Finding permanent or temporary residence in a foreign country can be a troublesome affair. Allow us to detail one of the more complicated elements about living in Canada: the visa.

In order to study in Canada most people will need two documents, a visa and a study permit.

Study Permit

Note: A study permit is not a visa. You may also need a temporary resident visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). If you do need one, though, your visa can be issued as part of your study permit application.

In order to receive the appropriate documents to study in Canada, you must first apply and be accepted as a student.

In Canada, each province and territory is in charge of their own education system. Therefore, each university, college or school may have their own rules on how to apply.

So make sure you apply at least:

  • six months in advance if you want to study at a primary or secondary school,
  • a year in advance for a post-secondary program at a university, college, etc.

After contacting the school, they will then ask for documents you need to send them. If the school admits you, they will send you an acceptance letter. You need this letter to apply for a study permit.

In addition, you will require:

  • Proof of identity (e.g. passport and separate passport photos)
  • Proof of financial support (e.g. proof of bank account, loan, funding etc.)

You may also need:

  • Letter of explanation (letter written by you explaining why you want to study in Canada)
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) (document needed to study in Québec)
  • Custodian declaration (minors only)
  • Other documents

Once you have the required documents, you can then apply for a study permit here.

How long can you stay in Canada with a study permit?

A study permit is usually valid for the length of your study program, plus an extra 90 days. This extra time allows you to prepare to leave Canada or apply to extend your stay.

Can I work with a study permit?

Full-time international students can work off-campus without a work permit:

  • up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and
  • full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.

To qualify, you must:

  • have a valid study permit,
  • be a full-time student,
  • be enrolled at a designated learning institution at the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level, and
  • be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.

If you plan on working on-campus and you are a full-time international student, you do not need a work permit.

If you think you require a permit to study in Canada, make sure you apply well in advance and read these helpful guides on the Government of Canada’s website. And good luck!