How To Get A Study Permit in Canada

If you are planning to go to Canada for higher studies, apart from the passport and other documents, you need to get a student permit for the duration of the academic program. It is a document that allows international students to study at Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) in Canada.

However, the study permit is not a visa. You should have a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to enter Canada. The first step is to apply for the student permit along with the necessary documents. Once the Canadian authorities approve the study permit, you will be issued a visa along with your study permit. Read on for more information on how to apply, eligibility requirements, processing time and other relevant details.

Canada Student Permit and Visa – Eligibility, Documents and Application Process


You will be considered for the Canada Student Permit only if you have been accepted for a program at any the Designated Learning Institutes (DLI) in the country at the post-secondary level. You can search this list of DLI by province/territory here (

Copy the DLI number of the school which you have been accepted at, in the visa application form. In some cases, the schools may not have been allotted a DLI number, but if the school name is in the list, they are allowed to take in international students.

Please note that you can start the application process only after receiving the letter of acceptance from the school.

The next step is to prove that you have enough money to meet the tuition and living expenses for the duration of the program and enough funds for the flight back home after completion of the course.

Since Canada does not allow international students to stay back in the country after finishing the study program, you should also be prepared to answer questions from the immigration officer and convince him that you would be returning to your home country.

You may be asked to produce a health certificate or undergo medical tests to prove that you are not suffering from any contagious disease or other maladies that may put the Canadian citizens at risk.

People with a criminal record are ineligible to apply for a study permit or visa.

Exemption From Canadian Study Permit

Applicants for short term programs of less than six months do not need a study permit. Also exempt are armed forces personnel, relatives of foreign representative to Canada and People of Indian Origin (PIO) with registered Indian status in Canada.

Documents Checklist For Study Permit in Canada

  1. Acceptance letter from a designated learning institute (DLI). It should be an educational institute with a valid DLI number. Attach the original letter of acceptance with the application form.
  2. Proof of identity of the applicant and any other accompanying family member. Recent passport size photo(s), name(s) and date(s) of birth.
  3. Financial status proof in the form of bank account details (past 4 months), Canadian bank account details, student loan details, if any.
  4. Explanatory letter on the reasons for applying for a study permit.
  5. Any additional information sought by the Visa office including medical examination reports or Police certificates in some cases.

Canada Study Permit Processing, Fees & Other Expenses

If you are a citizen of China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal and Vietnam, you could apply online through the Student Direct Stream to get your study permit faster, usually in 20 calendar days. The fee starts at C$150. Besides meeting the eligibility criteria, you may be required to provide your biometric information.

There is no fixed period for processing of student permit or visa. You could check the progress of the application by logging on to your MyCIC account where you have deposited the fee.

In case of applications filled in on paper too you will be able to get updates using MyCIC account.

Apart from the study permit, make provision for around C$10,000 plus tuition fees for a 12-month period outside Quebec if you intend to stay alone with no family. The expenses may go up to C$11,000 plus tuition in Quebec for the same duration of stay.

Advantages of a Canadian Study Permit

As a fulltime student with a study permit, you will be able to take up a part-time job without having to get a separate work permit. For this, your student permit should have an entry that says, “May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which registered in full-time studies” or “May accept employment on or off-campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.”

Once you get any of these entries on your work permit, you will also become eligible to apply for a social insurance number (SIN). Under the terms and conditions, the study permit allows you to work off-campus for up to 20 hours a week during regular academic sessions. You could also engage in full-time work during scheduled breaks.

The study permit also helps is some of the programs that call for work experience. After getting your graduate degree, you could apply for work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).The study permit is issued for the specific duration of the program. If you want to continue your studies in Canada after this period, you should apply for an extension of the study permit. You do not have to exit the country for this purpose.

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