A study permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows foreign nationals to study at designated universities or colleges in Canada.
Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada, however, this should not be mixed up with a visitor visa, which allows you to travel to Canada. All foreign nationals require either a visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada and you will only be issued your study permit when you land in Canada at the port of entry.
One of the most important requirements is getting an acceptance letter for a program from an eligible Canadian university or college, otherwise known as a Designated Learning Institution DLI).
You must also show that you:
This is not a full list of requirements as they are different depending on your country of residence, so make sure to follow the list from the Immigration Canada website.
A study permit is usually valid for the length of the university or college program you were approved for, plus an extra 90 days. The 90 days lets you prepare for whatever you decide to do next, such as apply for a post-grad work permit so you can stay and work in Canada.
If the school requires you to take courses before they can issue admission into the main program (conditional acceptance), the study permit will be valid for the length of those courses, plus 1 year. If you then get accepted into the main program, you must then apply to extend your stay in Canada as a student.
A study permit will stop being valid 90 days after completion of the program, no matter what day is printed on your study permit.
Processing times for study permits are different depending on which country you apply from. They can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, so we recommend checking the average processing time on the IRCC website here.
If you are applying from China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam, you are considered under Student Direct stream (SDS) and may be able to get faster processing for your study permit. In most cases, IRCC tries to process SDS applications within 20 calendar days.
The government filing fees for study permits are:
If you want to learn more about student visa applications, impacts of new immigration rules on international students as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, or details about legal status of study permit holders in Canada, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you want to learn more about moving to Canada and getting your PR, sign up for the Visto portal here!