If you are not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada you will be required to obtain a study permit in order to study in Canada. However, not everyone must have a study permit in order to study in Canada. A person may be exempted from the requirement of a study permit in the following situations:
- Minor children attending pre-school, primary or secondary levels,
- Family members or private staff accompanying a foreign representative by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada, and
- Members of the armed forces of a country designated for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act.
Minor children accompanying one or both parent(s), who are temporary residents (not temporary foreign workers or students), require a study permit.
A study permit is not required for:
- attending nursery schools or kindergarten.
- distance learning.
audit courses (where a student is permitted to attend an academic course without obtaining credit for it).
taking courses include in tour packages as a secondary activity for tourists.
- following a course which is not academic, professional or vocational in nature that can be completed within the period authorized upon entry into Canada.
- following a course or a program of study which is six (6) months or less that can be completed within the period authorized upon entry into Canada.
In order to meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), you must:
- Satisfy an officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your studies.
- Have a letter of acceptance from an educational institution.
- Prove that you have money for the duration of your stay in Canada to pay for :
- tuition fees,
- living expenses for yourself and accompanying family members, and
- transportation costs to and from Canada for yourself and accompanying family members.
- Be law-abiding and have no record of criminal activity.
- Produce any additional documents requested by the officer to establish your admissibility.
- Not be a risk to the security of Canada.
- Be in good health (complete a medical examination, if required).
According to CIC, a full-time student is a person, whose program of study is normally at least 15 hours of instructions per week, leading to a degree, diploma or certificate, unless otherwise defined by the educational institution. The Regulations make no special mention of part-time versus full-time studies. Pursuant to the
IRPA, a student requires a study permit whether or not their studies are on a full-time or part-time basis.
Work permits for students:
A. Working on campus
You may work on campus at the institution where you study without a work permit if:
- you are a full-time student at:
- a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university, or a collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec
- a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 percent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify) or
- a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees and
- you have a valid study permit.
B. Working off campus
The Off-Campus Work Permit Program allows certain foreign students to work off campus while completing their studies. To qualify, you must be a full-time student enrolled at a participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institution or in an approved program at an eligible privately funded institution.
Please note that not all programs offered by private post-secondary educational institutions qualify.
To work off campus, you must apply for a work permit. Do not begin to work off campus until you have received your work permit. The work permit authorizes you to work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full time during scheduled breaks (for example, winter and summer holidays, and spring break).
If you are no longer a full-time student or do not maintain satisfactory academic results, you must return your work permit to a local Citizenship and Immigration Canada office.
C. Co-op and internship programs
To be eligible for a work permit, you must meet the following conditions:
- You must have a valid study permit.
- Your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada.
- Your employment must be part of your academic program, certified by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution.
- Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50 percent of the total program of study.
D. Working after graduation
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
A work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program cannot be valid for longer than the student’s study program. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.
E. Work available to your spouse or common-law partner
Your spouse or common-law partner may apply for a work permit if:
- you are a full-time student at:
a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university or collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec
a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 percent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently, only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify) or
a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees
- you have a valid study permit or
- you have a valid work permit.
Work permits for your spouse or common-law partner are valid for the same period of time as your study or work permit.Back to top