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Study Permit: Moving to Canada as an international student (2022 – 2023 Updated)

Study Permit Moving to Canada | Canada is an international destination where you can study. It offers a high-quality education in a multicultural setting. This makes it a rewarding choice. Many students see Canada’s welcoming immigration policies as a first step to becoming permanent residents and eventually Canadians.

We have four Arrive members, who arrived in Canada as international students, and they have since settled in Canada to live, work, and settle permanently.

What is a Study Permit?

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, a permit allows foreign nationals to study in Canada at a designated educational institution (DLI).

Your study permit is not a visa. This permit does not allow you to enter Canada. To be allowed to enter Canada, you may need a visitor visa (or an electronic travel authorization) After your study permit has been approved, the Government will issue you a letter of approval and, if necessary, an entry visa in order to authorize your travel to Canada.

What is the validity of a study permit?

The study permit is valid for the duration of your program plus an additional 90 days. You can use the 90-day period to prepare for leaving Canada or to extend your stay.

This guideline is not perfect.

  • Acceptance conditional: Your study permit is valid for the duration of the courses plus one year if your school requests that you take French or English as a second language classes before you are accepted into the main program. Once you have been accepted into the main program, it is necessary to apply for a prolongation of your student status.
  • You can delay your course completion: If your courses are not completed by the deadline on your permit you will need to apply for a student extension.
  • Early completion of your course: Your permit will cease to be valid after your studies are completed, regardless of the date printed on your study permit.

Your study permit requires that you are actively engaged in the Canadian study. Your study permit will be invalidated if you are granted leave from your program of studies. This applies regardless of the expiry date of your permit. You must either leave Canada or amend your status in Canada if you don’t resume studies within 150 calendar days.

Learn more about how to extend a student permit in Canada. (Study Permit Moving to Canada)

How to prepare for student permits

Study Permit | Moving to Canada though Study permit.
Moving to Canada
  • Timelines: The application process for a post-secondary program starts at least a year in advance, so be sure to research the colleges/universities and their application processes, respectively.
  • Identifying a school and program: Only a DLI can issue a study permit. Each Canadian territory and province is responsible for its own education system. Canada has several post-secondary schools. These include universities and colleges. Private career colleges and vocational schools each with their own selection criteria and application rules.
  • Cost of living and study: Tuition fees represent a significant cost in overseas education. Don’t forget about books, housing, and travel. Here is a brief overview of the education costs across various Canadian provinces. You may need to budget separately for private insurance as the Government of Canada does not provide health insurance for international students.

Step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a student permit

Step 1: Enroll in a Designated Learning Institution

A DLI acceptance letter is required to apply for a study permit. A DLI school is one that has been approved by the provincial or territorial governments to host international students. All Canadian primary and secondary schools are DLIs. You must ensure that your school is listed on this list if you intend to attend a postsecondary school.

After you have been accepted by a school, they will send you an acceptance letter. This letter is required to apply for a student license and is considered proof of acceptance.

Step 2: Get your documents ready

You will be able to confidently apply for the job if you have all the required documents in order.

These are the documents you’ll need to submit a request for a student license:

  • Proof that you have been accepted: Include the original or an electronic copy of your letter along with your application for a study permit.
  • Proof that you are an individual: Each family member accompanying you to Canada as a student must possess a valid passport or travel document.
  • Evidence of financial support. You must show that you are able to pay international student tuition and provide support for yourself and your family members while you’re in Canada. Documents such as the following can be used to prove your funds:
    • If you have transferred money to Canada, proof of your Canadian bank account.
    • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC), from a Canadian financial institution.
    • A bank must provide proof of student or education loans.
    • The bank statements from the last 4 months.
    • Bank drafts that can be converted into Canadian dollars
    • You can prove that you have paid tuition and housing fees.
    • A letter from the school or person giving you the money.
    • If you are a recipient of a scholarship or enrolled in an educational program funded by Canada, proof that funding was received from within Canada is required.

When you are preparing your proof of funds, make sure you check the minimum funds you need to support yourself and your family members (and anyone else who is coming with you).

Tip: Before you file your study permit application, you should check with your institution about their refund policies. Tuition deposits may not be refundable in certain cases even if the study permit is denied.

Other documents may be required depending on the facts of your case.

Step 3: Apply

Study Application | Moving to Canada though Study permit.

You have two options when applying for a student visa. One is to apply online and the other is to send your application by mail or courier. You can find detailed instructions for how to submit your application depending on where you are applying.

You can view study permit processing times online. Students should apply early as processing times can increase in the summer months. This will ensure that they are able to travel to Canada before their program starts.

Students Direct Stream

You may be eligible for faster processing if you are a student from China, India, or Pakistan.

In most cases, your application will be processed while you provide biometrics. Once you have submitted your application and paid the biometrics fee, you will be sent a biometrics request letter outlining all details. You have 30 days to provide your biometrics in person. Once this information is received, processing of your application won’t begin.

