What is a study permit?
A study permit is a document allowing foreign students to study at designated learning institutions in Canada. Most foreigners must secure study permits prior to their arrival if their study programs exceed six months. Study permits are not visas and do not allow you to enter the country so an eTA or visitor visa is usually required. However, these are issued to individuals on approval of their study permits.
Who needs a study permit?
If you are planning to study in Canada for longer than 6 months, you will be required to get a study permit from a Canadian consulate, high commission, or embassy. If you plan to stay in Canada for less than six months on a tourist visa, and subsequently study for longer than 6 months, it is recommended that you secure a study permit prior to initial arrival to Canada otherwise you could be required to leave and apply for this permit outside of Canada.
Who does not need a study permit?
Some individuals are exempt from requiring study permits. Students do not require study permits if they plan to take a course or program in Canada lasting six months or fewer or if they are a family or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
How long can I stay in the country with a study permit?
A study permit is valid for the duration of your course plus an extra 90 days. This period allows you to decide whether to leave or extend your study program in Canada. Study permits stop being valid 90 days after the end of the study program, no matter if this is earlier than the date initially planned and thus written on the permit.
How to apply
Study permit applications are sent and processed by Immigration and Citizenship Canada. However, before applying, students need an acceptance letter from the chosen learning institution, a valid passport or ID, proof they or their family can support them financially throughout their studies in Canada. You can see the full list of documents here.
Likewise, to study in Quebec, individuals must get a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, Diversité et Inclusion (MIDI) prior to applying to Immigration and Citizenship Canada.
Costs and application processing times
The fee for applying for a study permit is $150 CAN (2019).
Processing times vary between countries. You can check how long it is likely to take to process your application here. Students from certain countries who meet certain requirements may apply to get their permits more quickly through the Student Direct Stream.