If you wish to study in Canada, you will need a study permit which authorizes you to stay in Canada for the duration of your study. A study permit is a written authorization issued by an officer allowing foreign nationals to study in Canada.

A study permit becomes invalid 90 days after your study program has been completed. Your program is considered complete when you receive a notification of program completion from your school.

Before you can apply for a study permit, you must have been accepted at a designated learning institution in Canada. You also need to have the right documents.

To be eligible to study in Canada, 

  • You must have been accepted by a designated learning institution in Canada.
  • You must prove that 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.
  • You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • You must be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
  • You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.

Exceptions

In some cases, you do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada.

  • If you wish to study in a short-term course or program
    You do not need a study permit if you plan to take a course or program in Canada that lasts six months or less. You must complete the course or program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada.
  • Foreign representatives to Canada
    If you are a family member or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), you may not need a permit to study in Canada. You should contact your embassy in Canada. Your embassy can contact the Office of Protocol at GAC to find out whether you need a study permit.
  • Members of foreign armed forces
    If you are a member of a foreign armed force under the Visiting Forces Act, you do not need a permit to study in Canada. If your family members, including minor children, want to study in Canada, they must meet the requirements.
  • Foreign nationals who are Registered Indians in Canada
    If you are a citizen of another country who has Registered Indian status in Canada, you do not need a permit to study in Canada.

To Apply

You can apply for a study permit in two ways: Online and on paper.

Get the right documents: There are certain documents you need to apply for a study permit, such as proof of acceptance, proof of identity, proof of financial support and a letter of explanation.

To apply online you must have access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents for uploading and have a valid credit card for payment.

  • If you provide an email address on your application, please ensure you check it regularly for automated emails from CIC regarding your case. Some spam filters block these emails, and clients are requested to ensure emails from CIC are not blocked. If you are unsure whether emails from CIC are being sent, please check your myCIC account on a regular basis.

To Apply on Paper: You can get help with your paper application at your nearest visa application centre (VAC).

  • The package includes the application guide and all the forms you need to fill out.
  • Depending on your citizenship, you may need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa, as well as a study permit. If you need an eTA or visa, it will automatically be issued at the same time as your study permit. You do not need to make a separate application or pay an additional fee.
  • Citizens from 29 countries and 1 territory need to give biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) when they apply for a visa.
  • To apply for a study permit, consult the list of the documents you will need. Make sure you include these with your application.

If you want to study in the province of Quebec, check the provincial guidelines. To apply, you need a certificate of acceptance or a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ). Your school can also provide you with information. You must have received the certificate of acceptance before applying for a study permit.

Fill in the forms carefully and completely.

  • Answer all questions carefully, completely and truthfully. Incomplete application packages will not be processed. They will be returned to you.
  • Add appropriate characters for languages that do not use the Latin alphabet, such as Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic, Japanese, Hebrew, etc.
  • Type or print clearly, using black ink.
  • There is a fee to apply for a study permit. In many countries, the processing fee can be paid in the local currency.
  • More information about this and the payment methods available to you can be found by visiting the pay your fees tool.
  • If you decide to submit your application at a visa application centre (VAC), you will have to pay the VAC services fees. These fees are not included in your CIC application fees.
  • Families should send their applications in one package to the location where the principal applicant will be processed (based on their type of application).
  • To find out where to submit your application, please select the country/territory you will be applying from (you can choose your country of nationality or the country/territory where you have been legally admitted)

Additional information or documents

After the visa office receives your application, the visa office might request more information or documents. These may include the following:

  • Medical information
    In most cases, you will need a medical examination. A visa officer will send you instructions if you need one. This may add more than three months to the processing time of your application. Find more information about medical examinations.
  • Security information
    If you want to study in Canada, you and any family members who come to Canada with you, and who are 18 years of age and over, may have to provide police certificates. Find more information about the security checks.

Processing time: The length of time to process your application varies depending on the visa office where you applied.

The status of your application: Processing times vary depending on the Canadian visa office where you submitted your application.

  • The visa office will review your application to make sure you have completed it correctly and have included all the required documents. If your application is incomplete, it will not be processed—it will be returned to you.
  • If your application is complete, the visa office will review it and decide if an interview is necessary. If so, the officer will inform you of the time and place.

Change of address

If you move or change your address, telephone number or any other contact information after you submit your application, you must notify the visa office where you submitted your application.

If your application is approved

If your application is approved:

  • A letter of introduction will be sent to you confirming the approval. This letter is not your study permit. Bring the letter of introduction with you to show to immigration officials at the point of entry when you arrive in Canada.
  • An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will be issued if you are from a country whose citizens need an eTA.  If one is issued for you, it will be indicated in the letter of introduction you receive.
    • The eTA will be linked to your passport. It is important that you travel with the passport you used when you applied for your study permit.
    • The eTA will be valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
  •  A visitor visa (temporary resident visa) will be issued if you are from a country whose citizens need a visa
    • The visa will be in your passport. The expiry date on this visa indicates the date by which you must enter Canada. You must enter Canada before your visa expires.
    • The visa will also indicate if you can enter Canada only once (a single-entry visa) or if you can enter Canada multiple times (a multiple-entry visa).

If your application is not approved

If your application is not approved, the visa office will send you a letter explaining why your application has been refused. An application might be refused for several reasons:

  • You have not shown proof that you have enough money to support yourself while studying in Canada.
  • You have not passed the medical examination if one was required.
  • You have not satisfied the visa officer that your primary intention in Canada is to study.
  • You have not satisfied the visa officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your period of study.

If you have questions about your refusal, contact the visa office that issued the refusal letter.

Get a paper application at the nearest Visa Application Centre

Click here for glossary of designated Learning Institutions

List of documents you need