What is a study permit?
A study permit is a legal document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows students from other countries to study in Canada.
Do I need a study permit?
Sometimes, you may study in Canada without a study permit. For example, your study is less than 6 months. Another example is that you are completing ESL.
Generally speaking, if you go to school for a full-time program longer than 6 months, you most likely need a study permit.
Am I eligible for a study permit?
You first need an admission offer from a Canadian school. This school can be either public or private. However, this school must be a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
Then, you need proof that you can pay your tuition fees and living expenses. Beside tuition fees, you shall ensure that you have at least $10,000 per year or $833 per month for all the expenses.
You must also complete a medical exam to prove that you are in good health.
English or French ability is not a requirement unless you apply under the Student Direct Stream. However, your school will want to know whether your language ability is good enough to complete the program.
Beware of dual intent
Dual intent refers to that, when you apply for a study permit, you also show that you want to become a Canadian permanent resident.
Dual intent could be a reason for refusal if you have no actual desire to study in Canada.
However, if your desire is genuine and you can prove that you will return to your home country after you finish studies, dual intent should not be a problem.
Where and how do I apply for a study permit?
For most of you, you need to apply for a study permit outside Canada. You must apply online.
You can apply at a Canadian border if you do not need a visa to enter Canada.
Some of you who are in Canada may also apply. However, there are limits. Generally speaking, you must have a valid work permit or study permit first. Another example is that you are studying ESL as the condition of your admission offer.
Depending on where you apply, the required documents may be different.
What are my responsibilities as a study permit holder?
First and foremost, you need to maintain an active status as a student. This means you must study as planned. However, you may take leaves from school for medical or other urgent reasons.
If your conditions change, you must tell IRCC. You must also follow all Canadian laws.
At any time, if IRCC finds that you no longer meet the requirements, they may cancel your study permit.
Can I transfer between schools?
After you have received a study permit, you can transfer between schools. However, your new school must be a DLI. You must also tell IRCC about your transfer.
Note that you may receive a study permit approval letter while outside Canada. You only get your study permit when you first enter Canada at the border.
If you transfer school before you receive your study permit, you actually need to apply for a new study permit.
Can I work without a work permit when I go to school?
First, there are two types of work we are going to discuss. One is work where you earn money, the other is internship, also known as co-op. Internship can be part of your program.
Your study permit will tell you whether you can work or not. However, you can still check if you are eligible to work before you get your study permit.
To be eligible to work on campus, you need to study at a public post-secondary school or at a private school that can award degrees.
To be eligible to work off campus, you must be a full-time student at a public post-secondary school. Your program must be 6 months or longer. You must also be able to receive a diploma, degree, or certificate when you finish your program.
During the school terms, you may work up to 20 hours off campus or 24 hours on campus. During the school scheduled breaks, you may work full-time.
If you complete an internship as part of your program, then you must apply for a co-op work permit before you start.
Can I stay in Canada and work after I graduate?
Some students may be eligible for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP) after graduation. A PGWP is an open work permit. An open work permit has no limits on employment.
A PGWP is valid for up to 3 years. Many graduates obtain Canadian work experience and apply for permanent residence on PGWP.
To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have graduated from an eligible program from a DLI. The program you finished must be full-time for 8 months or longer.
Note that ESL studies are not eligible for PGWP even if it is part of your program.
Distance learning and COVID-19 travel restrictions
Generally, the portion of distance learning in your program is not eligible for PGWP. However, due to COVID-19, all schools in Canada have been offering distance learning only. Therefore, an IRCC temporary policy allows distance learning to be eligible for PGWP.
However, this policy does not include programs that would have included distance learning.
Where and how do I apply for a PGWP?
You can apply for a PGWP within 180 days after you receive your final marks. You may submit your application either in or outside Canada. If you apply in Canada, you must have valid immigration status.
How long is my PGWP valid for?
A PGWP is valid between 8 months and 3 years, depending on the length of your program.
If your program is between 8 months and 2 years, it will be valid equal to the length of your study. If your program is 2 years or longer, it will be valid for 3 years.
You may complete your studies in less time than what the program normally requires. It will not affect your PGWP valid period.
Note that your PGWP is only valid up to when your passport expires. If your passport is about to expire, you may want to renew it first.
Can I bring a family member?
Your spouse or common law partner can come to Canada with you. Your spouse or common law partner may get an open work permit while you complete your studies.
You can also bring your children if they are under 22 who do not have a spouse or common law partner. Your children can go to school.
Immigration for LGBTQ
Many LGBTQ people wish to move to Canada either for work or study. They eventually want to settle here permanently.
Further, some of you may already be eligible for permanent residency even without Canadian work experience or education.
Book a consultation today, we can help you with your questions.
What do we do?
We work with LGBTQ people and help with their journey to Canada. At LegalRoots, client experience is what we care about. We also create a safe and friendly place for those who wish to discuss their matters with us freely.
Book an initial assessment today or contact us directly.