Canada Study Permit

What is a Study Permit?

A study permit is an official document issued by IRCC to allow foreign nationals to study in Canada at designated learning institutions (DLIs). The provincial or territorial government approves designated learning institutions to host international students. Study permits are a type of visa that grants permission to international students to pursue academic or vocational programs in Canada. If you plan to undertake a program of study that is longer than six months in Canada, you generally need a study permit.

Who needs a Study Permit?

A study permit is required for foreign nationals who desire to engage in academic, professional, vocational, or other education or training that is more than six months in duration at a DLI. However, there are situations where a person is exempt from this requirement. The following activities are not considered studies for the purposes of the IRPA and do not require a study permit:

  • pre-school/pre-kindergarten;

  • courses of general interest in self-improvement;

  • distanced learning;

  • audited courses (typically by sitting in on an academic course, but without obtaining credit for it, or having the ability to obtain credit for it retroactively);

  • settlement or integration courses offered by a provincial or territorial government through settlement and integration providers (including francization courses offered by the Government of Quebec, as they are considered settlement and integration courses and not language courses by IRCC).

*If you are a legal resident in the following countries you may be able to get your study permit faster by applying online through the Student Direct Stream.

Antigua & BarbudaBrazil
Costa RicaIndia
SenegalSaint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and TobagoVietnam

Who is exempt from the requirement of a Study Permit?

A foreign national is exempt from the study permit requirement in the following situations:

  • minor children inside Canada 

  • family members and members of the private staff of accredited foreign representatives

  • members of the armed forces of a country designated for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act

  • short-term courses

  • registered Indians

  • foreign nationals eligible for the temporary public policy allowing certain valid work permit holders or certain foreign nationals who are authorized to work under R186(u) to study without a study permit as of June 27, 2023 (in effect until June 27, 2026)

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How can I apply for a Study Permit?

Generally, you must apply for a study permit before you come to Canada. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online. However, there are exceptions to apply on paper for those with disabilities or individuals who hold an identity document for non-national residents, refugees, or stateless persons. Applying for a study permit involves several steps as follows:

Receive an Acceptance Letter

First, you will need to be accepted into a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. The institution must provide you with an acceptance letter. 

Obtain a Provincial Attestation Letter 

As of January 22, 2024, most students must include a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) from the province or territory where they plan to study with their study permit application. However, some exceptions may apply. Learn more about the provincial attestation letter

Letter of Explanation

This letter helps the visa officer to understand you and your goals. It explains why you want to study in Canada, and that you understand your responsibilities as a student. You should include this letter with your application. 

Proof of Identity & Other Documentation

Prepare the necessary documents, which typically include:

  • Application Form (Application for Study Permit Made Outside of Canada IMM1294)

  • Application Form (Family Information Form IMM5707)

  • a valid passport or travel document

  • two recent passport-sized photographs

  • proof of identity and civil status

  • fee payment

  • photocopy of marriage certificate or statutory declaration of common law union (IMM5409)

  • any additional documents required by the responsible visa office. Check the visa office instructions for your country or region for local requirements and additional documentation.

Proof of Financial Support

You must prove that you can support yourself and the family members who come with you while you are in Canada. You can prove your funds with: 

  • proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if you’ve transferred money to Canada

  • a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution

  • proof of a student or education loan from a bank

  • your bank statements for the past 4 months

  • a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars

  • proof you paid tuition and housing fees

  • a letter from the person or school giving you money, or

  • proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program

  • If your country uses foreign exchange controls, you must prove that you’ll be allowed to export funds for all your expenses.

How much money do I need to support my Study Permit application?

Maximum Funds Needed to Support Yourself as a Student (and family members who come with you)

Number of Family Members (Including Applicant)Amount of Funds Required per Year (not including tuition)
If more than 7 people, each additional family memberCAN$5,559

What happens after I apply for a Study Permit?

Once the application is complete, submit your application online. You will receive a confirmation receipt. After submission of your application, you will need to wait for it to be processed. Processing times can vary, so check the IRCC website for current estimates. During processing, you may be requested to undergo Biometrics and a Medical Examination. 


Depending on your country of residence, you may need to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) at a designated location. You need to give your biometrics once every 10 years. If you gave biometrics in the past as part of an application for a visitor visa, work, or study permit, and they’re still valid, you don’t need to give them again.  

Medical Examination

You may need a medical exam if any of these situations apply to you:

  • You plan to stay in Canada for more than 6 months.

  • You recently spent time in certain countries.

  • You plan to work in certain jobs where public health must be protected.

At times, an immigration officer will request additional information or documents during processing. 

How should I prepare for my arrival?

To help ensure a smooth arrival in Canada, please check the Canadian Border Service Agency’s information for international students. Your school or training facility may need you to prove you entered Canada. If you need proof of entry, ensure that a border services officer stamps your passport before you leave Canadian customs. You may also be able to use a Primary Inspection Kiosk to stamp your passport.

Note: Your study permit is not a visa for authorized travel. This means that, depending on your country of citizenship, you may need a visitor visa in order to enter Canada. If you are from a non-visa-exempt country, a visitor visa will be inputted into your passport when you submit the same. If you are from a visa-exempt country, you will need to be issued an electronic travel authorization document.

Can I work with a Study Permit?

In some cases, study permit holders may be eligible to work part-time during their studies and full-time during their scheduled cases. However, there are restrictions and it’s important to check the specific conditions of your permit. You must also meet all the other requirements and cannot commence employment before your studies begin.

What are the conditions I must meet while on a Study Permit?

Study permit holders are expected to comply with the conditions of their permit, including attending the designated institution, maintaining full-time student status, and respecting any work restrictions. As a student in Canada, you must make progress towards completing your program, must follow any conditions listed on your study permit, and must stop studying if you no longer meet the requirements. 

Study permits are usually issued for the duration of the academic program. If you wish to continue your studies or pursue another program, you may need to apply for an extension. 

Why you should hire AKM Law for your Study Permit Application

When considering who to entrust with your study permit application, AKM Law stands out as the ideal choice. With a team of highly experienced immigration lawyers specializing in Canadian immigration law, we offer expert guidance tailored to your unique circumstances. Our personalized approach ensures that we understand your individual needs and goals, developing a customized strategy to maximize your chances of success. From document preparation to submission and follow-up, we handle every aspect of your application efficiently and effectively, prioritizing timely processing to expedite approval. Our track record of satisfied clients attests to our dedication to achieving positive outcomes and guiding you through every step of your immigration journey. Choose AKM Law for your study permit application and embark on your educational goals with confidence.

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