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For the most part, exchange between U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities parallels normal NSE campus exchange procedures. There are, however, several differences that must be considered including financial aid, language proficiency, and entry process. Those differences are described below. Not all NSE member colleges and universities participate in the Canadian Partners Program. A list of participating Canadian Partner exchange locations is available at this Web site.


Whether you are exchanging from the United States to Canada or from Canada to the United States, all financial aid must be applied for, and disbursed from, your home institution regardless of whether the exchange is made on Plan A or Plan B.


Canada has two official languages: English and French. All NSE members in Canada, with the exception of the Universite de Sherbrooke, are English-speaking. Students for whom English is not their first language may be asked to demonstrate English proficiency through submission of TOEFL or other test scores.

The language of instruction at the Universite de Sherbrooke is French. Prior to placement, you must demonstrate French proficiency at your home institution preferably through an interview with a faculty member or administrator whose native language is French. Following placement, you must complete a language test provided by the Universite de Sherbrooke.


Students exchanging from Canadian to U.S. campuses, with the exception of those in Puerto Rico, must be proficient in English. Some campuses may require incoming Canadian students, for whom English is not their first language, to demonstrate English proficiency through submission of TOEFL scores. The language of instruction at all NSE members in Puerto Rico is Spanish. Students exchanging from Canada to NSE campuses in Puerto Rico must demonstrate Spanish proficiency on their home campus preferably through an interview with a faculty member or administrator whose first language is Spanish.


Students exchanging from a U.S. university to one in Canada will receive a letter of acceptance from their host Canadian university along with detailed instructions regarding the Canadian entry process. Timely completion of forms is essential.

A Study Permit is required if you plan to exchange to Canada for more than six months and/or intend to seek employment while on exchange. NSE strongly recommends that all students exchanging to Canada apply for a Study Permit in order to be covered in case single term exchanges are extended to a full academic year. U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents apply for a Study Permit either through a Canadian visa office or at a Port of Entry upon arrival at the Canadian border. If the application is made through the Visa Office, and is approved, a letter of introduction is issued which you must then present at the Port of Entry in order to receive the Study Permit. International students studying in the U.S. who wish to study in Canada must apply to a Canadian Immigration representative in the U.S. for a Study Permit and, in many cases, an entry visa.

U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents must demonstrate proof of citizenship (an original birth certificate is acceptable, but a passport is preferred). Students from anywhere else will need additional documentation and should check with the consulate for information. Required of all students is your original letter of acceptance from your host university, proof that you have sufficient money to live and study while in Canada, and proof of health insurance coverage which is applicable in Canada. If your health insurance is not applicable in Canada, your host Canadian university will require that you purchase health insurance either through the institution or a private carrier. At the Canadian Port of Entry you will receive a Canadian Study Permit with dates that match the university's letter of acceptance. At that time, it is your responsibility to ensure that the Study Permit you receive does not contain any errors. The current cost for this document is $125 Canadian.

If you are exchanging to NSE members in the province of Quebec, you must first obtain the Certificat d'acceptation du Quebec/Quebec Certificate of Admission (CAQ) prior to applying for the Canadian Student Permit. The current fee for the CAQ is $100 in Canadian dollars. Follow directions provided by your Quebec host university regarding applying for the CAQ. Plan on at least six weeks following application to obtain the CAQ. Upon arrival at NSE members in Quebec, exchange students are required to provide a certified copy or original birth certificate.

NOTE: In Canada, each province and territory decides the age of majority; in some cases it is 18, and others 19. Anyone under the age of majority is considered a "minor child." If you are planning an exchange to Canada and would be considered a minor by Canadian law, you will need to have a custodian in Canada. See for age of majority by province and further details governing this matter.

For additional information on studying in Canada, please refer to the following sites:


Canadian citizens exchanging from a university in Canada to an NSE member in the United States may be processed by their host U.S. campus using either the J-1 exchange visitor status or the F-1 student status. Detailed instructions and timelines will be mailed to you by your host U.S. college or university following placement. Timely completion of forms is essential.

Applications for the J-1status will be processed on Form DS-2019 supplied by the host U.S. college or university. Applications for the F-1 status will be processed on Form I-20 obtained from the hosting NSE university in the United States. Completed forms, along with documentation listed below, must be taken to the Port of Entry where the J-1 or F-2 status will be issued.

Required documentation for processing either the J-1 or F-1 status will include Forms DS-156 and DS-158. Some applicants will also be required to complete Form DS-157. You must provide financial evidence (e.g., tax records, bank books, income documents) which show that you, your parents or sponsor have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study in the U.S. You will also be asked for a non-refundable $100 application fee, a passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond the intended period of U.S. stay, one (1) 2x2 photograph, a completed Form DS-2019 (J-1 status) or Form I-20 (F-1 status), proof of permanent residence outside the United States, and evidence that you intend to leave the U.S. at the completion of your exchange studies. Most NSE member colleges and universities will require that you purchase health insurance from their institution. At the U.S. Port of Entry, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection will validate Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which notes the length of stay permitted. At that time, it is your responsibility to ensure that Form I-94 does not contain any errors.

U.S. colleges and universities are required by federal law to enter exchange visitors into a SEVIS database. You will be expected to pay a $100 SEVIS fee. Some NSE member institutions may assess an institutional reporting fee as well.

For additional information on exchange visitor status in the United States, please refer to;exchange.html


Whether you are exchanging to or from Canada, to limit potential for delay at the Port of Entry, NSE strongly encourages that you schedule your arrival during weekday business hours. Prior to departure, request the names of both the NSE coordinator and the international contact (if different from your NSE coordinator) at your host university and a phone number where these individuals can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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