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Call us: 1-866-760-2623 Email Us: [email protected]

Call Us: 1-866-760-2623
Email Us: [email protected]
Call center: Mon-Fri 8:00AM - 4:00PM EST
Office: Mon-Fri 9:00AM - 4:00PM EST

Canada Study Permit

Getting a Study Permit for Canada

People who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents must almost always apply for a permit to go to school in Canada.

This document is issued at the Canadian embassy nearest to the applicant’s residence and is placed in the applicant’s passport. This visa shows you have met the requirements to be a temporary resident of Canada as a student.

Certain courses and children in certain situations do not need a permit to go to school in Canada.

If you are looking for assistance with your study permit application,

Call us at 416-962-2623 or email us for a consultation at [email protected]




Mistakes to Avoid on Your Student Visa Application

Canadian Study Permit

You are talented, educated, and ambitious and you want to take the next step and migrate to Canada to study at a university or college. You have applied online or through your local Visa Application Centre (VAC). You have gone out of your way to assemble the necessary documentation, all of it notarized and translated; a veritable stack of official-looking documents that you attach to your application form or ceremoniously hand over at the VAC or visa office. And you get rejected.  How can this be?! Welcome to the fastidious world of official applications. Here’s a survey of common mistakes on a student visa and how you might avoid making them in the first place:

  • Arrange your documentation exactly according to Citizenship Immigration and Canada (CIC) guidelines. Any single piece of documentation that is wrong will result in your visa application being rejected. It is also important not to overdo the paperwork which makes the life of an immigration official who is reviewing your case that much more difficult. Give CIC exactly what they ask for, nothing more and nothing less.
  • Do not over-explain your case. Keep it straightforward and simple. Give CIC the information they need and, again, do not overdo it.
  • For students applying from India and China, the Student Partners Program, or SPP, is an administrative framework that is run by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, or ASCC, and the Canadian visa offices in India and China. It is meant to streamline the application process, but you need to meet certain requirements and your eligibility will be determined by the college you are applying to. SPP is not a requirement for student visa applications, it is, rather, an option, so do not put your application under the SPP category if you have not applied under this program and have not been approved. As well, do not mix requirements from distinct student visa categories as this will likely result in your application being denied. The categories are:
    • SPP: which is for approved community colleges and involves lower processing times and has added requirements, like an IELTS test result of 5.5 or higher.
    • University: which requires an acceptance letter from a Canadian University.
    • General: which is for College applicants who are not under the SPP program and involves longer processing time and more extensive documentation.
  • A picture really is worth a thousand words, because if your photograph is not to specification, then your student visa application will not be processed. Make sure you follow the instructions exactly on your application as regards the requirements for the photograph.
  • When paying the required fees, make sure you understand the amount in both Canadian dollars and your local currency. These amounts can be subject to change, especially if your local currency’s exchange rate is volatile. Paying the wrong amount will cause your application to be delayed at best.
  • For a student visa application, make sure you find out whether you can apply online. Since December 2012 the requirements are simple: access to the internet, a scanner or camera and a credit card. If you have all of these you can apply online. But it is best to consider a Visa Application Centre or VAC. They provide added services and make sure your application is complete. The VAC is not the same thing as the Canadian Consulate or Embassy in your home country. Make sure you know where your nearest VAC is and do not send your application to the embassy or consulate by mistake (if submitting to the VAC is mandatory, as it is in many countries).
  • Do not apply late! As soon as you are accepted at the Canadian College or University of your choice, send off your application because otherwise you may not get your student visa in time for the start of classes. It goes without saying that one should apply as early as possible to the College or University of choice in Canada to ensure your acceptance, should you succeed, comes as early as possible. Do not delay!
  • As part of your application you may need a medical exam and a police certificate that proves you do not have a criminal record. Make sure you have these before applying for your student visa. Make sure, however, that both are fairly recent. You may have to take a medical exam in Canada as well, depending on what country you are applying from. Do not miss taking the exam once in Canada.
  • When you arrive in Canada at your port of entry, you will be required to present documentation to the immigration officials, including the following:
    • Your official Letter of Introduction which must be presented to immigration officials. This is not your study permit.
    • You may also need a Temporary Resident Visa, or TRV, if you are from a designated country. This will be in your passport and you must enter Canada before the expiry date in your TRV.
    • Upon presentation of your documentation, immigration officials will give you your Study Permit, which is the official document giving you permission to study in Canada as a foreign student and a non-resident of Canada. Politely make sure there are no errors – like a misspelled name or a passport number that is wrong – on this Study Permit. If there are, you will have to apply to have the Study Permit changed.
  • Finally, make sure all the information on any documentation is clearly legible. If immigration officials cannot easily read all the documents, or cannot easily read the application form itself, they will not accept your application. Make their job as easy as possible and you increase the odds of your student visa being accepted.


Study Permit Processing Time

If your study permit application is submitted from outside Canada, the processing time for your application depends on the location of the office where you submit the application. Processing times can range between 2 to 13 weeks on average.Most visa offices process the applications in under one month’s time. For a complete list of visa offices and processing times, please refer to the following table.

Application times below are based on processing time for complete application, are averages, are subject to change without notice, and are not guaranteed. Applications may take longer than the timeframes stated by CIC at the officer’s discretion. Statistics are updated on our website every 30 days.

If your application was submitted within Canada, the average processing time is 3 – 6 weeks.



Are you a legal resident of one of the following countries?

  • China
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Vietnam

Are you considering studying in Canada? If you fulfill the conditions listed below, you may be eligible for what is called the Student Direct Stream, an accelerated process that lets you jump the queue and get a head start with your application for a Canadian study permit at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. Sound interesting? Let’s see if you qualify.


