A Study Permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows a foreign national to study in Canada for a limited time.
In order to be eligible to submit an application for a Canadian study permit, a prospective student must:
The applicant may also be required to submit the following documents:
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, and minor children may be able to study at Canadian elementary and secondary schools. To learn more, click here.
Once a prospective student meets the eligibility criteria and has the correct documents, he or she may apply for a study permit. This can be done online or by paper. A paper application must be submitted to a visa processing office outside of Canada.
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.
To view an estimate of the study permit processing times per country, click here.
Applicants for a Canadian study permit are required to prove they have enough money to cover the first year of tuition fees. They also need to have the financial resources to support themselves, and any accompanying family members, each year. The following table show the amounts that a student is required to possess (all amounts in Canadian dollars):
|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||$6,377|
|One person age 18 or older||$12,750|
|Two persons age 18 or older||$18,702|
|One person over age 18 and one under age 18||$17,137|
|Two persons over age 18 and one under age 18||$20,950|
|Two persons over age 18 and two under age 18||$22,611|
Financial resources may be proven with a combination of the following:
Family or friends of the applicant may submit letters confirming that they will support the applicant during his or her studies.
If an application is approved, the prospective student will receive:
After obtaining a study permit, students may need to renew or change the study permit during the course of their studies in Canada. To learn more about renewing, extending, or changing the conditions of a study permit, click here.
If a student at a post-secondary institution wishes to change institution, study program, or level of study he or she does not need to apply for a new study permit. However, he or she is required to update IRCC upon changing institutions. For example, a student may move from Bachelor level to Master’s level, or from Geography to Philosophy, or from a college to a university, without applying for a new study permit. He or she does not need to apply for a change to the condition of the study permit. A student may study in Canada as long as the study permit is valid.
However, an international student moving from elementary school to high school, or from high school to a post-secondary institution, is required to apply for a change in the conditions of the study permit. The application must be submitted to the IRCC Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.
Study permits expire 90 days after graduation, regardless of the date printed on the study permit itself. It is extremely important that international graduates update their status with IRCC within 90 days of graduation, or they risk losing status in Canada.
Many graduates are eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). This permits the holder to work for any employer anywhere in Canada for up to three years after graduation. Work experience gained on a PGWP may help facilitate an application for Canadian Permanent Residency, especially through programs such as the Canadian Experience Class and certain Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
If an international graduate does not apply for a PGWP, he or she may do the following to maintain legal status in Canada: