How to Apply for a Canadian Study Permit
Canada is a top destination for international students from all over the world. If you are interested in studying in Canada, you will first need to obtain a Canadian study permit.
Apply for a Study Permit
The study permit grants legal authorization for a person to study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. When applying for a study permit, a foreign national should be aware that there are eligibility requirements that must be met when submitting the study permit application. As well, there are certain conditions that must be met throughout the student’s time in Canada.
There are many steps involved with applying for a study permit and the processing times vary greatly from country to country, so it is best to plan ahead to ensure your permit will be processed before your study period begins. The majority of Canadian post-secondary educational programs commence study in September, January, or May, though a number of programs do offer intakes outside of those dates.
Since a foreign national cannot apply for a study permit without an acceptance letter, they should check the start date and application process for their schools and programs of interest far in advance to ensure they have sufficient time to obtain the acceptance letter and complete the study permit application.
Study Permit Requirements
There are two sets of requirements you must consider when applying for a Canadian study permit: eligibility requirements, and requirements while studying in Canada.
You must meet these criteria in order to be eligible to apply for a study permit:
- Acceptance Letter: You must have an acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in order to apply for a Canadian study permit.
- Proof of Financial Support: You must provide documentation proving that you have sufficient funds to cover the cost of tuition for your first year of study as well as the cost of living (housing, food, etc.) for yourself and any accompanying family members for your first year of study. Please note that these funds can be under your name or the name of a family member or close friend.
- Supporting Documentation: Extensive supporting documentation must be submitted with all study permit applications. This documentation varies from country-to-country. In order to determine the documents required for a specific location, you can consult the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, or you can contact our firm and one of our Educational Counsellors will contact you with assistance.
When you apply for your permit, the visa officer will confirm to ensure you meet the requirements. If the visa officer is not satisfied, they will refuse your application.
Requirements while studying in Canada
If your study permit is approved and you enter Canada as an international student, you must meet the requirements below in order to maintain the validity of your study permit. While studying in Canada under a study permit, a foreign national must:
- always be enrolled at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
- make progress towards completing their program
- respect any conditions listed on their study permit
- stop studying if they no longer meet the requirements and
- leave Canada when their permit expires
There are four stages to obtaining a Canadian study permit:
- Check your eligibility Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements for a Canadian study permit. You require an acceptance letter from a DLI, proof of financial support, as well as a range of documents which vary depending on your countries of citizenship and residence.
- Prepare your application If you meet all eligibility requirements then you can prepare your study permit application. Ensure that you have gathered all documents required for your country. Immigration officers reserve the right to refuse study permits if they feel an applicant has not met all requirements, so it is valuable to have a qualified immigration representative review your application prior to submission.
- Submit your study permit application You have two options when submitting your application: Submit an electronic application: Create an account on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and you can submit an application electronically using scanned or electronic copies of documents. Submit a paper-based application: Compile your application in hard copy and mail it to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) assigned to your country.
- If your study permit is approved, come to Canada! Please note that you do not receive your Canadian study permit until you arrive at a Canadian Port of Entry (POE). If your permit is approved, the Canadian government will issue you a Port of Entry Introduction Letter. You must keep this letter and show it to the immigration official when you arrive in Canada in order to obtain your study permit.
Please note that your study permit is not a visa. This means that, depending on your country of citizenship, you may need a travel visa in order to come to the POE in Canada.
- Visa Exempt Countries: These countries do not require a visa to enter Canada. You can come directly to the Port of Entry to obtain your study permit. Please note that you may still require an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada.
- Non-Visa Exempt Countries: These countries require a visa to enter Canada. When your study permit application is approved, the visa officer should mail you a travel visa authorizing you to travel to Canada.
*If you are already in Canada legally, you may apply from within the country. If your study permit is approved it will be mailed to you.
Study Permit Exemptions
Not all foreign nationals require a permit in order to study in Canada. The following are the most common exemptions from the study permit requirement:
A foreign national does not require a study permit if they are completing a program of study which has a duration of six months or less. If the foreign national takes longer than six months to complete such a program, they must secure a study permit before the initial six months has passed.
Minor children in Canada
Minor children, those under the age of 18 or 19 (the age for minor children varies by province), do not need a study permit to attend kindergarten, pre-school, primary or secondary school if they meet one of the following conditions:
- They (or their parents) are refugees or refugee claimants
- They are in Canada accompanying a parent who is authorized to work or study
Members of foreign armed forces
A member of a foreign armed force who is in Canada on active duty does not require a permit to study. However, their family members may require study permits. If you are unsure whether or not you require a study permit for Canada, please complete our free student assessment and one of our Educational Counsellors will contact you to discuss your options.
How we Can Help
Pursuing studies as an international student in Canada can be confusing and stressful. There are many schools and programs to choose and study permit applications are regularly refused for not meeting government requirements. Thankfully, the HR Global Consultants Team is here to help you keep it simple. Our International Student Program pairs potential students with one of our expert Educational Counsellors to provide guidance from start to finish.
We will help you with finding a program of study which suits your needs, to obtaining a letter of acceptance, to preparing and submitting your study permit application! To get started, simply complete our free student assessment and one of our Educational Counsellors will contact you to discuss your immigration options!
Free Immigration Assessment
Discover your Canadian immigration options by completing our free immigration assessment form today and a member of our Team will contact you to discuss about your immigration to Canada.