Getting a student visa might take some time and in some cases can be a surprisingly difficult and confusing procedure. Nevertheless, Canada welcomes more than 130,000 foreign students each year, and the number is consistently growing.
In order to become an international student in Canada, you may need to obtain a student visa, which is often referred to as Canadian study permit, for the specific duration of stay. If you are planning to study in Canada for six months or less, you do not need a Canadian study permit.
Once you have a Canadian study permit, you can apply to renew it from within Canada if you decide to continue your studies. A student permit offers some benefits for full-time international students such as:
In addition, your immediate family (spouses or common-law partners, and children) can accompany you and stay in Canada for the same duration of your Study Permit. Nevertheless, spouses or common-law partners of foreign students are eligible for an open work permit, which means they do not need a job offer or a labour market opinion from Service Canada.
Before you can apply for a study permit, you must have already been accepted at a Canadian college or university which is on the Designated Learning Institution (DLI) list. University and college students should apply a year before they want to start their studies.
You must meet these specific requirements in order to be eligible for a student permit:
There are some cases in which you do not need to obtain a study permit to go to school in Canada. Contact our advisors in order to find out your eligibility.
To apply for a study permit you must receive a Letter of Acceptance from an authorized school or university in Canada. Also, you will be required to provide additional documents including proof of identity, proof of financial support, and letter of explanation.
Students studying in Quebec must also apply for a certificate of acceptance, known as a CAQ, from the government of Quebec. They must acquire this before they are permitted to apply for a study permit. Students can get application for a certificate of acceptance online by printing out a form, or by requesting a paper form from your university, which will also provide advice on how to process this document.
Once you have received the Letter of Acceptance, you can begin applying for the study permit. There are two ways to fill out the application form: either by paper or online. Additionally, you will be required to pay your application fees. In some cases, CIC may require you to undergo medical examinations and provide Police Clearance Certificates.
After your application is approved, a temporary resident visa (TRV) might be issued if you are from a country from which Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) requires TRVs for entry into Canada. Furthermore, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) might be issued as well, if you are not from a visa-exempt country. As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travelers with a valid visa.
Once you arrive in Canada, you must maintain you student status. For instance, you must remain enrolled and make reasonable progress towards completion of your program. Otherwise, failure to do so may lead to your removal from Canada.
While studying, international students may work part-time on and off campus. In some cases, you will need to apply for a student work permit.
You may work on campus at the institution where you study without a work permit if:
NOTE: You must stop working on-campus on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements.
Furthermore, to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs, you will need to obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada.
International students may gain relevant working experience by working off campus during their studies. If they qualify, they may work up to 20 hours per week regular academic sessions, and work full time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring breaks.
As of June 2014, students may qualify to work off campus without a work permit. To qualify, a student must:
NOTE:You must stop working on-campus on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements.
IMPORTANT: As of February 2, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is no longer issuing confirmation to work off campus documents. If you were previously issued a confirmation to work off campus document by CIC, you may continue to present it to Service Canada in order to apply for a SIN.
For some academic programs, work experience is a part of the curriculum. International students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit.
To be eligible for a work permit, a foreign student must meet the following requirements:
Please keep in mind that if you study English or French as a second language, or you participate in general interest or preparatory courses, you will not be eligible to work during your studies.