Frequently Asked Questions

What You Need to Know - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a study permit to study in Canada as an international student?

Generally foreign nationals who want to study in Canada for more than 6 months are required to apply for a study permit before coming to Canada online or through a Visa Application Center. 

American citizens have the option to submit a paper application for a study permit at a border crossing when they travel to Canada.

There are certain exemptions to the study permit requirement. 

Do I need a visa in addition to my study permit to travel to Canada?

Depending on your citizenship, you may need an eTA or a visa (TRV) in addition to the study permit. Your eTA or visa will be issued to you at the same time as your initial study permit. You do not need to apply separately or to pay an additional fee.

US citizens are exempt from eTA and visa requirements. 

Can I attend university with a high school study permit?

Students transitioning from a Canadian high school (secondary institution) to the University, no longer require a new study permit to attend the University if your current study permit is still valid.

Am I eligible to work in Canada while studying?

If you are a full-time student in a degree program with a valid study permit, you are eligible to work on-campus or off-campus without a work permit, if you meet certain criteria.

If you are a co-op student and work is a required part of your program, you have to apply for co-op work permit and obtain it before your work term starts. 

How long does it take CIC to process my application?

Processing times is subject to change. It indicates the number of calendar days it takes CIC to process a complete application.


My permit is about to expire, how and when should I apply to extend it?

You are responsible for keeping track of the expiry dates of your passport, study and work permits and other legal documents. You should never let your study permit expire.  

You have to apply from inside Canada to extend your permit at least 3 months before the expiry date.  If your study permit is expiring because your passport is expiring, you have to renew your passport first by contacting the closet consulate or embassy of your country. This may take between 1 and 6 months.

My visa or eTA is about to expire or already expired, can I travel/return to Canada with my valid study permit?

Please note that study permit is not a travel document. Depending on your citizenship, you may need an eTA or a visa in addition to the study permit to return to Canada.

Valid study permit holders can apply online for Visa from inside Canada (recommended) well in advance before they make plans to travel out of Canada or from outside Canada before they return to Canada.  

Those who are required to have an eTA to return to Canada. Your eTA is linked to your passport and is valid for up to five years or until your passport expires (whichever comes first). Check whether you have a valid eTA before returning to Canada. You can apply for eTA online. 

Am I eligible to stay in Canada after completing my degree program?

If you are completing a degree program, you are eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) when you apply within three months from completing the requirements of your program with a valid study permit.

Please note that PGWP is a one-time opportunity and you can apply for it only once regardless of number of degree programs you have completed in Canada. PGWP is not a travel document. Depending on your citizenship, you may need an eTA or a visa in addition to the PGWP to return to Canada.  

Federal and provincial governments in Canada offer over 60 different programs to foreign nationals in Canada and abroad to immigrate and become permanent residents. The right program depends on candidate’s qualifications and circumstances. If you are interested to become a permanent resident, please visit CIC and learn about the common PR categories on ISC website.