Study permit: Who can apply

Eligibility requirements

You can study in Canada if you:

  • are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • 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
  • obey the law, have no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • are 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.

Do you live in China, India, the Philippines or Vietnam? You might be able to get your study permit faster by using 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
  • stop studying if you no longer meet the requirements and
  • leave Canada when your permit expires

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

  • the level of studies you can attend
  • if you are allowed to work in Canada
  • if you can’t travel within Canada
  • the date you must stop studying

People who don’t need a permit to study in Canada

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

Short-term studies (six months or less)

You can study at any school in Canada without a study permit if:

  • your course or program is for six months or less
  • your studies aren’t part of a longer program and
  • you will complete all your studies within the time we approved you to stay in Canada (usually six months after you enter).

Family or staff of foreign representatives

You may not need a study permit if you are a family member or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada 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 are a member of a foreign armed force in Canada on official duties, 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 are a citizen of another country who has Registered Indian status in Canada.

Minor children in Canada

Minor children don’t need a study permit if they:

  • are in kindergarten
  • are refugees or refugee claimants
  • have parents who are refugees or refugee claimants or
  • want to go to pre-school, primary or secondary school, and are already in Canada with a parent who is allowed to work or study in Canada.

Note: When minor children studying in Canada without a permit reach the age of majority (turn 18 or 19 depending on the province or territory), they must apply for a permit if they want to keep studying. Learn more about minors studying in Canada.

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

You may want to apply for a study permit even if you don’t need one. To be eligible to apply for a study permit, your course or program must be from a DLI. If you decide to apply for a study permit even though you are exempt, you should include a letter of explanation that says why you want one.

Reasons to apply for a study permit include being able to:

Keep studying while you renew your permit

  • If you get a study permit before you come to Canada: you can renew your permit and keep studying in Canada while waiting for your new permit because you have implied status.
  • If you don’t have a study permit: you can apply for a study permit from inside Canada, but you can’t start your program until you get the permit.

This rule also applies for prerequisite courses, when you get accepted to a program under the condition that you take and pass certain courses (conditional acceptance).

Work part-time on-campus

You can work part-time on-campus if you are registered as a full-time student at a college or university.
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