Canada has long been a top destination for international students from around the globe. Once you have decided to choose a Canadian school or university to study at, you first need to obtain a student permit to study in Canada.
How long can you stay in Canada with a study permit?
A study permit is usually valid for the length of your study program, plus an extra 90 days. The 90 days let you prepare to leave Canada or apply to extend your stay.
- If you’re taking prerequisite courses
If your school asks you to take courses before they accept you into the main program (you have conditional acceptance), your study permit will be valid for the length of those courses, plus 1 year. When you get accepted into the main program, you must then apply to extend your stay as a student.
- If you’ll finish your studies after your study permit expires
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 before your study permit expires
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.
You can study in Canada if you:
- are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
- prove you have enough money to pay for your:
- tuition fees
- living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and
- return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
- obey the law, have no criminal record and get a police certificate (if required)
- are in good health and get a medical exam (if required)
- prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires
Your obligations while studying in Canada
While studying in Canada you must:
- make progress towards completing your program
- respect any conditions listed on your study permit
- stop studying if you no longer meet the requirements and
- leave Canada when your permit expires
Depending on your case, there may be conditions on your study permit such as:
- if you’re allowed to work in Canada
- if you’re allowed to travel within Canada
- the date you must stop studying
Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. The cases below are exceptions.
Short-term studies (6 months or less)
Normally, if you study less than 6 months, you won’t be required to obtain a study permit. However, due to COVID-19, the requirements to enter Canada as a student have changed, even for short-term studying.
Family or staff of foreign representatives
You may not need a study permit if you’re a family or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada that has been accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
Members of foreign armed forces
If you’re a member of a foreign armed force on official duties in Canada, you don’t need a study permit. If your family members, including minor children, want to study in Canada, they may need one.
Registered Indians in Canada
You don’t need a study permit if you have Registered Indian status in Canada, even if you’re a citizen of another country.
Minor children in Canada
Minor children don’t need a study permit if:
- they’re in kindergarten
- they’re refugees or refugee claimants
- their parents are refugees or refugee claimants or
- they’re in pre-school, primary or secondary school, and they’re already in Canada with a parent who has a work or study permit.
If your application is approved, you will be provided with a letter of introduction confirming the approval. The letter of introduction is not a study permit but should be presented at the Port of entry upon arrival in Canada.
When you arrive in Canada, you must show the letter of introduction and the temporary resident visa, if applicable, to an officer at the port of entry. The officer will decide if you still meet the requirements for admission into Canada and issue a study permit at this time.
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant R#519955
Kunal Thakur is a passionate Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), holding close to two decades of immigration experience, during which he has successfully guided thousands of immigrants in their immigration journey. He is quick in responding to client queries and would always give his clients the right advice. Kunal also brings immense value in all his talks and discourses on immigration and when not in front of his laptop reading and analysing client cases he could be seen exploring new places and trying new things. Kunal is currently based in Adelaide, Australia. You can book a time with him here.