Study in Canada
A document required by most foreign nationals to be able to study in Canada at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. You should apply before you travel to Canada as a study permit is not a visa – It does not let you enter Canada so you may also need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). Make sure you have all the documents ready before you apply.
You can study in Canada if you:
- are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI);
- prove you have enough money to pay for your:
- tuition fees,
- living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada, and
- return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada;
- obey the law, have no criminal record and get a police certificate (if required);
- are in good health and get a medical exam (if required); and
- prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires.
How Long Can You Stay in Canada with a Study Permit?
A study permit is usually valid for the length of your study program, plus an extra 90 days. The 90 days allows you to prepare to leave Canada or apply to extend your stay.
- If you’re taking prerequisite courses
If your school asks you to take courses before they accept you into the main program (you have conditional acceptance), your study permit will be valid for the length of those courses, plus 1 year. When you get accepted into the main program, you must then apply to extend your stay as a student.
- If you’ll finish your studies after your study permit expires
If you don’t finish your courses before the date on your permit, you must apply to extend your stay as a student. If you don’t, you’ll need to stop studying and leave Canada.
- If you finish your studies before your study permit expires
If you finish your studies early, your permit will stop being valid 90 days after you complete your studies, no matter what day is printed on the study permit.
- You’ve completed your studies on the date your school first notifies you by completion letter, transcript, degree or diploma.
You must provide proof of the date your school notifies you, or the date you get your degree, diploma or certificate. If you don’t have proof, we’ll use the earliest issue date on the document. We may confirm this date with your school.
People Who Don’t Need a Permit to Study in Canada:
- Short term studies (6 months or less) – If you’re taking prerequisite courses, you should still get a study permit, even if the courses are less than 6 months long. If you don’t, you’ll have to apply for a study permit before you can start your full-time study program. Depending on processing times, you may not get it in time to start your studies if you don’t apply in advance;
- Family or staff of foreign representatives;
- Members of foreign armed forces;
- Registered Indians in Canada – even if you’re a citizen of another country; and
- Minor children in Canada: in kindergarten, refugees or refugee claimants, in pre-school/primary/secondary school and are already in Canada with a parent who has a work or study permit. This is valid until they reach the age of majority (aged 18-19 years old, depending on province or territory). After they reach the age of majority for where they live it will be required to keep studying.
Can You Go Back Home while Studying?
Yes. If you leave Canada during your studies, you may need to show proof you’re enrolled in your school when you return to Canada.
If you have a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA), it must still be valid when you return to Canada.
Why Get a Study Permit if You Don’t Need One?
There are 2 reasons you may want to get a study permit even if you don’t need one:
1. You may be able to continue studying (as long as you meet the requirements); or
2. You may be able to work on-campus or off-campus.