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Study Permit

Study permit is required for foreign nationals to study in designated Canadian institutions. Please note, study permit is NOT an entry visa. You will need either visitor visa or eTA to enter Canada. The study permit is usually valid for the duration of your study program plus 90 days. However, you need to be mindful when travelling from and to Canada as if your entry permit (visitor visa or eTA) was issued for the duration that is less than duration of you study permit you might not be able to return back to Canada. You will also need to provide a proof of your enrollment to designated Canadian educational institution at the boarder.

Do you know if you live in China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam? You might be able to get your study permit faster by applying online through the Student Direct Stream.

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. The 90 days let you prepare to leave Canada or apply to extend your stay.

1. If you’re taking prerequisite courses

If your school asks you to take courses before they accept you into the main program (you have conditional acceptance), your study permit will be valid for the length of those courses, plus 1 year. When you get accepted into the main program, you must then apply to extend your stay as a student.

2. If you’ll finish your studies after your study permit expires

If you don’t finish your courses before the date on your permit, you must apply to extend your stay as a student. If you don’t, you’ll need to stop studying and leave Canada.

3. If you finish your studies before your study permit expires

If you finish your studies early, your permit will stop being valid 90 days after you complete your studies, no matter what day is printed on the study permit.

You’ve completed your studies on the date your school first notifies you by completion letter, transcript, degree or diploma.

You must provide proof of the date your school notifies you, or the date you get your degree, diploma or certificate. If you don’t have proof, the earliest issue date on the document will be used. W and the date might be confirmed with your school.

Eligibility criteria 

  • are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)

  • prove 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

  • obey the law, have no criminal record and get a police certificate (if required)

  • are in good health and get a medical exam (if required)

  • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires

Who does not need study permit

Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. The cases below are exceptions.

Short-term studies (6 months or less)

You can study at any school in Canada without a study permit if:

  • your course or program lasts 6 months or less

  • your studies aren’t part of a longer program and

  • you’ll complete all your studies within the time we approved you to stay in Canada (usually 6 months after you enter)

If you’re taking prerequisite courses, you should get a study permit, even if the courses are less than 6 months long. If you don’t, you’ll have to apply for a study permit before you can start your full study program. Depending on processing times, you may not get it in time to start your studies.

Family or staff of foreign representatives

You may not need a study permit if you’re a family or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada that has been accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Your embassy can contact GAC to find out if you need one.

Members of foreign armed forces

If you’re a member of a foreign armed force on official duties in Canada, you don’t need a study permit. If your family members, including minor children, want to study in Canada, they may need one.

Registered Indians in Canada

You don’t need a study permit if you have Registered Indian status in Canada, even if you’re a citizen of another country.

Minor children in Canada

Minor children don’t need a study permit if:

  • they’re in kindergarten

  • they’re refugees or refugee claimants

  • their parents are refugees or refugee claimants or

  • they’re in pre-school, primary or secondary school, and they’re already in Canada with a parent who has a work or study permit

When minor children reach the age of majority (18 or 19 years old, depending on the province or territory), they must apply for a study permit if they want to keep studying. Learn more about minors studying in Canada.