Canadian Study Permits

Your Pathway to Studying in Canada

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If you wish to engage in academic, professional, vocational or other education or training that is longer than 6 months at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada, you are required to apply for a study permit before commencing your education. Most applications should be submitted online from outside or within Canada.

Canadian Study Permit Types

There are 2 main ways to apply for a study permit:

This is the process that most applicants follow when applying for a study permit. If you are from a visa-required country, you will also need a temporary resident visa; if you are from a visa-exempt country, you will need an eTA. These would be issued to you along with your study permit.

If you live in certain countries and meet specific requirements, you may be eligible to apply under the SDS process, which allows you to obtain a decision on your application in 20 calendar days (subject to change). You still need a temporary resident visa or eTA to travel to Canada, which will be issued to you with your study permit.

Study Permit Benefits

  • You may be able to pursue your education in Canada.
  • You may qualify to work on and/or off campus while you study in Canada.
  • You may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit of up to 3 years upon graduation, which is a once in a lifetime open work permit that allows you to work anywhere in Canada. You may explore options to obtain permanent residence in Canada.
  • You may be able to bring your spouse and children with you. Your spouse may be eligible to apply for a spousal open work permit, while your minor children may be able to study in Canada with a visitor record or study permit.
  • You minor children may be qualified for domestic tuition.
  • You may use your Canadian diploma or degree towards your permanent residence application.

Study Permit Requirements

For applications under regular study permit application process:
  • You must be enrolled in a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada;
  • You have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family members who come to Canada with you, including your tuition fees, living expenses for you and your family members, and return transportation for you and your family members;
  • You must be admissible to Canada with no criminal records (police certificates may be required);
  • You have no health conditions and can pass a medical exam;
  • You have a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) if you wish to study in Québec;
  • You are able to provide any country-specific documents if required;
  • You will comply with the conditions of your authorized stay and leave Canada before your authorized stay ends.
For applications under SDS:
  • You must be a legal resident physically living in one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam;
  • You must have an official letter of acceptance from a post-secondary DLI;
  • You must prove that you have paid your first year of tuition;
  • You have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GCI) of CAN $10,000;
  • You must submit your most recent secondary or post-secondary transcripts;
  • You must have either an IELTS general training or academic score of 6 or higher in all skills OR demonstrate CLB 7 in all skills with Test d’évaluation de français (TEF);
  • You must have a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) if you wish to study in Québec;
  • You may need a police certificate;
  • You may need a medical exam;
  • You may be required to provide country-specific documents.

Please note that certain foreign nationals may not need study permits to study in Canada. They must meet specific requirements to qualify. Your lawyer will assess your situation.

Study Permit Application Process

Most applicants must apply for study permits before they come to Canada. You may be eligible to apply from within Canada or at a port of entry under specific circumstances. Applications must generally be submitted online. Before applying for a study permit you must be accepted to a Designated Learning Institution.

Your lawyer will give you a detailed checklist based on your situation and country of citizenship or residence. Generally speaking, the following documents are mandatory for all study permit applicants:

  • Proof of acceptance. Generally, this would be an official letter of acceptance from the Designated Learning Institution.
  • Proof of identity, such as a valid passport and photos.
  • Proof of financial support. Please note that you must prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family members that are coming to Canada with you.
  • Letter of explanation, if applicable.
  • A Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ), if you wish to study in Québec.
  • A custodian declaration, if you are a minor.
  • Any other country-specific documents or documents requested by the IRCC.

Study Permit Processing Times

Processing times differ drastically based on your situation and your country of citizenship or residence. Due to recent processing delays and the Covid-19 pandemic, the processing time for study permit applications may range from 20 days to over 3 months.

For up to date processing times, please check the IRCC Website Processing Times page. 

Study Permit Processing Fees

For up-to-date fees, please visit the Government of Canada’s Fee List.

Andrea Prunariu

If you have questions about the Canadian Study Permit process or are ready to start your application, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can provide you with the guidance and support you need to complete the process successfully.

Questions? Answers.

Got questions? We have answers.

The length of a study permit usually depends on the length of your program and the validity of your passport. For applicants who wish to study in Québec, the length of the study permit generally corresponds to the validity of CAQ. Please note that it is at officers’ discretion to determine how long your study permits are valid for.

Yes, you can work while studying in Canada with a study permit. International students with a valid study permit can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic term and full-time during scheduled breaks.

Yes, you can bring your family members with you to Canada while you study. They may be eligible for a dependant visa and will need to apply for one separately from your study permit.

Yes, you can extend your study permit if you need more time to complete your program of study. You should apply for an extension before your study permit expires.

If you change schools or programs while studying in Canada, you may need to apply for a new study permit. It is important to check the requirements and guidelines for your specific situation.

Yes, you may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduate or other work permit after completing your studies in Canada. The eligibility criteria and application process will depend on the specific program you graduated from and your individual circumstances.

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