Study Permit in Canada

Study Permit in Canada

A study permit is an official document allowing foreign nationals to study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).


A study permit is an official document allowing foreign nationals to study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). A DLI is a post-secondary educational establishment, which is officially authorized to accept foreign students. The list of DLIs across Canada can be found here.

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Study Permit Processing Time

  • 12 weeks if you apply outside Canada
  • 4 weeks if you apply from inside Canada
  • 20 days under the Student Direct Stream

You can check the official processing times via this link.

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Canada Study Permit Processing Fees

Study permit (including extensions) – per person150

Restore your status as a student: $350 (restore your status ($200) and a get a new study permit ($150)

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Study Permit Exemptions

  • Minor children inside Canada. If the applicant is going to study at a pre-school or high-school level, s/he doesn’t need a study permit.
  • Family members and members of the private staff of accredited foreign representatives. Accredited foreign representatives refers to individuals with diplomatic or official (governmental) visas.
  • Members of the armed forces of a country designated for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act. These individuals are also exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa or an electronic  eTA.
  • Short-term courses. If you’re studying for 6 months or less, you will not need a study permit.
  • Registered Indians, who are registered under the Indian Act.

*Subsequent course or program of study.

Please note only some people can apply for a study permit from inside Canada. You must be in Canada and one of the situations below must apply to you:

  • you’re a Ukrainian national or family member of a Ukrainian national
  • you have a valid study or work permit
  • your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a valid study or work permit
  • you’re a minor child in primary or secondary school
  • you’re an exchange student or visiting student
  • you completed a short-term course or study program required to be accepted at a DLI
  • you or your spouse, common-law partner or dependent child has a temporary resident permit (TRP) valid for 6 months or more
  • you’re being sponsored to immigrate and you already applied for permanent residence (if you’re eligible)
  • you or your spouse, common-law partner or dependent child are subject to an unenforceable removal order
  • you’re the spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of:
    • an athlete on a team based in Canada
    • a member of the media
    • a member of the clergy
    • military personnel on duty in Canada or
    • an accredited foreign representative
  • you’re a refugee claimant in Canada or a family member of a refugee claimant in Canada

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Student Direct Stream (SDS)

Student direct stream is an expedited study permit processing program which shortens the processing time to 20 days. This option is available to students who are legal residents of Canada and also one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam

To qualify for an SDS program, you must submit your application and provide documentation upfront. Besides residency requirements, SDS applicants must also provide the following:

    1. Language Proficiency – must show results of a language test by a recognized testing institution.
    2. Guaranteed Investment Certificate of $10,000 in any of the banking institutions insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)
    3. Payment of Tuition Fees for a full year of studies.
    4. Letter of Acceptance by the DLI
  • Secondary of Post-Secondary Transcript
  • Results of a medical examination

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How to Apply for a Study Permit

The process starts with obtaining a letter of acceptance from one of the designated learning institutions. Generally the starting requirements for obtaining this document are:

  1. Proof of language proficiency
  2. Proof of secondary education
  3. Supplementary information.

Once you received your letter of acceptance, the Government of Canada recommends immediately applying for your study permit. Application processing takes up to 12 weeks (if you apply outside of Canada); consequently delaying your application might lead to missing the start of your studies.

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Documents Required to Apply for a Study Permit

  1. Letter of acceptance from the DLI
  2. Prepare proof of funds
  3. Provide supporting documents (proof of identity, letter of explanation, custodian declaration etc)

The recommended way to apply for a study permit is to apply online. Use the official governmental website to submit your application or use an authorized representative.

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Extending Your Study Permit in Canada

You can apply for an extension of your study permit 30 days before your student permit expires. If your permit expired while your extension application is under review, this effectively extends the validity of your study permit until decision is made. In this situation you will be allowed to continue your studies and continue working (on-campus or off-campus, depending on the terms of your study permit).

Until a decision has been made on your extension application, you are not allowed to leave Canada or else your permit will automatically expire.

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Canadian Study Permit Services 

Contact us if you want to study in Canada and need more information about the process. We will also answer questions you might have in regards of eligibility to work when you study, if your family members are eligible to come with you to Canada and your options to immigrate permanently in the future.

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What is a study permit

A study permit is an official document that allows you to legally study in Canada at a designated learning institution.

Difference between a study permit vs. a student visa

Your study permit is not a visa. It doesn’t let you enter Canada, it only allows you to legally stay in Canada while you are studying towards your post-secondary degree.

To be able to enter Canada, you may also need a visitor visa (Temporary Resident Visa) or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). Visa/Travel authorization is typically issued together with a study permit.


Can I Stay in Canada After my Study Permit Expires

Yes, you can in the following cases:

  1. if your study permit expired and you have applied for an extension, you can continue legally studying in Canada, or
  2. If your study permit expired and you have applied for a different status (e.g. post graduation  work permit), you can stay in Canada until a decision is made on your application. If you meet specific conditions you may even be eligible to start working while waiting for a decision. But you can’t continue your studies with an expired study permit.

Note: Not all designated learning institutions make you eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. You need to check if your DLI is eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

Does a study permit allow students to work?

If you are a full time student at an eligible institution, you can work on-campus without a work permit;

If you are a full time student at a designated learning institution, you can work off-campus without a work permit. If you receive your study permit after the end of the academic year, the permit will state whether you are allowed to work off campus. Typically it’s no more than 20 hours per week while your program is in session or full 40 hours per week if it’s a scheduled break in your academic program.  Please remember to always check conditions on your permit.

Can I study with open work permit in Canada

No, you can’t study with an open work permit. Work permit gives you the right to legally work in Canada, if you want to study in Canada, you will have to separately apply for and receive a study permit. Unless chosen program is for less than 6 months,

The good news about it is that if you apply for a study permit from Canada, the processing time is shorter (4 weeks vs. 20 weeks if you do it outside of Canada). You can apply for as long as your work permit is valid.


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