Congratulations on your decision to a better tomorrow! Canada being one of the best global destinations for success, weaves the theatre of dreams. Many students from across the world pick Canada for their educational journey to benefit from the recognized and friendly learning institutes in a welcoming environment. In 2020, about 300,000 immigrants have arrived in Canada. With Canada being one of the best destinations for immigrants, it is no wonder a fifth of the total population is comprised of immigrants! Before applying to enter Canada as a student, applicants need to ensure they have a valid study permit [study permit FAQ] and will be attending a designated learning institute [FAQ]. Students can apply to change their conditions once they have completed their language program and are enrolled at a DLI. Once they graduate, they can apply for a work permit called the Post-Graduation Work Permit [FAQ]. The Post-Graduation Work Permit allows students who have completed their post-secondary studies to seek work for a specific period of time.
Planning on studying in Canada? Here is all you need to know. First, a study permit is
required for studying in Canada. Post-secondary education is the undergraduate study program
completed after high school, often in universities and colleges. Postgraduate studies
including medical, dental, and law school are completed after the completion of a bachelor’s
degree from an undergraduate program.
Students will be attending a Designated Learning Institute (DLI), schools approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. Some programs have English as Second Language (ESL) prerequisites to make sure students have a smooth transition into an English-speaking area. Language proficiency is assessed by standardized tests such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Students need to attend a DLI with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan [FAQ]. This however, does not permit the holder to do off-campus work in Canada and not all DLIs make students eligible for the post-graduation work permit.
The Canadian government has implemented pathways to process the high volume of applicants. The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is an expedited processing program for the study permit.
Students can apply for working on- and off-campus. Students may work on-campus without a work permit. Students with a Social Insurance Number (SIN) may work off-campus up to 20 hours per week during academic sessions and full time during scheduled breaks.
Graduates from inside Canada can apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit up to 180 days after getting their degree/diploma, transcript, or official letter from their school. If the study permit expires before receiving a mark, they can either apply for a visitor record to stay longer or leave Canada and apply for a PGWP. A visitor record is a document which allows a visitor to stay longer. To apply for the PGWP from outside Canada, applicants need to be approved for a study permit. People entering Canada require a temporary resident visa (TRV) or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). The eTA is valid for 5 years from the date of the issuance or until the passport expires. If the study permit expires before applying, applicants have up to 90 days to apply for the PGWP AND restore the student status. If applicants do not apply after the 90 days, they must leave Canada.
What is required for obtaining the study permit?
- An acceptance letter is required from the selected school (Drop down arrow opening below) Applicants may receive conditional acceptance. This means that prerequisite courses are needed to be taken. These may include English or French courses (ESL/FSL) which must be completed prior to the start of the main study program. In this case, a study permit will be issued for the length of the prerequisite courses plus 1 year. Upon being admitted to the main program, a new study permit application is required to extend the stay as a student.
- A valid passport or travel document and 2 recent passport-size photos
- Provide proof of financial support
- Be able to financially support themselves and their family members during their study period as well as tuitions, transportation
- Letter of explanation explaining why they want to study in Canada.
- Certificate d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) if they want to study in Quebec.
- Pass the IRCC medical examination.
What is required for the Student Direct Stream SDS?
- Ba legal resident, living in: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam
- proof of a valid language test result completed within 2 years of the date the application was received (drop down arrow to below info) An International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6 or higher in each section or a Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) score equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 7 for each section is required
- Proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 CAD or more from any bank insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)
- Proof of full payment of tuition for the applicant’s first year of study.
- Letter of acceptance from a post-secondary DLI
- The most recent secondary or post-secondary educational transcript
- Proof of completion of medical examination
The following documents are also required if applicable:
- Application for Study Permit Made Outside Canada [IMM 1294] (overseas)
- Family Information [IMM 5645]
- Schedule 1 – Application for a Temporary Resident Visa [IMM 5257]
- Marriage licence or certificate or Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union form [IMM 5409]
- Use of a Representative [IMM 5476]
- Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for Quebec applicants
- Application processing fee payment and biometric processing fee payment
- Proof of identity, photocopy of the information and biographic data page of the applicant’s passport
- Any additional documents specified by the visa office instructions for the applicant’s region
For a specific processing time, please visit the IRCC website
Fees and Expenses
$150 for the Study permit
$85 biometric processing fee
Post-Graduation Work Permit:
$255 ($155 PGWP, $100 Open Work Permit Holder)
$350 (restoration fee for expired study permits) * * Both fees apply to applicants with expired study permits.
