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Studying in Canada as an international student is expensive. The cost of living and tuition is daunting to many who are entering the country. While it may be expensive, studying in Canada can lead to a world of opportunities and high-paying jobs, both in the country and beyond. 

If you’re looking to study in Canada, here are the necessary steps to acquire a study permit in Canada, and extend a study permit in Canada.

Do You Need A Study Permit To Study In Canada?

Yes, as an international student, you do need a study permit to study in Canada. A study permit is a document that is provided by the Government of Canada. International students can use the permit to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada. In essence, a study permit allows international students the ability to study at different schools in Canada which they would not be able to study at without a permit. 

What Do You Need To Get A Study Permit In Canada?

In order to get a study permit in Canada, all of your documents need to be ready for application before arriving in the country. It is also recommended by the Government of Canada that you apply for a study permit prior to arriving in Canada. Here are the general eligibility requirements for application:

Letter Of Acceptance 

A letter of acceptance from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI)

Proof of Identity

This varies depending on the country but a passport or travel document is most commonly needed for international students in order to apply for a study permit, no matter which country you are coming from. 

Proof Of Financial Support

To be eligible for a study permit in Canada, you’ll need to prove to the government that you can afford to study and live in Canada while you do. You’ll need to provide proof of funds to pay your tuition fees and all living expenses for yourself and anyone you bring with you. 

Other Documents

In addition to the requirements above, you may be required to provide the following: 

  • Letter of Explanation. This letter is used to aid the visa officer in understanding what your goals are and why you want to come to Canada.
  • Medical Exam. This is needed if you are from or have visited certain countries. It’s also required if you plan to spend more than six months in Canada, or if you plan on working a job in which public health must be protected. 
  • Other Documents. More detailed information on the documents needed for application depending on the country you are coming from can be found here from the Government of Canada.

How Long Is A Study Permit Valid For In Canada?

A study permit in Canada is usually valid for the duration of the program the student is studying for, plus 90 days after the completion of the program. For example, if you are a postsecondary or an adult student entering a four-year program, your study permit is valid for the duration of the program’s four years, plus 90 days. 

After your study permit ends, you must either leave Canada or apply to extend your stay. 

Can You Extend Your Study Permit In Canada?

Yes, you can extend your study permit in Canada. Whether you need more time to complete your studies or want to take more classes, you’ll need to apply to extend your study permit in Canada. 

There is a $150 fee to renew or extend your study permit, and the processing time could take up to 71 days.

How To Extend Your Study Permit In Canada

Applying to extend your study permit in Canada can be confusing, so here’s a step-by-step guide: 

Step 1. Apply Before Your Permit Expires 

In order to extend your study permit in Canada, you need to apply at least 30 days before your permit expires. Applying earlier allows you to stay in Canada while your extended study permit is processed. 

Similarly, make sure that your passport doesn’t expire during the same time period you would be studying with the new study permit. A study permit cannot be extended beyond your passport’s expiry date. As such, if your passport has expired or will be expiring soon, you won’t be able to extend your study permit.

Step 2. Gather Your Documents

To extend your study permit, you’ll need to gather similar documents to when you first applied for a study permit. You’ll need to provide a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and proof of financial support. 

Step 3. Complete Your Application

The entire application is completed online using GCKey or Sign-In Partner. There are a number of documents you’ll need to fill out and sign. So be sure to follow this checklist so you don’t miss anything. 

Step 4. Pay The Fees

You’ll have to pay a $150 processing fee via debit or credit when you submit your application. If you do not pay the fee, you’re application will not be accepted. Do note, that if you apply to restore your status and get a new study permit, it’ll cost you $350. 

Step 5. Submit And Wait For A Response

After You’ve applied the Case Processing Centre will review your application. If it is approved you’ll receive your new extended study permit in the mail. If your application is rejected, you’ll receive a letter by mail. In some cases, your application may be rejected due to it being “incomplete”. In such cases, you may apply for restoration of status if your permit has expired but you haven’t stayed longer than the 90-day authorized period.

Can You Work In Canada After You Graduate?

To work in Canada after graduation, you’ll need to get a work permit. Specifically, you will need a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). A PGWP allows students who have completed graduation from a Designated Learning Institution to gain an open work permit.

The length of the PGWP you can receive depends on the length of your initial study permit. It can range from between 8 months to 3 years long depending on the program of study.

Much like a renewed study permit, the PGWP cannot extend past the expiry date on your passport. It is important to make sure your passport is renewed through the length of the work permit. 

What If You Need Extra Money When Studying In Canada?

If you’re a student in Canada, chances are you need money to live, eat, and have some fun. To get the money you need, you have two main options. 

Get A Job If You’re Eligible

Getting a job is probably the best way to earn the money you need as a student in Canada. But, as an international student, your study permit must include specific conditions that either let you work on campus or off campus. 

The Canadian government has set very specific rules about working as an international student with a study permit. For example, you may only be able to work 20 hours per week under your study permit, or you may have the opportunity to work off campus while other international students may need to work on campus. Thus, it is important that you understand the rules pertaining to your situation. 

You Can Get A Loan Or Line Of Credit

Taking out a loan or line of credit is another way to get the money you need when studying as an international student in Canada. Keep in mind that this is an expensive option, one that could land you in debt and affect your future finances if you’re unable to pay off the loan as specified in your contract. 

Furthermore, not all lenders are willing to offer loans to international students since they have no credit score. An example of a lender who will lend to an international student is easyfinancial. Through easyfinancial, you are eligible for a loan if you meet their residency status requirements. One of those requirements is being a foreign student for at least 6 months. 

Tips For International Students In Canada

  • Apply for Scholarships. As an international student, you are still eligible for certain scholarships. 
  • Get Healthcare. Depending on the province you’re studying in, you may be able to access public healthcare. If not, you will need to have private healthcare. All post-secondary schools will have health insurance plans for international students to purchase. 
  • Find Cheap Apartments. Rent will likely be your biggest cost of living in Canada. To help you save on costs, be sure to use services like Zumper and to help you find cheap apartments in Canada.

Study Permit FAQs

Can I get a study permit for Quebec?

Yes, you can study in Quebec. Much of the same information applies in Quebec as it does with the other provinces when it comes to the application process for a Study Permit.  There are also some different financial limits as well as other documents needed in order for a study permit application to be accepted in Quebec. There are also Visa restrictions that could apply.

Can my spouse work while I am studying in Canada?

Yes, your spouse can work while you are studying in Canada. According to the Government of Canada, your spouse or child may be eligible for a study permit, a work permit or a visitor visa. The applications for these documents must be submitted when you apply for your study permit.

Do I need to take the IELTS to study in Canada?

In order to study in Canada and become an international student, you have to be proficient in English or French, according to the Canadian Immigration Law Firm. Different schools and programs set their own conditions on how to monitor language proficiency, meaning it varies from school to school. It is important to check the language requirements for the school you are applying to.
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Jackson Starr

Jackson Starr studies journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa and is originally from Montreal. He is a contributor to the Capital Current and an Ottawa broadcaster. He is a fan of any sport and has a passion for educating Canadians on current events and market trends.

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