Study Permits for International Students Pursuing Their Studies in Canada

The study permit is a document allowing foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada. Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. Make sure that you have all required documentation and apply for your study permit before you travel to Canada.

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If you want to study at a Canadian institution as an international student, you are required to apply for a study permit. Study permits are issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

Study permits authorize you to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. 

However, you do not require a study permit if the following conditions apply to your case:

  • Your study program is for 6 months or less
  • You have minor children inside of Canada
  • You are accompanying a foreign representative as a family member or staff
  • You are a member of the armed forces of a country designated for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act
  • You are a registered Indians

Who is Eligible for a Study Permit?

The following requirements need to be satisfied to be eligible for a study permit in Canada:

  • Have an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada
  • Demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support your stay in Canada
  • Not be criminally inadmissible
  • Clear a medical examination if required
  • Convince an immigration officer that you intend to leave Canada after your study permit expires

Which Programs are Offered Under Study Permits?

The following programs are offered under study permits:

Work While Studying: As an international student, a study permit in Canada allows you to Work While Studying without the need to apply for a work permit. You are eligible to work while studying only if your study program is for a period of more than 6 months and will lead to a degree, diploma or certificate.

Working Off-Campus: Working off-campus means working with an employer outside your university. Having a study permit authorizes you to work off-campus for 20 hours per week during the academic season and full-time during scheduled breaks.

Student Direct Stream: As an international student, the Student Direct Stream (SDS) gives you the opportunity to fast-track the process of your study permit. However, you must be a resident of one of the eligible countries and provide an upfront Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) to be considered. 

What is the Process of Getting a Study Permit?

The process of getting a study permit begins when your study permit application is approved. Then you will receive a Letter of Introduction (LOI) that needs to be presented to an immigration officer upon arrival.

If you are from a visa-exempt country, then you need to acquire an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

If you are not from a visa-exempt country, then you need a Temporary Resident Visa. However, you do not need to apply for a TRV separately. If your study permit is approved, a visa will be inserted into your passport. 

What Else Do You Need to Know About Study Permits?

There are a few other things you should know about study permits.

Extending or Renewing Study Permits: As an international student, extending or renewing your Study Permit is essential to maintaining your legal status when your current study permit expires. 

You must apply before your current status expires. If you apply after your study permit has expired, then you must restore your status within 90 days. 

Spouses and Family of International Students: A request for the authorization of accompanying Spouses and Family of International Students Studying in Canada can be included in a study permit. 

Your spouse will be eligible to apply for an open work permit in Canada if you are enrolled as a full-time student in a designated learning institution.

Study Permit Processing Time

The processing times for a Study Permit depend on the country of residence for the applicant. This can range from within one week to several months. It also depends on how busy the consulate office is.

Study Permit Refusal

These are some of the top reasons why a Study Permit may be refused: 

  1. Lack of ties to your country of residence 
  2. Educational history
  3. Employment prospects in the country of residence
  4. Financial insufficiency
  5. Inability to satisfy the reviewing officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay
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