk, (carukj@mcmaster.ca), Coordinator, Academic Appointments and Records, Office of the Provost, ext. 24665.

Faculty of Health Sciences faculty contacts are Rebecca Collier, (rcollie@mcmaster.ca), Faculty Secretary, Health Sciences, ext. 22175 or Deborah Miller, (dmiller@mcmaster.ca), Faculty Relations, Health Sciences, ext. 24063.


Last Update: April 14, 2014


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