A study permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which allows you to study and stay in Canada temporarily.
Who needs a study permit?
You must have a study permit if your program of studies is 6 months or longer.
Who does not need a study permit?
You do not need a study permit, if your program or course will:
- be 6 months or shorter, and
- end before your initial immigration status expires/ends (e.g. work permit, visitor record, stamp in passport, etc).
If you hold a Post-Graduation Work Permit, you may study in programs of up to 6 months as long as the program ends before your work permit expires.
Some students are also study permit exempt.
Depending on your country of citizenship, you might need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada.
You might want to apply for a study permit (even if this is not required) if:
- you will study full time and would like to work on campus, OR
- you might extend your studies after your original course/program ends
Maintaining your student status
To maintain your student status, you will need to:
- keep a valid study permit or have implied status, AND
- actively pursue studies, AND
- make reasonable progress towards completion
Keeping a valid study permit
Study permits become automatically invalid in one of two ways, whichever comes first:
- The expiry date on the study permit, OR
- 90 days after written confirmation of program completion first becomes available.
If you do not submit an application to extend your study permit before it becomes invalid, you must stop studying and working immediately.
Actively pursue studies
International students in Canada on a study permit are required to actively pursue studies.
Certain students are exempt from this requirement such as exchange students and refugee claimants.
These enrolment statuses are considered ‘actively pursuing studies’:
Note: UBC is required to report to IRCC on your enrolment status twice a year based on UBC’s definitions for immigration purposes.
Make reasonable progress towards completion
IRCC also requires you to remain enrolled and make reasonable progress towards the completion of your studies. You are welcome to change your majors, programs or in some cases, institutions during your time in Canada. However, an officer may request additional information to ensure your intentions to be in Canada are to study.
Every study permit has an expiration date, and you must renew it before it expires if you’re planning to study in Canada past your study permit’s expiration date. Study permits can only be renewed from inside Canada.
About study permit extensions
Amendments apply only to the mistakes that are made by IRCC when your documents were issued. For example, if you are eligible to work in Canada, but the wording on your study permit states you "may not work" or "may not accept employment", you will need to amend your study permit to get the right wording to apply for a SIN in order to work.
Go to the amend your study permit tutorial
If you will be studying in Canada for more than six months, you require a valid study permit for the duration of your studies. You are responsible for ensuring your study permit is valid at all times.
About initial study permits