Step 1: Residence

You must be a legal resident of one of the four countries listed above. If you don’t legally reside in China, India, the Philippines, or Vietnam, even if you are a citizen of one of these countries, you are not eligible for Student Direct Stream, and you should apply for your study permit through the regular application process.


Step 2: Acceptance Letter

You must have a letter of acceptance (LOA) from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada in order to apply for the Student Direct Stream (or any study permit). To ensure that the post-secondary school in Canada you have been accepted at or that you are interested in applying to is a DLI you must:

  • Go here to search for your school
  • Choose the province or territory your school is located in
  • Type in the name of your school or the city to find it
  • Write down its designated learning institution number
  • On your study permit application, write that number down in the section titled: Details of intended study in Canada.


Step 3: Medical Exam

Get an upfront medical exam confirmation document. An upfront medical exam is one you take before you apply to come to Canada. The confirmation document is what you must have your doctor fill out for you and which you must include with your application.

  • The first part of getting your upfront medical exam is contacting what is called a panel physician. This is a doctor who has been approved by the IRCC to do medical exam for immigration purposes. Go here to find a panel physician in your country of residence.
  • Bring the following to your medical exam with your panel physician:
    • Photo ID like a passport, driver’s license, or National Identity Card
    • Glasses or contact lenses if you wear them
    • Any medical reports on any previous medical conditions you may have had or still have
    • Medical report form IMM 1017E which the visa office will send to you
    • 4 recent photographs if your doctor does not use eMedical
  • Once you have taken your medical exam, your panel physician will either:
    • Give you IMM 1017B if they work with a paper system OR
    • Give you an information sheet printout if they work for eMedical.
  • You must pay the fees for your exam. You will not be refunded should your application be rejected.
  • Medical exams are valid for 12 months only.


Step 4: Purchase a GIC

Invest CAD$10,000 in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) and obtain a statement from your bank as proof of your investment.

  • In India, for example, banks like ICIC’s Canadian subsidiary offer a Student GIC Program, through which you can invest in a Canadian-dollar-denominated GIC in order to qualify.
  • In China there is a wide range of financial institutions to choose from:
    • Bank of China – Canada
    • Royal Bank of Canada
    • Bank of Montreal
    • Industrial & Commercial Bank of China – Canada
    • Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
    • Bank of X’ian – Canada
    • Bank of Beijing – Canada
    • HSBC Bank – Canada
    • Go here for more information on branch addresses for China, and how to contact them for more information.
  • In the Philippines, you will have to use a participating Canadian financial institution. For example, go here for information on Scotiabank’s student GIC program.
  • In Vietnam, you also must use a participating Canadian financial institution. Here is a link to Scotiabank’s student GIC program for those from Vietnam.


Step 5: Pay Your Tuition

Unlike the regular study permit requirements, where you only have to proof you have sufficient funds to study and live in Canada for the duration of your study program, in the Student Direct Stream you must – in addition to investing in a GIC – also provide proof of prepayment of your 1st year of tuition at the Designated Learning Institution you will be attending in Canada.


Step 6: Prove You Can Speak English or French

  • Your having graduated from a Canadian curriculum high school, OR
  • A score of at least 6 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or a score of at least 7 under the TEF (French) test. The IELTS tests are held around the world at various locations. Go here for more information.  You must pay for the tests out of your own pocket.


Step 7: Apply for Your Study Permit

Fill out your application, either:

  • By Paper, using Instruction Guide form IMM 5269, complete the required forms. You should note that the required forms may vary slightly depending on what country you are a legal resident of. Go here and type in the country of your legal residence to see your required documents list. Go here for information on what documents you require when applying from the Philippines.
  • Online, your forms also vary depending on your country of residence. For example, in China you will need to complete a Student Direct Stream (SDS) form IMM 5974, while in Vietnam the form is labelled IMM 5975.
    • Remember, you must have a digital camera or a scanner to create electronic copies of your documents when you apply online.
    • You must also have a valid credit card to pay your fees with. Do NOT forget to print a copy of your receipt for payment of fees.


Step 8: Pay Your Application Fees

Pay your fees. Go here for more information on paying your fees.


Step 9: Receive Your Decision

If your application is accepted you will receive:

  • A Letter of Introduction: you must save this and show it to the immigration authorities at your Port of Entry (the airport in Canada at which you arrive).
  • A visitor visa (temporary resident visa) which will be attached to your passport.
  • Your study permit will be valid until the end of the study program for which it was issued.

If your application does not meet the Student Direct Stream requirements but is otherwise acceptable, your application will be processed as a normal study permit application with the normal wait times involved.

If your application is rejected, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons for the rejection. Contact your local visa office if you have any questions.

Canada Study Permit Basic Requirements

You must show the officer that you do not intend to immigrate to Canada or stay in Canada permanently.

You must also show that you:

  • Have been accepted to a Canadian school, college, or university
  • Have money to pay for your stay in Canada including tuition, food, and housing
  • Will leave Canada when your Study Permit expires
  • Are law abiding and do not have any criminal record
  • Are in good health (medical exam may be required)

You can be asked to provide any documentation pertaining to these and other requirements and to complete a medical examination if necessary.

When you speak with Immigroup regarding a Study Permit to Canada, we will advise you which of these requirements you most need to stress that you meet given your background and circumstances. We will also tell you of any additional requirements that apply to your situation.



As of June 4, 2019, foreign nationals who are already in Canada and wish to apply for temporary residence are now required to do so electronically. In other words, you cannot apply on paper from within Canada in the following situations:

  • Applications for an extension to remain in Canada as a temporary resident
  • Applications for a work permit or the renewal of a work permit from inside Canada
  • Applications for a study permit or the renewal of a study permit from inside Canada
  • Applications for the restoration of temporary resident status from inside Canada
  • Applications for a Youth Mobility Program from inside Canada.

