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Study Permit: Are You Planning to Study in Canada?

Study Permit: Are You Planning to Study in Canada?

Everything you wanted to learn about studying in Canada

Why Canada?

According to a recent survey from 2021, Canada is ranked as the best country to live in for overall qualityWhile studying in the top 10 of the world's top 250 Universities, international students are not only charged affordable tuition fees, but they may also be eligible for various scholarship opportunities, opening the doors for future career prospects.

Who needs a Study Permit?

Upon acceptance into a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), a Foreign National can apply for a Study Permit, which is only an authorization to study, not a visa for entry into the country. In most cases where the course of study exceeds six months, a study permit is required.

Diplomats, consular officers, government representatives, UN officials, other international organizations, their private staff, visiting armed forces, and registered Indians are all exempt from this requirement.

Study Permit is not a Visa

A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) is the required document to seek entry into Canada as a temporary resident, therefore, you receive a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction and a TRV or eTA whereas the study permit is given at the Port of Entry, only if you are admissible.

Why get a Study Permit, even if you do not need one?

Subject to the limitations outlined in the permit, you may be allowed to work while being a full-time student, therefore, it is a good idea to obtain the study permit even if the study program does not require it.

Moreover, you may request to extend the permit without interrupting the studies if you want to enroll in a longer duration course later. Contrarily, if you do not hold the permit for the shorter duration course, you must stop studying and apply for one to continue with the extended course.

Letter of explanation

While the letter of explanation contains personal information emphasizing the purpose of the visit to meet professional goals, you must also properly articulate how your current course of study will enhance your career upon your return. Since the study permit application is for temporary residence, your professional ambitions should be focused on your home country.

Additionally, your goal is to show that you are enrolled in a DLI, that you have enough money to cover tuition and living expenses as well as return transportation, that you are a law-abiding citizen with no health problems, and that you will leave Canada once your studies are completed.

Although the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) is not a guarantee, if you want to stay in Canada and apply for PGWP and PR, you must explain the intentions explicitly that you would seek work to gain further experience to enhance your career. Undoubtedly, the dual intent is admissible as long as you can prove that you will leave Canada if your permanent residence application is not successful.

Requirement of funds

You should have enough money for yourself and any accompanying family members to cover not only tuition but also living expenses and return transportation. The amount of money needed is changed regularly and is different in Quebec than in the rest of Canada.

Study in Quebec

“Certificat d'acceptation du Québec” (CAQ) from the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration (MIFI) is the prerequisite for a study visa in Quebec. In most circumstances, you won't need to wait for CAQ; IRCC will accept an approval letter from MIFI, even if it's an unsigned version downloaded from their website. These approval letters include CAQ information and are sent out by MIFI before the formal CAQ is issued.

If you are exempt from acquiring a study permit, you will also be exempt from obtaining a CAQ.

Custodian document

If a minor child is coming to study, the parents (or legal guardian) must accompany the child or there must be a custodian in Canada (Citizen or Permanent Resident). Notwithstanding the DLI acceptance exemption, minor children do need the study permit if they are applying from outside of Canada.

Duration of study permit

In the event of non-renewal before the expiry date of the study permit, you will lose your student status. You have 90 days to regain your status and may continue to study until a decision is made.

A study permit is normally valid for the duration of the study program plus an additional 90 days, however, if you are taking prerequisite courses, the permit is valid for the duration of the prerequisite course plus an additional 90 days. Furthermore, the permit expires at the expiry date of passport, health insurance coverage, or 90 days after the program completion; whichever is earlier. A student who is unable to complete the program on time, on the other hand, may request an extension before the permit's expiration date.

Processing Time

While there is no certainty on how long it will take to process your application, you should apply at least 4-5 months ahead of time. If your application is incomplete or the visa officer requests additional information, the processing period will be longer.

Student Direct Stream

Residents of Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam who meet eligibility criteria such as an acceptance letter with the proof of tuition fee payment, police clearance, biometrics, English proficiency, proof of funds, and providing complete documentation, may get their study permit within 20 calendar days under the Student Direct Stream.  Additionally, their accompanying spouse, common-law partner, or dependent children's visa or work permit application may be handled at the same time.

Country-specific requirement

Whereas the Letter of Acceptance from a DLI and proof of financing are important documents; the application checklist has all essential forms and documents required with the application. Furthermore, your RCIC or RSIA will be able to assist you with the country-specific requirements.

Application on entry

You can apply for a study permit at the Port of Entry if you are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, a resident of Greenland, or a resident of St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Application from inside Canada

Though most visitors are not permitted to apply for a study permit while in Canada; if you currently have one, you may request to extend it from within the country. Similarly, if your spouse, common-law partner, or parents have a study or work permit in Canada, you can apply for your study permit from inside Canada. Persons who have been in Canada for six months or more on a Temporary Resident Permit and are awaiting a decision on their Permanent Resident Application after entering Canada, exchange students, and refugee claimants can apply while being in Canada. Likewise, traders, investors, and intra-company transferees can apply for a study permit under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement.

Loss of Status

You must actively pursue your studies by being enrolled at the Designated Learning Institute to maintain your student status. Notwithstanding the provision of taking up to 150 days off and eligibility to transfer to another school, IRCC may set special requirements for study, work, travel, and medical treatments among other things. You may lose your student status if you do not meet these requirements.


About the author

Satyendra Verma[CICC ID: R708754]
Overture Immigration services is a full-service Canadian Immigration Firm specializing in advising and representing foreign nationals in their immigration application for a permanent or temporary residence.
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