The majority of students who want to take courses or earn a degree in Canada are required to get a study permit before beginning their program of study. If your program of study is more than 6 months long, you will require a Canadian study permit.
Depending on how long you want to study in Canada, then you may not be required to apply for a study permit.
If your course or program of study at a Canadian school is less then 6 months long, then you are allowed to apply for a regular visitor visa and study without a permit.
In this case, please refer to our page on Studying in Canada Without a Study Permit.
Canadian Study Permit Requirements
Students who want to attend school in Canada need to show that they meet these requirements:
- Letter of Acceptance – students at any level of schooling must have already been accepted to a Designated Learning Institution in Canada
- Financial requirements – students need to show that they have the money to study in Canada without working. This usually means one year’s tuition + CAD$10,000
- Genuine Temporary Residents – students must show that they will have the money to leave Canada when their period of study is over
- Bona Fide students – not applying for a study permit because other applications have been refused
This is not a list of every single requirement – students may need to meet additional requirements based on their individual situation including language and other requirements,
How Long Does It Take To Get a Canadian Study Permit?
Processing time for a study permit depends completely on where the applicant is located. Processing times vary widely by country with the fastest being 2 weeks or less. The longest processing times can be several months long.
For this reason, applications for a study permit should be submitted well in advance of the student beginning school: 4 – 6 months before school starts is ideal because it gives the student plenty of time to get ready to move to Canada, and also gives the government plenty of time to process the application.
Previous Refusal of a Study Permit Application
Even if you submitted an application for a Canadian study permit which was refused, you can still be approved to study in Canada with a new application.
Almost all refusals stem from the officer not believing that the student will leave Canada at the end of their stay.
Some common reasons for refusal of study permits include:
- Purpose/reason for visit
- Family ties inside and/or outside Canada
- Personal Assets and Financial Status
- Travel History
- Immigration Status
All of these reasons for refusal and any other deficiencies can be addressed in a new application to convince the officer that the student is a good candidate for a study permit.
Working in Canada on a Study Permit
All students who are studying in Canada at the post-secondary level or higher are allowed to work while they are studying on a valid study permit. They are also allowed to continue working on implied status as long as they have applied to renew their study permit in time.
A separate work permit is not required for students in this situation to work. However, students completing a co-op as part of their program of study are required to apply for a co-op work permit in order to allow them to complete the co-op requirement of their degree program.
There are some restrictions on the type of work that students can perform. Certain types of work have additional requirements, such as working with children. Other types of work are not allowed at all, such as jobs in the sex trade such as strip clubs.
Pending completion of a post-secondary degree program at least 8 months long, the student can apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).
Students in Canada who are studying below the college or university level are not allowed to work.
Open Work Permit / Study Permit for the spouse/common-law partner of a Student
If a student is studying at the post-secondary level (college, university, or above), then their spouse or partner is entitled to apply for a Canadian study permit or open work permit as well.
Both partners must meet the requirements for their respective applications.
Frequently spousal open work permit applications for the spouse of a student are refused, especially from certain parts of the world. This can happen for several reasons, but frequently the officer does not believe that the relationship is genuine.
Refusal of a spouse or common-law partner application for Canadian open work permit or study permit can also be addressed in a new application.