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Studying in Canada

 

A study permit is a document that is issued by the Canadian government.  It allows you to:

  1. be in Canada;
  2. to study, and;
  3. to work on (and sometimes off) the campus where you are enrolled as a full-time student  – see our Working in Canada page for details.
Study permit - New format

Recently issued study permits usually look like this.

 

Who Needs One

A study permit is required for anyone that wants to study in Canada for 6 months or more.  Study permits will only be issued for study at Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs).

Queen’s University is a Designated Learning Institution and its DLI number is: O19376023352

Study permit applications now require a valid DLI number.

Those that will study in Canada for less than 6 months, can do so as a visitor (ie. no study permit is required), but they will need to apply for a study permit if they want to extend their studies.

Exchange students can change their immigration status from visitor to student without leaving Canada if they decide to extend their studies, but most other students must apply outside of Canada.

Citizens of some countries may require a Temporary Resident Visa to be allowed to enter Canada, even if they do not require a study permit. More information about TRVs is available on the Canadian Permits and Visas page of our site.

On-campus work requires a study permit, even if the studies are shorter than 6 months.

 

First (initial) Study Permits
(applications processed outside Canada)

 

When to Apply

A study permit application can take many months to be processed.  It is a good idea to apply as soon as you have your proof of admission to Queen’s.

United-States

Citizens and permanent residents of the United States of America have the option of applying when they enter Canada (processing is done immediately).

The processing times provided through Citizenship and Immigration Canada are not current.  They represent the average number of days, weeks, or months required to process 80% of applications over a set period of time.

 

How to Apply

You have two options when applying for an initial study permit (processed outside of Canada).  Whichever method you choose, the application form itself is the same.  Citizenship and Immigration Canada produces an instruction guide that provides insight into completing the form. Your application options include:

  1. Paper

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada provides access to a general study permit application instruction guide, along with specific documents and instructions depending on the country that you are applying from.

    Citizens of some countries are required to provide biometric information (digital photographs and fingerprints) as part of permit and visa applications made outside of Canada.  In such cases, the applicant will need to provide the biometric information at a visa application or biometric collection centre, and should not merely mail their application directly to a visa application centre.

  2. Online

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada will require you to answer a series of questions to determine your eligibility to apply online as well as the supporting documents you will need to include with your application.

Applicants from some countries may also be requested to have a medical exam.

Canada

If you are already in Canada, please note that only specific groups of people are allowed to apply for study permits inside Canada.  They include those that:

  • have a work permit or study permit, OR;
  • have a visitor status in Canada but are:
    • the spouse/partner of an international student or worker, OR;
    • an exchange student, OR;
    • a visiting student.

See below for details.

 

Where to Apply

As noted above, you may qualify to apply online, but your application is likely to be processed by the Canadian Visa Office serving your country or region of residence.

If you prefer the paper application process, you will likely submit your application through a Visa Application Centre (VAC). These are private companies contracted by the Canadian government to provide services to permit and visa applicants, including collecting biometric information, secure delivery of applications and passports, and more.  They charge fees for their services.  They do not make decisions about applications.

United-States

Citizens and permanent residents of the United States of America have the option of applying when they enter Canada (processing is done immediately).

CanadaIf you are already in Canada, please note that only specific groups of people are allowed to apply for study permits inside Canada.  They include those that:

  • have a work permit or study permit, OR;
  • have a visitor status in Canada but are:
    • the spouse/partner of an international student or worker, OR;
    • an exchange student, OR;
    • a visiting student.

See below for details.

 

Application Fees

The study permit application fee is $150 CAN (or local equivalent).

You must follow the payment instructions for the online application system or the Canadian Visa Office that you are applying to.  If you apply through a VAC, require an immigration medical exam, and/or must provide biometric information, there will be additional fees.

 

After Applying

If your application is taking longer than expected (see “When to Apply” above), each Canadian visa office has a link to submit a case-specific enquiry.  Find the link at the page with information about the Canadian Visa Office serving your country or region of residence.

If your application is successful, the visa office will give you a Port of Entry Introduction Letter.  You must present this letter to Canadian immigration officials when you enter Canada.  They will give you your study permit at that time.  See our Arrival in Canada and at Queen’s page for more details.  You are not eligible to study based on the Port of Entry Introduction Letter alone.

If your citizenship requires you to have a Temporary Resident Visa, the visa will be issued with your Port of Entry Introduction Letter.

You should not travel to Canada until you have been issued the Port of Entry Introduction Letter and Temporary Resident Visa (if required).

 

Extending Study Permits
(applications processed inside Canada)

Only specific groups of people are allowed to apply for study permits inside Canada.  They include those that:

  • Are already in Canada, AND;
  • have a work permit or study permit, OR;
  • have a visitor status in Canada but are:
    • the spouse/partner of an international student or worker, OR;
    • an exchange student, OR;
    • a visiting student.

