Your conditions as a study permit holder in Canada

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Your study permit conditions

As a study permit holder, there are a number of conditions you need to meet. If you don’t meet these conditions, you may lose your student status and study permit. You may also have to leave Canada.

As a study permit holder, you must:

  • be enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • show you’re actively pursuing your studies by:
    • being enrolled full-time or part-time during each academic semester (excluding regularly scheduled breaks)
    • making progress towards completing your program’s courses, and
    • not taking authorized leaves longer than 150 days from your study program
  • tell us any time you change post-secondary schools
  • end your studies if you no longer meet the requirements of being a student, and
  • leave Canada when your permit expires

You must also follow the other specific conditions listed on your study permit, which could include:

  • the level of studies you can attend
  • if you’re allowed to work as a student in Canada, including:
    • if you can work on or off campus, and
    • if you can complete a co-op work term or internship
  • if you need to report for medical procedures
  • if you’re allowed to travel within Canada, and
  • the date you must stop studying.

If your school loses its DLI status after you get your study permit, you can keep studying at that school until your permit expires. If you want to extend your study permit, though, you’ll need to enroll at a school with DLI status.

Note: If you only study part-time, you may not be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) when you graduate. Make sure you know the eligibility criteria for a PGWP if you want to be able to apply for one.

Some study permit holders don’t need to prove they’re enrolled at a DLI or that they’re actively pursuing their studies to keep their study permit and status as a student. Find out if you meet one of these exceptions.

What counts as an authorized leave from your studies?

There are a few cases where you may be able to take a leave of up to a maximum of 150 days from your program of studies and still be considered to be actively pursuing your studies.

You don’t need to tell us if you’re taking an authorized leave, but you do need to provide proof that your leave is authorized and that it’s no longer than 150 days, if we ask for it.

It counts as authorized leave if:

  • your school has authorized a leave from your study program for:
    • medical reasons or pregnancy
    • family emergency
    • death or serious illness of a family member
    • any other type of leave your school authorizes
  • your school has closed permanently or because of a strike
  • you’ve changed schools
  • you or your school deferred your program start date
    • In this case, you must start your studies the next semester, even if it starts sooner than 150 days, and get an updated letter of acceptance.

You can’t work on or off campus during an authorized leave from your study program, even if your study permit says you’re allowed to work in Canada.

How to prove that you meet your conditions

We might ask you to prove you’re meeting your conditions:

  • as part of a random check
  • if we have reason to believe you’re not meeting them

We might ask you for:

  • official documents from your school confirming:
    • your enrolment status
    • the reason for and start date of any leave you’ve taken
    • the date you withdrew from a school or study program
    • the date you were suspended or dismissed from a school or study program
    • the date you stopped studying at the school
  • official transcripts
  • references from people who know you
  • proof from a medical professional confirming the medical need for a leave from your study program
  • document confirming your school has closed and no longer offers your study program
  • any other document an officer finds relevant

What happens if you don’t meet your study permit conditions

If we find you haven’t met your study permit conditions, we may ask you to leave Canada. You might also have to wait 6 months before you can apply for a new study permit (or for a visitor visa or work permit in Canada).

Not following your study permit conditions, or working or studying in a way we haven’t authorized, could also negatively affect any future applications you submit.

People who are exempt from study permit conditions

Study permit holders generally need to meet all of their study permit conditions to keep their study permit and status as a student. However, some study permit holders are exempt from certain conditions.

You don’t need to prove that you’re enrolled at a DLI or that you’re actively pursuing your studies if:

  • you or a family member (spouse or dependent child) has made a refugee claim in Canada that hasn’t yet been decided on
  • you have refugee status in Canada
  • you or a family member (spouse or dependent child) are a Convention refugee or a humanitarian-protected person
  • you’re an accredited representative of another country, the United Nations, or any international organization of which Canada is a member, or you’re the staff or family member (spouse or dependent child) of this person
  • you or your family member (spouse or dependent child) is a member of a foreign armed force in Canada on official duties
  • you already have a study permit and have suddenly become impoverished for reasons beyond your control and temporarily can’t continue your studies
  • you’re studying in Canada under a student exchange agreement between Canada and another country
  • you or your family member (spouse or dependent child) works in Canada:
    • for the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
    • for United States Customs
    • as an American member of the International Joint Commission
    • as a grain inspector for the United States
  • you or your family member (spouse or dependent child) have a passport from the United States and are working temporarily in Canada on behalf of the United States government
  • you’re the family member (spouse or dependent child) of someone who lives in Canada and who:
    • holds a Canadian study or work permit
    • has a Canadian temporary resident permit valid for at least 6 months
    • has a removal order against them, but who can’t be removed from Canada
    • is part of a foreign armed forces and is in Canada on official duties
    • is a representative from a foreign government sent to work with a federal or provincial agency in Canada
    • is participating in sport activities or events in Canada
    • works for a foreign news company and is in Canada to report on events
    • works in Canada as a member of the clergy

If any of the situations above describes your situation, you don’t need to prove you’re enrolled at a DLI or that you’re actively pursuing your studies. You do need to meet all your other conditions as a study permit holder in Canada. Make sure you know what these conditions are.

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