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Immigration Library™

Study Permit (SP)

International Experience Canada

immilib.com/SP

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SUMMARY

If you are interested in studying in Canada, you will first need to obtain a Canadian study permit. Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. Before you apply for a study permit, you need a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution (DLI) (➨immilib.com/DLI) in Canada.

A designated learning institution is a school approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. All primary and secondary schools in Canada are designated learning institutions. If you plan to attend a post-secondary school, such as a college or university, make sure it’s on the list.

If you need to take certain courses before you are accepted into your program (conditional acceptance), you’ll be given a study permit for the duration of those courses. Once the college or university accepts you into your chosen program, you must apply to extend your study permit.

Ready to take the next step towards your Canadian immigration journey? Fill out the form below and embark on your path to new opportunities.

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MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

1- Proof of Acceptance

You must first obtain an acceptance letter from a Designated Canadian educational institution (DLI) before applying for a Canadian study permit. The acceptance letter must include specific information, and while most schools will be familiar with the requirements, you can always double-check the contents of your letter by comparing it to IRCC's sample acceptance letter (➨immilib.com/SP-LOA).

Note: It is important to note that not all programs of study qualify for post-graduation work permits (PGWP) (➨Page). Before applying, make sure that your program is eligible for a PGWP.

Exceptions: You do not need a letter of acceptance if you are a family member of someone who has a study permit or work permit application that has been approved in writing before coming to Canada.

2- Financial Support

You must show that you have enough money to support yourself and any accompanying family members while you are in Canada. You must provide proof that you can cover both your tuition and your living expenses (accommodations, food, etc.).

You may prove this by showing the following:

  • Canadian bank account statements in your name (if you transferred money to Canada)
  • Education or student loan
  • Bank account statements for the past 4 months
  • a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
  • GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) issued by a participating Canadian financial institution.
  • proof you paid tuition and housing fees
  • a letter from the person or school giving you money, or
  • proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program

You can find the minimum required funds needed to support yourself as a student (and family members who come with you) in (➨Appendix 9).

3- Letter of Explanation

A letter of explanation or Statement of Purpose helps the visa officer to understand you and your goals. It explains why you want to study in Canada and that you understand your responsibilities as a student.

If the visa officer thinks you are just taking any program for the chance to come to Canada, they can refuse the application. A study permit is a temporary document. Temporary entry means you're in Canada for a limited time. If an officer believes you won't leave Canada at the end of your temporary stay, your application can be refused. Even if you plan to apply for your PGWP and PR in the future, your application should only address the current permit you are applying.

It's crucial to show that you have a plan and concrete ties to your home country that will enable you to return. You can demonstrate your intention to return in the following ways:

  • Proof of property ownership
  • Family members who depend on you for support
  • Community ties
  • Financial obligations
  • Job offer or letters of support from employers indicating you will return to work.

Indicate in your letter clearly if your intention is to remain in Canada and apply for PGWP and PR. Remember that the PGWP is not a guarantee, so at this point you can say that you'll apply for the PGWP after finishing your program, and if it's approved, you'll look for employment in your field to gain more experience to advance your career.

4- Quebec Acceptance Certificate (study in Quebec)

If you intend to study in Quebec for a period of time longer than six (6) months, you require a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) issued by the Gouvernement du Québec. You can apply for your study permit when your CAQ is approved. An Attestation of issuance of your CAQ for studies will be uploaded to your online file. You must use this document to submit your study permit application to the federal government.

5- Custodian declaration (minor children)

Minor children under the age of 17 must either come with their parent or legal guardian or have a custodian in Canada. You must submit a Custodianship Declaration form with your application if the minor needs a custodian.

Ready to take the next step towards your Canadian immigration journey? Fill out the form below and embark on your path to new opportunities.

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WHO NEEDS A STUDY PERMIT?