If you are inside Canada and worried about this new regulation, however, you need to be aware that there are certain exceptions to this new rule.


Online Application Exception 1. Exceptional Circumstances beyond control

  • Under IRPR (Immigration & Refugee Protection Regulations) 9.4: if the foreign national’s country’s infrastructure is inadequate or incompatible with electronic means of communication of information, then they may apply on paper.
  • Also under IRPR 9.4, if a natural disaster, political turmoil, or other situation prevents electronic communication, then they may apply on paper.

The 2020 pandemic may apply, depending upon your circumstances. The burden is on you to prove it, though.


Online Application Exception 2: Disability

If an applicant cannot meet the requirements for electronic communication due to a disability, then they may use alternative means like applying on paper or any other means specified.


Online Application Exception 3: System Restrictions – Come to Canada tool & MyAccount

The two online systems or tools listed above do the following:

  • Come to Canada tool – this is used to see if you are eligible to come to Canada under whichever immigration program you choose.
  • MyAccount – this is used to register with IRCC and receive and send communications to IRCC regarding any application or other matter with immigration authorities in Canada.

Immigration authorities in Canada have decided that these electronic platforms (Come to Canada tool & MyAccount) are not adequate for certain categories of applicants. The following table lists the exemptions from mandatory online applications from inside Canada.

 Please note that any paid representative hired to handle an application under the below-listed categories must however apply online. Only the person themselves and NOT the paid representative can apply on paper.

LMIA Code Program
A70 Open work permit pilot program for PR applicants in spouse or partner-in-law in Canada class
A71 Live-in caregivers who have submitted an application for permanent residence
A75 Permanent Residence applicants in Canada who used Express Entry to submit their application & have received an acknowledgment of receipt letter
A75 Start-up visa work permit applicants
C10 Quebec physicians
C21 IEC (International Experience Canada) participants extending the period of participation of changing employers
C43 Post-graduation work permit – visitor record to post-graduation work permit & post-graduation work permit extensions
C90 (principal applicant)
C91 (family members)
In-Canada applicants under the following pilot programs:
  • Home Child Care Provider Pilot
  • Home Support Worker Pilot
H81 Destitute students
H82 Holders of a temporary resident permit valid for a minimum of 6 months
LMIA-required Sea-food processing workers
LMIA-required Non-seasonal agricultural worker program Guatemalan workers
LMIA-required & LMIA-exempt Urgent referrals process for work permits
S61 Refugee claimants
S62 Persons under an unenforceable removal order
S62 Failed refugee claimants waiting for removal who need to support themselves
Visitors Visitors in Canada who are applying for the first time for a work or study permit who are accompanying a spouse with a low-skilled work permit

As we mentioned above, please remember that any paid representative you hire has to apply online and is NOT included in the above-mentioned exemptions even if they are handling an application for someone who is on the above list.


Study Permit Conditions

When your Study Permit is issued, it will include various conditions or restrictions on what you may do while you are in Canada, including:

  • How long you can stay in Canada
  • What you can study
  • The school and location where you can study
  • Whether or not you may work in Canada while you are studying

These conditions may also be cancelled by an immigration officer.

Study Permit Costs

Legal Fees

Our fees are on a case-by-case basis, but Immigroup service fees usually range from around $800 for the most basic application to around $1500 for more complicated matters. Top Priority service for clients who need their application processed urgently carries additional costs.

If you do not know where you stand, whether you are eligible to enter Canada, or how to proceed contact us for assistance.


Government Fees

In addition to the legal fees paid to a consultant or lawyer to assist you with this process, the applicant must also pay a fee to the Canadian government for filing their application. Please refer to the fee schedule below.

  • Study Permit: $125
  • *Biometrics: $85

*Study Permit applicants from certain countries must provide biometric information including fingerprints and photos for background checks. Please click here for the complete list of countries.

Government application fees are subject to change at any time without notice and are not refundable from CIC regardless of whether the application is approved.

Do I need a visa with my Study Permit?

People from certain countries may require a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada on a Study Permit. However, if you do need a visa to enter Canada to study, the officer will issue it to you at the time you enter Canada to study; you do not need to make a separate application for a visa.

Citizens of most countries in the world need a visa to enter Canada. This includes citizens of many countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, India, Pakistan, China, the Caribbean, and South America. For a Complete list of countries whose citizens require a visa to enter or transit (change planes) in Canada, click here.

Citizens of certain countries are not required to have a visa to enter Canada as a visitor. These countries include the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, many countries in western Europe, Japan, and South Korea. For a complete list of countries whose citizens do not require a visa to enter Canada, click here.


Family Members

For the purpose of a Study Permit, family members means the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner, your dependent children, and their dependent children (your grandchildren).

Spouse means either of the two people (opposite or same sex) who entered into a legal marriage either inside or outside of Canada.

Common-law Partner means either of the two people (opposite or same sex) living in the same house in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.

Dependent Children means the children of the applicant or their spouse or common-law partner who are

  • 22 years old or younger and single, or
  • Financially dependent on the parent since before 22 years old and still in school, or
  • Financially dependent since before 22 years old due to a medical condition

Any of the family members who wish to visit Canada must file separate applications for a Visitor Visa (each family member will receive their own visa).


Can my kids go to school while I am in Canada on a Study Permit?

A Study Permit, Work Permit, or Visitor Visa application must be submitted for each family member who wants to accompany you to Canada.

Your accompanying children may attend school in Canada. You must apply for their study permit at the same time as your application. If they intend to join you later, they must obtain a study permit before coming to Canada.


Can I work while going to school in Canada?

