Frequently asked questions about studying in Canada.

The first step is to get admission to a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) recognized by the government of Canada. Once an individual receives a letter of acceptance from a DLI, he or she may be able to apply for a study permit. Applications may be made online or by mail.

All new study permits are issued at a Canadian port of entry. An applicant who has submitted an application to a foreign Canadian Visa Office will be issued a letter of approval advising him or her to travel to a Canadian port of entry to have the study permit issued. A study permit is generally issued for the duration of the person’s studies.

Tuition fees vary based on institution. Please contact the administration where you intend to study for more information.

Canada study permit applicants need to prove they have sufficient funds to cover tuition fees, and financial capacity to support living expenses for the first year of study.  This table shows minimum funds required to support yourself as a student and family members who come with you to Canada:

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 $6,171
One person age 18 or older $12,341
Two persons age 18 or older $18,098
One person over age 18 and one under age 18 $16,584
Two persons over age 18 and one under age 18 $20,274
Two persons over age 18 and two under age 18 $21,881


While a study permit authorizes international students to pursue their studies while in Canada, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) allows a person to enter Canada. Depending on the country of citizenship, an international student may need a TRV for entry.

For overseas applications, applicants from countries whose citizens require TRV in order to enter Canada will be issued a TRV automatically if the application for a study permit is approved. These applicants do not need to submit a separate application for a TRV and there is no separate fee. The same applies to applicants from countries whose citizens need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to enter Canada by air.

Scholarships may be available to international students from private, government or public institutions in Canada. There may be scholarships available to international students from the study institution of choice.

Learn more about financial aid for international students in Canada.

Please note that most Canadian Universities and colleges may require IELTS or proof of language proficiency in order to gain admission. However, please note that this is an admission requirement and not a requirement for a Canadian Study Permit unless applying through the Student Partner Program. Therefore, it is advisable that you verify with the academic institution you wish to attend to determine if IELTS is required and the scores needed.

Canada requires citizens of certain countries to have their biometrics (fingerprints and photographs) provided.  For a complete list of countries that require biometric identification, please visit this page.

Processing times for study permits vary by visa office. For a complete list of processing times based on visa office, please visit this page.

Applicants interested in studying in Quebec need to first apply for a Certificat d’acceptation de Quebec (Certificate of Acceptance for Quebec, or CAQ) and then apply for a study permit.

An applicant is not required to obtain a study permit for a program, which is less than six months in duration. However, if a course is longer than six months, the prospective student will need to apply for a study permit.

There are benefits to applying to a study permit even if you are applying to a program that is less than six months. Even if you do not need a study permit, it may be beneficial to apply for one. In the event that you decide to continue studying in a new program after completing your short-term studies, without a study permit, you may be required to leave the country and apply through a Canadian visa office outside Canada. To apply for a permit for a short-term course or program, your studies must be at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

If an application is refused, the individual may be able to re-apply with a new application.

An international student may be eligible to work while studying in Canada. A student must have a valid study permit and be enrolled full-time at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Study permit holders may be allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and full time during scheduled breaks. To work “on-campus” a student must meet the following criteria listed on this page.

In order to work “off-campus”, a study permit must be authorized for off-campus work by a visa officer. If you are enrolled in a full-time academic, professional or vocational training program at a designated learning institution, you may be eligible to work “off-campus” without a work permit. However, it should be printed on the study permit that you are authorized to work off-campus.

An international student must stop working the day they no longer meet the eligibility requirements. There is an important exemption to this regulation: students enrolled in an English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) program are not authorized to work with a study permit.

Canadian immigration policy offers international students many ways to stay and settle in the country after graduation. A popular option available to international students after graduation is the possibility for an open work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). Under the PGWPP, an individual who has studied full-time at a participating Designated Learning Institution (DLI) may be eligible to apply for a PGWP.

Gaining work experience in Canada after graduation may help you qualify for permanent residence in Canada through a variety of immigration available immigration programs. For more information on PGWP eligibility criteria, please visit this page. Generally, if a PGWP is issued, it is for the same duration as the applicant's studies for a minimum of eight months and a maximum of three years.

An applicant may be required to undergo a medical examination based on the discretion of the visa officer.

An applicant may need a criminal record check if he or she intends to come to Canada as a student. If required, he or she will have to obtain a police certificate from each country or territory where he or she has lived for six or more months consecutively since the age of 18. Police certificates are required to determine if applicants have a criminal record. They also help visa officers make sure applicants are not a security risk to Canada.

