Study in Canada

You may need a study permit to study in Canada. Study permits allow you to study at a Designated Learning Institute, which includes Canadian universities, as well as many colleges and trade schools. 

We have provided some answers to common questions below. If you have any questions particular to your situation, please contact one of our lawyers below. 

Do I need a study permit to study in Canada?

Generally speaking, you need a study permit if you want to study in Canada. There are some exceptions, such as: 

  • Programs or Courses lasting 6 months or less. You do not need a study permit if your program in Canada lasts 6 months or less. You must complete the program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada.
  • Foreign representatives. Family members or staff members of a foreign representative to Canada accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), may not need a permit to study in Canada.  Contact your local embassy for details.
  • Member of the Armed Forces. Members of a foreign armed force under the Visiting Forces Act, do not need a study permit. If their family members, including minor children, want to study in Canada, they must meet the requirements.
  • Foreign nationals who are Registered Indians in Canada
    Citizens of another country who have Registered Indian status in Canada do not need a study permit.

What are the basic eligibility requirements if I need a study permit?

  • You must have been accepted by a Designated Learning Institution in Canada.
  • You must prove that you have enough money to pay for your:
    • tuition fees;
    • living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada; and
    • return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
  • You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • You must be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
  • You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.

How do I apply for a study permit?

With some exceptions, the initial study permit must be applied for outside of Canada. Applications can be made online or to a Canadian Visa Office abroad. 

If you require assistance or have questions about the process, please contact one of our immigration lawyers below and we will be happy to assist you.

I'm looking at picking a school in Canada to study at. What is a Designated Learning Institute?

A post-secondary institution must be on the Designated Learning Institution ("DLI") list in order for a study permit to be granted. This is a list of schools maintained by the Government of Canada. An official list of DLIs can be found here, sorted by province or territory.

Can I work while on a study permit in Canada?


If you have a study permit and are enrolled full-time in an eligible institution:

If you have a study permit and are enrolled full-time in an academic, professional or vocational training program at a designated learning institution:

If you receive your study permit after June 1, 2014:

  • your study permit will indicate if you are able to work off campus. If so, you are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week while:
    • your program is in session; and
    • full-time during scheduled breaks in the academic calendar.

You may work for any employer in Canada who is not on the ineligible employer list.

You must have the appropriate work permit in order to take part in a co-op or internship program. You must also apply for a post-graduation work permit in order to work in Canada after your studies. For more details, see Work Permits for Students.

What happens after I apply for a study permit?

Sometimes after the visa office receives your application, the visa office might request more information or documents. These may include the following:

  • Medical information
    In most cases, you will need a medical examination. A visa officer will send you instructions if you need one. This may add more than three months to the processing time of your application. 
  • Security information
    If you want to study in Canada, you and any family members who come to Canada with you, and who are 18 years of age and over, may have to provide police certificates. 

Can I extend or renew my study permit?

It is possible to extend or renew your study permit. 

Can I stay in Canada after graduation?

Some students can stay and work in Canada after their graduation on a post-graduate work permit. 

I've lost status as a student because my study permit expired. Can I restore my status?  

If your study permit has expired, or if your application to renew your study permit was rejected for some reason (eg. you forgot to include the fee receipt), it is possible to restore your status as a student within 90 days of losing it. You may only apply if you have continued to meet the requirements under which you were allowed to enter and stay in Canada and you have met all the conditions imposed on your permit. 

After you apply to restore your status, you may stay in Canada until a decision is made on your application but you are not allowed to study until your status has been restored.

Contact one of our immigration lawyers for any assistance you may need with your study permit application: