Are you planning on applying for post-secondary school in Canada? Or, have you already been accepted and are starting to think about making sure you're set to start your studies in September? In either case, you will need to apply for a study permit for the duration of your education. Here, our Ottawa and Orleans doctors explain more.
Canada is home to a huge number of high-quality post-secondary education institutions. Because of this, many people are willing to travel to Canada for their education, trusting in the quality of learning they will receive and exciting by the quality of life that Canada offers to people staying there!
If you are a student from a country other than Canada and are planning on applying for a program at a school there (or have already been accepted to such a program), the Letter of Acceptance you receive is only the beginning of the process of ensuring you are legally allowed to study in the country for the duration of your education.
The documentation you require in order to study at a Canadian school as an international student is called a study permit. Here we explain what is needed to apply for your study permit, what the process actually involves and how to maintain your study permit so that you can continue your studies uninturrupted.
What is a study permit?
While some people may call it a 'visa' a study permit is actually different than a visa. Visas are documents that allow for travel into Canada from countries where that requirement is set up, while a permit is what governs what you are allowed to actually do while you are in the country. Things like being a full time student or working both require permits rather than visas.
Because of this, depending on where you are travelling to Canada for school from, you may be required to also apply for a visa in addition to your study permit so that you are both allowed into the country, and permitted to engage in full-time studies.
Where can I find support when applying for a study permit in Canada?
To begin applying for a study permit, you will have already had to be accepted to a Canadian school. The staff at the school you will be attending keep up to date on all the requirements you will need to fulfill as well as the application process. If you have pressing questions, you can always contact enrolment services at your future school for assistance!
Many post-secondary institutions also have a dedicated department to support international students. Not only will they be familiar with the requirements of a study permit, they will also be very comfortable talking to you about the experience of preparing for studies abroad.
How do you apply for a student permit in Canada?
1. Recieve Your Letter of Acceptance
Before you can even start thinking about sending off your application for a student permit to study in Canada, you have to have received an offer of acceptance from a Canadian Institution. This is a key document that you will need to supply to Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRCC) as part of your application.
In order to be eligible for use as part of your application, the acceptance letter you receive will have to include some very specific information and have been sent to you from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Most Canadian schools should be very familiar with these requirements, but to make sure your letter fits them, you can compare it to the sample letter provided by IRCC.
If any information is missing from the letter, don't hesitate to contact your school and they will provide you one with the proper information included.
2. Prepare Your Application for a Study Permit
Once you have received your letter and verified it contains the information you need, you can begin filling out your application for a study permit in Canada. This must be done online, unless there are verifiable reasons why it could not be. If you are not able to fill out the application online, contact IRCC and they will walk you through the next steps.
If you can fill this application out online, you will be prompted to provide extensive information, including your intentions with your time in Canada and proof of your ability to financially support yourself throughout your time in the country - whether that be through funds you have of your own, or through a funding package provided by your school.
The exact documents you will be required to provide will depend based on the country you are from and the area of Canada you will be studying in. Make sure you check the IRCC website for more information about what you will need to include in your specific application.
In general, however, you will need to provide a copy of your Letter of Acceptance as well as proof of financial support for the time you will be in the country.
3. Travel to Canada To Pick Up Your Permit
Once you submit your application and it is approved, you will be sent information about the next steps in the process by IRCC, but you will not be sent your study permit. This will need to be picked up once you have arrived in Canada at a Port of Entry.
However, if you are already living within Canada and your application is approved, the permit will be able to be sent to you in the mail.
4. Maintain Your Study Permit
When you are approved for a study permit, you will be provided with requirements you will have to meet to maintain your eligibility. These generally including the following:
- Remaining enrolled at a Designated Learning Institution
- Makaing progress towards completing your program of study
- Respecting any conditions (such as the completion of specific courses) that are listed on your study permit
- Ceasing to study of you not longer meet your permit's requirements
- Leaving Canada once your study permit expires
As long as you follow the conditions on your permit and the above guidelines, you are set for an exciting an educational experience in Canada!