Get a study permit — Prepare to arrive

Ontario college strike

The Ontario college strike has ended and students have until December 5, 2017, to decide what to do about their studies. Find out more about the options available for international students.

When you arrive in Canada, a Government of Canada officer will meet you.

The officer will ask to see your passport or travel documents. Make sure that you have them with you.

Even if you don’t need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa to enter Canada, the officer will ask you a few questions. They will make sure you meet the requirements to enter Canada.

You will also have to show the officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay.

Presenting your documents

You will need to show:

  • a valid passport or travel document
  • the letter of introduction the visa office sent you when they approved your study permit (this letter has your permit reference number which we use to issue your study permit)
  • a copy of the acceptance letter your school sent you
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Canada
  • letters of reference or any other documents the visa office where you applied told you to bring and either a valid:
    • eTA. If you have an approved eTA, it will be linked to the passport that you used to apply for your study permit or
    • temporary resident visa.

Children under 18 should have valid identification with them. The documents a minor child needs to present depend on whether the child is travelling alone or with someone. Find out about the requirements for minor children.

Carry these items and all other valuable papers, cash and traveller’s cheques with you at all times. Don’t put them in your checked luggage.

You may not be allowed into Canada if any of your documents are missing or if any of the information on your application or letters of reference is incorrect.

The officer will stamp your passport or let you know how long you can stay in Canada. The period is usually six months. In some cases, the officer may limit or extend this period to cover your study period. Ask questions if you aren’t sure about anything.

If there aren’t problems at the point of entry, the officer will let you enter Canada and will issue your study permit. You should check the:

  • study permit to make sure your personal information is correct and
  • expiry date on your study permit. You must leave Canada by this date.

Disclosure of funds

If you arrive in Canada with more than CAN$10,000, you must tell this to the government officer. If you don’t, you could be fined, and your funds could be seized. This includes:

  • cash
  • securities that belong to you (for example, stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills) or
  • bankers’ drafts, cheques, traveller’s cheques or money orders.

Understanding the terms and conditions of your study permit

As an international student with a study permit you must:

  • always be enrolled at a DLI
  • 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

Based on your application, your study permit may include one or more of the following conditions:

  • the level of studies you can attend
  • if you are allowed to work in Canada
  • if you need to report for medical procedures
  • if you can’t travel within Canada, and
  • the date you must stop studying.

Visit the page Changing schools or programs for more about what you need to do and when to tell us.

It is a crime not to comply with the conditions on your study permit.

If you break any of the conditions, you will lose your temporary resident status and any permit you have.

Read your study permit carefully. It sets out all the conditions for studying in Canada. If you don’t meet those conditions, or those of your eTA or visa, we will ask you to leave Canada.

Most people asked to leave Canada have the right to a fair hearing to review the decision.

Leaving and coming back to Canada

If you leave Canada and want to return, you must have a valid:

  • passport or travel document
  • study permit if you are returning to study in Canada and either a valid

Your study permit is not a visa.

Health insurance

The Government of Canada does not pay for the medical costs of foreign students. Health coverage for foreign students is different depending on where you live. Contact the school you applied to for details about health insurance.

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