Study permits will only be issued for study at Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs).

Queen’s University is a Designated Learning Institution and its DLI number is: O19376023352

 

Coming from Canadian High School

A study permit for high (secondary) school studies can only be used for high school studies. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, you must apply for a new study permit to begin your studies at Queen’s.

 

Coming from Canadian College or University

Citizenship and Immigration Canada allows post-secondary students with valid study permits to change schools or programs without applying for a new study permit.

While a new study permit is not required, those who applied for a study permit after June 1, 2014 must notify Citizenship and Immigration Canada of the change in schools.

 

How To Apply

You have two options when applying to extend your status in Canada:

  1. Paper

    The application, a guide and a checklist of supporting documents are available through the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

  2. Online

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada will require you to answer a series of questions to determine your eligibility as well as the supporting documents you will need to include with your application.

    A  few useful additional notes include:

    • Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) publish an instruction guide that is useful for online and paper applications.
    • All the forms and a document checklist are available.
    • If you want to apply online, you must answer a series of questions to determine if you are eligible.  The online system will give you access to any forms you require.
    • Whether you use their GCKey or the Sign-in Partner login, keep a record of your username and password somewhere safe.
    • If you decide to exit at any point, all responses submitted until that point will be saved. The next time you access your MyCIC account page and click on the Study Permit application you have in process, you will be brought to the last unanswered question.
    • Application fee information is noted below.
    • Citizenship and Immigration Canada publishes current processing times for temporary residency document applications (this includes Study Permits) through their processing centre.

More information on the GCKey and the application process is available from the International Student Advisers or through the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

 

When To Apply

You must apply before your current study permit expires.  If you send your application before your current study permit expires then you can stay in Canada while your application is processed.  In this time you have “implied status“.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada publishes current processing times for temporary residency document applications (this includes study permits) through their processing centre.

 

Application Fees

The study permit application fee is $150 CAN (or local equivalent).

The application fee can be paid online (if you have a valid credit card), or through a Canadian bank (using a payment form available from our International Student Advisers).

 

Temporary Resident Visas

A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) is a visa that is required by citizens of some countries to come to Canada.   It must be valid on the date that you enter Canada, but it can expire any time after that.

If you successfully apply for a first (initial) study permit through a visa office outside of Canada, a TRV will automatically be issued.

If you already have a study permit but your TRV has expired, or if you do not require a study permit (because you will study for no more than 6 months), please visit our Canadian Visas and Permits page for more information.

 

Need More Help?

 

Support through Queen’s

If you have further questions, after reviewing the information above, advising is available (without an appointment) from the International Student Advisers at the Queen’s University International Centre from Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm.

 

Support outside of Queen’s

CIC Help Centre

(frequently asked questions – online)

Call Centre 1-888-242-2100

(for those already in Canada)Canada

Automated telephone service

(available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) If you have a touch-tone telephone, you can listen to prerecorded information about CIC programs, and check the status of your application.

Call Centre agents

Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (local time, excluding holidays) Services are available in French and English.

E-mail

(Expect 1 to 2 week response time)

For general questions about the CIC website, online application system, or an application being processed within Canada.

question@cic.gc.ca

If your question is about a specific application (if not, start with the Help Centre noted above), it is important to provide as much information as possible. This should include:

  • Surname (last name) – Exactly as it appears on the passport or identity document
  • Given name(s) (first name) – Exactly as it appears on the passport or identity document
  • Date of birth (YYYY-MM-DD)
  • Country of birth
  • Complete address (including the postal code). If the residential address is different from the mailing address, please provide both addresses.
  • Telephone number
  • Unique Client Identifier (UCI) number / Client ID number
  • Type of application submitted (Temporary Resident Visa)
  • Approximate date that the application was submitted, and whether it was submitted online or mailed to a specific office.
  • Online application reference number (if applicable)
For specific technical difficulties with the online application system or other aspects of the CIC website.

web-tech-support@cic.gc.ca

In addition to the information noted above, it is also wise to provide a description of the problem (and screen shots [Mac][Windows]) of:

  • The page you are attempting to access, and
  • The error message you received (if applicable)
For case-specific questions about applications being processed at a Canadian visa office outside of Canada.

Find the case-specific enquiry link at the page with information about the Canadian Visa Office serving your country or region of residence. There you will also find a generic e-mail address for the office.  Do not use both.  Choose which option is best for your question.

For case-specific questions about applications being processed within Canada.

The case-specific enquiry system for applications processed within Canada can be used when processing has taken longer than the currently advertised processing times, or there are important updates to an application.