In order to work at a job on campus at the school you are attending, you do not need any type of work permit. You can work for the school itself or a private business operating on campus.

Foreign students on Study Permits in Canada are usually not allowed to work off campus while they attend school in Canada. However, some exceptions do apply to full-time students at certain schools. In order to work off campus you must apply for a work permit. For a complete list of participating schools, click here.


How we can help you study in Canada

To discuss your options for a permit to study in Canada, contact us for a consultation. We can determine your eligibility to apply for the visa as well as advise you how you can prove you meet the requirements. Frequently certain supporting documents are used to demonstrate to the immigration officer that you should be granted a study permit.

Immigroup will assist you throughout the entire application process from start to finish, including:

  • Determining your eligibility to apply;
  • Determining the likelihood of success for your particular case;
  • Ensuring your forms are complete and accurately reflect the details of your case for maximum chance of success;
  • Ensuring you have the necessary and appropriate documents to support your application;
  • Providing guidance on the best method to submit your application to the government for your circumstances;
  • Advising the privileges a Study Pemit affords you;
  • Offering Top Priority service for extremely urgent cases;
  • Determining the best way to proceed once the outcome of your case is reached (applying for a student work permit, renewing the study permit visa, re-application if necessary, etc.)

Contact us for a consultation to assist you with a study permit application.


Study Permit Processing Time by Canadian foreign office

Africa and the Middle East

Visa Office Processing Time (Weeks) Visa Office Processing Time (Weeks)
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 9 Nairobia, Kenya 11
Accra, Ghana 5 Pretoria, South Arica 13
Amman, Jordan 7 Rabat, Morocco 6
Ankara, Turkey 8 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 3
Cairo, Egypt 7 Tel Aviv, Israel 4
Dakar, Senegal 6 Tunis, Tunisia 11
Lagos, Nigeria 18    

Asia and Pacific

Visa Office Processing Time (Weeks) Visa Office Processing Time (Weeks)
Bangkok, Thailand 7 Jakarta, Indonesia 5
Beijing, China 6 Manila, Philippines 11
Chandigarh, India 2 New Delhi, India 2
Colombo, Sri Lanka 7 Shanghai, China 6
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam 13 Singapore 8
Hong Kong, China 7 Sydney, Australia 6
Islamabad, Pakistan 23    


Visa Office Processing Time (Weeks) Visa Office Processing Time (Weeks)
Bucharest, Romania 13 Prague, Czech Republic 2
Kyiv, Ukraine 7 Rome, Italy 5
London, United Kingdom 7 Vienna, Austria 4
Moscow, Russia 10 Warsaw, Poland 4
Paris, France 3    


Visa Office Processing Time (Weeks) Visa Office Processing Time (Weeks)
Bogota, Colombia 8 Mexico City, Mexico 4
Buenos Aires, Argentina 5 New York, United States 10
Guatemala City, Guatemala 7 Port-au-Prince, Haiti 4
Havana, Cuba 2 Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago 3
Kingston, Jamaica 7 Santiago, Chile 2
Lima, Peru 7 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 7
Los Angeles, United States 9 Sao Paulo, Brazil 6

List of Nationals who must provide Biometric Information

Afghanistan Colombia (as of 09/05/13) Iraq Nigeria Sudan
Albania Congo, DR Jamaica (as of 09/05/13) Pakistan South Sudan
Algeria Egypt Jordan Palestine Syria
Bangladesh Eritrea Laos Saudi Arabia Tunisia
Burma (Myanmar) Haiti (as of 09/05/13) Lebanon Somalia Vietnam
Cambodia Iran Libya Sri Lanka Yemen


List of Schools in Canada which participate in the off-campus work permit program

Schools in New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not currently participate in the program.


  • Alberta College of Art and Design
  • Ambrose University College:
    • 2-year Bachelor of Education - After Degree (Elementary Education)
    • 3-year Bachelor of Arts (Behavioural Science; Business Administration; Christian Studies; English Literature; General Studies; History; Music; Philosophy)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Arts (Behavioural Science; Christian Studies; English Literature; History; Music)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Business Administration
    • 4-year Bachelor of Music
    • 4-year Bachelor of Science (Biology)
  • Athabasca University
  • Bow Valley College
  • Canadian University College:
    • 3-year Bachelor of Arts (Adventure Based Counselling; Business Administration; English; General Studies; History; International Health and Wilderness Studies; Music; Outdoor Adventure Business Studies; Outward Pursuits; Religious Studies)
    • 3-year Bachelor of Science (Biology; General Studies; Psychology; Wellness Management)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Arts (Adventure Based Counselling; Behavioural Science; English; Music; Religious Studies)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Arts – International Studies
    • 4-year Bachelor of Science (Biology; Psychology)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Business Administration
    • 4-year Bachelor of Education
    • 4-year Bachelor of Music (Performance)
  • Concordia University College of Alberta:
    • 3-year Bachelor of Arts (Drama; English; French; History; Music; Philosophy; Political Economy; Psychology; Religious Studies; Sociology)
    • 3-year Bachelor of Science (Biology; Chemistry; Environmental Science; Mathematics)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Arts (English; Music; Psychology [Applied Emphasis]; Religious Studies)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Science (Biology; Chemistry; Environmental Science; Mathematics)
    • 2-year Bachelor of Environmental Health (after degree)
    • 2-year Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education (after degree)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Management
    • Master of Arts in Biblical and Christian Studies
    • Master of Information Systems Assurance Management
    • Master of Information Systems Security Management
  • DeVry Institute of Technology:
    • 4-year Bachelor of Business Administration
    • 4-year Bachelor of Science (Computer Information Systems [Onsite program only]; Engineering Technology)
  • Grande Prairie Regional College
  • Grant MacEwan University
  • Keyano College
  • Lakeland College
  • Lethbridge Community College
  • Medicine Hat College
  • Mount Royal University
  • NorQuest College
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Northern Lakes College
  • Olds College
  • Portage College
  • Red Deer College
  • Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • St. Mary’s University College of Alberta:
    • 2-year Bachelor of Education - After Degree (Elementary)
    • 3-year Bachelor of Arts (English; General Studies; History; Psychology)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Arts (English)
  • The King’s University College:
    • 2-year Bachelor of Education – After Degree (Elementary Education; Secondary Education)
    • 3-year Bachelor of Arts (Biology; Chemistry; English; History; Music; Philosophy; Psychology; Social Science; Sociology; Theology)
    • 3-year Bachelor of Science (Biology; Chemistry)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Arts (English; Environmental Studies; History; Music; Politics, History and Economics; Psychology; Religion and Theology [until June, 2013])
    • 4-year Bachelor of Science (Biology; Chemistry; Computing Science; Environmental Studies)
    • 4-year Bachelor of Commerce
    • 4-year Bachelor of Music
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Lethbridge