Foreign nationals must obtain a study permit to participate in academic, professional, vocational, or other education or training lasting more than six (6) months at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada.
The following activities do not require a study permit:
  • Distance learning
  • Pre-school (pre-kindergarten)
  • Courses of general interest or self-improvement
  • Audited coursed (typically by sitting in on an academic course, but without obtaining credit for it, or having the ability to obtain credit for it retroactively)
  • Settlement and integration courses offered by a provincial or territorial government through settlement and integration providers (including francization courses offered by the Government of Quebec and not language courses by IRCC)
The following foreign nationals do not require a study permit:
  • Minor children inside Canada
  • Family members and members of the private staff of accredited foreign representatives
  • Members of the armed forces of a country designated for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act
  • Short-term courses
  • Registered Indians
  • Certain foreign nationals authorized to work in Canada (to study without a study permit from June 27, 2023, until June 27, 2026).

WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?

Step 1: Apply to School

The first thing you need to do to get a letter of acceptance is to submit a complete application to the Designated Learning Institution (DLI) of your choice.

To be approved you must meet general admission requirements for the program you are applying to. In addition you may need to prove specific subject prerequisites, or submit a personal profile or statement of interest as part of an application to study at a post-secondary institution.

Once you choose a school, college or university, you must apply to go there. Every school has different rules on how to apply.

Make sure you apply at least

  • 6 months in advance if you want to study at a primary or secondary school
  • 1 year in advance for a post-secondary program at a university, college, etc.

Contact the school where you want to study to learn how to apply. Visit their website and complete an application form. It is often the case that an institution’s website will direct you to the appropriate form depending on your situation. Most institutions have a separate application form for international students.

They’ll give you the list of all the documents you need to send them, the cost to apply, tuition fees, health insurance, rent and how much it costs to live in Canada, language tests, etc.

If the school admits you as a student, they will send you an acceptance letter. You need this letter to apply for a study permit.

Prerequisite courses and conditional acceptance

You must take prerequisite courses if you have been conditionally accepted. These could be courses in English as a second language or French as a second language, for example. You must finish these before beginning your main study program.

In this case, you will be issued a study permit for the duration of those courses plus one year. Once you've been accepted into your main program, you'll need to apply for a new student permit to extend your stay.

Step 2: Get Québec Acceptance Certificate (for Study in Quebec)

Studying in Quebec (for more than 6 months) requires an additional step in the process. You will have to apply for a “Certificat d'Acceptation du Québec (CAQ)” (➨immilib.com/CAQS). It is only after approval of your CAQ that you can apply for the Study Permit.
To obtain a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies, you must submit an application for temporary selection for studies online. (➨immilib.com/CAQS-Apply)

Step 3: Apply for a Study Permit

With your acceptance letter in hand, you are now ready to apply for your study permit. You should apply for a study permit before coming to Canada. Only some people can apply for a study permit from within Canada and in some cases, you can apply when you arrive in Canada at the port of entry.

Note: For post-secondary students applying from outside Canada, starting December 1, 2023, your educational institution will be required to authenticate the legitimacy of your letter of acceptance. Prior to submitting your application, ensure your school respond to IRCC and confirms the validation of your letter of acceptance. If your school fail to respond within the stipulated time, your application will be returned.

Whether you’re outside of Canada or already in Canada, you must apply online. However, if you can’t apply online because of a disability or because there’s a problem with the online application, you can apply on paper.

CAQ Application
Apply Online:
immilib.com/CAQS-Apply
Official Program Guide:
immilib.com/CAQS-Guide
Quebec Application Fee:
Main applicant: $128
Processing Time:
immilib.com/CAQS-PT
Document Checklist:
immilib.com/CAQS-Doc
Contact:

Tel: 514-864-9191

Fax: 514-864-8158

immilib.com/Q-Contact(general questions)

Apply from Inside Canada

If you are currently in Canada, you may be able to apply for a study permit from inside Canada, if one of the following situations applies to you:

  • You have a valid study or work permit
  • Your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a valid study or work permit
  • You’re a minor child in primary or secondary school
  • You’re an exchange student or visiting student
  • You completed a short-term course or study program required to be accepted at a DLI
  • You or your spouse, common-law partner or dependent child has a temporary resident permit (TRP) valid for 6 months or more
  • You’re being sponsored to immigrate and you already applied for permanent residence (if you’re eligible)
  • You or your spouse, common-law partner or dependent child are subject to an unenforceable removal order
  • You’re the spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of:
    • an athlete on a team based in Canada
    • a member of the media
    • a member of the clergy
    • military personnel on duty in Canada or
    • an accredited foreign representative
  • You’re a refugee claimant in Canada or a family member of a refugee claimant in Canada
Study Permit
Submit Online Application
immilib.com/SP-Apply
Official Program Guide:

In Canada:

immilib.com/SP-in

Outside Canada:

immilib.com/SP-out

IRCC Application Fees:
Applicant: $150
Biometrics: $85
Processing Time:
immilib.com/FED-PT
Document Checklist:
immilib.com/SP-Doc
Contact:

1-888-242-2100 (in Canada)

1-613-944-4000 (outside Canada)

Web Form:

immilib.com/web-form

Visa Office:

immilib.com/Visa-Offices

Apply at a Port of Entry

You may be able to apply for a study permit at a Port of Entry, if one of the following situations applies to you:

  • You’re a citizen of the U.S.
  • You’re a permanent resident of the U.S.
  • You’re a person who has lawfully been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence
  • You’re a resident of Greenland
  • You’re a resident of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
Validity of Study Permit

A study permit is usually valid for the length of your study program, plus an extra 90 days.

If you have conditional acceptance, your study permit will be valid for the length of the prerequisite courses, plus 1 year. When you get accepted into the main program, you must then apply to extend your stay as a student (➨immilib.com/SP-Extend).

If you don’t finish your courses before the date on your permit, you must apply to extend your stay as a student. If you don’t, you’ll need to stop studying and leave Canada. If you finish your studies early, your permit will stop being valid 90 days after you complete your studies, no matter what day is printed on the study permit.

Student Direct Stream

If you’re a legal resident of one of the following countries and applying for a post-secondary program, you may be able to get your study permit faster by applying online through the Student Direct Stream (➨immilib.com/SDS).

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam
Study Permit Exemptions
  • As a foreign student you don’t need a study permit in following situations:
  • Short-term studies (under 6 months)
  • Family or staff of foreign representatives
  • Members of foreign armed forces
  • Registered Indians in Canada
  • Minor children in Canada (kindergarten, refugee or refugee claimant, parent is refugee or refugee claimant or has a work or study permit in Canada
  • Temporary residents and asylum seekers taking French language and culture courses

Step 4: Get your fingerprint and photo taken (Biometrics)

You and any members of your family between 14 and 79 years old need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics). You only need to give your biometrics once every 10 years. If you gave biometrics in the past as part of an application for a visitor visa, work or study permit and they’re still valid, you don’t need to give them again.

You will be contacted to give your biometrics and you will have 30 days from the date on the letter to do it.

In order to give biometrics you need to go to an official biometrics collection service point. You must give your biometrics in person.

Before you go, check the location’s website for its services and fees at (➨ immilib.com/Biometrics).

If you’re applying for your study permit, you will automatically be given a visa or eTA if you need one. If you already have a study permit, make sure that your visitor visa is still valid if you choose to leave Canada and re-enter. If you need an eTA and you’re flying to a Canadian airport, make sure you travel with the passport that’s electronically linked to your eTA. You must travel with your valid study permit, a valid passport and travel document.

If you’re eligible to study without a permit, you’re considered a visitor to Canada. You must meet the entry requirements for travelers from your country of citizenship.

Step 5: Arrival with Study Permit

If your application is approved, you’ll get a letter that says you’re allowed to study in Canada. Bring this letter with you when you travel to Canada. You’ll get your study permit when you arrive in Canada.

The study permit will outline:

  • If you’re allowed to work in Canada
  • If you’re allowed to travel within Canada
  • The specific date you must leave Canada
  • Where you can study (a specific DLI listed on your permit)
  • how long you can study in Canada

If you’re eligible to apply from within Canada, the study permit will be mailed to your Canadian address.

Ready to take the next step towards your Canadian immigration journey? Fill out the form below and embark on your path to new opportunities.

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WELCOME TO CANADA!

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