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Studying in Canada

 

Important Notice to International Students about Immigration-related Advice

Due to an amendment to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) is currently  unable to provide advice to international students relating to Canadian immigration applications, such as visa or study and work permits.

QUIC staff can and will be able to refer you to websites and other immigration resources and service and do our best to assist you in finding the information you are looking for.  We apologize for any inconvenience this change to the law may cause and are exploring alternative methods to assist you.

QUIC will continue to provide advice, services and programs relating to your transition to Queen’s, health insurance and housing, as well as supports to students going on exchange from Queen’s.

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 the campus where you are enrolled as a full-time student.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is planning to implement changes to the rules that apply to international students in Canada on June 1, 2014.

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

Who Needs One

A study permit is required for anyone that wants to study in Canada for 6 months or more.

If you will study in Canada for less than 6 months, you can do so as a visitor.  If there is a chance that you will choose to study for more than 6 months, you should apply for a study permit before coming to Canada because applications for initial (first) study permits must be processed outside of Canada.

If you want to work on-campus, you must have a study permit, even if you plan to study for fewer than 6 months.

 

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).

Consult the Canadian Visa Office serving your country or region of residence for a more detailed estimate on how long your application may take to be processed.  You can find information about past processing times through  Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

 

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 the application form, an application guide and further instructions on how to apply. You must also consult the Canadian Visa Office serving your country or region of residence as each office may have it’s own requirements.

    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 office or application centre.

  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.

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

CanadaIf you are already in Canada, and have a study permit from a different program of study, you can apply within Canada to extend your status. See below for further 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.  Citizens of the United States of America have the additional option of applying at their point of entry into Canada.

Those who have a work permit or a study permit from a different program of study and/or their partners or spouses are allowed to apply inside of Canada to change or extend their status.  See below for details.

 

Application Fees

As of February 6, 2014 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.

 

After Applying

If your application is successful, the visa office will give you a  letter of introduction.  You must present this letter to Canadian immigration officials when you enter Canada.  They will give you your study permit at that time.  You are not eligible to study based on the letter of introduction alone.

If  your citizenship requires you to have a Temporary Resident Visa, the visa will be issued with your letter of introduction.

You should not travel to Canada until you have been issued the letter of introduction and Temporary Resident Visa (if required).[/learn_more]

 

Extending Study Permits
(applications processed inside Canada)

If you have a valid study permit and you are currently in Canada, you can apply within Canada to extend your status.

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.

If you hold an  Off-Campus Work Permit  that you got while studying at another Canadian college or university, you must log in to the MyCIC section of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website and transfer reporting responsibilities from your previous institution to Queen’s.    

If you do not, you will be considered ineligible for the Off-Campus Work Permit and will be unable to apply for a new one after extending your study permit.

 

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:

More information on the GCKey and the application process is available from the International Student Advisors 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

As of February 6, 2014 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 Advisors).

 

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.

 

Further Questions?

 

Support through Queen’s

If you have further questions, after reviewing the information above, advising is available (without an appointment) from the International Student Advisors at the Queen’s University International Centre from Monday to Friday between 1:00pm 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)

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, use 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)