The number of international students in Canada is over 450,000, a figure that is constantly growing.
What is a study permit?
A study permit is a written authorization issued to international students authorizing them to study in Canada. International students are now a prescribed class of persons who may obtain temporary resident status and who have been issued study permits or who are authorized by the Regulations to study. Therefore, international students have the same obligations as temporary residents.
In other words, Study Permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows a foreign national to study in Canada for a limited time.
Most international students require a Study Permit to study in Canada. To learn more about studying in Canada without a study permit, click here.
Do you need a study permit?
You need to apply for a study permit if:
- The program of study is six months or longer. (You may need a visitor visa depending on the country you are from)
- You intend to apply for another program after your initial six month period.
- You work on campus, take an internship/co-op training, or take a paid practical training course that is part of the educational program.
If you need to apply for a study permit, you need to be accepted first by an accredited educational institute. Students are required to demonstrate financial stability for the minimum of first year of studies.
Persons exempt from the requirements for a study permit
A foreign national is exempt from the requirement of a study permit in the following situations:
- Academic program less than six months in duration: – Regulation 188 (1) (c) – Duration of the Program of studies is less than six months. Foreign nationals who will be in Canada for less than 6 months as a visitor can enrol in a program of study without the need of a Canada Study Permit. “This six-month criterion helps to facilitate easy access to short-term courses, regardless of their subject matter.
- Diplomats and foreign representatives:- Regulation 188 (1) (a) – Diploma/foreign Representatives “ Family member or members of the private staff of foreign accredited representatives do not require a study permit”
- Military Personnel:- Regulation 188 (1) (b) – Pursuant to the Visiting Forces Act, an individual member of the foreign army stationed in Canada does not require a Study Permit. It is noteworthy mentioning that family members are not “Study Permit Exempt”. However, minor children of a “member” are governed by virtue of subsection A (30)(2) of the IRPA ‘2002’.
- Article 30 (2) – MINOR CHILDREN :- “A Minor already in Canada is authorized to study without a study permit at the pre-school, primary or secondary level, with the exception of a minor whose parents are temporary residents not authorized to Work or Study”
The following cases apply to Minor Children that are exempt from a Study Permit:
- Minor Children attending kindergarten.
- Minor Children of Refugee Claimants or who are refugees themselves.
- Minor Children accompanied by their parents who are authorized, to work and/or study in Canada.
Accompanying family members
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, and minor children may be able to study at Canadian elementary and secondary schools. To learn more, click here.
Applying for a study permit
Once a prospective student meets the eligibility criteria and has the correct documents, he or she may apply for a study permit. This can be done online or by paper. A paper application must be submitted to a visa processing office outside of Canada.
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.
1. Letter of Admission
Preferably Original letter of Acceptance signed by an officer of the educational institute. The following information below can be included in the offer of Admission/Letter of Acceptance:
- Full name, date of birth and mailing address of student.
- Name of the Institution and official contact.
- Telephone, fax, website address, email of the Institution
- Course/Program Level.
- Estimated Duration of Course.
- Full-time/Part-time Course.
- Tuition Fee.
- Valid letter of Acceptance.
- Licensing information for private institutions normally confirmed through letterhead.
2. Proof of Funds
Most Canadian immigration officers interpret “evidence of sufficient funds” to mean a Bank Statement, saving account, Bank draft, or any other proof that can show/indicate that the student in question has sufficient funds to cover the cost of his/her education. “Students are required to demonstrate financial sufficiency for only the first year of studies, regardless of the duration of the course or program of studies in which they are enrolled.
The following table shows the minimum amounts that you will need. Living expense can vary according to the individual life style.
|Number of people||All provinces except Quebec|
|Single student||Tuition plus $10,000 for a 12-month period (or $833 per month)|
|For one accompanying family member add:||$4,000 for a 12-month period (or $333 per month)|
|For each additional family member, add:||$3,000 for a 12-month period per dependent child of any age (or $255 per month)|
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.
|Number of people||Total amount required|
|One person under age 18||$6,569|
|One person age 18 or older||$13,134|
|Two persons age 18 or older||$19,264|
|One person over age 18 and one under age 18||$17,652|
|Two persons over age 18 and one under age 18||$21,579|
|Two persons over age 18 and two under age 18||$23,290|
Financial resources may be proven with a combination of the following:
- Canadian bank account statements in the applicant's name, if money has been transferred to Canada;
- Proof of a student or educational loan from a financial institution;
- The applicant's bank statements from the past four months;
- A bank draft in convertible currency;
- Proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees;
- A letter from the person or institution providing you with money; and/or,
- Proof of a scholarship or funding paid from within Canada.
Family or friends of the applicant may submit letters confirming that they will support the applicant during his or her studies.
If an application is approved
If an application is approved, the prospective student will receive:
- A letter of introduction confirming the approval. This letter is not the study permit. The prospective student will need to present the Letter of Introduction to the immigration official when arriving in Canada. The immigration official may then issue the study permit to the student.
- An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if he or she is from a country whose citizens need an eTA. In such cases, the eTA is indicated on the Letter of Introduction.
- As the eTA is linked to the applicant's passport, the applicant must travel with the passport used in the study permit application.
- A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), if he or she is from a country whose citizens need a TRV.
- The TRV will be in the passport. The holder must enter Canada before the expiry date on the TRV.
- The TRV will also indicate if the holder can enter Canada only once (a single-entry visa) or multiple times (a multiple-entry visa). Since 2014, all applicants are automatically considered for multiple-entry TRVs.
- 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. To learn more about renewing, extending, or changing the conditions of a study permit, click here.
If a student at a post-secondary institution wishes to change institution, 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. The application must be submitted to the IRCC Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.
After graduation, many students choose to stay in Canada to live and work
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). This permits 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 Residency, especially through programs such as the Canadian Experience Class and certain Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
If an international graduate does not apply for a PGWP, he or she may do the following to maintain legal status in Canada:
- Apply to change status to a visitor;
- Apply for another study permit to continue a different study program. For example, a graduate may wish to continue on to a Master's degree program after graduating with a Bachelor degree; or,
- Leave Canada.
How to apply?
This application includes the following items:
- Document checklist (IMM 5483) (PDF, 135 KB)
- Application for a Study Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM 1294) ( (PDF, 342 KB)
- Family Information (IMM 5645) (PDF, 59 KB)
- Schedule 1 – Application for a Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside Canada (IMM 5257 - Schedule 1) (PDF, 51 KB)
- Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409) (PDF, 97 KB)
- Custodian Declaration (IMM 5646) (PDF, 1 MB)
- Use of a Representative (IMM 5476) (PDF, 55 KB)