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These are some of the Frequently Asked Questions. For accuracy, we have reproduced them from the government website. Feel free to ask us for clarification on these or any related issues.


Do I need a study permit to study in Canada?

Most students need a study permit to study in Canada, but there are some exceptions.

To be eligible to study in Canada

  • You must have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada.
  • You must prove that you have enough money to pay for your:
    • tuition fees
    • living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and
    • return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
  • You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • You must be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
  • You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada when you have completed your studies.

Exceptions

In some cases, you do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada.

  • If you wish to study in a short-term course or program
    You do not need a study permit if you plan to take a course or program in Canada that lasts six months or less. You must complete the course or program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada.

    Even if you do not need a study permit, it is a good idea to apply for a permit before you come to Canada. If you decide that you want to continue your studies in another program after you complete your short-term course or program, you must apply through a Canadian visa office outside Canada for a study permit if you do not already have one.

How do I apply to study in Canada?

You must have a letter of acceptance from a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada before you can apply for a study permit.

When should I apply for my study permit?

You should apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance from the educational institution. The time needed to process an application to study in Canada may be different at various visa offices.

Do I need a medical examination to study in Canada?

You will need a medical examination if:

  • you will be in Canada for longer than six months, and you come from a  country for which Canada requires a visa.

Am I allowed to return home for a visit or travel outside Canada during my studies?

If you leave Canada and want to return, you must have:

  • a valid passport or travel documents
  • a valid study permit if you are returning to study in Canada and
  • a valid temporary resident visa if you are a citizen of a designated country for which Canada requires a visa.

How do I find out if I can work while studying in Canada?

Foreign students can work in Canada during their studies, and after they graduate. In most cases, you will need to apply for one of the student-related work permits, which are required if you want to work in a co-op/internship placement, off campus, or after graduating from your studies (Post-Graduation Work Permit Program).

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).

Studying in Canada: Work permits for students - Co-op and internship programs

For some academic programs, work experience is part of the curriculum. Foreign students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit.

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.

If I receive an off-campus work permit, for how long is it valid?

Your work permit will generally be valid for the same period as your study permit. It will allow you to work off campus until you complete your studies, as long as you still comply with the program requirements and with the conditions of both your work permit and study permit.

If I am eligible and the institution where I study is participating in the program, can I apply for a job off campus right away, or do I have to wait until I receive my off-campus work permit?

You can apply for a job right away, but you cannot legally work off campus in Canada until you receive an off-campus work permit. If you begin to work off campus before you receive an off-campus work permit, you could become ineligible to participate in the Off-Campus Work Permit Program. It is illegal for you to work in Canada without a valid work permit.

Are there any restrictions on where I can work or the type of job that I can apply for under the Off-Campus Work Permit Program?

You will be able to work anywhere in Canada as long as you remain a full-time student with a satisfactory academic standing while classes are in session and you comply with the conditions of your work permit.

In some cases, there may be restrictions on the type of job you can hold. 

Are there any restrictions on how many hours I can work once I receive my off-campus work permit?

Once you receive your off-campus work permit, you can work up to 20 hours per week off campus while classes are in session. You can work full time during scheduled breaks, including summer or winter holidays and reading weeks.

While classes are in session, you must be studying full time and retain satisfactory academic standing to keep your off-campus work permit.

I am considering studying in Canada. Can I apply for an off-campus work permit at the same time as I apply for my study permit?

No, you cannot apply for a study permit and an off-campus work permit at the same time. To qualify for the program, you must already hold a valid study permit, and you must have been a full-time student at a participating institution for at least six of the last 12 months before you apply.

Why is the Off-Campus Work Permit Program not available to foreign students when they start their studies?

The likelihood of students quitting their study program is highest during the first few months of study. Citizenship and Immigration Canada wants to ensure that work permits are issued to legitimate students. When they apply, these students will be required to prove they have been studying full time for six of the last 12 months at a participating institution.

Can my accompanying spouse work in Canada during my studies?

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.

Note: Accompanying spouses or common-law partners of foreign students (including spouses or common-law partners of foreign students with post-graduation work permits) are eligible for an open work permit, which means they do not need a job offer or a labour market opinion from Service Canada.

Can I work in Canada after completing my studies?

Studying in Canada: Work permits for students - Working after graduation

If you want to work in Canada after you graduate from your studies, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

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.

To obtain a work permit after your graduation, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have studied full time in Canada and you must have completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months.
  • If in your last semester of study you are registered as a part-time student because you only need a few courses to graduate, but you have been studying full-time during your studies, you are eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
  • In addition, you must have graduated from an approved and participating institution.
  • You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program.
  • You must have completed and passed the program of study and received a notification that you are eligible to obtain your degree, diploma or certificate.
  • You must have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit.
     

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