Student Visa Services


There are several important and key steps before an international student starts his/her studies in Canada. After the Canadian institution enrols you and registers you as a student, in most cases, you will need a Study Permit (student visa) to be able to enter Canada. You can apply for a Study Permit by yourself or you have the option to have CES retain our partner law firm to assist you with regards to legal advice & visa requirements.

The experienced lawyers and staff of the law firm can provide valuable advice, prepare your application and also help prepare you for a possible interview by Canadian officals at embassies, High Commissions or Consulates. CES clients are charged a substantially discounted fee for their Study Permit applications.

Getting a permit

To study in Canada, most international students need to obtain a Canada study permit.

We suggest that you give yourself at least a couple of months before school begins to complete this process. To qualify, you must have a valid passport. You may also be required to get a visitor visa. CES can help you determine what you'll need to do to get to Canada easily and efficiently. Contact CES now for application advice and services

What Is a Study Permit?

A study permit is a document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that allows you to study in Canada. Generally, the permit will specify a limited time period at a specific Canadian educational institution and in a specific program.

CIC will typically issue study permits only if you have already received an acceptance letter from a qualified Canadian educational institution. You will also have to prove that you have the financial means to cover tuition and living expenses, including return transportation.

CIC may also require you to undergo medical examinations and provide police clearance certificates.

Applicants who wish to study in Quebec will also require approval from immigration authorities of the Government of Quebec (and must renew each year).

International students are considered visitors in Canada, so, when you arrive, you must satisfy the immigration officer at the port of entry that the purpose of your time in Canada is of a temporary nature.

There Are Exceptions. While most international students will require a study permit to study in Canada, there are some exceptions. A study permit is not required in the following cases:

  • If you are taking a course or program with a duration of six months or less.
  • If you are a minor child already in Canada, whose parents have legal status in Canada, other than visitor status.
  • If you are a family or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada.
  • If you are a member of a foreign armed force.

Who Needs a Temporary Resident Visa?

A temporary resident visa, which is issued by a Canadian Immigration Visa Office outside Canada, may also be required if you are a citizen of a country that CIC requires such visas for entry into Canada. A temporary resident visa is not required for citizens of visa-exempt countries.

Temporary resident visas may be for single entry or multiple entry. International students are admitted for lengths of time determined on a case-by-case basis. Extensions may be applied for within Canada.

Residents of some countries are exempt from

Extending Your Stay

If you want to extend your stay in Canada as a student, you must complete an application to change conditions or extend your stay. Check the expiry date on your study permit, and make sure you apply before that date. You should apply for renewal at least 30 days before your current permit expires. Contact CES now for application advice and services

If you apply for a renewal of your study permit, and the permit expires before you receive an answer, you can continue to study in Canada under the same conditions until you receive a decision.

If your study permit has expired, and you have not applied for an extension, you must leave Canada.

In some cases, you may apply to restore your status as a student within 90 days of losing it. You may only apply if you have continued to meet the requirements under which you were allowed to enter and stay in Canada and you have met all the conditions imposed on your permit.

Off-campus Work Permits for International Students

International students can only work in Canada in some situations. In fact, students must come to Canada with sufficient money to live and pay their bills while studying, without having to work.

However, in some cases, a student may be able to work in Canada during the course of study. If the work is off-campus, you must then have a valid work permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). CES can guide you in this application process. Contact CES now for application advice and services.

Contact us to find out about working on-campus, which does not require a work permit. 

Working Off-campus

To work off-campus, you need to apply for an off-campus work permit with CIC. CES can guide you in this application process. Contact CES now for application advice and services

Are You Eligible?

Students eligible for an off-campus work permit must:

  • hold a valid study permit
  • be studying at an institution that participates in this program.  (Contact us for a list of participating institutions)
  • be in satisfactory academic standing at their institution
  • have been studying full time for at least six months out of the year before they apply
  • sign a form authorizing the academic institution and the province to release information to CIC so it can confirm students' eligibility for the permit

If a student fails to maintain the above eligibility requirements, their off-campus work permits are no longer valid and they must surrender the permit to CIC.
The following international students are not eligible for an off-campus work permit:

  • visiting or exchange students
  • students receiving awards or scholarships from Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • students being funded by the Canadian International Development Agency
  • students participating in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program, Organization of American States Fellowships Program or the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, Canada-Chile

How Much Can You Work?
If you have a valid off-campus work permit, you may work off campus for a maximum of 20 hours a week. However, during scheduled breaks, such as summer holidays and spring or winter breaks, you can work full time.

How Long is the Off-campus Work Permit Valid For?
The off-campus work permit will be valid for the same duration as your study permit, plus an additional 90 days.

Work Permits for Co-op or Internship Programs

For some academic programs, work experience is part of the curriculum. International students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must also apply for a work permit. Contact CES now for application advice and services

Are You Eligible?

