STUDYING IN CANADA
It is no surprise Canada is a very popular place to study – it offers students the chance to achieve internationally recognised degrees and participate in one of the best education systems in the world. If you are an international student wishing to study in Canada, you will need a study permit. To obtain a study permit, you must first receive an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution.
Each designated learning institution in Canada has a unique identification number called a Designated Institution (DLI#) which you must include on your study permit application form. You can find a list of designated learning institutions and their numbers on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Applying for a Study Permit
As we have mentioned above, the first thing you will need to apply for a study permit is a letter of acceptance from the school, college or university you will be attending. You will also need:
- Proof of identity – e.g. a valid passport
- Proof that you can financially support yourself while in Canada – this may be proof of a student loan, bank statements from past four months, a letter from the person providing you with money etc.
- Letter explaining why you need the study permit and what you will be doing in Canada.
You can apply either online or on paper. Full details are provided on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Study Permit Extensions
It is possible to extend your study permit and stay longer in Canada. You must complete an ‘Application to Change Conditions or Extend your Stay in Canada’. It’s important to note you must apply for this at least 30 days before your current permit expires. Once again, this can be applied for either online or on paper. For more information, take a look at the official guide on the IRCC website.
Working in Canada while Studying
If you wish to work in Canada while you are a student, you have several options:
- Working on campus. You do not need a work permit to do this, as long as you are a full time student with a valid study permit.
- Working off campus. Once again you do not need a work permit to do this, as long as you have a valid study permit and are studying full time in a course that leads to a degree or diploma, and is at least six months in duration. In this case, you can work a total of 20 hours a week during regular term time, and full time during long breaks such as summer holidays. You will need a social insurance number to work off campus. Find out more on the IRCC website.
- Working as a co-op student or intern. If work experience or an internship is part of your college program, you will need a work permit for this. To obtain a work permit, you must have a valid study permit, and the work must be essential to your study program. You may not be eligible for a work permit if you study English or French as a second language. You can submit an application through the IRCC website.
Staying in Canada after you Graduate
To stay in Canada, you must apply for a post-graduation work permit as part of the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). In order to be eligible for this you must have participated in a post-secondary course that lasted for at least 8 months. Post-graduate work permits can only be issued for the length of your study program, and for a maximum of three years.
The PGWPP is a great way to gain valuable work experience in Canada, which can then be used as experience when applying for the Canadian Experience Class program (which allows holders to stay permanently in Canada). For more information on the Canadian Experience Class, see our Skilled Worker section.
Please visit our Studying section for more information on studying in Canada.