If you are not a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, a family member of a foreign representative accredited to Canada or a member of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state for the purpose of the Visiting Forces Act, you must obtain a study permit to study in Canada. The Protocol Division of Foreign Affairs approves the passports of everyone who has diplomatic, consular, or official status in Canada. If you have this approval, you do not need a study permit to take courses in Canada.
What courses do not require a study permit?
A study permit is not required and will not be issued for:
- nursery schools or kindergartens;
- courses included in tour packages as a secondary activity for tourists;
- distance learning courses (distance learning can be tele-learning, correspondence or internet courses);
- courses that are not academic, professional or vocational in nature that can be completed within the period authorized upon entry into Canada.
Program of study of six months or less
A study permit is not required for any program of study of six months or less that can be completed within the period authorized upon entry into Canada. However, you may apply for a study permit and your application will be considered. Having a study permit will allow you to apply for a work permit if your course includes a practicum/coop component. Having a study permit also allows you apply for new study from within Canada if you anticipate further studies.
A study permit is not required for primary or secondary level courses if you are a minor child in Canada, except if you are accompanying your parents who are visitors in Canada (in this case you do require a study permit). Although it is not required, if you are studying, you should apply for a study permit (or to renew an existing one). CIC recommends that you extend your temporary resident status as a student (by applying for a study permit) rather than as a visitor. Note that before coming to Canada, a minor child always requires a study permit to study.
Who may apply for a study permit from within Canada?
The following persons may apply from within Canada:
- Holders of valid work or study permits and their family members;
- Holders of temporary resident permits (TRPs) valid for a minimum of six months and their family members;
- Refugee claimants and persons subject to an unenforceable removal order;
- In-Canada permanent resident applicants and their family members who are members of the following classes, determined eligible for permanent residents (PR) status:
live-in caregiver, spouse or common-law partner, protected persons, and humanitarian and compassionate considerations (H&C);
- Persons whose study permits were authorized by a visa office abroad, where the permit was not issued at a port of entry;
- Family members of athletes on a Canadian-based team, media representatives, members of the clergy, or military personnel assigned to Canada.
What information do I need to apply?
In addition to the requirements for all temporary residents, you must provide:
1. The documents specified below:
- For attendance at a university, college or other post-secondary institution:
- a letter, registration paper or form from the education institution which shows:
- confirmation of your acceptance and/or registration as a student;
- the course of study;
- how many courses you will be taking and/or how many hours you will attend each week (not required if you are attending a university or college);
- intended start date and when you expect to finish the academic program;
- any condition related to your acceptance or registration (When there is a condition related to your registration, you may have to satisfy us that you have met the condition before a study permit can be issued); and
- Proof of academic standing at institution(s): letter from institutional registrar and/or photocopies of transcripts from your last two periods of study, if you have studied for two consecutive periods (trimesters, semester etc.) prior to your application for renewal of your study permit.
- For attendance at a primary or secondary school:
- a letter from the school, school board, district or division responsible for the school you will be attending, showing the level of study and the date you are expected to finish your studies.
- Proof of academic standing at institution(s):
- for secondary school, a letter from institutional registrar or guidance department and/or photocopies of transcripts from your last two periods of study, if you have studied for two consecutive periods (trimesters, semester etc.) prior to your application for renewal of your study permit.
- for primary school, a letter from the school office and/or photocopies of the final report card or transcripts from the most recent academic year.
- For attendance at an educational institution in Québec [in addition to the requirements listed in a) or b)]:
- a copy of the Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) issued by the Ministère des Relations avec les citoyens et de l’Immigration (MRCI).
Note: Certain persons do not require a CAQ. Visit the MRCI Web site at:
http://www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/index.asp for a complete list of persons who do not require a CAQ.
2. Proof of financial support while you study in Canada:
You must prove you have enough money (in Canadian funds) to support yourself while you study in Canada. This can include:
- a bank statement or a letter from a Canadian bank showing how much money you have in your bank account (must indicate your name and the account number);
- a copy of the letter giving the details about your scholarship or Canadian-funded educational program (such as a CIDA program);
- a letter from a person (describe the relationship to you) who is giving you financial help, explaining the arrangements made for your expenses. (This information is protected under the Privacy Act and cannot be released to a third party without your sponsor’s consent.)
