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Study Visa

More than 130,000 students come to study in Canada every year and even more come to Canada to learn English or French. To study in Canada, in most cases you need a study permit or a temporary resident visa, though not everyone must have these documents.

If you intend to study in the province of Quebec, you must obtain a Application for Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) before a study permit can be issued.

Eligibility to study in Canada

  • You must have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada. For a list of colleges and universities click here.
  • You must prove that you have enough money to pay for your tuition fees, living expenses and return transportation costs.
  • You must be in good health and with no criminal record.
  • You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada when you have completed your studies.

Exceptions for study permit

In some cases, you do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada.

  • If you wish to study in a short-term course or program that last six months or less.
  • If you are a family member or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada
  • If you are a member of a foreign armed force under the Visiting Forces Act.
  • Minor children of parent who is on a work or study permit or parent who is refugee or refugee claimant

Working in Canada for international students

It is possible to work in Canada while you are in Canada as a student, and there are opportunities for jobs on and off campus:

On campus without a work permit

You may work on campus at the institution where you study without a work permit if you are a full-time student at a public post-secondary institution, a qualified private post-secondary institution, or a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees. You need to have a valid study permit to be able to work on campus.

Off campus with a work permit

The Off-Campus Work Permit Program allows certain foreign students to work off campus while completing their studies. To qualify, you must be a full-time student enrolled at a participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institution or in an approved program at an eligible privately funded institution.

Participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institutions:

See Off campus work permits for a list of participating institutions in the Work Permit Program.

To work off campus, you must apply for a work permit. The work permit authorizes you to work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full time during scheduled breaks (for example, winter and summer holidays, and spring break).

Co-op and internship programs with a work permit

For some academic programs, work experience is part of the curriculum. Foreign students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit.

To be eligible for a work permit, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must have a valid study permit.
  • Your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada.
  • Your employment must be part of your academic program, certified by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution.
  • Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50 percent of the total program of study.

Working after graduation with a work permit

Upon graduation, international students are encouraged to obtain Canadian work experience. The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

A work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program cannot be valid for longer than the student's study program. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.

To obtain a work permit after your graduation, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have studied full time (last semester can be part-time) in Canada and you must have completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months.
  • In addition, you must have graduated from a public post-secondary institution, a qualified private post-secondary institution, or a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees
  • You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of completing your academic program.
  • You must have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit.

For more information on Student Visa, see our Student Visa FAQ.