There are various requirements that you must meet in order to live, study and work in Canada as an international student. In most cases, international students will need to be issued a student visa (which Canada refers to as a “study permit”) to attend school in Canada, although there are some exceptions (discussed further below). Depending on your country and other factors, you may also need to receive a Temporary Resident Visa to Canada or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to enter Canada. Furthermore, international students attending a “designated learning institution” full-time who meet certain criteria will need to receive a Canadian work permit in order to work in Canada, although this may not be required when working on campus or in other specific situations.
Some international students may not need to receive a Canadian study permit. For example, if you will be enrolled in a short-term educational course that lasts six months or less and is not part of a longer educational program; or if you are a member of the armed forces of another country living in Canada according to the terms of the Visiting Foreign Forces Act (however, your family members who accompany you to live in Canada may need a study permit to attend educational programs in Canada); or if you are a staff member or family member of a foreign representative to Canada accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Please note that this is a brief overview, there are other exceptions to the requirement to receive a Canadian study permit, plus additional criteria may apply.
In general, if you plan to study in Canada over six months at an “approved” school (referred to as a “designated learning institution”) and you are not exempt, you will need to get a Canadian study permit. The study permit will usually be valid for the duration of the study abroad program plus an additional 90 days after the international student completes his/her studies in Canada. Some of the major requirements to be issued a Canadian study permit include the following:
● You must receive a Letter of Acceptance from a designated learning institution in Canada before you can apply for a Canadian study permit.
● If you plan to study for at least six months in the Canadian province of Quebec, you will need to receive a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ).
● You must have a valid passport or authorized travel document that will be valid during the time you will be attending a study abroad program in Canada.
● You must provide proof of financial support for yourself and family members who will accompany you to live in Canada (e.g., tuition, living expenses, etc.).
● If you have minor children who will accompany you to live in Canada, you must have a signed and notarized Custodian Declaration Form.
● You may need to provide proof of good health (a medical exam may be required).
● You may need to provide proof of good character (a police certificate may be required).
● A Letter of Explanation might be needed in some unique situations (e.g., if you are applying for a study permit when you are exempt).
● Additional documents may also be requested.
● You must apply for and be issued a Canadian study permit (and present your receipt for the study permit fee).
● In some cases, there may be an interview with a Canadian government official.
Please note that this is a summary of some of the major requirements to study in Canada as an international student and the Canadian government may update the criteria to study abroad in Canada at any time.
If you are an AbroadEd client, our team of experts will be able to evaluate your eligibility to attend various Canadian educational programs and whether you are likely to meet Canada’s student visa (study permit) requirements. The AbroadEd team of professionals also offers its clients personalized, professional assistance through each stage of applying for a Canadian educational program and student visa/study permit to simplify the process and also to make sure that everything is done correctly. To learn if you are likely to meet the requirements to study abroad in Canada, click here!
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