Study permit: Who can apply

Eligibility requirements

You can study in Canada if you:

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

Short-term studies

If you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you may now enter Canada for study for 6 months or less with a valid travel document (visitor visa or electronic travel authorization [eTA]). However, there are advantages to getting a study permit for study for 6 months or less, including facilitating re-entry to Canada if you travel during your studies.

If you don’t qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you must meet all of the following requirements to come to Canada to study for 6 months or less:

  • You have a valid study permit or have been approved for a study permit and received a letter of introduction from IRCC.
  • You have a valid travel document (eTA or visitor visa).
  • You’ll attend a DLI that has a COVID-19 readiness plan that has been approved by its province or territory.

Get your study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream

If you’re a legal resident in certain countries, you may be able to get your study permit faster by applying online through the Student Direct Stream.

Your responsibilities

While studying in Canada you must:

  • make progress towards completing your program
  • respect any conditions listed on your study permit and
  • stop studying if you no longer meet the requirements

Depending on your case, there may be conditions on your study permit such as

  • if you’re allowed to work in Canada
  • if you’re allowed to travel within Canada
  • the specific date you must leave Canada
  • where you can study (a specific DLI listed on your permit) and
    • You can’t study at a DLI other than the one listed on your permit.
  • whether you need an immigration medical examination

Who doesn’t need a permit to study in Canada

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

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.

Temporary residents and asylum seekers taking French language and culture courses

You don’t need a study permit to take French language and cultural integration courses in Quebec (linked page is available in French only). To be eligible for the courses, you need to be a temporary resident or asylum seeker in Canada.

Why get a study permit if you don’t need one?

There are 2 reasons you may want to get a study permit even if you don’t need one:

1. Continue studying

If you already have a study permit and your study situation changes, you can continue studying in Canada while your permit is valid.

Example: If you’re transitioning between levels of study (primary, secondary and post-secondary), you don’t need to apply for a new study permit if your current study permit is still valid.

If you apply to extend your permit before it expires, you have maintained your status and can continue studying while you wait for your new study permit. If your study permit extension is refused, you must stop studying.

2. Work on- or off-campus

If you have a study permit and you’re registered as a full-time student at a DLI, you may be able to work on-campus or off-campus. If so, your study permit will include a condition that says you’re allowed to work while studying.

If you don’t have a study permit, you can’t work while you’re studying in Canada. In this case, you need to apply for a work permit.

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