After submission, you might be asked to submit police certificates or medical examinations. These documents can be helpful to avoid delays in submitting your application.

Step 4: Get ready for your arrival

letter introducing will be sent to you if your student permit application has been approved. This letter is not your student permit, but it will be a document you must show an officer upon arrival in Canada. To enter Canada, you will be issued an electronic travel authorization (eTA) and a temporary residence visa (TRV), as appropriate. The Government may ask for your passport to stamp your letter of introduction if a TRV is required.

border service officer will greet you upon your arrival in Canada. The officer will:

  • Ask for your passport and travel documents. These documents could include:
    • This is the letter of introduction that was sent to you by the visa office when your study permit was approved.
    • A copy of the school’s letter of acceptance.
    • You will need to provide proof of your ability to pay for your expenses while you are in Canada.
    • Lettered letters of reference and any other documents that the visa office instructed you to bring.
    • Either an eTA valid or a temporary resident visa.
  • Ask you a few questions.
  • You must meet all requirements in order to enter Canada. It may be necessary to show that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay.

These items, along with any valuable papers, cash, or traveler’s checks, should always be carried. These items should not be carried in your checked baggage. If any of your documents are not in order or missing from your application, or if you have incorrect information on your letters of reference or letter of recommendation, Canada may deny you entry.

If you have more than $10,000 in Canadian currency, you must inform the border agent. You could be subject to a fine and your funds may be seized if you fail to disclose the information.

The officer will issue your study permit document if they are satisfied with all the documentation. The officer may stamp your passport or let you know how long your stay in Canada is – this will usually correspond to the length of your study permits.

To ensure that your permit is issued correctly, you must verify the details of the study permit once it has been issued. You should immediately report any errors to the Border Services Officer. To ensure that you comply with your student status, make sure you fully understand the conditions of your study permit.

Studying in Canada while you work

International students often seek employment while they study to pay for living expenses and gain experience. Here are some methods students can seek employment.


If you have enrolled for a degree, diploma, or certificate course of at least six months, you can begin working as soon as the study program starts. The study permit will specify that you are allowed to work on-campus or off-campus.

You must make sure you fully understand your study permit. A violation of these conditions could result in your Post Graduate Work Permit eligibility. You should speak with an authorized immigration representative if you don’t understand the work authorization granted under their study permit.

Internships or co-op

If the course involves work experience, students can apply for co-op or internship positions off-campus. Before the student can start work, they must have a coop work permit.

Tip: It’s a good idea to review your course schedule and timings if you are enrolled in a full-time course. You may not have the opportunity to take on a part-time job as you study.

Learn more about What international students should know about Canada.

Finding employment after graduation

After completing their studies, international graduates may be eligible for a work permit. There are many types of work permits. The first step is to determine which one might be best for you.

  1. A post-graduation work permit (PGWP), is available for study programs that last between 8 and 2 years. It’s possible to get a PGWP equivalent to the length of your program. A three-year work permit may be available for programs that last more than two years. A PGWP is not available for study programs of less than eight months duration or students who graduate from private career colleges. Students must maintain full-time student status and comply with any off-campus work restrictions to be eligible for the PGWP. Before enrolling in this program, you should verify that your institution is eligible for the PGWP program.
  2. Open Work Permit: This permits you to work in Canada for any employer, except those in restricted occupations.
  3. Employer-specific work permits: This allows you to work for a particular employer in accordance with the terms, conditions, and restrictions set forth on the work permit.

IRCC announced on February 12, 2021, that international students who have completed their studies outside of Canada will be eligible to receive a future PGWP.

These new measures are applicable to international students who:

  • Participate in an Eligible Program
  • You have started or will start a program in any semester between spring 2020 and fall 2021 or your program was in progress as of March 2020.
  • You have a study permit/approval for a permit, or you applied for a permit before starting your program.
  • All other PGWP criteria must be met


“As an international student, I had one goal: to learn English and to get a Canadian education. Then, I would be able to settle down in Canada. After completing my studies, I was able to get a job in Canada. It was difficult to find internships if you wait until the end of your program.


This realization came to me during my program. In order to increase my chances of getting a job, I began volunteering in the first semester. I was referred to my current role by a volunteer who had worked at RBC Ventures. This experience taught me how important it was to build a network in Canada, and how volunteering could help you locate relevant opportunities.

Lucas Mendonca, an international student from Canada.


As a step-stone to permanent residence (PR), a student permit

Many students who have completed their studies and gained Canadian experience through work permits, and plan to reside in Canada, apply for PR. Students with Canadian education and experience can give them an advantage in the PR application process.

The Canada Tool allows you to verify your eligibility and research the next steps in planning your trip to Canada.

Studying abroad in a multicultural country such as Canada is a great way to improve your skills and knowledge. You can easily transition to international student life by doing your research well.

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