Note: Persons and their family members whose refugee claim has been sent to the Refugee Division do not have to give proof of financial support.
Note: Family members of foreign students and temporary workers do not need to show proof of financial ability to pay in order to obtain a study permit to attend a primary or secondary school.
Are there any conditions on my study permit?
An officer may impose, vary or cancel conditions on a study permit. These may include one or more of the following:
- the type of studies or course you may take;
- the educational institution you may attend;
- the location of your studies;
- the time and period of your studies;
- the times and places at which you shall report for medical examination or observation;
- the times and places at which you shall report for the presentation of evidence of compliance with applicable conditions;
- the prohibition of engaging in employment; or
- the duration of your stay in Canada
Do students need a work permit to work on campus?
A full-time student attending a university or college does not need a work permit when the employment offered is on the campus of the college or university where the student is registered full-time, for as long as the study permit is valid.
There are some restrictions on the jobs you can take based on medical factors:
- If you have already passed an immigration medical examination, you may work in any type of job;
- If you intend to work in an occupation in which the protection of public health is essential, you must pass an immigration medical examination. (Examples of these are workers in health services fields; teachers of primary or secondary schools or other workers coming into contact with small children; domestic workers or live-in caregivers; workers who give in-home care).
- If you intend to work as an agricultural worker and have resided or visited a designated country (for a list of designated countries, refer to our Web site) for more than six months within the last year preceding, you must pass a medical examination.
- To submit to a medical examination, you must make an appointment with a Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP). Visit our Web site for the list of DMPs or contact the Call Centre Agent to find the DMP nearest to you. Note that it may take up to four weeks for the DMP to provide Citizenship and Immigration with your results.
- For a complete list of occupations requiring immigration medical examinations, refer to our Web site.
Can I or my spouse or common-law partner work in Canada while I study?
Generally, foreign students are not allowed to work while studying in Canada.
However, there are some exceptions for full-time students or their spouse or common-law partner, at publicly funded or degree granting institutions who may apply for work permits. A full-time student is a person whose program of study is normally at least 15 hours of instruction per week, leading to a diploma or certificate, unless otherwise defined by an educational institution.(Note: The definition of a full time student varies from one educational institution to another and you should refer to the guidelines of your educational institution to ensure you are considered a full-time student.)
For more information, see “Work Opportunities for Foreign Students” at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/work.asp.
A work permit may be issued if it is established that:
- the intended employment is an essential and integral part of your course of study (this does not apply to medical interns or medical residents); or
- the intended employment is related to an approved research or training program; or
- you hold a study permit and have become temporarily destitute through circumstances beyond your control or beyond the control of any person whom you are dependent on for financial support to complete your term of study. You must show proof that you are not able to obtain the money needed for daily expenses and that it is a temporary situation.
- you have successfully graduated from a program at a Canadian university, community, college, CÉGEP, or publicly funded trade/technical school (or from a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees) and wish to work for a maximum of one or two years in employment related to your course of study. The maximum length will depend on the length and location of your studies, and the location of your employer. You must submit your application for a work permit within 90 days of the issuance of your final marks. Your study permit must be valid upon submission of your application for a work permit. For further details refer to the Foreign Workers Manual (see post-graduation employment) located on our Web site or contact the Call Centre.
Note: Spouses and common-law partners of full-time students in a program at a university, community, college, CÉGEP, or publicly funded trade/technical school in Canada can apply for a generic (open) work permit. For further details refer to the Foreign Workers Manual (see Open Work Permits) located on our Web site or contact the Call Centre.
Note: Some study permits are arranged with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). These students must obtain an approval letter from CIDA to be eligible for a work permit related to their course of study.
Note: If you are currently a full-time student at certain public post-secondary institutions, you may be eligible to apply for a work permit that allows you to work off-campus. This will depend on whether your province and institution have signed agreements to implement the program. Currently, off-campus work permits are available in Manitoba, New Brunswick or some regions of Quebec. Contact your international student advisor to get more information about the program, the number of hours you can work and the application process, or refer to the CIC Web site.