AP 314

International Students


The purpose of this procedure is to set conditions under which non-resident international students may be admitted to schools in the Abbotsford School District. This section defines international students (fee paying and non-fee paying), and provides guidelines for admitting these students.


  1. Admission of International Students, Without Fee

1.1        International students residing or planning to reside in Abbotsford who request permission to enroll in the Abbotsford School District will be accepted without additional fees, provided that they qualify under any of the conditions listed below, subject to all additional qualifications and conditions described in this procedure.

1.2        The student may qualify if the student he/she:

1.2.1      an international student who:

  • is a refugee claimant with an acknowledgement letter from the Immigration and Refugee Board;
  • is a Convention Refugee and can present a letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada confirming this;
  • has been admitted to Canada under a letter of permission or permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada;
  • is in the custody of the Minister for Children and Family Development; or
  • is attending school on a reciprocal and equal exchange.  This exchange must be one-in, one-out from the exchanging districts for the same length of time, with the exchange completed within two years; or

1.2.2      an international student whose parent or guardian*:

  • has been admitted to Canada for permanent residence (i.e. landed immigrant), or has applied for permanent residence within Canada and can substantiate this with documentation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada;
  • has been lawfully admitted to Canada for temporary residence and is authorized to work for a period of one year or more, and is or will be employed for at least 20 hours per week;
  • has been lawfully admitted to Canada and is authorized to study for a period of one year or more, and is enrolled in a degree or diploma program at a public post-secondary institution in British Columbia or in a degree program at a private post-secondary institution that has an Education Quality Assurance designation (EQA);
  • Has been lawfully admitted to and is authorized to study in Canada, and has been awarded a multi-year scholarship that covers the cost of both tuition and living expenses for a post-secondary program; 
  • has been lawfully admitted to Canada and is participating in an educator exchange program with a public school in British Columbia
  • is carrying out official duties under the authority of the Visiting Forces Act or as an accredited diplomatic agent, preclearance officer, consular officer or official representative in Canada of a foreign government with a consular post in British Columbia;
  • is a person who is a resident of the province on a cyclical (continuing part-time) basis, as determined through consultation with the Ministry of Education and Child Care and with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

* The term “guardian” used in this Procedure shall be applied as identified in the

Family Law Act.

Parents are generally guardians

39  (1) While a child's parents are living together and after the child's parents separate, each parent of the child is the child's guardian.

(2) Despite subsection (1), an agreement or order made after separation or when the parents are about to separate may provide that a parent is not the child's guardian.

(3) A parent who has never resided with his or her child is not the child's guardian unless one of the following applies:

(a) section 30 [parentage if other arrangement] applies and the person is a parent under that section;

(b) the parent and all of the child's guardians make an agreement providing that the parent is also a guardian;

(c) the parent regularly cares for the child.

(4) If a child's guardian and a person who is not the child's guardian marry or enter into a marriage-like relationship, the person does not become a guardian of that child by reason only of the marriage or marriage-like relationship.

50 A person cannot become a child's guardian by agreement except

  • if the person is the child's parent, or
  • as provided under this Division, the Adoption Act or the Child, Family and Community Service Act.
  • A person may be appointed as a child’s guardian:
    • by court order,
    • in a will made in accordance with the Wills Act (alternatively, a guardian may be appointed by prescribed form  – see section 27 of the Family Law Act Regulation),
    • by a guardian who is facing terminal illness or permanent mental incapacity, provided the appointment is made in the prescribed form (see section 27 of the Family Law Act Regulation).[Sections 51, 52, 53 and 55 of the Family Law Act]
  1. Admission of International Students, With Fee

2.1      Students who do not qualify for admission to Abbotsford schools under Section 1 above, may apply for entry under the following terms:

  • The student will be required to pre-pay a non-refundable application fee.
  • The district will levy a program fee per school year to those International Students involved in the District International Student Program. The program fee includes tuition and medical insurance coverage through the Medical Services Plan of British Columbia and/or a private medical insurance.
  • Students must apply for medical insurance coverage through the Medical Services Plan of British Columbia and for private medical insurance coverage for the three-month waiting period prior to the provincial plan taking effect.
  • Payment of the annual premium for medical insurance coverage is payable at the time tuition fees are paid, and will be administered by the school district.
  • All students enrolled in the International Student Program must live in an approved local Abbotsford home stay arranged by the Abbotsford School District, or with a responsible person over the age of 25 years who resides in the Abbotsford School District.  Students who do not meet this criterion will not be accepted into the program.  A one-time placement and monitoring fee is payable at the time tuition fees are paid.  This fee is subject to annual review.
  • Placement in Abbotsford schools will be determined by the Superintendent, or a designate.
  • The conditions in this procedure with respect to age qualifications and placement will apply.
  • Students will be accepted for enrolment in September and February, or under special circumstances, at any time during the year at the discretion of a designate.  The fee for attendance for a portion of a year will be charged on a pro-rated basis.
  1. Allocation of Fees

3.1      It is the intention that within the program, the portion of fees not required for normal teaching salaries or associated supplies will be used for direct educational services and technical resources.  The Superintendent (or designate) shall annually develop a plan for the assignment of such funds.

  1. Age Qualifications

4.1      Students who are 19 years of age or older are not eligible for involvement in any Abbotsford school or program other than continuing education and adult education programs.

  1. Placement Conditions

5.1      The Abbotsford School District reserves the right to determine final school and grade placement. This will depend on available space, English proficiency, age, assessment results, and previous school experience, as follows:

  • Enrolment of international students will be subject to space being available in the immediate and projected future (two years).
  • If the assessment indicates that a student requires English language training, and this support is not available at the requested school, Abbotsford School District reserves the right to place the student in a school which has an appropriate program.
  • The Abbotsford School District will determine the grade in which each student will be placed based on age, assessment results, and previous school experience. The district reserves the right to place a student in the school with the most appropriate program and available space.
  1. Enrolment Procedures

6.1      A letter permitting international students to enroll in a specific Abbotsford school will be issued to the parent(s)/guardian(s) or student or agent, and the receiving school once the requirements set out by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, in the Application for a Study Permit (IMM 1294), have been met. An official letter of acceptance is approved and signed by a designate. Only after this letter of acceptance has been issued may a principal enroll an international student(s).  Students may enroll only in the school specified in the letter of acceptance.

  1. Graduation

7.1      Acceptance by the district does not guarantee the right to graduate with a Dogwood Certificate (Grade 12 BC Certificate).  International students must meet the Ministry of Education and Child Care graduation requirements to receive their degree.             

  1. Ordinarily Resident
    1. For the purposes of delivering Distributed Learning services, a student is resident in the province of British Columbia if the student is ordinarily resident in the province and the guardian of the student is ordinarily resident in British Columbia.
    2. Notwithstanding the definition offered above, students may be temporarily absent from British Columbia, yet still retain status as ordinarily resident, as follows:
      1. The parent or guardian remains resident in British Columbia while the student is temporarily absent.  This temporary absence is marked by clear documentation that the student will be returning to the parental home at the end of this temporary absence.  Some exchange students, athletes competing at elite levels, and students involved in extended travel or self-funded studies overseas could be considered ordinarily resident in British Columbia.
      2. If the student is temporarily absent from the province with the parent or guardian, they may be considered ordinarily resident in British Columbia if there is clear evidence that the family will be returning to British Columbia.  This evidence might be a letter from an employer indicating the commencement or termination of a contract for work, or any other documentation deemed sufficient by the Superintendent or designate.

An International Student who is regarded as ‘ordinarily resident’ for funding purposes as defined by the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s Policy Document International Students is considered ordinarily resident for the purposes of receiving distributed learning services

(Last Revised: February 2023)