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Study In Canada

Study permit

After you apply

Travel exemptions and restrictions for international students

You need to be eligible to travel to Canada at this time if

  • you want to come to Canada to study
  • you’re returning to Canada as an international student
  • you’re coming to Canada as a family member or support person for an international student

You can find this out by

  • answering a few questions to find out if you can travel
  • reading the travel restrictions and exemptions for international students

Apply for a study permit

Apply online
If you’re applying for a study permit, you should apply online, whether you’re outside of Canada or already in Canada.

When you apply, you should submit

  • the letter of acceptance issued to you by the designated learning institution (DLI) you’ll be attending
  • as many of the documents needed for a complete application as possible
  • a letter of explanation for any documents that are missing due to COVID-19

If you can’t apply online because of a disability or because there’s a problem with the online application, you can apply on paper.

If you plan to study in Quebec, you must provide a valid Quebec Acceptance Certificate or proof that you applied for one.

Applying at the port of entry
In general, you should not apply for a study permit at a Canadian port of entry. You should apply online for a study permit before you travel to Canada.

Only certain people can apply at the port of entry at this time. You may be able to apply at the port of entry if you’re a

  • U.S. citizen
  • lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
  • resident of Greenland
  • resident of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

If you meet one of these requirements, you must have all the documents required to apply for a study permit with you when you arrive at the border. The border services officer who greets you will determine if you’re eligible to enter Canada as a student.

Complying with your study permit conditions

If your in-class courses are temporarily moved to an online-only format or suspended completely because of COVID-19, you’re still complying with your study permit conditions if you

  • stay enrolled in your DLI, and
  • participate in your studies online, if your DLI offers them

If you want to stay in Canada longer

If your study permit is going to expire soon

If you’re a student, you have 3 options:

  1. You may be able to extend your study permit, if you want to continue studying.
  2. You may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) or a work permit, if you completed your study program.
  3. You can apply to change your status to visitor.

You must submit an application for 1 of these options before your study permit expires, or you may need to leave Canada.

If your study permit has expired

If your study permit expires before you apply to extend it, you’ve lost your status as a student in Canada. You may be able to restore your status.

If you’re a visitor who needs a study permit

You can apply online for a study permit if you’re already in Canada as a visitor.

When you apply, you must follow the instructions for applying from outside of Canada. We’ll process your application in the same amount of time as though you’d applied from your home country, outside of Canada.

You can’t start studying until you receive your study permit.

Studying in Quebec

If you want to study in Quebec for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ).

When you apply for a study permit to study in Quebec, you’ll need to show us that you’ve applied for a CAQ. To do this, you can submit either

  • your official CAQ document (preferred)
  • proof that you applied for a new CAQ if you don’t have the approved CAQ when you submit your study permit application
    • If you get your official CAQ after you submit your study permit application, you can submit your CAQ by using your online account or our web form.

Custodian declaration (minor children)

If the minor requires a custodian, you must include the Custodianship Declaration form (PDF, 1.02 MB) with your application. It has 2 pages that must be notarized (certified by a notary) and then included with your study permit application.

The custodian in Canada must sign the first page, and the parents or legal guardians of the minor child in the child’s home country must sign the second page.

Other documents

Check the visa office instructions for your country or region for local requirements.

If you aren’t currently in your home country, you may have to prove your immigration status in the country you apply from.

If the government that issued your passport or travel document needs you to have a re-entry permit, you must get one before you apply for a Canadian visa. You may also need other documents.

If we request documents from you for an application in progress
  • We’ll contact you to request the supporting documents.
    • This will happen in the next few months.
    • You’ll have 30 days from the date we contact you to submit the information.
  • Start collecting your documents.
    • Do this before we contact you. It can take time to get certain documents.
    • Check the last email we sent you to confirm what you need to submit.
  • Don’t travel to another city or country to get the supporting documents.
  • We’ll consider extending your deadline if you have a reasonable explanation that shows you’re affected by COVID-19.

Find out what to do if you still have documents to provide for your application

What is a study permit?

The study permit is a document we issue that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada. Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. Make sure you have all the documents you need before you apply. You should apply before you travel to Canada.

Your study permit is not a visa. It doesn’t let you enter Canada. You may also need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). If we approve your study permit, we’ll issue one to you with your study permit.

