Study permit: Prepare for arrival

Before you come to Canada

Before you arrive, read the pre-departure guide for tips and information about student life in Canada.

To help ensure a smooth arrival in Canada, please check the Canadian Border Service Agency’s information for international students, and download their PDF pamphlet (PDF, 592 KB).

How early can you arrive in Canada before you start studying

There is no set time frame for you to arrive in Canada before you begin your studies. You should just arrive to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to prepare before you start studying.

You are not allowed to work on or off campus until you begin your studies in Canada.

Changing your designated learning institution if you’re outside Canada

If your application for a study permit has been approved and you change your designated learning institution, you must submit a new study permit application with a new letter of acceptance. You must also pay all the fees for the new application.

When you arrive in Canada

When you arrive in Canada, you’ll meet a border services officer who will make sure you meet some basic requirements. To enter Canada, you must

  • have a valid travel document, such as a passport
  • have the port of entry 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.
  • have a copy of a valid letter of acceptance from your school
  • have letters of reference or any other documents the visa office told you to bring
  • have a valid electronic travel authorization (eTA), a valid visitor visa (temporary resident visa), a valid green card (or equivalent official proof of U.S. status) or another valid travel document
    • If you have a valid eTA, it’ll be linked to the passport you used to apply for your study permit.
  • have enough money for your stay (the amount you will need can vary—it depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives)
  • be in good health
  • have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • convince an immigration officer that
    • you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country
    • you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
  • have valid immigration medical exam results (if you needed one)
    • Your exam is valid for 12 months from the day you get it.
    • It must be valid the day you enter Canada.
    • If your exam will expire before you enter Canada, you need to get another medical exam.
      • This applies even if your letter of introduction is still valid.
  • prove that you’ll leave Canada at the end of your stay

If you need proof you entered Canada

Your school or training facility may need you to prove you entered Canada. If you need proof of entry, make sure a border services officer stamps your passport before you leave Canadian customs. You may also be able to use a Primary Inspection Kiosk to stamp your passport.

Inadmissibility

Some people are inadmissible—they’re not allowed to come to Canada. Several things can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime.

You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons. Find out more about inadmissibility.

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