British Columbia

  • Adler School of Professional Psychology:
    • Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology
    • Master of Arts in Community Psychology
    • Master of Counselling Psychology
    • Master of Counselling Psychology: Art Therapy
    • Doctor of Clinical Psychology
  • Alexander College:
    • Associate of Arts Degree
    • Associate of Science Degree
  • Art Institute of Vancouver:
    • Bachelor of Applied Design in Graphic Design
    • Bachelor of Applied Design in Interior Design
    • Bachelor of Applied Design in Web Design
    • Bachelor of Science in Game Programming
  • Acsenda School of Management:
    • Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and International Business Management
    • Bachelor of Business Administration (Generalist, Human Resource Management and Marketing)
    • Bachelor of Hospitality Management
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • Camosun College
  • Capilano University
  • City University of Seattle:
    • Master of Counselling
    • Master of Education – Leadership
  • College of New Caledonia
  • College of the Rockies
  • Columbia College:
    • Associate of Arts Degree
    • Associate of Science Degree
  • Douglas College
  • Emily Carr University of Art and Design
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University:
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
    • Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Studies
    • Master of Administrative Science
  • Fraser International College:
    • Associate of Arts
  • Justice Institute of British Columbia
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Langara College
  • New York Institute of Technology:
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Business Administration (Finance)
    • Master of Business Administration (Tourism)
    • Master of Science in Information, Network, and Computer Security
  • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
  • North Island College
  • Northern Lights College
  • Northwest Community College
  • Okanagan College
  • Quest University Canada:
    • Bachelor of Arts and Science
  • Royal Roads University
  • Selkirk College
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • Trinity Western University
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • University of British Columbia
  • University Canada West:
    • Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communications
    • Bachelor of Commerce
    • Master of Business Administration
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • University of Victoria
  • Vancouver Community College
  • Vancouver Island University



  • Assiniboine Community College
  • Booth University College
  • Brandon University
  • Canadian Mennonite University
  • Providence University College
  • Red River College of Applied Arts and Sciences
  • Université de Saint Boniface
  • University College of the North
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Winnipeg
  • New Brunswick
  • Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick
  • Mount Allison University
  • New Brunswick College of Craft and Design
  • New Brunswick Community College
  • St. Thomas University
  • Université de Moncton
  • University of New Brunswick


Newfoundland and Labrador

College of the North Atlantic

Memorial University of Newfoundland, including:

  • Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University
  • Sir Wilfred Grenfell College


Nova Scotia

  • Acadia University
  • Cape Breton University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Dalhousie University – Agriculture Campus
  • Mount Saint Vincent University
  • Nova Scotia Community College
  • NSCAD University
  • Saint Mary’s University
  • St. Francis Xavier University
  • Université Sainte-Anne
  • University of Kings College



  • Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Algoma University
  • Brock University including affiliated institution: Concordia Lutheran Seminary
  • Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Carleton University
  • Centennial College
  • Collège Boréal
  • Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
  • Confederation College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Dominican University College
  • Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Fleming College
  • George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
  • La Cité collégiale
  • Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Lakehead University
  • Laurentian University including affiliated institutions: Huntington University, Université de Hearst, University of Sudbury and Thorneloe University
  • Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • McMaster University including affiliated institution: McMaster Divinity College
  • Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Nipissing University
  • Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • OCAD University
  • Queen’s University including affiliated institution: Queen’s Theological College
  • Ryerson University
  • Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
  • St. Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • St. Lawrence College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • The Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences
  • Trent University
  • University of Guelph including affiliated institutions: Collège d’Alfred, Kemptville College and Ridgetown College
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Ottawa including affiliated institution: St. Paul University
  • University of Toronto including affiliated institution: Toronto School of Theology
  • University of Waterloo including affiliated institutions: Conrad Grebel University College, Renison College, St. Jerome’s University, St. Paul’s United College and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
  • University of Western Ontario including affiliated institutions: Brescia College, Huron College, King’s College and St. Peter’s Seminary
  • University of Windsor
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • York University


Prince Edward Island


  • Maritime Christian College:
    • Associate of Arts (Diploma)
    • Bachelor of Arts (Bible)
    • Bachelor of Arts (Child & Youth)
    • Bachelor of Arts (General Studies)
    • Bachelor of Bible and Ministry
    • Biblical Studies Certificate
    • Ministerial Diploma


  • Holland College
  • Collège Acadie l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard
  • University of Prince Edward Island



