You can study in Canada for up to six months without a visa, which means it’s relatively easy to spend a semester abroad there.
To study in Canada for longer than six months, you’ll need to gain a Canadian study permit. This will be your visa for the duration of your stay.
Depending on your nationality, you may also need to obtain a temporary residence permit, which can be processed at the same time as your study permit application. Apply through the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website well in advance of your departure date to ensure you receive the documentation in time, as it can take up to 10 weeks.
Getting a Canadian study permit
Letter of acceptance
To apply for your study permit you’ll first need a letter of acceptance from a recognized higher education provider. For Québec you also need a certificate of acceptance (known as a CAQ) from the government before you can apply for a study permit.
Canadian student visa application package
Next, you should obtain a Canadian student visa application package from the CIC website, your local visa office or the Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country.
Submit your application
You’ll be given a personal checklist code to submit your application online. To do so, you must create a MyCIC account, where you’ll fill in your details, pay your fees and upload the required documents. This includes showing you have a ticket home and a valid passport.
Some applicants may also need to attend an interview at their local visa office, and those from certain countries may need to provide biometrics, a medical exam or a police report.
Letter of introduction
On approval you’ll be sent a letter of introduction, while students from countries which require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and/or a temporary residence visa will be issued these if required. Bring these along with your passport, proof of your finances and your letter of acceptance to the border control agency in Canada, where you will receive your study permit.