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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a study permit?

This is the official document issued by an officer that allows someone who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada to study in Canada.

Do I require a study permit?

If you are not a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a family member of a foreign representative accredited to Canada or a member of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state for the purpose of the Visiting Forces Act, you must obtain a study permit to study in Canada. The Protocol Division of Foreign Affairs issues an acceptance to everyone who has diplomatic, consular, or official status in Canada and their family members. If you have this approval, you do not need a study permit to take courses in Canada.

What courses do not require a study permit?

A study permit is not needed for:

- any program of study that is six months or less that can be completed within the period authorized upon entry into Canada;

- courses that are not academic, professional or vocational in nature;

- courses included in tour packages as a secondary activity for tourists; and

- nursery schools or kindergartens

If your program of study is six months or less but you intend to continue your studies in another program you should apply for a study permit before coming to Canada. This will allow you to apply to extend your stay as a student from within Canada. Otherwise, if you do not hold a study permit you will have to apply for one outside Canada.

When should I apply?

The time required to process an application to study in Canada may vary at different visa offices. You should apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance from the educational institution.

What are the requirements I must meet?

You must show the officer that you meet the requirements of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations and that you will be in Canada for a temporary stay. You must also:

- satisfy an officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your studies

- have been accepted by an educational institution;

- prove that you have enough money during your stay in Canada to pay for:

- tuition fees;

- living expenses for yourself and accompanying family members; and

- return transportation for yourself and accompanying family members;

- be law abiding and have no record of criminal activity (you may be asked to provide a Police Clearance Certificate);

- not be a risk to the security of Canada;

- produce any additional documents requested by the officer to establish your admissibility;

- complete a medical examination, if required.

What documents do I need to apply for a study permit?

Complete the application form, and include the documents listed below.

Important: Although the documents listed below are normally needed in support of your application, local requirements may also apply. You must satisfy an officer that you will leave Canada. Visit the local Web site of the visa office responsible for your area or contact their office to verify all required documents, before submitting your application.

1. Proof of acceptance

- for attendance at a university, college or technical institution, a letter from the educational institution to show:

- the name of the institution;

- confirmation of your acceptance and/or registration as a student;

- the course of study;

- the duration of the academic program; and

- the latest date you may register.

- for attendance at a primary or secondary school, a letter from the school board having jurisdiction for the school you are attending (or for private schools, a letter from the school itself), indicating:

- the name of the school;

- the level of study; and

- the duration of the course.

2. Proof of identity

- a valid passport or travel document that guarantees re-entry to the country that issued it (citizens and permanent residents of the United States, St. Pierre and Miquelon, and Greenland do not require a passport but do require proof of status and citizenship such as a national identity card or an alien registration card); and

- two recent passport size photos for you and each accompanying family member (the name and date of birth of the person should be written on the back of each photo).

3. Proof of financial support

- evidence that you can support yourself and accompanying family members while you study in Canada. Such evidence may include:

- proof of a Canadian bank account in your name if money has been transferred to Canada;

- your bank statements for the past four months;

- a bank draft in convertible currency;

- proof of payment of tuition and residence fees;

- for those with a scholarship or those with a Canadian funded educational program: proof of funding paid from within Canada;

- if foreign exchange control measures exist in your country, you must provide proof that you will be permitted by the exchange control authorities of your country to export funds for all of your expenses.

In addition, note that:

- if you are not a citizen of the country in which you are applying, you must provide proof of your present immigration status in the country of application;

- if the government that issued your passport or travel document requires a re-entry permit this must be obtained before you apply for a Canadian visa; and

- additional documents may be required

Are there additional documents required if I'm attending an educational institution in Quebec?

Yes, you will also require a Certificat deacceptation du Quebec (Quebec Certificate of Acceptance, or CAQ) issued by the Ministere des Relations avec les citoyens et de Immigration (MRCI).

Your educational institution will give you all necessary information about the procedures that apply in Quebec. If the country where you are living is served by the Quebec Immigration Service (SIQ), you should apply there for your Certificat deacceptation du Quebec (Quebec Certificate of Acceptance, or CAQ).

