Studying in Canada
To study in Canada, you may need a study permit or a temporary resident visa, though not everyone must have these documents.
To be eligible to study in Canada you must:
- have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada.
- 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.
- 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.
- be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
- satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada when you have completed your studies.
You do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada in the following cases:
- 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.
- If you are a family member or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada accredited by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, you may not need a permit to study in Canada.
- If you are a member of a foreign armed force under the Visiting Forces Act. But, if your family members, including minor children, want to study in Canada, they must meet the requirements.
Work Permits for Students
Working on campus: You may work on campus at the institution where you study without a work permit if:
* you are a full-time student at:
- a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university, or a 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 and
* you have a valid study permit.
Working off campus : 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.
To work off campus, you must apply for a 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).
Not all programs offered by private post-secondary educational institutions qualify. You should directly contact your institution to find out if it is participating in the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.
To be eligible for an Off-Campus Work Permit, you must also:
- have a valid study permit
- have been a full-time student for at least six of the 12 months preceding the date of your work permit application
- be in satisfactory academic standing (find out more about satisfactory academic standing in the Related Links section at the bottom of this page) and
- sign a form authorizing the institution, the province, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to share your personal information (to confirm that you are continuing to study full time and that you are in satisfactory academic standing).
You are not eligible to apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit if you are:
- participating in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
- participating in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by DFAIT
- receiving funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
- participating in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, Canada-Chile
- participating in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program
- participating in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
- attending a participating institution and registered in either an English as a Second Language or French as a Second Language program or
- a visiting or exchange student.
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.
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.
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
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. In addition, you must have graduated from a participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institution or in an approved program at an eligible privately funded 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.
You are not eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program if you:
- study in a program that is less than eight months long
- participate in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
- participate in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by DFAIT
- receive funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
- participate in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile
- participate in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program
- participate in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
- participate in a distance learning program either from abroad or from within Canada or
- have previously been issued a Post-Graduation Work Permit following any other program of study.
A work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program cannot be valid for longer than the student's study program for programs that are less than two years long. For programs that are longer than two years a work permit may be issued for three years