Studying in Canada

 

More than 130,000 students come to study in Canada every year and even more come to Canada to learn English or French. Foreign students bring a rich culture to our classrooms. Your knowledge and skills are welcome in our schools.

The provinces regulate education and schools in Canada. For more detailed information on living and studying in a specific province or territory, contact the school where you wish to study.
Study permits:

To study in Canada, you may need a study permit or a temporary resident visa, though not everyone must have these documents.

Before you apply:

Before you can apply for a study permit, you must have been accepted at a recognized school, university or college in Canada.

Who can apply:

In most cases, you must obtain a study permit if you want to study in Canada.

To be eligible to study in Canada

  • You must have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational 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 when you have completed your studies.

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.

    Even if you do not need a study permit, it is a good idea to apply for a permit before you come to Canada. If you decide that you want to continue your studies in another program after you complete your short-term course or program, you must apply through a Canadian visa office outside Canada for a study permit if you do not already have one.
  • Foreign representatives to Canada
    If you are a family member or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada accredited by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, 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 Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada 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.

How to apply:

Did you know that you can now apply for your study permit online?

There are 10 steps to apply for a study permit:

  1. Check the application processing times.
  2. Obtain and print the application.
  3. Determine where you will submit your application.
  4. Collect the documents you need to apply.
  5. If studying in Quebec, check the provincial guidelines.
  6. Complete your application for a study permit.
  7. Pay the correct processing fee.
  8. Check your application.
  9. Submit the application form.
  10. Supply additional information or documents.

1. Check the application processing times. This will give you an idea of how long it will take to process your application.

2. Obtain and print the application package.
The package includes the application guide and all the forms you need to fill out. Download and print the application package.

Depending on your citizenship or where you live, you may need a temporary resident visa as well as a study permit.  If you are from one of the designated countries, a visa officer will process your application for a temporary resident visa at the same time. You do not need a separate application.

3. Determine where you will submit your application.
You must submit your application to the visa office that is responsible for the country , region where you live or any country you wish to through courier..

4. Collect the documents you need to apply.
You can find a list of the documents you will need to apply for a study permit in the Related Links section at the bottom of this page. You can find information on fees and other local requirements on the website of the visa office serving your country or region.

5. If studying in Quebec, check the provincial guidelines.
This step only applies if you want to study in the province of Quebec. If you apply to study in Quebec, you need a certificate of acceptance or CAQ. Your school can also provide you with information about applying to study in Quebec. You must have received the certificate of acceptance before you apply for a study permit.

6. Complete your application for a study permit.
Fill in the forms carefully and completely.

  • Type or print clearly, using black ink.
  • Add appropriate characters for languages that do not use the Latin alphabet, such as Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic, Japanese, Hebrew, etc.
  • Answer all questions carefully, completely and truthfully. Incomplete application packages will not be processed, but will be returned to you.

7. Pay the correct processing fee.
There is a fee to apply for a study permit. For information about current rates of  visa  application fees. In many countries, the processing fee can be paid in the local currency or in C$. You should check with  the Canadian visa office serving the country, country u wish to apply or region where you live for additional information on fees, including how to pay them. The processing fee will not be refunded, even if your application is not accepted.

8. Check your application.
Make sure your application is complete and that you include the necessary documents. Use the document checklist that is included in the application kit. Consult the Canadian visa office serving the country you wish to apply from or region where you live to determine if you need to fill out any additional forms or provide any additional documents.

9. Submit the application form.
Sign and date the application form, and be sure you include the receipt for the processing fee. Submit the application form to the Canadian visa office that serves the country or region where you live.

If you are from the United States, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon or Greenland, you can apply at the point of entry when you arrive in Canada.

10. Supply additional information or documents.
After the visa office receives your application, it might request more information or documents.
After applying:

The status of your application

Processing times vary depending on the Canadian visa office where you submitted your application. You can check processing times in the I Need To… section on the right-hand side of this page.

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, you will receive the following:

  • 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.
  • A temporary resident visa (TRV) will be issued if you are from a designated country for which Canada requires a visa. (You can find a list of designated countries in the Related Links section at the bottom of this page.) The TRV 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 TRV expires. The TRV 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.

