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Study Permit/ 

Student  Visa

Study permits authorize you to study at Designated Learning Institutes (DLI) in Canada.

Study Permit

Canada has some of the top universities in the world, located in some of the world’s most livable cities. Every year about 200,000 international students come to Canada to obtain a globally respected education and possibly apply their education towards setting here. 


In order to study in Canada, prospective International students require a valid study permit from an overseas Canadian Visa Office. A program which is less than 6 months does not require a study permit. However, it is advisable to get one, just in case you plan to stay back to continue your education as a valid study permit can be extended while you’re still in Canada.

Glossary of terms used on this page.

What is the process of obtaining a study permit for Canada? 

  • Obtain a letter of acceptance from an accredited higher education institute in Canada. These institutes are also referred to as DLI’s or Designated Learning Institutes. It is mandatory to apply to and get accepted by only DLI’s in order to qualify for a Student Visa Permit Application.

  • Provide sufficient proof of financial support for your education and living expenses in Canada for the duration of the course. 

  • English language proficiency test (Academic).

  • Provide proof of admissibility and good health.

  • Satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.

Do I need a study permit to study in Canada?


The only answer to this question is YES & NO. If you have a valid TRV, you can study in Canada for courses not extending 6 months. For all other courses, you will need to obtain a study permit.

Do I Need to take a Language Test to Study in Canada?

Most international students need to demonstrate proficiency in English language before they can apply to any of the Designated Learning Institutes in Canada. The minimum level of language proficiency is CLB 5 under the normal stream. If you are applying through the Study Direct Stream you need to meet CLB 6 benchmarks.

Canadian post-secondary schools set their own conditions for language skills of international students. Language skill requirements vary from one school to the next.

Please do not confuse the above with requirements for Study Permit. In order to apply for a study permit you do not need a language test result unless applying through the Student Partner Program, but before you can apply for a study permit for Canada, you need to have a Letter of Acceptance from a DLI in Canada. And for that, you may need a language test result.

Who is exempt from taking a Language test for studying in Canada

If you are from an English-speaking country or have studied in English, then you may not have to take the IELTS or provide proof of language proficiency.

Each school set its own language requirements. It is important to check the specific requirements of the school where you want to apply.

Can I apply for a study permit to Canada without a letter of intent?


The purpose of the letter of intent is to assure the Canadian government that you will respect the conditions of your permit. You must agree to leave the country once your permit has expired.

Can I apply for a study permit from inside Canada? 

You can apply for a study permit from inside Canada when: 

  • You or your family members already hold a valid work or study permit;

  • You are a pre-school, primary or secondary level student already studying inside Canada;

  • You are a visitor or an exchange student studying at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI);

  • You have already completed a short-term course or program of study that is a prerequisite to your admission at a DLI;

  • You or your family members hold a temporary resident permit (TRP) valid for a minimum of six months;

  • You are a Refugee claimant;

  • You are awaiting a decision on your In-Canada permanent resident application along with your family members who are considered eligible for permanent residents (PR) status as - a live-in caregiver, spouse or common-law partner, protected person, and humanitarian and compassionate considerations (H&C);

  • Your study permits was authorized by a visa office abroad, where the permit was not issued at a port of entry;

  • You are a family member of an athlete on a Canadian-based team, media representative, member of the clergy, or military personnel assigned to Canada.

What are the eligibility requirements to apply for a Canadian Study Permit?

  1. You must have a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.

  2. You must provide sufficient financial resources to support your stay in Canada.

  3. You should not have any previous criminal charges. You will need to provide a Police clearance certificate.

  4. You must clear a medical examination if required.

  5. You must convince an immigration officer that you intend to leave Canada after your study permit expires.

How many hours can I work for while I study in Canada?

International students in Canada can work part-time (up to 20 hours per week)* during school terms. During scheduled breaks like summer vacation, international students may work full-time.

*Check if changes to off campus work hours in Canada are applicable to you.

Most students don’t need a work permit to work while they study, whether their job is on campus or off campus. Your study permit will state whether you’re allowed to work off campus. 

If your program of study includes work experience, you may be able to work more than 20 hours during the semester. This will be indicated in your letter of acceptance. If the government approves this condition, you will be granted both a work permit and a study permit. This work permit will allow you to work on campus only.  

You are eligible to work while studying only if your study program is for a period of more than 6 months. You will also require a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

What is the Student Direct Stream for Canada? 

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get your study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream (SDS).

Accordingly your visa application may be processed within 20 calendar days. However, some applications may take longer.

To get faster processing, you must:

  • give your biometrics as soon as possible

  • meet all the eligibility requirements

Check a list of participating countries here.

What do I need to apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) ?


To be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, an international student must:


  1. be 18 or older;

  2. have continuously studied full-time in Canada in a study program at least eight months long;

  3. have a document from your school (transcript, official letter, certificate, etc.) that confirms you completed and passed all your program requirements;

  4. have graduated from a:

  • public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school or university, or CEGEP in Quebec or

  • private post-secondary school that operates under the same rules as public schools (currently applies only to certain private post-secondary institutions in Quebec) or

  • private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP) or

  • Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree) but only if you are enrolled in a study programs leading to a degree as authorized by the province.


 5. apply for a work permit within 180 days of when it was confirmed that you completed your program; and

 6. have held a valid study permit at some point during the 180 days before applying.

My study permit expired, how can I renew or extend my study permit?


Renewal/ Extension:

If you plan to extend your study permit, you need to apply for an extension at least 30 days before the expiry of your original study permit. You will not be able to extend your study permit beyond your passport’s expiry date, so make sure that you have a passport with enough validity. 

While a decision is being made on your renewal application, you can remain in Canada while adhering to the conditions mentioned on the original study permit. 

If your study permit expires, and you haven’t applied for an extension, you must leave Canada unless you have a valid status to remain in Canada. 


If your study permit has already expired , you may apply to restore your status as a student. To apply, you must

  • submit your application within 90 days of expiry of your recent study permit

  • keep meeting the requirements for your stay

  • have met all the conditions listed on your permit, and

  • pay your fees


You can’t study until your study permit is restored.

On what grounds can my study permit application to Canada be refused?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will in most cases provide applicants with a letter outlining the reasons for the refusal. 

Here are some of the main reasons why your application could be refused:


  1. Lack of ties to your country of residence 

  2. Education history

  3. Employment prospects in country of residence

  4. Financial insufficiency - insufficient proof of financial capacity to support yourself while studying in Canada;

  5. Inability to satisfy the reviewing officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay

  6. Inability to convince the immigration officer that your primary intent of coming to Canada is to study;

  7. pass the medical exam (if one is required);

Can I work while waiting for my study permit renewal?


When you apply for an extension or renewal (at least 30 days before the expiry) you will be in implied status and can continue to work while meeting the conditions of your original study permit. You can not work if you permit expired and you applied for a restoration of status.

How Can I avoid a Canadian Immigration Refusal?

Refusal or denial can be painful and stressful. Most people think that they know what they're doing and will do it right. Not all of them can actually claim that they will not make a mistake. Immigration applications to Canada are a 1-time opportunity. A mistake can lead to irreparable damage to your profile. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring a professional immigration consultant who has the knowledge and expertise in matters of Canadian immigration laws. 

Contact us now to connect with our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).

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