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Study Visa - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a study permit to study in Canada?

Most students need a study permit to study in Canada, but there are some exceptions. 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
    You do not need a study permit if you plan to take a course or program in Canada that lasts six months or less. You must complete the course or program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada.

    Even if you do not need a study permit, it is a good idea to apply for a permit before you come to Canada. If you decide that you want to continue your studies in another program after you complete your short-term course or program, you must apply through a Canadian visa office outside Canada for a study permit if you do not already have one.
  • Foreign representatives to Canada
    If you are a family member or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada accredited by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, you may not need a permit to study in Canada. You should contact your embassy in Canada. Your embassy can contact the Office of Protocol at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada to find out whether you need a study permit.
  • Members of foreign armed forces
    If you are a member of a foreign armed force under the Visiting Forces Act, you do not need a permit to study in Canada. If your family members, including minor children, want to study in Canada, they must meet the requirements.

How do I find information about schools, colleges, universities or other educational institutions in Canada?

Here is a list of Canadian College / University campus websites, where you can find complete list of recognized universities and colleges in Canada that leads you to information on admissions, courses, degree programs, student loans, scholarships, grants, online education, student community life and much more.

When should I apply for my study permit?

You should apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance from the educational institution. The time needed to process an application to study in Canada may be different at various visa offices.

What should I do if I want to study in Quebec?

To study in Quebec, you first need to get a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (certificate of acceptance) from the province of Quebec. Then you can apply for a study permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Do I need to undergo medical examination in order to get a study visa?

You will need a medical examination if:

How do I renew my study permit while I am in Canada?

If you want to renew your study permit, you must apply before the permit expires. If your study permit has expired, you must leave Canada. In some cases, you may be able to apply for restoration of status. However, you are not allowed to study until your status has been restored.

Am I allowed to return home for a visit or travel outside Canada during my studies?

If you leave Canada and want to return, you must have:

  • a valid passport or travel documents
  • a valid study permit if you are returning to study in Canada and
  • a valid temporary resident visa if you are a citizen of a designated country for which Canada requires a visa.

If you are a citizen of a designated country (Including Iran) and you travel to a country other than the United States, Greenland orSaint-Pierre et Miquelon, you will need a multiple-entry visa to re-enter Canada. If your temporary resident visa has expired or if your visa was only valid for a single entry, you must re-apply for a temporary resident visa at a Canadian visa office outside Canada before you can re-enter Canada.

I am already in Canada and have a valid study permit. I would like to change my school or program of studies. What do I need to do to modify my study permit?

If you are a student at the primary school level and you are moving on to high school or if you are a high school student and you are moving on to post-secondary studies, you need to submit an application to modify your study permit at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.

However, if you are enrolled in a post-secondary program (doing studies after the high school level), you may change your school, level, program and field of studies without applying for a new study permit. You don’t need to apply for a change to the condition of your study permit either. You may continue to use your study permit as long as it is valid.

Can I work while studying in Canada?

Foreign students can work in Canada during their studies, and after they graduate. In most cases, you will need to apply for one of the student-related work permits, which are required if you want to work in a co-op/internship placement, off campus, or after graduating from your studies (Post-Graduation Work Permit Program). 

Can I still work in Canada even if I don’t apply under a student-related work permit program?

If you are not eligible or do not want to work under a student-related work permit program (such as the Off-Campus Work Permit Program, On-Campus Work Program, Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, or Internship/Co-op Program), you can apply for a work permit to work in Canada during or after your studies under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. See the Related Links section at the bottom of this page.

I am considering studying in Canada. Can I apply for an off-campus work permit at the same time as I apply for my study permit?

No, you cannot apply for a study permit and an off-campus work permit at the same time. To qualify for the program, you must already hold a valid study permit, and you must have been a full-time student at a participating institution for at least six of the last 12 months before you apply.

Are there any restrictions on how many hours I can work once I receive my off-campus work permit?

Once you receive your off-campus work permit, you can work up to 20 hours per week off campus while classes are in session. You can work full time during scheduled breaks, including summer or winter holidays and reading weeks.

While classes are in session, you must be studying full time and retain satisfactory academic standing to keep your off-campus work permit.

How do I find out if the institution where I study participates in the Off-Campus Work Permit Program?

You can check the list of participating institutions here.

If I am eligible and the institution where I study is participating in the program, can I apply for a job off campus right away, or do I have to wait until I receive my off-campus work permit?

You can apply for a job right away, but you cannot legally work off campus in Canada until you receive an off-campus work permit. If you begin to work off campus before you receive an off-campus work permit, you could become ineligible to participate in the Off-Campus Work Permit Program. It is illegal for you to work in Canada without a valid work permit.

Are there any restrictions on where I can work or the type of job that I can apply for under the Off-Campus Work Permit Program?

You will be able to work anywhere in Canada as long as you remain a full-time student with a satisfactory academic standing while classes are in session and you comply with the conditions of your work permit.

In some cases, there may be restrictions on the type of job you can hold. For example, you may be required to undergo a medical examination for some occupations, such as:

  • workers in the health services fields
  • teachers of primary or secondary schools or other teachers of small children
  • domestic workers or live-in caregivers
  • workers who give in-home care to children, the elderly or individuals with a disability
  • day nursery employees and
  • some agricultural workers.