Otherwise, you should apply for your CAQ at the Regional office of the Ministere des Relations avec les citoyens et de Immigration (MRCI) that serves your educational institution in Quebec. The Regional office will contact the Canadian Embassy or Consulate nearest you to confirm the approval of the CAQ.

The following persons who plan to study in Quebec do not require a CAQ:

- students chosen under a Canadian government assistance program for developing countries;

- students enrolled in a program of study for six months or less; and

- students enrolled in a general interest course in a private school.

Children under 19 years of age who are travelling alone must have information (name, address, phone number) about the person or school who will be responsible for them. If the child is the subject of a custody order, proof of custody and the other parent's consent must also be provided. Minors travelling without their parents require a letter of permission from the non-accompanying parent(s) and a letter from their custodian in Canada.

Are there any conditions on my study permit?

An officer may impose, vary, or cancel conditions on your study permit. These may include one or more of the following:

- the type of studies or course you may take;

- the educational institution you may attend;

- the location of your studies;

- the time and period of your studies.

- the time and place at which you shall report for medical examination or observation

- the time and place at which you shall report for the presentation of evidence in compliance with applicable conditions

- the prohibition of engaging in employment

- the duration of your stay in Canada

May my spouse or common law partner and dependent children accompany me to Canada?

Yes. They may either accompany you to Canada or they may join you at a later date.

Family members are the immediate members of your family. Your husband, wife or common-law partner is your family member. A common-law partner is a person of the opposite or same sex who is currently cohabiting and has cohabited in a conjugal relationship with you for a period of at least one year.

Dependent children may be your own children or those of your spouse or common-law partner.
They must:

- be under the age of 22 and not a spouse or common-law partner; or,

- have depended substantially on the financial support of a parent and have been continuously enrolled and in attendance as full-time students in a post secondary institution accredited by the relevant government authority since before the age of 22 (or since becoming a spouse or a common-law partner, if they married or entered into a common-law relationship before the age of 22); or,

- have depended substantially on the financial support of a parents since before the age of 22 and unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.

Children included in the application must meet the definition of "dependent children" both at the time the application is made and, without taking into account whether they have attained 22 years of age, at the time the visa is issued to them.

Your spouse or common law partner and children must meet all the requirements for temporary residents in Canada. They must satisfy an officer that they are genuine temporary residents who will be in Canada for a temporary stay. They may be required to provide evidence that they are law abiding and have no criminal record. If your family member applies for a TRV, they must also meet all the conditions to obtain a visa.

Include them on your application by providing their names and other information in the appropriate space on the application form.

Important: You may be required to provide a marriage certificate and birth certificates for any accompanying family members. If you are in a common-law relationship and your common-law partner will accompany you to Canada, you may be required to complete the enclosed form, Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409). Also provide evidence outlined on the form to support your relationship.

If your family members wish to follow you to Canada at a later date, they must make a separate application for admission.

May my children attend school?

Your accompanying children may be able to study in Canada. They must apply for a study permit at the same time of your application. If they intend to join you later they must obtain a study permit before coming to Canada to join you.

Will I or my family members need a medical examination?

In some cases you will require a medical examination. If a medical examination is required, you will be informed by an officer who will provide instructions on how to proceed. It may add over three months to the processing of your application.

May I leave, then re-enter Canada?

In order to return to Canada, you must be in possession of a valid passport or travel document. You also need to hold a valid study permit if you are returning to study in Canada.

If you are a citizen of a country that requires a temporary resident visa to travel to Canada, you will also need to be in possession of a valid entry visa to return, unless:

- you are returning to Canada following a visit only to the United States or St-Pierre and Miquelon; and

- you return before the expiry of the period initially authorized for your entry or any extension to it, either as a visitor, student or worker.

Possession of these documents does not guarantee re-entry. All persons must establish that they meet all of the requirements of The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations before being authorized to enter or re-enter Canada.