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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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’ve completed your studies on the date your school first notifies you by completion letter, transcript, degree or diploma.

You must provide proof of the date your school notifies you, or the date you get your degree, diploma or certificate. If you don’t have proof, we’ll use the earliest issue date on the document. We may confirm this date with your school.

Can you go back home while studying?

If you leave Canada during your studies, you’ll need to make sure you meet all the requirements to return to Canada at this time. To find this out, you have 2 options:

  • answer a few questions to find out if you can travel, or
  • read the travel restrictions and exemptions for international students

Eligibility requirements

You can study in Canada if you:

  • are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
    • if you’re coming from outside Canada to study as an international student, your DLI will have to be on the list of DLIs with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan
  • 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), and
  • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires

Your responsibilities

While studying in Canada you must:

  • make progress towards completing your program
  • respect any conditions listed on your study permit and
  • stop studying if you no longer meet the requirements

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 specific date you must leave Canada
  • where you can study (a specific DLI listed on your permit) and
    • You can’t study at a DLI other than the one listed on your permit.
  • whether you need an immigration medical examination

Proof of acceptance

Your school must send you a letter of acceptance. Include the original or electronic copy of your letter with your study permit application.

Conditional acceptance and prerequisite courses

If you’ve been conditionally accepted, this means you need to take prerequisite courses. For example, these might be English as a second language or French as a second language courses. You must complete these before you can start your main study program.

If this is the case, we’ll only issue your study permit for the length of those courses plus 1 year. Once you’re accepted into your main program, you’ll need to apply for a new student permit to extend your stay as a student.

Exceptions

If you’re the family member of someone who has a study permit or work permit application that’s been approved in writing before you come to Canada, you don’t need a letter of acceptance.

Proof of identity

When applying for your study permit, you and each family member who comes with you to Canada must have

  • a valid passport or travel document
    • Online applicants: Upload a copy of the information page of your passport when you apply online.
      • If you’re approved, you must then send us your original passport.
    • Citizens of the United States have some options on the identification documents they can carry.
  • two recent passport-size photos
    • The name and date of birth of the person should be written on the back of each photo.

Proof of financial support

You must prove that you can support yourself, and the family members who come with you, while you are in Canada.

You can prove your funds with:

  • proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if you’ve transferred money to Canada
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution
  • proof of a student or education loan from a bank
  • your bank statements for the past 4 months
  • a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
  • proof you paid tuition and housing fees
  • a letter from the person or school giving you money, or
  • proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program

Minimum funds needed to support yourself as a student (and family members who come with you):

Letter of explanation

This letter helps the visa officer to understand you and your goals. It explains

  • why you want to study in Canada and
  • that you understand your responsibilities as a student

You should include this letter if you decide to apply for a study permit, even if you don’t have to get a study permit for your program.

Certificat d’acceptation du Québec

If you want to study in Quebec for longer than 6 months, you need a certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) issued by the Gouvernement du Québec. Your school can give you all the details on how to apply for the CAQ.

If your application for a CAQ got approved by the ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), but you’re still waiting to get the CAQ, you can apply for your study permit with the approval letter from the MIFI. You don’t need to wait for the CAQ to apply.

Find out about the process and the documents you need for studying in Quebec.

Certificat d’acceptation du Québec

Get your documents ready

When you apply, you should submit

  • letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution (DLI) you’ll be attending
    • if you’re coming from outside Canada to study as an international student, your letter of acceptance will have to be for a DLI with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan
  • as many of the documents needed for a complete application as possible
    • We won’t be able to finalize your study permit until you’ve submitted a complete application.
    • Waiting to submit documents will cause delays in processing.
  • a letter of explanation for any documents that are missing due to COVID-19

If you plan to study in Quebec, you must provide a valid certificat d’acceptation du Québec or proof that you applied for one.

Apply online

If you’re applying for a study permit, you should apply online, whether you’re outside of Canada or already in Canada.

If you can’t apply online because of a disability or because there’s a problem with the online application, you can apply on paper.

We process your study permit application

We’ll check your application to make sure you have all the necessary documents. If it’s incomplete, we may return your application without processing it, or request the missing documents.