  • Bishop’s University
  • Cégep André-Laurendeau
  • Cégep Beauce-Appalaches
  • Cégep de Baie-Comeau
  • Cégep de Chicoutimi
  • Cégep de Drummondville
  • Cégep de Granby—Haute-Yamaska
  • Cégep de Jonquière
  • Cégep de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue
  • Cégep de l’Outaouais
  • Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles
  • Cégep de La Pocatière
  • Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon
  • Cégep de Matane
  • Cégep de Rimouski
  • Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup
  • Cégep de Saint-Félicien
  • Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe
  • Cégep de Saint-Jérôme
  • Cégep de Saint-Laurent
  • Cégep de Sainte-Foy
  • Cégep de Sept-Îles
  • Cégep de Sherbrooke
  • Cégep de Sorel-Tracy
  • Cégep de Thetford
  • Cégep de Trois-Rivières
  • Cégep de Victoriaville
  • Cégep du Vieux Montréal
  • Cégep John Abbott College
  • Cégep Limoilou
  • Cégep Marie-Victorin
  • Cégep régional de Lanaudière
  • Cégep Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
  • Champlain Regional College
  • Champlain Regional College – Campus Lennoxville
  • Champlain Regional College – Campus Saint-Lambert
  • Collège Ahuntsic
  • Collège André-Grasset
  • Collège Bart
  • Collège d’Alma
  • Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne
  • Collège de Maisonneuve
  • Collège de Rosemont
  • Collège de Valleyfield
  • Collège Édouard-Montpetit
  • Collège Ellis
  • Collège François-Xavier-Garneau
  • Collège Gérald-Godin
  • Collège Héritage
  • Collège international des Marcellines
  • Collège international Marie de France
  • Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf
  • Collège Laflèche
  • Collège LaSalle
  • Collège Lionel-Groulx
  • Collège Mérici
  • Collège Montmorency
  • Collège Notre-Dame-de-Foy
  • Collège O’Sullivan de Montréal
  • Collège préuniversitaire Nouvelles Frontières
  • Collège Shawinigan
  • Collège Stanislas
  • Collège Tav
  • Collège Tav, Campus du Parc
  • Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec
  • Concordia University
  • Dawson College
  • École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)
  • École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP)
  • École nationale de cirque
  • École Polytechnique de Montréal
  • HEC Montréal
  • Institut de technologie agroalimentaire
  • Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec
  • Institut national de la recherche scientifique
  • Institut Teccart (2003) inc.
  • Marianopolis College
  • McGill University
  • Université de Montréal
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC)
  • Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
  • Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR)
  • Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR)
  • Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT)
  • Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)
  • Université Laval
  • Vanier College



  • Parkland College
  • Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology
  • University of Regina
  • University of Saskatchewan



  • Yukon College



Sometime over the next decade Canada will cross a key demographic threshold. According to the government, net growth in Canada’s workforce will be met 100% by immigration.

Yes, that’s right. When netting out retiring baby boomers and dwindling levels of younger native-born Canadians due to our relatively low birth rate, it will be skilled workers from abroad who will ensure that Canada’s economy continues to grow.

In fact, it’s been happening for years now. Right now, Canada’s economy is as successful as it has been in generations. That’s in large part because immigration is bringing much needed skills and experience from around the world to fill the increasing gap between labor market needs and native-born population growth. What will happen sometime over the next ten years is that all of that gap will be filled by new Canadians.

And one of the best ways to fill that gap is through international students. Why?

To be accepted at a Canadian post-secondary institution, international students need to have some of the same skills that are key selection factors in the Express Entry portal:

  • English and/or French language ability at a reasonably high level;
  • Good secondary education;
  • The desire to earn a degree or diploma in areas that are and will be key to Canada’s future like engineering, design, tech, or visual arts, as well as many other areas.

Additionally, having spent several years at a Canadian university or college, international students will acquire some additional skills:

  • Improved language skills from living and studying in Canada;
  • Connections with professors and potential employers as well as with fellow students which often prove useful in future work careers;
  • The possibility of part-time work while studying thus giving them Canadian work experience;
  • A familiarity with Canada’s culture and society which helps them develop cross-cultural skills which also are gained by Canadian students who develop ties with international students and even study abroad using exchange programs, for example;
  • The possibility of full-time work in Canada after having graduated.

Because of the increasing relevance of soft skills like cross-cultural awareness for both Canadian and international students, as well as exchange programs for students in developing a trade-based economy like Canada’s, the government has announced a new multi-year program:



The new strategy will be managed by the Trade Commissioner Service of Global Affairs Canada and will have several key objectives amongst its many goals:



A key goal is to diversify the source countries for international students. Currently China and India account for over 50% of international students in Canada. Consider the following graphic:

Canadian Study Permit Holders in 20108 by Country

[click for larger]

While India and China will clearly remain important source countries for international students, the governments new strategy aims to increase the participation rate of students from other countries. As an example of an action taken towards this goal, the Student Direct Stream has recently added Senegal and Morocco as participating countries. SDS enables expedited study permit processing (usually within 3 weeks) for students who have been accepted at a Canadian post-secondary institution.



Another key objective is to increase government support for Canadian institutions to enable them to export their services (accept more international students) and expand their reach abroad. This means that this new strategy aims to steer more international students towards other universities and not just have them attend universities in Toronto or Vancouver, for example.

What this means is that international students will have a much wider range of universities and colleges to choose from. At IMMIgroup we’ve talked about college programs that international students should consider, and the options will only grow over time as more colleges and universities expand their abilities to engage with students from abroad. So, you don’t necessarily have to fret about getting into UBC’s medical school, or into the software engineering program at Waterloo. You’ll have a wide range of institutions to choose from.

In fact, it’s already happening. Consider this graphic:

Study permit holders by education level

[click for larger]

This graph shows the number of study permits issued by year and by the level of study involved. In other words:

  • ESL/FSL would be study permits to study English or French as a 2nd language in Canada.
  • K-12 would be kindergarten through high school.
  • College would be community colleges for example.
  • And University would obviously involve Canada’s universities.

