A study permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows international students to study at a designated learning institution in Canada.
Once you obtain a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution such as a university or college, you need to submit an application to IRCC to obtain a study permit.
An applicant for a Canadian study permit may include his or her family members on the application, so that they may accompany the applicant to Canada. An accompanying spouse may be able to obtain an open work permit, enabling them to work for any Canadian employer, and minor children may be able to study at Canadian elementary and secondary schools.
Most international students require a study permit. You do not need a study permit if your program in Canada is for six months or less. In addition, minor children and other individuals may be exempt from requiring a Canadian study permit.
How to obtain a study permit
It is important to apply for a study permit immediately upon receiving the letter of acceptance. Study permit processing times vary, and applicants may see delays during busy times — particularly during the summer months.
In order to be eligible to submit an application for a Canadian study permit, a prospective student must:
The applicant may also be required to submit the following supporting documents:
Fast-track option: Student Direct Stream (SDS)
You can get your study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) if you live in one of the following countries:
IRCC’s processing standard for most SDS applications is 20 calendar days. Applications must be submitted online.
Citizens of these countries must be residing in the country to be eligible for the SDS (e.g., they cannot be residing in another country if they want to apply for a study permit through the SDS).
To be eligible for the SDS, you must meet the following requirements:
Financial resources may be proven with the following information:
The following table show the amounts that a student is required to possess (all amounts in Canadian dollars):
All provinces except Quebec
In Quebec, the financial requirements for prospective students are different. In addition to tuition fees, a prospective international student is required to show that he or she has the following funds, dependent on his or her situation.
If an application is approved, the prospective student will receive:
An individual submitting an application for a study permit does not have to submit a separate application for a TRV. If the application is approved, the TRV will be issued along with the Letter of Introduction.
Study permit renewal
After obtaining a study permit, students may need to renew or change the study permit during the course of their studies in Canada.
If a student at a post-secondary institution wishes to change institutions, study program, or level of study he or she does not need to apply for a new study permit. However, he or she is required to update IRCC upon changing institutions. For example, a student may move from Bachelor level to Master’s level, or from Geography to Philosophy, or from a college to a university, without applying for a new study permit. He or she does not need to apply for a change to the condition of the study permit.
A student may study in Canada as long as the study permit is valid. However, an international student moving from elementary school to high school, or from high school to a post-secondary institution, is required to apply for a change in the conditions of the study permit.
Options after graduation
Study permits expire 90 days after graduation, regardless of the date printed on the study permit itself. It is extremely important that international graduates update their status with IRCC within 90 days of graduation, or they risk losing status in Canada.
Many graduates are eligible to apply for a Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The PGWP allows the holder to work for any employer anywhere in Canada for up to three years after graduation. Work experience gained on a PGWP may help facilitate an application for Canadian permanent residence, especially through programs such as the Canadian Experience Class and certain Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams.
If an international graduate does not apply for a PGWP, he or she may do the following to maintain legal status in Canada:
The information in this article is for general purposes only, and not intended as legal advice for any particular situation.
Please contact Visa Lounge Global Immigration for a comprehensive assessment of your Canadian visa options.