Studying in Canada as a minor

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

Special requirements for minors

Support for a minor child in Canada

The immigration officer must be convinced that minor children who travel to Canada to study have the care and support they need to come to Canada.

Minor children must either:

  • come with a parent or legal guardian or
  • have a custodian in Canada.

A custodian is a responsible adult (Canadian citizen or a permanent resident) who takes care of and supports the child.

How to appoint a custodian?

To appoint a custodian you need to send us the Custodianship declaration form with your application. The two pages look similar, but:

  • the first page needs to be signed by the custodian and notarized (certified by a lawyer or notary) in Canada.
  • the second page needs to be signed by the parents or legal guardians of the minor child and notarized in their home country.

Study permit

Most minor children need to apply for a study permit to study in Canada.

Exemptions

In some cases, minor children don’t need a study permit to study in Canada. This includes minors:

  • attending kindergarten
  • who are refugees or refugee claimants
  • whose parents are refugees or refugee claimants and
  • who are already in Canada and
    • their parents are allowed to work or study in Canada and
    • will attend pre-school, primary or secondary school.

Length of the study permits

Study permits are valid for:

  • primary school, grades 1 through 8: one year (can be renewed)
  • secondary school, grades 9 through 12: the length of time of the study program, plus 90 days (with a maximum of four years)
  • post-secondary school: the length of time of study program, plus 90 days (with a maximum of four years)
Special circumstances:
  • people studying in Quebec: study permit is valid for the same length of time as their Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ)
  • conditional acceptance: we may issue the study permit for the length of the pre-requisite courses
  • child of parents with study or work permit: the study permit should be valid for the same length of time as the:
    • parents’ permits
    • child’s passport if it expires before the parents’ permit or
    • CAQ, if studying in Quebec.

Letter of acceptance

Minor children applying for a study permit need to give us an acceptance letter from the school they want to attend in Canada.

Exemption

If the minor is in Canada with a family member who got a work or study permit before entering Canada, they don’t need to send us the letter of acceptance.

Documents to enrol in school

Depending on their status minors need different documents to enrol in school.

If the child is a permanent resident then no study permit is required. To enroll in school, they will need:

  • Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292) or
  • Permanent Resident Card

If the child is a foreign national attending kindergarten and in Canada with a parent who is a visitor (not on a study or work permit, then no study permit is required. To enroll in school, they will need:

  • stamp on the child’s passport or
  • stamp on their parents passport where the child is listed as a son or daughter.

If the child is a foreign national attending a grade higher than kindergarten and is in Canada with a parent who is a visitor (not on a study or work permit), then a study permit is required. To enroll in school, they will need:

  • stamp on the child’s passport or
  • stamp on their parents passport where the child is listed as a son or daughter.

If the child is in Canada alone or with a parent who is a visitor with a study or work permit, then no study permit is required. To enroll in school, they will need:

  • child’s passport or
  • parent’s passport that child is listed on.

The child may have a visitor record or a stamp on their passport.

If the child is a refugee claimant, then no study permit is required. To enroll in school, they will need:

  • Determination of Eligibility letter from IRCC
  • child’s passport or
  • parent’s passport that child is listed on
  • any available travel or identity documents or
  • an expired IRCC document

If the child is in Canada without status, the no study permit is required. To enroll in school, they will need:

  • child’s passport or
  • parent’s passport that child is listed on
  • any available travel or identity documents or
  • an expired IRCC document.

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