Rejection. Refusal. Damage control. These are things you hopefully would not face with hiring an immigration lawyer. Although hiring a lawyer is not required by law, the immigration process is difficult and often confusing. By consulting an immigration lawyer, you can put your mind at ease and let the professionals help you along the journey.
Do I need a permit to study in Canada?
Yes, with a few exceptions, students planning on studying in Canada need a study permit.
When should I apply for a study permit?
Applicants should apply for the study permit before their arrival to Canada.
Will I receive a refund if my study permit application is turned down?
No, refused applications do not receive a refund. This is why it is important to consult an immigration lawyer to ensure the best results.
What is the COVID-19 readiness plan?
This plan is in effect to ensure the health and safety of everyone. A 14-day quarantine plan is necessary regardless of being fully vaccinated. The final decision regarding the 14-day quarantine will be made upon arriving in Canada. Attempting to travel to Canada for a DLI not on the readiness plan may result in being denied boarding the flight or being turned away when applicable.
What are DLIs?
Designated Learning Institutes are schools approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. All primary and secondary schools are DLIs.
Does studying at all DLIs lead to a post-graduation work permit?
No, not all DLIs ensure a PGWP issuance. For a list of accepted DLIs, visit the following link
How long does the process take?
The processing time may slightly vary for every applicant. Visit the following link for an accurate estimate
How much does the study permit process cost?
$150 for the Study permit
$85 biometric processing fee
As an international student, can I work while studying?
Depending on the study permit’s conditions, students may be able to work on- or off-campus without a work permit.
Can I work full time during my studies?
Students with a Social Insurance Number (SIN) may work off-campus up to 20 hours per week
during academic sessions and full time during scheduled breaks.
Can I work after finishing my program?
No, however you can apply for a post-graduation work permit.
What is the post-graduation work permit?
The post-Graduation Work Permit allows students who have completed their post-secondary
studies to seek work for a specific period of time.
For how long can I get a post-graduation work permit?
The post-graduation work permit may be valid from 8 months to 3 years depending on the length
of the study program.
What is an open work permit?
The post-graduation work permit is an open work permit, meaning individuals can work anywhere in any field in Canada.
I’m currently studying at a DLI, when can I apply for a post-graduation work permit?
Graduates from inside Canada can apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit up to 180 days after getting their degree/diploma, transcript, or official letter from their school.
Can I still apply for a post-graduation work permit after the study permit is expired? If the study permit expires before applying, applicants have up to 90 days to apply for the PGWP AND restore the student status. If applicants do not apply after the 90 days, they must leave Canada.
What is the processing fee for the post-graduation work permit?
$255 ($155 PGWP, $100 Open Work Permit Holder)
However, if the study permit is expired, an additional $350 restoration fee is also in order.
What is the Student Direct Stream?
The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is an expedited processing program for the study permit. To be eligible for SDS processing, the applicant must be a legal resident, living in: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam.
What is a TRV?
A Temporary Resident Visa is a visitor visa placed in the passport to show that the individual has met the requirements for admission to Canada.
What is an eTA?
An Electronic Travel Authorization is for foreign individuals with a visa exemption. The eTA is linked electronically to the passport and is valid for 5 years.
Do I need a TRV or an eTA to study in Canada?
Depending on your country of origin, you may need one or the other in addition to a study permit.
How can I know if I can apply for an eTA?
The list of countries with visa-exempt travellers can be found in the following link
Can I travel in/out of Canada with a TRV?
Depends on the TRV. Having a single-entry visa means you will need to get a new single-entry visa to come back. However, you can travel in/out of Canada with a multiple-entry temporary resident visa.
As an international student, can I apply to become a permanent resident?
There are several pathways for applicants including the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Provincial Nominee Program.
What is the Canadian Experience Class?
The CEC is an immigration program for skilled workers who have Canadian work experience and want to become permanent residents.
What is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?
The FSW program is for skilled workers, who unlike the CEC, have foreign work experience and are planning on becoming permanent residents.
What is the Provincial Nominee Program?
The PNP is a set of programs specific to each province. These programs select applicants based on the specific needs of the respected province. The PNP is different in every province as the demands vary.