Study permits: Final decisions
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
- Ports of entry (POEs)
- Determining validity periods
- Prerequisite programs
- Program completion
- Refusing an application
Once the officer is satisfied that the applicant has met all eligibility and admissibility requirements, they should do the following:
- enter the final decision
- issue a letter of introduction indicating the document number and the recommended validity period
- indicate the recommended conditions in the “User Remarks” box in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) (see Conditions and user remarks)
- ensure an electronic travel authorization (eTA) has been generated and authorized if required
- issue a temporary resident visa (TRV) if required
- It is not permitted to cancel any valid pre-existing visa in the passport if the purpose for which it was obtained remains valid (e.g., a bona fide business person holding a long-term multiple-entry TRV who requires a short-term study permit).
- If there is a pre-existing TRV (e.g., V-1 or B-1) valid for a period longer than the period of the study permit, it is not necessary to affix a second counterfoil to the passport with the coding S-1. Visas should be issued for multiple entries, and be valid for the same period as the study permit or the passport, whichever is shorter (unless otherwise specified in the IC 2 chapter). Officers will need to consult with the appropriate officer in their respective office to determine whether the student is from a country classified under the Visitor Information Transmission (VIT) category, as described in chapter IC 2.
Note: Visa-exempt foreign nationals for whom the officer has approved an initial study permit will be automatically issued an eTA. No additional action is required on the officer’s part to manually issue the eTA. If the eTA is automatically issued in error in the Global Case Management System (GCMS), it should be cancelled before the approved study permit is printed.
Ports of entry (POEs)
The border services officer does the following:
- ensures the letter of acceptance is valid
- issues a study permit (and a work permit, if applicable) in accordance with the letter of introduction
Visa-exempt foreign nationals for whom the officer has approved an initial study permit will be automatically issued an eTA. No additional action is required on the officer’s part to manually issue the eTA. If the eTA is automatically issued in error or with incorrect information in GCMS, it should be cancelled before the approved study permit is printed.
Note: As of April 26, 2022, lawful permanent residents of the United States (U.S) do not need an eTA to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport. In all methods of travel, they must present their passport and proof of their valid lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. (such as a valid green card or a valid I-551 [ADIT] stamp in their passport).
For study permit renewals and for foreign nationals who are eligible to apply for a study permit from within Canada, the officer will issue a study permit (and a work permit, if applicable) once they are satisfied that the applicant has met all eligibility and admissibility requirements.
An eTA is automatically issued when a visa-exempt foreign national obtains a renewed study permit.
Note: With the expansion of eTA, eligible low-risk foreign nationals from certain visa-required countries who receive a renewed study permit will be automatically issued an eTA. To be eligible, eTA expansion applicants must have held a TRV or must hold a U.S. non-immigrant visa with their initial study permit. To travel by modes other than air, an eTA-expansion eligible foreign national must have a TRV.
All in-Canada visitor extension, study permit and work permit applications must be submitted electronically, with some exceptions. See the list of programs that are exempt from the in-Canada mandatory electronic application requirement.
Determining validity periods
Once an officer has determined that an applicant is bona fide and meets the requirements, they are to issue a long-term study permit, along with a long-term multiple-entry TRV or an eTA, if applicable, for the length of studies plus 90 days or passport expiry, whichever comes first. The validity period of the study permit and the TRV may not go beyond the passport validity date; the eTA will remain valid up to 5 years from the date of issuance or until passport expiry, whichever comes first, regardless of whether this date is beyond the expiry date for the study permit. If an officer has reasons to restrict the validity period of a study permit due to concerns with the case, they should note the reasons in the “Notes” box in GCMS. If this is not done, the border services officers will amend the permit to reflect the full course or program of study.
Note: If the eTA is automatically issued in error or with incorrect information in GCMS, it should be cancelled before the approved study permit is printed.
When the completion of a prerequisite program, such as English as a second language (ESL) or French as a second language (FSL), is a condition for enrolment in a subsequent program, officers issue a study permit or SX-1 visa (if the duration of the program is less than 6 months) for the length of the prerequisite ESL or FSL program plus 1 year. Students who successfully complete their prerequisite program will then need to apply for a new study permit and demonstrate they have completed the admission requirements. The length of the period authorized upon entry or when extending a temporary status or renewing a permit must not extend beyond the validity of the foreign national’s travel document [R52, R183(2)(c)].
Note: While a study permit is not required for short-term courses, an officer must accept and process an application for a study permit, even when the duration of the course or program of study is 6 months or less [R188(2)].
Students who are taking a prerequisite course or program of study may work on campus, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements, but are not eligible to work off campus. However, they are able to work off campus once they have completed their prerequisite and started their main program of study. For more information, see Conditions and user remarks below.
As per subsection R222(1), the duration of the validity of a study permit corresponds to the length of the program of studies plus 90 days following program completion. On the study permit, officers must continue to enter the expiry date of the program of study or of the applicant’s passport, whichever occurs first. For the purposes of this provision, program completion is interpreted as follows:
- Post-secondary students (and most adult students, even if not at a post-secondary institution): Coincides with the duration of their proposed course or program of study, plus an additional 90 days.
- Secondary students, grades 9-12 (in Quebec, secondary students are defined as students in secondaire III through secondaire V, which is the equivalent of grades 9-11): Coincides with the duration of their intended program or course of study, plus an additional 90 days.
- Primary students, grades 1-8: Year-to-year basis, except for dependent children of persons who have been issued long-term permits (study or work), provided the period does not exceed that which has been given to the head of the family.
- Quebec-bound students
- VIT 34, 35 and 37 (formerly known as statesman and special-category country): There are no specific restrictions on the validity period for foreign students from VIT countries, provided that these students meet all the eligibility requirements for a study permit. However, officers must consult the IC 2 chapter for instructions on the validity of the associated TRV in these cases, for cases where a TRV is required.
- Global Affairs Canada (GAC) scholarship programs and rotary exchange students
Note: As of June 1, 2014, as per section R222, a study permit becomes invalid 90 days after the day the student completes their course or program of study (e.g., notification in writing of program completion).
Refusing an application
If the applicant is found ineligible and the application is refused, the officer must advise the applicant of the decision and of the reasons for the refusal in writing.
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