What do you notice about this graph?

Look at colleges. The attendance at colleges in Canada on the part of international students has skyrocketed over the last 4 years, from around 50,000 to over 120,000. Colleges now account for the largest amount of study permits, just beating out universities. Clearly, international students are becoming aware of the wide range of educational options across Canada, and the government intends to provide further resources and support to encourage and broaden this trend.

But not only that, the new educational strategy wants to diversify across Canada’s various regions and provinces. Consider the following example of how international students help boost Canada’s economy and contribute to Canada’s culture:

Memorial by Nndd [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

by Nndd / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland was the meeting place for two international students: Joseph Tao from Malaysia and Sahand Seifi from Iran. They came up with an idea for a social media company that provides a platform for streamlining workflows at agencies that use social media as a business tool (which many agencies do nowadays). What happened next?

  • They secured $2.65 million in funding from investors.
  • They now employ more than 30 high-tech workers
  • They are a client of the Trade Commissioner Service
  • Their name? HeyOrca Inc.

This kind of success story is precisely why the Trade Commissioner Service is leading the charge with this new strategy. A cutting-edge social media company based in Newfoundland that provides 30 people with an innovative work environment. It doesn’t get better than that. But it’s only the beginning. In fact, it’s the future for international students in Canada.

So, what else does this new strategy entail?



A 3rd goal is to increase the opportunities for Canadian students to work and study abroad, with emphasis on exchanges with countries in Asia. This can be done through a number of initiatives, including:

  • Setting up and expanding youth and student exchanges with countries abroad.
  • Developing educational partnerships with institutions abroad.
  • Recruiting international students for enrollment in Canadian educational institutions to establish more contacts and connections with educational institutions abroad.

In other words, as an international student, you will be sought after by Canadian university/college recruiters who themselves will be competing with institutions in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, and of course, the USA. And they are going to be looking for increasing numbers of international students in Canada, given the demographics of the country.

And that means more programs and support services designed to help you settle into student life in Canada. And that includes everything from a private vocational institution to working on AI projects at University of Toronto.

Don’t limit yourself when thinking of studying in Canada. The growing diversity of opportunities will surprise you.

The above has been updated for 2021


New Rules for Study Permits as of June 1, 2014

International Students By Vrenibean (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

International Students by Vrenibean / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Canadian Government has overhauled the rules for study permits, making it easier to work while studying in Canada, among other changes. There are 8 significant changes to the regulations which fall under a few different categories:



There are  few changes to applying for a study permit:

  • You must prove you are enrolled. Previously study permit applicants only had to show that they intended to study in Canada, but now you must prove to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that you are actually enrolled at an eligible institution.
  • You can only be approved for a study permit while attending certain "designated" institutions. Previously study permit applicants could enroll at any educational institutional in Canada. Now only some institutions will be designated to accept international students. Unfortunately, because this change is brand new and the policy does not come into affect until June, complete lists of "designated" schools are not yet available. Whether or not a school is allowed to accept international students rests with the individual provinces so please continue to check with the provincial and territorial websites to confirm whether or not the school you are interested in attending is on the list. Please note that government websites regularly change their webpages and the list of schools may or may not be available at the below links:
    Alberta New Brunswick Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island Yukon
    British Columbia Newfoundland and Labrador Nunavut Quebec  
    Manitoba Northwest Territories Ontario Saskatchewan  
  • Visitors can now apply for study permits from within Canada. Provided you are eligible to apply, you can now apply for a study permit while on a visitor visa (TRV). Eligibility is based primarily around whether or not you qualify for acceptance to the program you wish to apply to. So if you're of high school age, your parents can apply for a study permit for you to attend an eligible high school; if you are trying to get into a Canadian university, you must meet the entry requirements of the program.



  • You must remain in your program of study. As a condition of your visa, you need to stay in the program you enrolled in or you could risk removal.
  • Study permits become invalid 90 days after the conclusion of your program of study. Previously, your study permit's validity was set to a fixed date of 90 days after the expected conclusion of your program.
  • Implied status is granted to those who have applied for a post-graduation work permit. Previously



  • A study permit automatically allows you to work off-campus. Previously, you had to apply for an off-campus work permit. The rules governing working off-campus have not changed: you are still limited to working 20 hours a week while your course is in session and you can only work up to 40 hours a week during breaks (summer, Christmas, reading week). You must be enrolled in a degree-, diploma- or certificate-granting program longer than 6 months, and you must attend one of the designated istitutions.
  • Co-Op work permits are only available to students enrolled in co-op programs at designated institutions. Previously co-op permits were available to students participating in co-op programs at any school in Canada. In order to be eligible, the co-op placement must still be integral to your course of study.
  • You can work between the conclusion of your studies and the issuing of your post-graduate work permit. Previously you could not work while waiting for your post-graduate work permit to be approved. This is called implied status.



  • Registered Indians who are foreign nationals (i.e. Americans) can study in Canada without a study permit. The new regulation just makes this explicitly clear as there was no clear statement of this in the old rules.

Why is My Student Visa Taking So Long?

Saint Mary's University By Robert Alfers (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

Getting a study permit is much quicker than sponsoring a spouse to Canada, for example. But processing times vary greatly at visa offices around the world. In early 2014, the Harper government announced Canada’s International Education Strategy: Harnessing Our Knowledge Advantage to Drive Innovation and Prosperity. This plan is part of Canada’s International Education Strategy dedicated to branding Canada as a world class education destination.

While some may argue Canada’s universities and colleges are sometimes not-quite-world-class, it is clear that the government is prioritizing certain areas in education and certain countries as well. For example, as part of the same education strategy, the Globalink program is meant to encourage student mobility between Canada and:

  • Brazil
  • China
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Turkey¹
  • Vietnam

¹ At the Globalink site, Turkey is not on the list of countries available for research collaboration and student exchanges.