Arriving

When you arrive in Canada, you will be met by an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at a point of entry, such as an airport. The CBSA is responsible for border and point of entry activities in Canada. You can find more information about the CBSA in the Related Links section at the bottom of this page.

  • The documents you need to enter Canada
  • Citizens or residents of the United States, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon and Greenland
  • Disclosure of funds
  • What you can bring to Canada
  • Understanding the terms and conditions of your study permit
  • Leaving and coming back to Canada
  • Health insurance

The documents you need to enter Canada

The CBSA officer will ask to see your travel documents when you arrive in Canada. Make sure they are not packed in your luggage, and that you have them with you. This will help speed up your entry to Canada.

You should be ready to show the following documents:

  • a valid passport or travel document
  • the letter of introduction from the visa office that you received when your study permit was approved (this letter contains your permit reference number and the CBSA officer needs this letter to issue your study permit)
  • a valid temporary resident visa (if required)
  • a copy of the letter of acceptance from the school at which you are permitted to study
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Canada and
  • letters of reference or any other documents recommended by the visa office where you applied.

Carry these items and all other valuable papers, cash and traveller’s cheques with you at all times. Do not put them in your checked luggage.

You may not be allowed into Canada if any of your documents are missing or if any of the information on your application or letters of reference is incorrect.

Possession of these documents does not guarantee entry. All persons must establish that they meet all the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations before being authorized to enter or re-enter Canada.

If there are no problems at the point of entry, the officer will let you enter Canada and will issue your study permit. You should:

  • check the study permit to make sure your personal information is accurate and
  • check the expiry date on your study permit. You must leave Canada by this date.

Citizens or residents of the United States, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon and Greenland

Citizens and permanent residents of the United States, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon and Greenland do not need a passport or a temporary resident visa to enter or return to Canada. However, you must provide proof of citizenship or permanent residence, such as a national identity card or an alien registration card.

Disclosure of funds

If you arrive in Canada with more than C$10,000, you must disclose this information to the CBSA officer. If you do not disclose this information, you could be fined or put in prison. These funds could be in the form of:

  • cash
  • securities in bearer form (for example, stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills) or
  • negotiable instruments in bearer form, such as bankers’ drafts, cheques, traveller’s cheques or money orders.

What you can bring into Canada

You can find customs and border information on the CBSA website. See the Related Links section at the bottom of this page.

Understanding the terms and conditions of your study permit

The conditions listed on your permit tell you:

  • at which institution you can study
  • if you are allowed to work in Canada
  • whether you need to report for a medical examination, observation or treatment
  • if your travel within Canada is restricted and
  • when you must leave Canada.

If you wish to change any of the terms and conditions on your study permit, you must submit a completed Application to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada. The application can be found in the Related Links section at the bottom of this page.

If you are a post-secondary student with a valid study permit, you do not need to submit an application if you want to change your program of study or the institution where you are studying.

It is an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act if you do not comply with the conditions imposed on you when your entry into Canada was authorized, or when your study permit was issued.

You may voluntarily leave Canada, or you may be subject to an admissibility determination or hearing. This could lead to your removal from Canada. You will lose your temporary resident status and any permit you have, if you break any of the conditions of your stay.

Leaving and coming back to Canada

If you leave Canada and want to return, you must have:

  • a valid passport or travel document
  • a valid study permit if you are returning to study in Canada and
  • a valid temporary resident visa, if you are a citizen of a designated country for which Canada requires a visa. The list of designated countries can be found in the Related Links section at the bottom of this page.

Note: If you are a citizen of a designated country and you travel to a country other than the United States, Greenland or Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, you need a multiple-entry visa to re-enter Canada. If your temporary resident visa has expired, or if your visa was only valid for a single entry, you will have to re-apply for a temporary resident visa at a Canadian visa office outside Canada if you want to re-enter Canada.

Health insurance

The Government of Canada does not pay for the medical costs of foreign students. Health coverage for foreign students varies among the provinces. Contact the school to which you are applying to receive more information about medical coverage and health insurance.