A study permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows international students to study at a designated learning institution in Canada. Once you obtain a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution such as a university or college, you need to submit an application to IRCC to obtain a study permit.
An applicant for a Canadian study permit may include his or her family members on the application, so that they may accompany the applicant to Canada. An accompanying spouse may be able to obtain an open work permit, enabling them to work for any Canadian employer, and minor children may be able to study at Canadian elementary and secondary schools.
Most international students require a study permit. You do not need a study permit if your program in Canada is for six months or less. In addition, minor children and other individuals may be exempt from requiring a Canadian study permit.
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.
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.
How to obtain a study permit
It is important to apply for a study permit immediately upon receiving the letter of acceptance. Study permit processing times vary, and applicants may see delays during busy times — particularly during the summer months.
In order to be eligible to submit an application for a Canadian study permit, a prospective student must:
- Obtain a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution in order to submit an application for a study permit
- Prove that he or she has sufficient financial support to cover the first year of tuition, as well as living expenses and return transportation to his or her home country
- Obtain a Certificat d'acceptation du Quebec (Quebec Acceptance Certificate, or CAQ) if he or she wishes to study in Montreal or elsewhere in the Province of Quebec
- Have clean record. Applicants with a criminal background, or who pose a risk to Canadian security, may be refused.
- IRCC may request an applicant to supply a police clearance certificate
- Be in good health. IRCC may request an applicant to complete a medical examination; and,
- Satisfy the immigration officer that he or she will leave Canada at the end of the stay authorized by the study permit
The applicant may also be required to submit the following supporting documents:
- Passport for the applicant and every family member included on the application;
- Two passport photos for the applicant and each family member included on the application, with the full name and date of birth written on the back;
- Photocopy of marriage certificate, if applicable; and,
- Any further documents required by specific visa offices.
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