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Study permit

International Students are considered to be Visitors in Canada. They must satisfy an Immigration Canada official at the port of entry that the purpose of their entry into Canada is of a temporary nature.

Canada has two official languages: English and French. The student will need to know one or the other to follow course lectures and reading assignments. Some post-secondary schools might ask the student to take a language test. They may charge a fee for this test, which the student will have to pay. Language requirements are set by each school. Once again, school registrars can give the student information on language requirements.

Once the student has decided on the courses he/she wants to take, officials at the school where the student applies will tell the student if he/she qualifies. If accepted, the student will receive a confirmation letter from the registrar, the school board or the school, itself.

To be acceptable to Canadian Immigration officials, the letter should be the original, not a photocopy, specify in detail the courses the student is taking, confirm that the applicant has been accepted as a student, and indicate the length of program or studies.

Student Authorizations Are Not Required: Citizenship and Immigration Canada requires that foreign individuals who wish to study at Canadian educational institutions must obtain Student Authorizations. A Student Authorization is a document issued by Immigration Canada officials that permits a foreign individual to study in Canada, generally at a specific Canadian educational institution and in a specific program, and always for a limited time.

Immigration Canada will normally issue a Student Authorization if an applicant has received an acceptance letter from a qualified Canadian educational institution, and possesses sufficient funds to pay for tuition and living costs. In some cases, Immigration Canada may require applicants to undergo medical examinations. In addition, holders of Student Authorizations must apply for and be granted Canadian Visitor Visas (unless they are citizens of a visa exempt country).

Immigration Canada generally issues Student Authorizations that are valid for the duration of the intended course of studies.

Student Authorizations Are Not Required: A Student Authorization is not required if the applicant:

  • intends to take a French or English language training course that is no more than three months in duration; or
  • is the spouse or dependent child of: a diplomatic or consular officer; a representative of a foreign country; or a representative of the United Nations or any other intergovernmental organization of which Canada is a member.
Working in Canada as an International Student: Immigration Canada allows International Students to work in Canada in limited situations, including:
  • When the employment is on-campus;
  • When the international student is the recipient of a scholarship;
  • When the work has been certified as being an integral part of the program of study;
  • When the work consists of academic research or a post-doctoral fellowship; and
  • When the work takes place after graduation in a field related to the program of study.
In addition, spouses of international students are eligible to work temporarily in Canada.

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