Operational Bulletin 304 - May 2, 2011

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Launch of the Visa Exempt Study Permit Abroad (VESPA) Electronic Application Service for Select Countries (Modified)


Commencing May 1, 2011, study permit applicants from 14 designated countries may be eligible to submit their application online, have it processed in Canada, and receive an electronic decision letter directly through the MyCIC web site for presentation upon arrival in Canada.


The purpose of this operational bulletin (OB) is to provide guidance and information on new electronic services available to clients submitting study permit applications from certain visa exempt countries.


Currently, all applicants applying for study permits from outside Canada are required to complete the paper Application for a Study Permit Made Outside of Canada (PDF, 462.79KB) [IMM 1294], and have it processed by the applicable mission abroad. There is no option for e-applications.

Applicants who are eligible to apply for study permits from inside Canada have the option of either completing an online application through the e-Application web portal or completing the paper application form. Both methods are processed at the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V), Alberta.

The expansion of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) e-application services to jurisdictions outside Canada is an additional step towards the Department’s vision of a modern, efficient and integrated service delivery model.

New e-Application Service for Select Countries

As of May 1, 2011, applicants who are resident in certain countries, meet specific eligibility criteria, and wish to apply for a study permit will be able to do so electronically through CIC’s external web site. This e-Application system will allow eligible applicants to complete, sign, pay, attach scanned documents and submit their application online in a secure manner. It also includes a tool for CIC employees who are reviewing these applications in Canada and abroad.

Clients in countries impacted by the VESPA limited release will continue to have the option of mailing their paper applications, and supporting documents and payments, to the appropriate mission for processing.

Eligibility Criteria

A) An applicant who wishes to submit an online study permit application from outside Canada must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • be a citizen of one of the designated eligible countries listed in Part B;
  • be a resident of one of the designated eligible countries listed in Part B;
  • be over the age of sixteen;
  • not require a medical examination;
  • have no accompanying family members; and
  • pay the application fee via the integrated e-Application e-Payment system.

B) The designated list of eligible countries for the VESPA limited release is:

  1. Australia
  2. Barbados
  3. Denmark
  4. Finland
  5. Germany
  6. Iceland
  7. Ireland
  8. Italy
  9. Japan
  10. New Zealand
  11. Norway
  12. Sweden
  13. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  14. United States of America, including Puerto Rico

An applicant does not necessarily have to be a citizen and resident of the same country to be eligible to apply for his/her study permit online (i.e., may be a citizen of Australia and residing in Germany).

Legislative Implications

There are no policy changes as a result of the expansion of e-Application services to select countries.

The Department’s Immigration Legislation Manual (IL 3 – Designation of Officers and Delegation of Authority Instrument) (PDF, 922.26KB) has been revised and now designates officials at CPC-V to approve in writing study permit applications made before entering Canada.

Completing Online Applications

Clients who apply online are required to scan and attach supporting documents electronically. If an officer determines that a document is missing, the application may be refused. Clients applying online will not have the option of mailing in supporting documents.

To assist in the completion of their online applications, clients may choose to have their e-Application pre-populated with data from the client history files in the Field Operations Support System, or data initially collected in the MyCIC enrolment process. Clients who encounter problems or have questions about the e-Application for this limited release may contact specially trained CIC agents for assistance at question@cic.gc.ca.

Note: At this time, third party representatives cannot access clients’ online accounts.

Final Decision Made at CPC-V

In cases where CPC-V approves or denies a study permit application under the VESPA limited release, the applicant will receive an electronic Letter of Introduction or Refusal Letter through his or her MyCIC account.

Final Decision Referred to Mission

Applications that cannot be readily approved at CPC-V will be sent electronically to the applicable mission for review and determination. On May 1, 2011, the e-Application system, which is currently only available at CPC-V and local CIC offices in Canada, will be accessible to missions located in countries designated in Part B. In these cases, applicants will be informed of the referral through their MyCIC account, while decision letters will be mailed to them from the respective missions.

Please note that if an application is referred to a mission for processing, the officer at the mission must first create the application in the Global Case Management System (GCMS). Once a decision has been reached, the officer at the mission must then finalize the active application in GCMS. Finally, as the two systems are not currently synchronized, the officer must then record the decision in the e-Application system and close the application.

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