Study Permits – Canada welcomes international students

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Study Permits

Canada is among the world’s wealthiest countries in terms of the quality of education. It welcomes international students from all over the world with study permits. Canada has become a popular destination among foreign nationals of all ages to study.  A study permit is required in most cases to pursue academic, professional, vocational or other educational programs in Canada. Study permits are specifically required for programs with a duration of more than 6 months.

Study Permit Process

What is a study permit? A study permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It provides international students with legal status during its validity period while attending their chosen educational program. How to apply for a Canadian study permit? Research the province of preferred destination to study in, select a school, college or university offering the desired program of study in one of IRCC’s designated learning institutions (DLI).  Important to note, the educational institution where the international student will attend must absolutely be on the list IRCC’s of Designated Learning Institutions. Refer to this link On this page, scroll down to the bottom, enter the destination province where you will find all the DLI institutions in that province. From there is the option to filter the city of preference. One or more institution may need to be contacted and be granted an acceptance letter as they may have different entry requirements. An acceptance letter along with all applicable documents on the IRCC check list is required before applying for the study permit.  Refer to the following link regarding the acceptance letter, it has a sample letter for the DLI to use in preparing the letter:

When the foreign national is issued an acceptance letter from a DLI, they may begin to complete the study permit application. It is essential to complete all the required fields on the application form. If information is left out or is not accurate the application may be returned to the applicant or the officer may send a letter requesting the missing information or documents. This said, do not omit any information from the application or any required documents with the study permit application submission. A complete and accurate application is subject to quicker processing within its accorded processing time.

Work in Canada while on the study permit

In some cases, international students may work at the same time as studying. It allows them to work while studying if the condition of their study permit allows them to work on or off campus. If they are eligible to work during their studies, it’ll say so in the conditions on their study permit.

Study Permit Documentation

If the study program includes a co-op or internship placement, it must state so on the acceptance letter with the number of hours it entails. It must be mentioned on the study permit application as well. As a result, IRCC will process the co-op work permit at the same time as the study permit. Following are some of the documents that must accompany the study permit application in addition to the DLI Letter of acceptance.

  • A copy of the information page of the applicant’s valid passport. If the study permit is accepted the original passport needs to be mailed to the immigration office.
  • Proof of financial support. The applicant must prove that they can pay for their tuition and living expenses for themselves and each family member accompanying them. The amount is determined on the IRCC website 
  • Depending on the applicant’s situation other documents may be required such as:
  • A letter explaining why you want to study in Canada and that you understand your responsibilities as a student.
  • A Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) is the applicant intends to study in the province of Quebec. I will discuss the CAQ in more detail in another post.
  • A medical exam may be required if the applicant resides or resided in certain countries or intends to work in the health industry
  • Fingerprints and photo (biometrics) may be required with the application.
  • A custodian declaration (minors only)

As you can see, the study permit process requires time to gather the necessary information and documents. It is recommended to apply for the study permit as soon as the acceptance letter is issued. If a CAQ  is required, begin to apply for the certificate as soon as the acceptance letter is issued. A CAQ is required to process a study permit.

The duly completed study permit application and supporting documents are submitted online. Foreign students may create a IRCC account to submit their own application online or have a third-party representative apply on their behalf from their Authorized Representative Portal. As a reminder, only certain representatives are recognized by the government of Canada. They are:

Authorized Representatives

Regulated Canadian Citizenship or Immigration Consultants who are a member of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants.

Lawyers or notaries must be a member of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, or the Chambre des notaires du Québec.

Paralegals (Ontario only) must be members of the Law Society of Ontario

If they are not members in good standing, you should not use their services.

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