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Study permit

Do I need a permit to study in Canada?

Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. Some people in specific situations may not. Learn more about who needs a study permit.

You should apply for a study permit before coming to Canada. Only some people can apply for a study permit from within Canada. Before you apply, you must have a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution in Canada.

How you can apply for a study permit depends on if you’re applying from outside Canada, inside Canada or at the port of entry. Find out what options are available for you.

Your study permit isn’t a travel document. Your permit lets you study in Canada, but you may also need a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada. If we approve your study permit, we’ll also give you either a visitor visa or an eTA, depending on which document you need. This document will let you enter Canada.

Find out more about how to apply for a study permit.


How do I apply for a study permit?

You should apply for a study permit before coming to Canada. Make sure you have a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution in Canada before you apply.

You should apply online for a study permit, whether you’re outside of Canada or already in Canada. If you can’t apply online because of a disability or because there’s a  problem with the online application, you can apply on paper.

If you’re currently a visitor in Canada

Find out how you can apply for a study permit if you’re already in Canada as a visitor.


When should I apply for my study permit?

Apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance. The times needed to process your application may vary among visa offices. Check our application processing times for details.


How do I pay for a study permit?

You must pay a processing fee with your application. For details, visit the Pay your fees page to learn about the methods of payment accepted by Canadian visa offices.


Will I get my money back if CIC turns down my study permit application?

No, you will not get your money back, even if your application is refused.


Can I apply for a study permit if I’m already in Canada?

Yes. You can apply for a study permit while you’re in Canada. Find out what instructions you need to follow and what forms you need to use by telling us where you’re applying from.

Some people don’t need a study permit to study in Canada. If your class or program lasts less than 6 months, or you meet one of the other exceptions, you may not need to get one. Find out if you need a study permit. If you don’t need a study permit, you can enrol in your classes.

If you’re currently a visitor in Canada

Find out how you can apply for a study permit if you’re already in Canada as a visitor.


I want to study in Canada for less than 6 months. Do I need a study permit?

It depends on where you’re applying from and whether you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller.

Applying from outside Canada

If you’re fully vaccinated

If you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you don’t need a study permit to come to Canada to study for 6 months or less. However, getting a study permit when you don’t need one has benefits.

We don’t request or look at your COVID-19 vaccination status when we process your application. A border services officer will make the final decision about whether you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller.

You still need a valid travel document (electronic travel authorization or visitor visa) to come to Canada.

If you’re not fully vaccinated

If you don’t qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you must

You won’t be able to travel to Canada if you don’t have a study permit or your DLI isn’t on the approved list.

Applying from inside Canada

If you’re already in Canada, you don’t need a study permit for a course or study program that lasts 6 months or less. You must get a study permit if you want to study for longer than 6 months.


How long will it take to process my study permit application?

Processing times vary. It depends on the type of application you submit, and where it is processed. IRCC lists processing times for applications submitted inside and outside Canada. We update this section regularly, so visit often to get the latest details.


I want to change my school or study program. How can I change my study permit?

You don’t need to change your study permit if you’re changing your school or study program

If you’re a high school student

If you’re moving to post-secondary school and want to be able to work while you study, you must apply to change the conditions of your study permit. There is a fee to make this change. To do this, you’ll need to apply for a new study permit from within Canada.

If you’re a post-secondary student

While you don’t need to change your study permit, you do have to tell us when you change post-secondary schools. Find out how to tell us that you’ve changed your post-secondary school.

If you’re moving to a school in Quebec

If you’re moving to a school in Quebec (and your previous school is outside Quebec), you must get a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ). You need a CAQ for any level of school, including primary.

While you don’t need to change your study permit, you do have to tell us when you change post-secondary schools. Find out how to tell us that you’ve changed your post-secondary school.


Do I need a medical exam to study in Canada?

Yes, you need a medical exam to study in Canada if you:

See Medical Exams for more details.


What is a port of entry (POE) letter?

It’s a letter you may receive from IRCC if you’ve been approved for a

Officially, it’s called the port of entry (POE) letter of introduction. But this letter is sometimes called the

The letter of introduction is not your study or work permit.

You’ll get this letter if you were approved and you

COVID-19: proof that your application was approved

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, you must have proof that you’ve been approved for a work or study permit to board your flight. You can show the airline staff your

If you didn’t get a letter or a visitor visa

Once we start processing your application, you can link your paper application to your online account to get a copy of the letter. If your application is approved, you’ll find the letter in the “Messages about your application” section in your online account.

When you arrive in Canada

Tell the officer at the port of entry about your approved application.

If you don’t have a printed copy of your letter of introduction, you can show


How long is my POE Letter valid?

There is a box titled “Permit validity” on your Port of Entry (POE) Letter. You must come to Canada prior to that date.

If the validity date has passed and you have not yet come to Canada, you must submit a new application.

You cannot extend the validity date on your POE Letter.

Your POE Letter will be valid for the requested length of your work permit, study permit or super visa. You may be eligible to extend your work permit once you are in Canada.

International Experience Canada participants only

Your POE Letter will normally be valid for 12 months. If you underwent a medical exam, it will be valid until the expiry date of your medical exam or for 12 months, whichever is less.

You can only extend your International Experience Canada work permit in very specific situations. Find out if you can extend your work permit.


There is a strike at my designated learning institution and I can’t continue my studies. What does that mean for my status as a study permit holder?

This situation is beyond your control and your status as a study permit holder should not be affected. As a result of the strike, you will:

You must continue to have valid status as a student in Canada to be able to return to class after the labour dispute is resolved. If you need to apply to extend your study permit during the strike, include a letter from the registrar of your designated learning institution that confirms that the strike has stopped you from attending school and pursuing your studies.


What do I do if the school I’m studying at loses its designated learning institution status?

If the learning institution you’re studying at is de-designated while you’re studying there, you can keep studying until your current study permit expires. However, you won’t be able to extend your permit unless you’re enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI).

If you’ve deferred your enrolment

If you’ve deferred your enrolment and the learning institution that issued your letter of acceptance is de-designated before you start studying, you cannot start studying at that school.

If you’re in Canada with a valid study permit

You’ll need to

If your study permit has been approved but not issued yet

We’ll send you a request to provide a new letter of acceptance from a new DLI. If your study permit is approved, you’ll need to update the information about your learning institution in MyAccount.


As a foreign student, can I return home or travel outside Canada while studying?

Yes. However, your study permit is not a travel document. It doesn’t give you the right to travel to or enter Canada. Along with your permit, you may need:

Depending on where you’re from, you may only need your passport. Make sure you know which document you need to travel to and enter Canada.

Having the travel document you need also doesn’t guarantee you’ll be allowed back into Canada. You still must show the border services officer that you meet all the requirements before we’ll let you re-enter.

If you need a visitor visa to enter Canada

Make sure the one you have will still be valid when you return to Canada. If it won’t be valid, you must apply to extend it before you leave Canada.

Read more about travelling while you are a student.


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