In response to COVID-19, Canada has implemented special measures impacting international students. Learn more.

If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and want to study in Canada for a period longer than six months at post-secondary level, you will need a Canada study permit.

Explore this page, as well as our other study in Canada resources, to learn more about the process of coming to Canada to study.

About Canada study permits

What is a Canadian study permit?

A document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) to someone who wants to come to Canada to study, or continue ongoing studies in Canada.

What are the requirements for a Canadian study permit?

At the very minimum, you will need to present a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution (DLI) and minimum funds (see below). Additional documentation depends on your circumstances. The Canadian study visa requirements also includes the payment of student visa fees and the ability to provide proof of funds for your Canadian study permit. More information on proof of funds and general requirements for a study permit in Canada can be found below.

Are there activities for which study permit in Canada is not required?

Generally, a study permit is not required for:

  • attending preschool;
  • completing a distance learning program;
  • following audit courses (where a student is permitted to attend an academic course without obtaining credits);
  • taking courses included in tour packages as a secondary activity for tourists;
  • taking a course which is not academic, professional or vocational in nature that is of general interest and can be completed within the period authorized upon entry to Canada; or
  • taking a course or a program of study which is six months or less that can be completed within the period authorized upon entry into Canada.

In addition, certain family members or private staff accompanying a foreign representative accredited by Global Affairs Canada, as well as members of the armed forces from certain countries, may be able to study for longer than six months without a study permit.

Upon completion of a study program, graduates may be eligible to obtain a post-graduation work permit.

Can family members accompany an applicant to Canada?

An accompanying spouse or common-law partner may be able to obtain an open work permit, and minor children may be able to study at Canadian elementary and secondary schools.

Where to submit your study permit application?

The process for submitting your Canadian study permit application depends on the country from which you’re applying. Consult the Canadian government’s official page to find out your requirements.

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Book a consultation with a study permit expert

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Canada study permit: eligibility requirements

In order to be eligible for a Canada study permit, prospective students must:

  • obtain a letter of acceptance from a DLI;
  • prove enough funds to cover the first year of tuition, as well as living expenses and return transportation;
  • satisfy Canadian immigration authorities that they will leave Canada at the end of the period authorized by the study permit; and
  • be admissible to Canada (police background checks and/or a medical may be requested).

There may be additional requirements, depending on the applicant’s circumstances.

Minimum funds

Canadian study permit applicants must prove they can support themselves and accompanying family members, if applicable, while in Canada.

Proof of funds for a study permit can be proven with:

  • proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if you have transferred money to Canada;
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution;
  • proof of a student/education loan from a bank;
  • bank statements for the past four months;
  • a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars;
  • proof you paid tuition and housing fees;
  • a letter from the person or school giving you money; and/or
  • proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program.

Check out our analysis on which bank provides the best option for a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).

The minimum funds requirements are outlined below. The requirements for students destined for the province of Quebec are different, and follow this first table.

Minimum funds: all provinces except Quebec

Persons coming to CanadaAmount of funds required per year (additional to the tuition)Amount of funds required per month (additional to the tuition)
You (the student)$10,000$833
First family member$4,000$333
For each additional accompanying family member$3,000$255

Minimum funds for Quebec

Persons coming to CanadaAmount of funds required per year (additional to the tuition)Amount of funds required per month (additional to the tuition)
You (the student)$11,000$917
First family member (18 years or older)$5,100$425
First family member (under the age of 18)$3,800$317
Every additional accompanying family member (18 years or older)$5,125$427
Every additional accompanying family member (under the age of 18)$1,903159

Studying in Quebec

As the section above suggests, there are separate requirements in place for students who wish to attend one of the many universities and colleges in Montreal, or any other location in Quebec.

In almost all cases, individuals who wish to study in Quebec also need to apply for and obtain a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (certificat d’acceptation du Quebec, or CAQ) before they may begin studying in Quebec. This entails additional fees and processing times compared to the regular Canadian student visa processing times.

The CAQ is generally valid for the duration of the study program, up to a maximum of 49 months.

Health care

The government of Canada does not pay for the medical costs of international students. Health coverage for international students is different, depending on where you live. For details about your province, consult our guide to health insurance for your first months in Canada.

Prospective international students, as well as new arrivals in Canada who remain uncertain, are encouraged to contact the institution they are applying to / have applied to / are attending for more information about health insurance.

Getting help with a Canadian study permit application

Moving2Canada works with experienced, regulated Canadian immigration consultants who provide consultations. The consultants we work with will get to know you and your family, if applicable, and provide the kind of expert one-on-one advice that many newcomers to Canada have found highly valuable. If you choose to retain the services of a consultant all the way to obtaining your new status in Canada, the cost of the consultation will be deducted from the balance of fees.

Learn more about our recommended regulated Canadian immigration consultants.

Want to study in Canada?

Sign up for the International Student Roadmap, our free email-education service designed to teach you all you need to know about studying in Canada.

Do you have health insurance for Canada?

Many newcomers are not eligible for Canadian healthcare coverage when they first arrive.

Our partner, Cigna, offers newcomers a range of comprehensive health insurance policies for peace of mind. Explore your options with a free quote today!