Study Permit Extensions

When international students from around the world come to Canada to study, Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) provide students with a “study permit”. A study permit is a document issued by the IRCC to allow a foreign national to study at one of Canada’s many designated learning institutions (“DLIs”). Foreign nations must apply for a study permit before they travel to Canada. It’s crucial for these students to maintain a valid study permit, not only for the duration of their studies but also for working on campus and traveling to and from Canada. Additionally, students engaged in co-op programs or internships as part of their study curriculum may require a co-op work permit to legally participate in these work placements.

How long is my Canadian study permit valid?

According to the IRCC, a study permit is usually valid for the length of your program of study, plus an extra 90 days. However, it’s crucial to be aware of when your study permit expires to maintain your status. Those extra 90 days are provided to allow a student to either (1) prepare for their departure from Canada; or (2) apply to extend their stay, either as a student or on another valid temporary status, before the study permit expires. This is essential to avoid any interruption in your ability to study or work in Canada legally. For example, if your program is two years, your study permit will be granted for two years, plus 90 days.

What if I need to apply for a study permit extension but it's expiring soon and I'm not done with my studies?

Post-secondary education can be difficult to navigate, especially for an international student. It is normal for students to change their program, re-take courses, or even take additional courses to increase their grade point average. However, international students must be mindful of how their study plans can be impacted by their study permit expiration. It’s crucial to submit a study permit extension application before your current permit expires, especially if there are changes in your academic program.

As an international student, if you need to renew or extend your study permit, the IRCC recommends that you do so at least 30 days before the expiry date of your current status. Applying early allows you to remain in Canada under the same conditions of the study permit you hold until you receive a decision.  However, this only applies as long as you remain in Canada. In other words, if you want to keep studying in Canada while your study permit extension is processing, you must apply to extend the permit at least 30 days before it expires.

When you are extending your study permit, you are responsible for making sure your passport does not expire at the same time, because your study permit cannot be extended beyond the passport’s expiry date. Additionally, if you plan to leave and re-enter Canada during this time, it's essential to ensure you have a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to facilitate your return and continue your studies without interruption.

I finished my studies earlier than expected - can I remain in Canada?

It is possible that international students fast-track their studies on their own accord. However, such students should keep in mind how this impacts their studies. According to the IRCC, your study permit will expire on whichever date comes first:

  • (1) The date marked on the permit; or 

  • (2) 90 days after the day you complete your studies. 

The 90 days after the day you complete your studies begin on the date you get the first notification from your DLI (such as an email, letter, transcript, etc.) that you completed your program, or when you get your degree, diploma, or certificate. If you are unable to prove the date you were first notified by your school, the IRCC will use the earliest issue date on the document. The IRCC may also confirm this date with your school. 

In short, if you finish your studies before the expiration of your Canadian study permit, you will need to find a way to restore or maintain your temporary resident status - whether as a visitor, as a post-graduate work permit holder, or on a closed LMIA-based work permit. 

My permit has expired, and I want to continue studying in Canada. What do I do? 

A study permit is a legal document with specific conditions, including an expiration date, that must be adhered to. If you want to continue studying on your IRCC study permit, but your document has expired, you will need to apply for a new study permit, and restore your status as a temporary resident in Canada. It's crucial to comply with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to avoid legal issues related to expired study permits. Keep in mind that if you apply after your permit expires, you can stay in Canada but may not continue to study until your status has been restored and you have received your new study permit.

As an international student who is applying for a study permit after its expiration, you will have to pay two government fees: the fee for a new study permit, which is $150, and the fee for restoration, which is $229.

According to the IRCC, you lose your status as a student in Canada in the following situations:

  • Your study permit expired before you applied for a new one;

  • You changed the conditions on your study permit, including

  • Your DLI

  • The type of study

  • Location of study

  • Time period of study

  • You did not follow or respect the conditions of your study permit.

When you apply for a new study permit and restoration of your status, you will need to include a note explaining the reason you need to extend your stay.

When your restoration and application for a new study permit are approved, you will receive a new study permit outlining the conditions of your stay in Canada, and your temporary resident status in Canada will be extended until a specified date.

Do I need to resubmit all my documentation for a study permit extension application?

For an extension of your Canadian study permit, you will need to either re-submit or provide updated documents for the application through your online account, where you can also receive updates on the application process. In addition to the requirements for all temporary residents, you must also provide:

  • Proof of acceptance at the DLI; and

  • Proof of financial support while you study in Canada, in accordance with the minimum financial requirements as outlined by the IRCC.

Depending on your situation, a provincial attestation letter (PAL) may also be required as part of the documentation for some students, detailing its necessity, exemptions, and application process for both new and current students, whether applying from inside or outside of Canada.

Depending on your situation, a valid medical exam may be required, especially if you are in designated occupations such as hospital staff, clinical laboratory workers, patient attendants, and medical students admitted to Canadian universities.

Why should I hire AKM Law to help me with my study permit extension?

Hiring a lawyer will help you alleviate the stress that comes along with applying for a study permit extension. 

For example, the extension application involves gathering and submitting various documents, such as proof of enrollment and letters of explanation. A lawyer can ensure that these documents are properly prepared and sufficient to assist in the increasing the chances of an approval. 

Additionally, immigration laws and policies are intricate, everchanging, and can be a lot to digest on your own. As immigration lawyers, we stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and policies, to ensure that your application adheres to the requirements. 

Finally, as your lawyers, we will always ensure that your application is as strong as possible, provides as much supporting documentation as possible, and all weaknesses in your application are addressed adequately. However, in the unfortunate event that your application is denied, a lawyer can advise you on the best course of action, including whether to appeal the decision or explore other avenues for your temporary residence in Canada. 

For more information on study permit extensions and what to expect in this application process, contact AKM Law for a consultation today.

Temporary Visas - AKM Law - Toronto Immigration Law Firm
Temporary Visas | AKM Law | Toronto Immigration Law Firm

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