Study Visa and Study Permit
What are the differences between them?
A Study Visa is a travel document that allows you to enter Canada for the purpose of studying. It is not the same as a Study Permit, but rather a necessary component for individuals from visa-required countries.
A Study Permit is the official authorization issued by the Canadian government that allows foreign nationals to study in Canada. The permit is issued at the Canadian port of entry, when the student lands in Canada. It is a crucial document for those planning to pursue academic programs exceeding six months.
Who needs a study permit to study in Canada?
- Foreign nationals;
- Individuals enrolling in an academic, professional, vocational or training program;
- Individuals studying for more than 6 months or the program is shorter than 6 months but you are required to work in Canada as part of your program of study; and
- Individuals studying at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), an educational institution that is designated to host international students.
Exceptions for the study permit requirement include taking an English or French course short-term course for less than 6 months; a short-term course of general interest or self-improvement; a distance learning program or an audited course, you are not required to have a study permit to enter Canada.
What are the requirements to apply for a Canadian study permit?
- Attestation Letter: as of January 22, 2024, most students are required to include this document from the province or territory where they plan to study with their study permit application. Each province or territory is developing a process of emission of the attestation letters and the processes are expected to be in place by March 31, 2024.
- Letter of Acceptance (LOA): the student must have been accepted at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) to take an academic, professional, vocational or training program of study and the institution has issued a Letter of Acceptance (LOA);
- Provide proof of funds to support yourself and your family members, if applicable, in Canada in the first year, including tuition fees, living expenses, and returning transportation to your home country;
- Have no criminal records and provide a police certificate, if you are from a country for which the certificate is required;
- Are in good health and provide your medical exam results, if you are from a country for which the medical exam is required; and
- Prove to the immigration officer that you will leave Canada by the time your study permit expires.
Can I work in Canada as an International Student?
Yes, in most cases, international students are allowed to work in Canada while studying. Immigration Canada will set on the student’s study permit whether the student is allowed to work in Canada or not.
International students can work:
- After starting their study program, on or off the school campus
- As a co-op students or intern, when their study program includes work experience as part of its curriculum
- After graduation, if eligible for a Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
Eligibility requirements to work on-campus:
- Be a full-time post-secondary student at a:
- Public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec
- Private college-level school in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public schools, and is at least 50% funded by government grants, or
- Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law
- Have a valid study permit, and
- Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Eligibility requirements to work off-campus:
- Be a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)
- Be enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program or a secondary-level vocational training program (Quebec only)
- The study program is at least 6 months long and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
- Have started studying
- Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Eligibility requirements for a Co-op Work Permit:
- Have a valid study permit
- Work is required to complete the study program in Canada
- Have a letter from the school that confirms all students in the same program need to complete work placements to get their degree, and
- The co-op placement or internship totals 50% or less of the study program
Eligibility requirements for a Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP):
- Have completed a PGWP-eligible program at one of the Designated Learning Institutions. Academic, vocational or professional training programs at least 8 months long which grant a degree, diploma or certificate are eligible;
- Have completed at least 50% of the study program in Canada (some exceptions apply due to the COVID-19 pandemic);
- Have studied full time (have taken at least 3 courses of the Program) in each semester, except for the last semester; and
- Have received the educational credential, transcripts or letter of completion of the program issued by the Designated Learning Institution.
Graduates have up to 180 days to apply for a PGWP after getting their degree or diploma, transcript or official letter from their school, and must keep valid status in Canada.