We may also ask you to:

  • go to an interview with our officials in your country, or
  • send us more information

You may also need to get a:

  • medical exam (if required), or
  • police certificate (if required)
Missing documents

If you weren’t able to submit all the required documents with your application, you can submit the missing documents through your online account or our web form.

We won’t process your study permit until you’ve submitted a complete application. Waiting to submit documents will cause delays in processing.

Updating your application

If you move or change your address, telephone number or any other contact information after you apply, you must update your application.

If we approve your application

You’ll get your study permit

  • at the port of entry when you arrive in Canada or
  • mailed to you, if you’re already in Canada
If you applied for your study permit from outside Canada

We’ll send you a port of entry letter of introduction that says you’re allowed to study in Canada. This letter is not your study permit.

You need to bring this letter with you and show it to a border services officer when you arrive in Canada. We’ll also send you an electronic travel authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) to enter Canada.

If you’re from a country where you need an eTA, the letter of introduction will include information about your eTA. Your eTA will be linked to your passport and is valid for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. It’s important that you travel with the passport you used when you applied for your study permit.

If you’re from a country where you need a visitor visa, the visa will be in your passport. It’ll show if you can enter Canada once or multiple times. You must enter Canada before your visa expires.

Before you come to Canada

Once your study permit is approved, you’ll need to make sure you’re eligible to travel to Canada at this time. You can do this by

  • answering a few questions to find out if you can travel
  • reading the travel restrictions and exemptions for international students
If you applied for your study permit from inside Canada
If you were eligible to apply from inside Canada
If you followed the instructions to apply for a study permit from outside Canada
If we refuse your application

We’ll send you a letter explaining why.

We may refuse your application if you didn’t

  • show proof that you have enough money to support yourself while studying in Canada
  • pass your medical exam, if you needed to get one
  • convince the visa officer that your main purpose in Canada is to study or
  • convince the visa officer that you’ll leave Canada at the end of your study period

If you have questions about why you were refused, contact the visa office that sent you the refusal letter.

Before you come to Canada

Make sure you’re eligible to travel to Canada at this time if

  • you want to come to Canada to study
  • you’re returning to Canada as an international student, or
  • you’re coming to Canada as a family member or support person for an international student

You can find out if you’re eligible by either

  • answering a few questions to find out if you can travel or
  • reading the travel restrictions and exemptions for international students

Before you arrive, read the pre-departure guide for tips and information about student life in Canada.

You need to use ArriveCAN

Use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information required for entry into Canada.

Make sure you’re using the newest version of ArriveCAN. If you previously submitted your information using an older version of ArriveCan, you must download the latest version and resubmit your information.

When you arrive in Canada

When you arrive in Canada, you’ll meet a border services officer who will make sure you meet some basic requirements. To enter Canada, you must

  • have a valid travel document, such as a passport
  • have the port of entry letter of introduction the visa office sent you when they approved your study permit
    • This letter has your permit reference number, which we use to issue your study permit.
  • have a copy of a valid letter of acceptance from your school
  • have letters of reference or any other documents the visa office told you to bring
  • have either a valid electronic travel authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa (temporary resident visa)
    • If you have a valid eTA, it’ll be linked to the passport you used to apply for your study permit.
  • have enough money for your stay (the amount you will need can vary—it depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives)
  • be in good health
  • have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • convince an immigration officer that
    • you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country
    • you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
  • have valid immigration medical exam results (if you needed one)
    • Your exam is valid for 12 months from the day you get it.
    • It must be valid the day you enter Canada.
    • If your exam will expire before you enter Canada, you need to get another medical exam.
      • This applies even if your letter of introduction is still valid.
  • prove that you’ll leave Canada at the end of your stay
Fully vaccinated travellers

If you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you must bring proof with you when you come to Canada. The border services officer will make the final decision about whether you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, so you still have to be prepared to follow the COVID-19 quarantine and testing requirements.

If you need proof you entered Canada

Your school or training facility may need you to prove you entered Canada. If you need proof of entry, make sure a border services officer stamps your passport before you leave Canadian customs. You may also be able to use a Primary Inspection Kiosk to stamp your passport.

Inadmissibility

Some people are inadmissible—they’re not allowed to come to Canada. Several things can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime.

You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons. Find out more about inadmissibility.

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