The plan is focused on research and training programs that will aid innovation and support growth in key areas of Canada’s economy. Not only that, the goals of the education strategy include:

  • Create 86,500 new jobs in the educational sector by 2022;
  • Increase international student spending to over $16.1 billion by 2022;
  • Provide a $10 billion annual boost to Canada’s economy by 2022.

In other words, the education strategy announced almost 2 years ago is all about the money. It seems they want international students to start spending way more on tuition in Canada, the way they do in the USA. While specialized research programs and degrees might justify this, the discriminatory fees faced by international students seems part of a deliberate strategy to put more cash in the pockets of schools and governments in Canada.

Does this mean that some international students are more welcome than others? One way of seeing if this might be true is to study the student visa processing times at visa offices in distinct countries and regions of the world. Do they line up with the countries listed above? And if not, why are there such differences?


Who’s coming to School?

According to the Canadian Bureau of International Education the top 5 source countries for international students in Canada are:

  • China
  • India
  • Korea (South)
  • Saudi Arabia
  • France

They also indicate that the source of international students in Canada by region is as follows:

Origin of International Students in Canada

Placing China, India, and Vietnam as priority countries for student and research exchanges makes sense given that 48% of international students come from East Asia. Including Brazil and Mexico as priority countries seems more about trade between Canada and a NAFTA fellow member, and between Canada and an important investor and trade partner of Canada in South America. Because in terms of foreign students, Latin America and the Caribbean only account for 7% of the total. While Turkey was included in the original announcement in early 2014, they are not on Globalink’s current list of research and student exchange countries. It is understandable Canada wants to include a country from the region given that students from North Africa and the Middle East are third at 10% of international students.  And it's understandable that they may not think the country is altogether safe at the moment.


Who Gets a Student Visa Fast?

Given where students are coming from, and given the government’s stated priorities in establishing exchange programs for international students and research programs, do the wait times at the visa offices match Canada’s stated intentions? And do we prioritize students from top regions by offering them lower waiting times? Let’s find out:

% Visa Offices With Wait Times 5 weeks or less Visa Offices With Wait Times 5 weeks or less Wait Time in WEEKS for Study Permit Visa Processing
Africa and Middle East
(5 out of 16 visa offices)
Amman, Jordan 4
Dakar, Senegal  5
Rabat, Morocco 5
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 4
Tel Aviv, Israel 5
Asia Pacific
(5 out of 14 visa offices)
Bangalore, India 4
Chandigarh, India 3
Hong Kong, China 4
Jakarta, Indonesia 4
New Delhi, India 3
(7 out of 8 visa offices)
Kyiv, Ukraine 5
London, UK 5
Moscow, Russia 5
Paris, France 3
Rome, Italy 3
Vienna, Austria 5
Warsaw, Poland 3
(9 out of 14 visa offices)
Bogota, Colombia 4
Buenos Aires, Argentina 5
Havana, Cuba 3
Lima, Peru 4
Mexico City, Mexico 4
Port-au-Prince, Haiti 5
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago 4
Santiago, Chile 2
Sao Paulo, Brazil 5

From this table and other longer waiting times listed at CIC’s website, it is clear that: 

  • Asia, especially China and Vietnam, could improve their wait times for student visas. Shanghai and Beijing are at 6 weeks, and clearly have a lot of applications to process, but compared to New Delhi they could reduce wait times by at least a week or two. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, is at 9 weeks and has even more work to do in reducing wait times, seeing it’s a priority country for student exchanges and research exchanges.
  • Brazil and Mexico have fairly short waiting times, but so do many other Caribbean and Latin American countries. And the shortest waiting times to process student visa applications at the office in Santiago, Chile at a mere 2 weeks.
  • Wait times in Ankara, Turkey are 9 weeks and fall behind Cairo, Egypt and Beirut, Lebanon who are both at 6 weeks. Turkey is also behind Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana which both have wait times of 8 weeks. Whether Globalink eventually develops an exchange program with Turkey remains to be seen.


Who Has to Wait?

Some visa offices have waiting times of 9 weeks or more. These go-slow offices are distributed as follows:

Region  Visa Office with Wait Times 9 weeks or longer Wait Time in Weeks to process student visa
Africa and Middle East Ankara, Turkey 9
Lagos, Nigeria 41
Pretoria, South Africa 15
Tunis, Tunisia 11
Asia Pacific Bangkok, Thailand 10
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 9
Islamabad, Pakistan 12
Singapore 9
Americas New York, USA 11

Visa offices in Europe are quite efficient at processing study permits and the Americas also rank well. New York City is a bit of an anomaly, even compared to Los Angeles which has a processing time of 6 weeks. Whether it has to do with the fact that the USA is a major competitor in the global market for international students, or that the visa office in New York has other priorities is unclear.

The question is: who’s to blame here? CIC for giving low priority to study permit processing, or the visa offices themselves for being less efficient at processing student visas? With the continual updates and changes to immigration policy coming from Minister Alexander and his staff at CIC, it may be that visa offices do not prioritize student visas as much as they should. Perhaps that’s understandable seeing they have to process immigration applications under a number of different programs, with the rules constantly changing. If the government is serious about prioritizing their education strategy, lower wait times in places like Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam would be a good indication that they are executing on their new education strategy. After all, Canada is competing with the USA, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand for global students looking for value for their money when shopping for an education in English, or French. Keeping talented international students who have been accepted at a designated Canadian school waiting for months for their study permit, is not the best way to attract them, and their savings, to Canada.

Learn about Immigrating to Canada after studying here


Top Universities in Canada for International Students