Get a study permit — How to apply

Before you apply

Before you apply for a study permit, you need the following:

Find out which documents you need before you apply for a study permit.

You also must do the following:

  • show proof that 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
  • be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • be in good health. You may need to complete a medical exam.
  • convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your studies.

Note: If your school asked you to take some courses before they will accept you into the main program (conditional acceptance), we will only issue your study permit for the length of these courses. When you get accepted into the main program, you can apply to extend your stay as student from within Canada.

How to apply

Generally, you must apply for a study permit before you come to Canada. Some people can apply for a study permit from within Canada. In some cases, you can apply when you arrive in Canada at the port of entry. Make sure you understand which option is available to you.

Applying for a study permit within Canada

You can apply for a study permit within Canada, if you are 1 of the following:

  • a minor child in primary or secondary school
  • an exchange or visiting student
  • a student who has completed a short-term course or study program, which is a condition for being accepted at a DLI
  • someone who holds a temporary resident permit (TRP) valid for at least 6 months, or their family member
  • a spouse or common-law partner (and their family members) being sponsored to immigrate, who are:
    • in Canada, and
    • have applied for permanent residence, if eligible
  • a person with a study permit from a visa office abroad, and the permit was issued before you got to Canada, who wants to keep studying
  • the family member of:
    • athletes on a Canadian-based team
    • media representatives
    • members of the clergy, or
    • military personnel assigned to Canada
  • a family member or private staff member of a foreign representative who is properly accredited (90 days before or after you are no longer authorized to study without a study permit), or
  • a foreign national or their family member with a valid study or work permit, who wants to stay in Canada longer to study

You need to apply to extend your stay in Canada as a student.

Remember that you can’t stay in Canada after your passport expires. If you renewed your passport since you entered Canada, you have to submit photocopies of both your new passport and the stamp placed in your old passport when you apply.

Apply for a study permit outside Canada

You must apply for a study permit.

  • If you are in Canada and don’t belong to one of the groups above: you must apply in person or by mail at the visa application centre (VAC) in Los Angeles.
  • If you are outside Canada: apply online or use a paper application in a country where you are lawfully admitted.

Note: If you need an electronic travel authorization (eTA) or visa, we will issue it automatically at the same time as your study permit. You don’t need to apply separately or pay another fee.

Apply online

To apply online you must have the following:

  • access to a scanner or digital camera to make electronic copies of your documents for uploading, and
  • a valid credit card to pay with

Note: If you give an email address on your application, check it regularly for messages about your case. Some spam filters block these emails. If you are not sure you are getting our emails, please check your account on a regular basis.

Apply on paper

You can get help with your paper application at your nearest VAC or follow the steps below to prepare your application yourself:

1. Get the application package

The package includes the application guide and all the forms you need to fill out. Download the application package.

Find out which documents you will need to apply. Make sure you include them with your application.

Fill in the forms carefully and completely. We will not process incomplete application packages. We will return them to you.

2. Pay your application fees

In most countries, you must pay application fees in Canadian dollars. More about this and the methods you can use to pay are in the pay your fees tool.

If you apply on paper at a VAC, you will have to pay the VAC services fees. These fees are not included in your IRCC application fees.

3. Submit your application

Note: Families should send their applications in one package to the office where we will process the principal applicant (based on their type of application).

Select the country/territory you will be applying from to find out where to submit your application. You can choose your country of nationality or the country/territory where you have been legally admitted:

Apply for a study permit at the port of entry (POE)

You may apply for a study permit when you enter Canada, if you are any of the following:

  • a citizen of the U.S.
  • a permanent resident of the U.S.
  • a person who has lawfully been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence
  • a resident of Greenland
  • a resident of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

Find out which documents you will need to apply. Make sure you include them with your application at the POE.

Note: In order to apply for a study permit at an air port of entry, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. travelling to Canada must apply for and obtain an eTA prior to boarding their flight to Canada.

Other information or documents

Once we get your application, we may ask for more information or documents such as the following:

  • Medical information

    In most cases, you will need a medical exam. A visa officer will send you instructions if you need one. This may add more than 3 months to the processing time of your application. Find out more about medical exams.

  • Security information

    If you want to study in Canada, you may have to give us police certificates. This also applies to any family members who:

    • come to Canada with you, and
    • are 18 years of age and over

    Find out more about security checks.

Processing time

How long it takes to process your application depends on where you applied. For more information, see application processing times.

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