If a student is transferring from one Designated Learning Institution (DLI) to another, even if it is at the same level of study, he or she must notify Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) by updating his or her online account and ensuring that the school is a DLI.

The same applies for post-secondary students changing their level of study (i.e. from a bachelor’s to master’s program). Please check the conditions listed on the study permit to verify whether the permit restricts the holder from studying at a particular institution or program.

If a student transfers to a school, college, or university in Quebec, he or she will need to apply for a Certificate of Acceptance to Quebec (CAQ) and, if necessary, a new study permit. Primary students who are entering high school, as well as high school students who will move on to post-secondary education, must apply to modify their study permit.

A spouse or common-law partner of a valid study permit holder, who is enrolled full-time at a qualified post-secondary institution, may be eligible to apply for an open work permit.  The open work permit for a spouse or common-law partner may be valid for the same period of time as the study permit, and as long as the study permit remains valid. In the study permit application, the applicant should indicate that the spouse will accompany him or her to Canada. If a spouse later decides to study in Canada, he or she should submit his or her own study permit application.

For an accompanying spouse to be considered eligible for an open work permit, the study permit holder must be enrolled full-time at a degree-granting post-secondary institution. Eligible post-secondary institutions include:

  • public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec;
  • private college-level school in Quebec; and
  • Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law.

Learn more about how international students can bring their family to Canada.

An applicant’s dependent children may accompany him or her to Canada. However, an application for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) may be required for the accompanying dependent.

If an individual is already in Canada on a study or work permit, his or her accompanying minor child may be eligible to study without a study permit. A study permit applicant must indicate that his or her minor children will also study in Canada.

A letter of acceptance from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) will not be required for accompanying children. Once the is no longer under the age of majority, he or she must apply for a study permit to continue studies in Canada.

The age of majority is different in each province and territory, although it is usually 18 or 19 years of age. Anyone under the age of majority is considered a minor.

Learn more about how international students can bring their family to Canada.

Yes, a potential international student can explore Canada as a visitor before studies begin. Individuals should verify whether they need a Temporary Resident Visas (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada.

Citizens of certain countries require a visa to visit Canada. To verify whether a visa is required, click here. 

A study permit application should be complete upon submission. A visa officer may make a decision based on the documents submitted with the initial application without giving the applicant a chance to submit the missing document.

Each province and territory in Canada decides the age when a person is considered an adult, also known as the age of majority. The age of majority is usually 18 or 19 years of age depending on the province or territory. There are special requirements for a minor to be to study in Canada if he or she is under the age of majority. A minor child must either come with a parent or legal guardian or have a custodian in Canada. 

A custodian is a responsible adult who is also a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is appointed to take care of and support the minor child in Canada. An immigration officer must be convinced that once the minor child travels to Canada to study he or she will have the proper care and support they need.

Unaccompanied minors wishing to obtain a study permit must appoint a custodian who will care for and support them while in Canada. To appoint a custodian, a Custodianship declaration form must be submitted with an application for a study permit. The declaration form needs to be signed by the custodian and the parents or legal guardians in the home country and certified by a lawyer or notary wherever signed.

For more information about finding a custodian, please contact the international student office of the institution where the minor child plans to study and consult this page.

Distance learning may be conducted through e-learning, correspondence, or online courses. Distance learning is a process that often involves a learning process by which technology is used to so that the student does not need to be physically present where the teaching is taking place. A study permit cannot be issued for a distance learning course.

However, if a distance learning program includes an in-Canada portion, and the length of the program is longer than six months then the student may receive a study permit for the in-Canada portion of the program. The duration of the study permit, however, is restricted to the duration of the in-Canada portion only.

Education in Canada may offer international students a route to Canadian permanent residence. There are a range of federal and provincial programs available for international students to apply for immigration, and in some cases, this can be done without a job offer. Canadian education and work experience award those who are eligible additional points in the federal Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System. For more information on different programs available to international graduates, please visit this page.  

The Student Partners Program (SPP) is an administrative framework developed between Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to streamline the visa application process for international students studying in Canada from India and China. For more information on SPP, please visit this page.

 

To find out if you are eligible for a study permit, or to discover your options for staying in Canada after graduation, please fill out the free Study Pathway assessment form today.

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