Study in Canada: Overview

Canada’s appeal extends to international students. With high standards of education, multicultural population, social stability, and relatively low education costs, Canada is ranked as one of the top global destinations for getting an education.

However, it is the Canadian government’s proactive policies aimed at improving international students’ experience, and creation of pathways for those wanting to pursue permanent residence after their studies, that has provided the country its biggest competitive advantage.

Benefits of studying in Canada include:

  • Ability to work off-campus during their studies:
    • Being mindful of the conditions that are mentioned on the study permit.
  • Option to bring dependent spouse on an open spousal work permit and children on dependent visas who will also be able to work and study here*;
  • Ability to obtain an open post-graduation work permit (PGWP) after completing their studies*;
  • Provincial immigration programs for permanent residence aimed at Canadian-educated international students;
  • Awarding of additional points for Canadian education and work experience obtained on a valid PGWP under the current immigration points system called Express Entry.

*These options are available to those who are attending a public post-secondary institution outside of Quebec. Students at private colleges and universities outside of Quebec are not eligible to obtain dependent visas for their families and are not eligible for post-graduation work permits either.

Combined, these policies allow most international students to obtain work experience necessary to submit their profile into the Express Entry pool and obtain an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. With emphasis on age, Canadian education and language skills, the system is designed to benefit those who have already demonstrated their ability to thrive in Canada.

For details regarding the various programs related to permanent residence, please click

If you are planning to study in Canada with the purpose of obtaining permanent residence and then becoming a Canadian citizen, our law firm has the competent Canadian Immigration Lawyers team that can assist you with building your immigration plan, with the end goal of obtaining permanent residence and eventually citizenship. To discuss your immigration options, we invite you to contact us so that we can assess and analyze the merits of your case. You can contact our team at via telephone or WhatsApp at 1-905-744-8888 or via email at

Study Permit Application Process

In order to apply for a Canadian study permit, the applicant must be admitted to a Canadian school, which has been approved by Canadian authorities to accept international students.  These schools are referred to as designated learning institutions (DLI) and can be found on the Government of Canada’s website. Before applying for a post-secondary program in Canada, it is important to confirm that the school is listed on the list and offers post-graduate work permits (PGWP) after graduation.

Once the applicant receives the acceptance letter, an application for a study permit can be submitted. In addition to confirming identity and acceptance to the Canadian school, the applicant must include proof of financial funds or support to cover school and living expenses. The minimum amount of funds is determined by the Canadian government. Currently, applicants are required to demonstrate enough funds to cover first year tuition plus $10,000 ($11,000 in Quebec) for personal expenses, with additional amounts for bringing a spouse and/or children.  The following documents are great examples that can be submitted as proof of funds:

  • Proof of a Canadian bank account in the applicant’s name, if the money had been transferred to Canada;
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution;
  • Proof of a student or education loan from a bank;
  • Bank statements for the past 4 months demonstrating the necessary funds;
  • Bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars;
  • Proof of paid tuition and housing fees;
  • Letter from the person or school providing financial support and undertaking; or
  • Proof of funding paid from within Canada, if the applicant received a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program.

Depending on the country of citizenship and residence, the applicant may be required to provide additional documents and/or information. This can include additional personal details, providing police clearances or undergoing medical examination. As part of the application process, applicants must submit biometric information if they haven't done so previously.

With very few exceptions, applicants must apply for a study permit before travel to Canada for any program that is more than 6 months in duration. The application must be submitted online and applicants from visa required countries will obtain a temporary resident visa (TRV) along with the study permit to facilitate entry. Visa exempt individuals must apply for electronic travel authorization (eTA).

If the application is approved, the applicant will receive a letter of introduction from the Government of Canada. Letter of introduction is NOT a study permit, but a confirmation of the approval of the application. This letter must be presented to the immigration officer when entering Canada and only then the study permit will be issued.

Please be aware that if the proposed educational institution is located in Quebec, applicants must apply for a CAQ (Certificat d'acceptation du Québec) before the application for a study permit is made.

Eligibility for Study Permit Application Inside Canada

Only select individuals are allowed to make a study permit application inside Canada such as:

  1. Applying to extend a study permit to allow continuation of studies;
  2. Spouses of eligible work permit or study permit holders;
  3. Visitors in Canada completing language prerequisite courses per conditions of letter of acceptance from college or university.

About Canadian Study Permit

Canadian study permits are usually issued for the length of the applicant’s studies plus 90 days as long as the passport validity allows for the permit to be issued to that duration. Study permits are never issued beyond the validity of the passport.

Most study permits authorize the applicant to work on and off campus for up to 20 hours a week during regular school terms, and full-time during breaks. Please note the remarks and observations mentioned on the bottom of the permit.

In most cases, study permit holders can bring their spouse and child(ren) with them to Canada.  Family members then qualify for an open work permit and study permit, valid for the same duration of the main applicant’s study permit. This is only applicable if the applicant is coming to a public post-secondary institution outside of Quebec. In Quebec, any post-secondary institution allows applicants’ dependents to apply for permits.

Study permit is a document that allows the applicant to live, study and work in Canada. For programs that have a co-op component, applicants must obtain a separate co-op work permit before the start of the co-op placement.

Study permit is not an entry document: applicants must ensure to have a valid TRV or ETA if traveling outside of Canada.

Post Graduation Work Permit and Permanent Residence

For applicants that attended a public college or university that allows to apply for an open post-graduation work permit (PGWP), most times it will be a direct pathway for permanent residence after the applicant completes minimum work requirements to meet eligibility criteria for a federal (Express Entry) or provincial program facilitating permanent residence.

The duration of the PGWP depends on the length of Canadian study program:

  • Programs longer than 8 months but less than 2 years – PGWP will be issued for the same duration as the length the study program; and
  • 2-year programs and longer – PGWP will be issued for 3 years.

International graduates have 180 days from the day they receive their final marks to apply for the PGWP. In order to do so, applicants must obtain an official letter or document from the school confirming that the program of study had been completed – this comes in a way of a completion letter or final transcripts. Eligibility to start working on a full-time basis starts as soon as the application for PGWP is submitted assuming that the applicant did not fall out of status at the time when PGWP was submitted.

Once the applicant obtains a valid job offer for full-time employment, the applicant can consider different pathways for permanent residence solely depending on their individual circumstances. Most applicants become eligible to apply through the federal program of Express Entry, however in some cases provincial programs might be more suitable.

For details with regard to available programs for permanent residence, we invite you to discover the following link

If you are looking for a Canadian Immigration Lawyer that can assist you with your matter, there is no need to look any further. At UL Lawyers, for all immigration matters, we offer free consultation for the first 15 minutes and in the event our law firm is retained, we will credit the consultation fee towards your legal fees. For more information, you can contact us via telephone or WhatsApp at 1-905-744-8888 or email us at We look forward to assisting you with your immigration matter.