You are visiting Canada with a visitor visa (Temporary Resident Visa), and you have decided you want to stay and study in Canada. What are your options and how do you go about getting your Study Permit? As in most cases, the answer depends on the details of your personal situation. Let’s review how to apply for a study permit when you’re already in Canada.
Do I Need a Study Permit?
The following types of people do not need a study permit to study in Canada:
- You are taking a short program of study or course in Canada and the length of your program of study is 6 months or less; also, it is not part of a longer program of study; and you will complete that program within 6 months of entering Canada.
- You are a staff member or a family member of a foreign representative (diplomats, ambassadors, consuls etc. and their staff). Please consult with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to see if you need a study permit.
- You are a member of the armed forces of a foreign country on official duty in Canada. Your family members may need a study permit, however, if they wish to study in Canada.
- You are a foreign citizen who has Registered Indian Status in Canada. This relates to First Nations people. Please go here for further information.
- You are a minor who wishes to attend preschool, primary school, or secondary school, and you are accompanied by an adult who are allowed to work or study in Canada. When you attain Age of Majority (18 or 19 years of age, depending on the province or territory you are staying in) you will have to apply for a study permit. You have to leave Canada when your temporary resident visa expires, however. So remember to renew that as well.
- You are refugee or refugee claimant or your parents are refugees or refugee claimants.
I Need a Study Permit and I Can Apply from Within Canada
The following people can apply for their study permit from inside Canada:
- Minors attending a primary or secondary school in Canada, can apply from inside Canada when they need to get a study permit. (see above)
- Visiting students: those attending a Canadian university for a short period of time who then transfer the credits earned at their host (Canadian) university back to their home (Foreign) university when they return and who pay tuition to their Canadian host university can apply for a study permit from inside Canada.
- Exchange students: those attending in a similar fashion to visiting students but whose home university pays their tuition cost in Canada can apply from within Canada.
- Students completing a short-term program of study or course as a prerequisite to being accepted by a Canadian school can apply from inside Canada.
- A Temporary Resident Permit holder whose Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is valid for 6 months or more can apply from inside Canada. A TRP is a permit issued to normally inadmissible persons and is issued by Canadian immigration authorities for social or humanitarian reasons.
- A spouse or common-law partner (and their family members) who is being sponsored to immigrate to Canada and:
- Who is already in Canada, and
- Who has applied for permanent residence
- A person with a study permit issued by a visa office abroad who wished to keep studying in Canada by extending their stay as a student in Canada. Go here for more information.
- If you are a family member of the following people you can apply for a study permit from inside Canada:
- An athlete who is a member of a Canadian based team
- A media representative
- A member of the clergy
- A member of a foreign military on duty in Canada (see above)
- A member of a foreign representative’s staff or their family members can apply for a study permit from inside Canada (see above).
- A foreign national with a valid study or work permit, who wishes to extend their stay in Canada and continue (or start) their studies in Canada at a designated learning institution. Go here for more information.
I Need a Study Permit and I Have to Apply from Outside Canada
If you do not fall into any of the above categories, then you must apply from outside Canada. There are 2 options in this case:
Applying at the VAC in Los Angeles
If you are staying in Canada when you decide to apply for a study permit and you do not fall into any of the above listed categories, then you should apply at the Visa Application Centre in Los Angeles. The VAC in Los Angeles handles all study permits, except for residents of Bermuda who should apply through the Visa Application Centre in New York which normally just handles work permits.
Please note that you can apply by mail as well as in person at the VAC in Los Angeles. This means that you can either travel to Los Angeles or mail in your application. Go here to download your application form (IMM 1294) and related forms with a guide and a document checklist. Then mail in your completed and signed form to the VAC in Los Angeles at:
2120 E Grand Avenue Suite 108A
Go here for information on applying in person with a map and information on parking. The VAC in Los Angeles is a short distance from LAX (the international airport of Los Angeles). You must also indicate to the VAC in Los Angeles, the country from which you will be applying. Go here for more information. Use the dropdown menu near the bottom of the page to select your country and read about the corresponding instructions for applying at the VAC.
Applying from Outside of Canada
If you are applying from outside Canada, you should apply online. You will need the following to apply online:
- A scanner (in a printer for example) or a digital camera to scan and make digital copies of any documents required with your application.
- A valid Credit Card to pay for the application fee. Go here to start your online application.
I Want to Apply at my Port of Entry (POE)
In some cases, you can apply for your study permit when you arrive at the airport in Canada. This option is available to the following people:
- A U.S. citizen
- A permanent resident of the U.S.
- A person lawfully admitted into the U.S. for permanent residence (in other words, you have lawfully started the process of getting your green card, but you have not yet obtained your U.S. Green Card)
- A resident of Greenland
- A resident of St. Pierre & Miquelon. These are two tiny islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence which are part of French territory.
In summary, whether you can apply for a study permit while visiting or staying in Canada, depends on your specific situation. Make sure you understand which of the above categories best fits your particular circumstances and plan your application for a Study Permit accordingly.
If you need assistance, call Maxcan Immigration at 1-855-562-5188.