To be eligible for a work permit for a co-op or internship program, 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 per cent of the total program of study.

Work Permits for a Spouse/Common-law Partner

If you are an international student, 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 per cent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants or a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees
  • have a valid study permit
  • have a valid work permit

Accompanying spouses or common-law partners of international students (including those 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.

Work permits for your spouse or common-law partner are valid for the same period of time as your study or work permit.  CES can guide you in this application process. Contact CES now for application advice and services.

Post-graduation Work Permits

Once you graduate from your post-secondary program, you may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit. Indeed, upon graduation, international students are encouraged to obtain Canadian work experience.

A post-graduation work permit allows international graduates to obtain a three-year open work permit so that they can stay and contribute to the Canadian work force. This permit allows you to work for any Canadian employer in any industry. And you are not required to have a Canadian job offer at the time of application.

CES can guide you in this application process. Contact CES now for application advice and services

Are You Eligible?

To be eligible for a post-graduation work permit, international students must:

  • have studied full-time for the eight months preceding the completion of their program
  • have graduated from a public post-secondary educational institution, such as a university, college or collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP); a private post-secondary educational institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions and receives at least 50 per cent of its financing for operations from government grants; or a Canadian private educational institution authorized by provincial or territorial statute to confer degrees
  • apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation from their academic institution that they have met the requirements of their program
  • have completed and passed the program of study and received written notification that they are eligible to obtain their degree, diploma or certificate
  • have a valid study permit

How Long is the Post-Graduation Work Permit?

The standard post-graduation work permit is three years, but to be eligible for this, your program of study must have been a minimum of two years. If the program was less than two years but longer than eight months, you can still obtain a post-graduation work permit for the same duration as was your program of study.


Canadian Experience Class Applications

International students can apply for permanent residency in Canada under the new Canadian Experience Class. A recent change to Canada's immigration policy, this new class allows both foreign students who graduated in Canada and temporary foreign workers to apply to stay permanently.

The government realized that it made little sense to welcome students from around the world, train them here to the best of Canadian standards and kick them out of the country after graduation. Instead, immigration policy now recognizes that students who have spent months, even years, in Canada, studying and working, have the qualities to make a successful transition from temporary to permanent residence.

After all, you are familiar with Canadian society and can contribute to the Canadian economy.

Before you apply, however, ensure you collect all the necessary documentation and proof of your studies and work experience in Canada. CES can guide you in this application process. Contact CES now for application advice and services

Are You Eligible?

To be eligible to apply for permanent residency in Canada under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), you must have completed a program of study of at least two academic years at a Canadian post-secondary educational institution. You must also be planning to live outside the province of Quebec.

In addition, there are specific work experience and language requirements.

The CEC requirements are based on a pass or fail model. If the minimum requirements are met, you are eligible.

Education Requirements
To apply for permanent residency under the CEC, you must have completed either a full-time Canadian post-secondary educational program of at least two years (at least 16 months or four semesters). If you have completed one year of undergraduate education in Canada then a one-year master's program (certificates and diplomas cannot be counted), you are also eligible.

The programs must be delivered by a private or public post-secondary educational institution such as a college or a university that is provincially recognized or a private collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP).

You must have had proper status during any period of full-time study or training.

Note that English- or French-as-a-second-language courses do not count toward education requirements under the Canadian Experience Class.

Work Experience
To be eligible under the CEC, you must also have obtained at least one year full-time (or equivalent) of authorized skilled work experience after graduation. And that work experience must be gained within two years of applying.

You may get work experience after graduation by applying for the post-graduation work permit. 

Your skilled work experience must fit in one of the following categories of the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC):

  • Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations)
  • Skill Level A (professional occupations)
  • Skill Level B (technical occupations and skilled trades)

The NOC is a classification system for jobs in the Canadian economy. It describes duties, skills, talents and work settings for occupations in Canada. Find out more about the NOC list here.

Note that full-time work experience means working at least 37.5 paid hours per week.

Language Requirements

Beyond work experience, you must have moderate or basic language skills in English or French, which will be assessed depending on the skill level of your occupation.

There are two ways to prove your language skills:

  • test results from a language test (if your first language is anything other than English or French)
  • provide other written proof of your language proficiency (only if your first language is English or French)

If you do not meet the minimum language requirements for your occupation, your application for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class will be refused.

When You're Applying

Applicants can leave or remain in Canada throughout the application process. However, you must submit your CEC application within one year of leaving your job in Canada.

If you are still in Canada, your application must be sent to the Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo, U.S.A. If you are no longer in Canada, your application must be sent to the Canadian Immigration Visa Office that is responsible for handling applications from your home country. Contact CES now for application advice and services.


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