BP101: Studying in Canada

Everything You Need to Know to Study in Canada

Want to study in Canada? Here is an overview to get you started.
Written by: BorderPass Corp.
Last updated:  
April 2024

To study in Canada, you will need to obtain a Canadian study permit for the duration of your stay in Canada unless your course or program lasts six months or less. Even if your program is only 6 months, it is a good idea to apply for a permit if you have plans to continue your studies in Canada in another program. Otherwise you will have to leave Canada to apply for a study permit through a visa office.

Once you have a Canadian study permit, you can apply to renew it from within Canada if you decide to continue your studies. For full-time students registered at an accredited higher education institution, a study permit also allows you to work part-time on campus. You may also be able to work off-campus, work as a co-op or intern as part of your program, stay in Canada as a permanent resident or find work after you graduate.

Applying for a Canadian study permit

You can apply for a Canadian study permit online through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Alternatively, you can use BorderPass' online application process to help apply and ensure you have prepared and filed all of the necessary documents. BorderPass also provides legal review by a Canadian lawyer to give you even greater assurance that you have completed the application correctly.

The process for obtaining a Canadian student visa is complicated and can be confusing. The following at a minimum is required but every applicant's financial and personal situation is different, so is as follows:

  1. Complete an assessment test at app.borderpass.ca to confirm you are eligible for a Canada student visa.
  2. Obtain a standardized letter of acceptance from a recognized higher education provider. Students studying in Quebec must also apply for a certificate of acceptance, known as a CAQ, from the government of Quebec.
  3. Completion of application letters, including your study plan, and the necessary designated immigration forms
  4. Provide biometrics (photograph and fingerprints).
  5. Some applicants may also need to get a medical exam and/or police check before submitting their application. You will not be able to get a study permit if you have a criminal record – you may be asked to provide a Police Clearance Certificate as proof.
  6. Unless you’re from the USor St. Pierre and Miquelon, you will need to prove you have a valid passport which allows you to return to your country of origin after your course is complete. A digital passport-sized photo is also required
  7. Canadian student visa requirements also include proof of funds to support yourself. At present this is deemed to be CAD$20,635 for every year of your stay on top of your tuition fees. You will also need to make sure you have enough money to pay for transportation to return home.

BorderPass provides an online portal for you to upload and complete all of the application letters, forms and supporting documents you need, maintaining them in an orderly fashion for future reference as needed through your immigration process.

Applying through the Student Direct Stream (SDS)

Student Direct Stream provides a process for students from China, India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Senegal or Vietnam to apply for their study permit with just 20 days processing. The requirements are similar to the regular study permit, although there are stricter language requirements – you need to have an IELTS score of at least 6, or a 7 in TEF. If you don’t meet the requirements for the Student Direct Stream but do meet them for the regular study permit, your application will be reviewed for the regular study permit option and you won’t get faster processing. BorderPass ensures that as an applicant you apply for the stream or process that provides you with the greatest advantages and fastest processing times.

Once your Canadian student visa is approved

If and when your Canadian student visa application is approved, you’ll receive a Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction, while students from countries which require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and/or a temporary residence visa will be issued these if required.

BorderPass provides a detailed pre arrival package to guide you through your entry to Canada as well as access to a lawyer to answer any questions if any should arise when crossing the border into Canada and the issuance of your Canadian study permit.

Working while you study in Canada

A part-time job to help support yourself while studying in Canada is permissible both to work on or off-campus for up to 20 hours during study semesters and full-time during breaks such as the winter or summer holidays, without the need for a work permit.

To maintain a part-time job you must:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Be a full-time student
  • Be enrolled at a designated learning institution at post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at secondary level
  • Be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.

You will also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) which BorderPass will obtain as part of our program.

After your study program is complete, BorderPass can assist in obtaining a post-graduation work permit if you want to stay in Canada after your studies. This work permit is valid for up to three years.

Should you then seek permanent residency in Canada, BorderPass can guide you through this process, ensuring you are on track to meet the Canadian permanent residency requirements and file your residency application.

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