Minor children – Study in Canada

Minor children must apply for a study permit if they want to study in Canada.

Who is a minor child?

In Canada, each province and territory decides the age when a person is considered to be an adult. This is known as the age of majority. A person under the age of majority is considered to be a “minor child.”

Province/Territory Age of Majority
Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan 18
British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Yukon 19

What documents to bring to study in Canada

In addition to the documents needed to enter Canada, a minor will need additional documents if he is less than 17 years of age and comes to Canada to study without a parent or legal guardian. The minor must be cared for by a responsible adult in Canada. This person is known as a custodian. In some cases, a custodian may also be needed for minor children between 17 years of age and the age of majority in the province or territory of the educational institution where they intend to study. This will be at the discretion of an immigration officer.

A minor will need two notarized documents to study in Canada. A notarized document is a document that has been certified by a notary.

  • The first notarized document must be signed by the parents or legal guardians of the minor child in the child’s country of origin.
  • The second notarized document must be signed by the custodian in Canada.

Custodianship requires that legal arrangements be made to give the custodian in Canada permission to act in place of a parent. Complete the Custodian Declaration Form.

An immigration officer must be satisfied that adequate arrangements have been made for the care and support of minor children who travel to Canada to study.

Length of time a study permit is valid

For minor children in grades 1 through 8: the study permit is normally valid for one year.

For minor children in grades 9 through 12, or attending a post-secondary institution: the study permit is normally valid for the length of time of studies, plus 90 days.

For minor children attending a post-secondary institution: the study permit is normally valid for the length of time of studies, plus 90 days

For minor children studying in Quebec: the study permit is valid for the same length of time as their CAQ.

Note: In Quebec, minors travelling alone need a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) to study.

If a minor child is with parents who have long-term study or work permits, the child’s study permit should be valid for the same length of time as:

  • the parents’ permits;
  • the child’s passport if it expires before the parents’ permits; or
  • the CAQ, if studying in Quebec.

Exceptions: Studying without a study permit

In some cases, minor children do not need a study permit to study in Canada. These cases include:

  • minor children attending kindergarten;
  • minor children who are refugees or refugee claimants, or whose parents are refugees or refugee claimants; and
  • minor children who are already in Canada with parents who are allowed to work or study in Canada, and who want to attend pre-school, primary or secondary school.

When minor children studying in Canada without a permit reach the age of majority (turn 18 or 19 depending on the province or territory), they must apply for a permit if they want to continue studying.


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