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Study Permits

A study permit is a written authorization allowing a foreign national to pursue academic or professional studies in Canada at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Foreign nationals who want to study in Canada for a period of at least 6 months, must first be approved for a study permit before entry into Canada.  As per the Immigration and Refugees Protection Rules (IRPR), applications for study permits must be made from outside Canada, subject to exceptions. For instance, those eligible to apply from within Canada include, but is not limited to, spouses and common-law partners of work permit or study permit holders, holders of temporary resident permits valid for at least 6 months, and refugee claimants.


To commence the process, a person should first be issued a letter of acceptance from a DLI. This letter usually contains specific details such as the name and length of the study program, start and completion dates, as well as the tuition. Persons who wish to study in a province outside Quebec must demonstrate that they are able to cover the tuition for their first year of study, as well as a base amount of CAD$10,000 for living expenses. If accompanied by family members, the applicant must also show an additional CAD$4000 in the case of an accompanying spouse, and an extra CAD$3000 for any additional family member. For requirements to study in Quebec, please click here.


The assessment of a study permit application is highly discretionary. The officer must be satisfied that the applicant will return to their home country upon the completion of their studies and therefore scrutinizes several factors such as: ties to home country, travel history, purpose for choosing the course of study, financial stability and inadmissibility.  Officers also tend to frequently consider whether the cost and difficulty of obtaining an educational credential in Canada outweighs its benefit. 


Working in Canada as a Student

Full-time international students are usually allowed to work on or off campus during their studies for a maximum of 20 hours/week. However, during regularly scheduled breaks between study sessions such as seasonal breaks and reading weeks, students are in most cases permitted to work on a full-time basis.


Opportunities after Graduation

After the program has been completed, most students are be eligible to apply for a post-graduate work permit, which allows them to gain Canadian work experience. The permit is usually valid for a period of 1-3 years, depending on the length of one’s studies. The experience gained will position the student to successfully apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class under the Express Entry program.

Need Help? For more information on study permits, contact us using our contact form or send us an email at  

COVID-19 UPDATE: The Government of Canada  has implemented travel restrictions which prohibit some persons from entering Canada and may require additional documents for those who are exempted from same. As such, please click here to find out if you are eligible for travel to Canada. 

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