In order to study in Canada at any level, a foreign national is usually required to apply for and receive a Canadian study permit. However, there are circumstances in which a foreign student is exempt from this requirement.

Are you eligible?

To find out if you are eligible for a Canadian Study Permit, fill out a free assessment form.

Study Assessment Form

Short-Term Study in Canada

Individuals do not require a study permit in order to pursue a program of study for six months or less. Courses may consist of any subject(s), and may be taken on a part- or full-time basis. In order to be deemed exempt from the requirement for a study permit, the course of study should be completed within the six month period. A visa extension will not be granted for the sole purpose of completing a short-term program.

Foreign nationals in Canada without a study permit who wish to enroll in an educational program must apply for a study permit from outside Canada. An exception may be made if the course is short-term in nature and can be completed within the original period of stay specified upon their entry to Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada recommends that foreign nationals seek a study permit for a program of six months or less if they intend to work on campus or continue their studies in Canada after completion of the initial program.

Minor Children in Canada

Any minor child residing in Canada may study at a pre-school, primary or secondary level without a study permit. This applies to the children of temporary students or workers, as well as Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

This exception does not apply to children of temporary residents who are not authorized to work or study in Canada (i.e. visitors).

Family Members and Private Staff of Diplomats

Family members or members of the private staff of foreign diplomats and foreign accredited representatives do not require a permit to study in Canada. For purposes of this exception, a family member is defined as:

  • A spouse or common-law partner;
  • The dependent child of the individual or their spouse/common-law partner; or
  • The dependent child of a dependent child.

Members of Foreign Armed Forces in Canada

Members of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state under the Visiting Forces Act do not require a permit to study in Canada.

The Visiting Forces Act lists the following countries as designated states:
Albania Hungary Oman
Antigua and Barbuda Iceland Poland
Australia Italy Portugal
Azerbaijan Ivory Coast Romania
Bangladesh Jamaica Sierra Leone
Barbados Japan Singapore
Belgium Kazakhstan Slovak Republic
Brunei Kenya Slovenia
Bulgaria Korea Spain
Cameroon Kuwait Sudan
Croatia Latvia Sweden
Czech Republic Lithuania Swaziland
Denmark Luxembourg Tanzania
El Salvador Malawi Trinidad and Tobago
Estonia Malaysia Uganda
Ethiopia Moldova Ukraine
Finland Nepal United Arab Emirates
France New Zealand United States
Georgia Nicaragua Uzbekistan
Ghana Niger Venezuela
Greece Nigeria Zambia
Guyana Norway Zimbabwe

Tools and Resources

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