Note: Citizens of the U.S. do not require passports or travel documents to enter or return to Canada. Permanent residents of the U.S. do not require passports or travel documents if they are entering or returning to Canada from the U.S. or St. Pierre and Miquelon.

However, both must provide documentary proof of citizenship or permanent residence, such as a national identity card or an alien registration card.

Working in Canada while you study

May I work during my stay in Canada?

Generally, foreign students are not allowed to work while studying in Canada.

However, there are some exceptions for full-time students at publicly funded or degree granting institutions who may apply for work permits. (A full-time student is a person whose program of study is at least 15 hours of instruction per week, leading to a diploma, unless otherwise defined by an educational institution.) A work permit is issued if it is established that:

- the intended employment is an essential and integral part of your course of study (this does not apply to accounting students, medical interns or medical residents); or

- the intended employment is related to an approved research or training program; or

- you hold a study permit and have become temporarily destitute through circumstances beyond your control or beyond the control of any person whom you are dependent on for financial support to complete your term of study. You must show proof that you are not able to obtain the money needed for daily expenses and that it is a temporary situation.

- you have successfully completed a community college or university program in Canada and wish to work for a maximum of one year in employment related to your course of study. Applications must be submitted within 90 days of the completion of your course and you must hold a valid study permit before you start working

Note: Spouses and common-law partners of full-time students at publicly funded or degree/diploma granting institutions can apply for an open work permit. For further details refer to the guide Applying to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada (IMM5217).The guide may be obtained by visiting our Web site or you can contact a Call Centre listed under the Contact Information section.

Note: Some study permits are arranged with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). These students must obtain an approval letter from CIDA to be eligible for a work permit related to their course of study.

Do students need a work permit to work on campus?

A full-time student attending a degree-granting post-secondary institution does not need a work permit when the employment offered is on the campus of the college or university where the student is registered full-time, for as long as the study permit is valid. The employer may be a private contractor operating on the campus.

Are there medical restrictions on the work I seek?

Yes, there are some restrictions on the jobs you can take based on the following medical factors:

- if you have passed an immigration medical examination, you may work in any type of job;

- if you have passed an immigration medical examination with some restriction, you may work but you may not take a job involving child care, primary or secondary teaching or health services;

- if you come from a country that Health Canada says has a high rate of serious communicable diseases, you may not work in certain agricultural jobs, childcare, primary or secondary teaching and health services fields, unless you have passed an immigration medical examination.

Where do I Apply?

Please submit your application to the Canadian visa office responsible for your area for processing. You should consult the local Web site or office regarding accepted methods of submitting applications. (i.e. general mail, in person, by courier etc.)

What Happens Next?

Your application will be reviewed to ensure it has been completed correctly and contains all of the required documents for processing.

After reviewing your application, an officer will decide if an interview is necessary. If so, the officer will inform you of the time and place.

If your application is approved, you will receive a letter of introduction confirming the approval. This letter is not your study permit. When you arrive in Canada, you must show this letter to a Canadian officer at the Port of Entry. The officer will determine whether you may enter Canada and how long you may stay. You will be issued a study permit at this time. You must leave Canada on or before the date on your study permit, set by the officer or have your status extended by an officer in Canada.

If you move or change your address, telephone or fax number before your application has been processed, you must advise us of this new information by contacting the visa office where you submitted your application

When you apply for your study permit, there is no guarantee of acceptance. We do not recommend that you make any final steps, such as purchasing plane tickets or quitting your job, until your study permit is approved.

Temporary Resident Visa Exemptions

*Persons who do not require a visa to visit Canada include:

*Subject to change at any time

- citizens of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Republic of Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (National Passport holders only), Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Republic of Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Slovenia, Switzerland, United States, and Western Samoa;

- persons lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence who are in possession of their alien registration card (Green card) or can provide other evidence of permanent residence;

- British citizens and British Overseas Citizens who are re-admissible to the United Kingdom;

- citizens of British dependent territories who derive their citizenship through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British dependent territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands;

- persons holding a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China; and

- persons holding passports or travel documents issued by the Holy See.

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