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Deciding to study in Canada, and going on to submit your application, is often equal parts stressful and exciting. But, there's a new requirement that's causing confusion for hopeful students: Provincial Attestation Letters. So, in this post, let's dive into this new requirement to help your study permit application run more smoothly.

From 8:30am ET on January 22, 2024, most students applying for a study permit in Canada will need a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL). The process for provinces to issue these letters to students looking to study in Canada is likely to be in place by March 31, 2024. We’ll continue updating this page as the new process is published, but here’s what we know for now:


What is the Provincial Attestation Letter?

To address Canada’s housing crisis and some other issues in Canada’s international student program, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced an additional document requirement for study permit applicants: The Provincial Attestation Letter. This document requirement is in response to the international student cap introduced in Canada in January 2024.

Each province will need to issue the PAL to study permit applicants. It will show that the study permit application has been allocated within the national cap on international students that was implemented in January 2024. Basically, it’s a letter from the province showing that it has not exceeded the number of students it is allowed to accept that year.

Study permit applicants who are not exempt and who do not provide a PAL with their submission will have their application returned, along with your fees.


Who Needs A Provincial Attestation Letter?

Any study permit applicant who is not exempt (see more below) will need to provide a PAL with their application. This includes (but is not limited to) international students applying for the following:

  • Certificate and diploma programs.
  • Undergraduate degrees.
  • Study programs longer than 6 months.


Who Doesn’t Need A Provincial Attestation Letter?

The following categories of international students are exempt from the Provincial Attestation Letter requirement:

  • Preschool, elementary, and secondary school students.
  • Master’s and PhD students.
  • Students applying for a study permit extension.
  • Visiting or exchange students.
  • Temporary residents completing a course or program of study that is a prerequisite to you enrolling at a DLI (such as language courses).
  • Individuals in Canada under a removal order.
  • Individuals holding a temporary resident permit with at least 6 months remaining.
  • Individuals who are the family member of a foreign national who lives in Canada and is a study permit holder, work permit holder, temporary resident with a permit valid for at least 6 months, a member of armed forces in another country under the Visiting Forces Act, an accredited foreign government representative, participants in certain sports activities or events, a worker in Canada who is a member of a foreign news company, or a religious worker.

How To Get A Provincial Attestation Letter

It’s important to note that it is the educational institution’s responsibility to apply for a Provincial Attestation Letter for you. It is not something you will apply for directly.

Each province will implement its own processes and systems for managing Provincial Attestation Letter applications. Here’s what we know about how to get a Provincial Attestation Letter:

Ontario Provincial Attestation Letter

Ontario was one of the last provinces to announce that its system for processing PALs was ready, but it was the first to provide insight into how they will allocate their cap of PALs.

As of March 28, 2024, Ontario has implemented a process to issue PALs to students hoping to study. Students should contact the institution they’re planning to study at to receive a PAL.

Ontario Colleges webpage notes that “At some point during the application process, the post-secondary institution will submit a request for a PAL for you. When the request is approved by the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) and the PAL is available, you will be notified by the institution, and you will receive a copy of the letter. The notification and sharing process may be different for each institution.”

British Columbia Provincial Attestation Letter

British Columbia’s Provincial Attestation Letter issuing system went live on March 4, 2024. It’s important to note that the system is designed for educational institutions to access, not study permit applicants. So, if you need more information about receiving a PAL in BC, you should reach out to the educational institution you applied to.

Getting a Provincial Attestation Letter for Alberta

The Government of Alberta began issuing Provincial Attestation Letters on March 1, 2024. The information on Alberta’s study webpage highlights that:

“Post-secondary institutions will request a Provincial Attestation Letter on behalf of accepted students. Please contact the registrar of the institution you have been accepted to for questions or more information.”

In other words, if you need a PAL for Alberta, contact your school.

Quebec Provincial Attestation Letter

Note that if you intend to study in Quebec, the province has been issuing an updated letter attesting to the issuance of the Québec Acceptance Certificate for studies since February 13, 2024. This letter enables candidates to apply for a study permit in Canada.

Manitoba Provincial Attestation Letter

Manitoba’s Provincial Attestation Letter system went live on March 4, 2024.

If you need a Provincial Attestation Letter for Manitoba, you should contact your school. It’s important to do this before applying for your study permit.

Saskatchewan Provincial Attestation Letter

Saskatchewan’s system for issuing Provincial Attestation Letters went live on March 13, 2024.

As with other provinces, you should contact the school directly if you need a Provincial Attestation Letter in Saskatchewan. It will be the university, college, or other educational provider that applies for your PAL.

New Brunswick Provincial Attestation Letter

New Brunswick’s systems to issue Provincial Attestation Letters started on March 18, 2024.

To receive your Provincial Attestation Letter in New Brunswick, reach out to your school directly. It will be responsible for applying for and delivering your PAL.

Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Attestation Letter

International students looking to study in Newfoundland and Labrador can now receive their Provincial Attestation Letter. The province started processing PALs on March 19, 2024.

Anyone who needs a Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Attestation Letter should reach out to the educational institution directly. Your school is responsible for applying for your PAL, and it should provide you with a copy. You cannot apply for the PAL yourself.

Nova Scotia Provincial Attestation Letter

Nova Scotia began issuing Provincial Attestation Letters on March 28, 2024. To receive your PAL, contact the educational institution you plan to study at. They are responsible for obtaining and supplying a PAL to you.

Prince Edward Island Provincial Attestation Letter

Prince Edward Island put its process for issuing Provincial Attestation Letters on March 27, 2024. Students looking to study in PEI should contact the school to receive a PAL. Once you have your PAL from your school in PEI, you can apply to IRCC to study in Canada.

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