International Students: Your Ticket to Canada is the Elusive Canadian Study Permit (Here’s How to Get It)

Canadian Study Permit
Picture of Student filling and signing necessary documents for Study Permit

Canada has become the number one choice for international students looking to study abroad. With world-class universities, an open and diverse society, and post-graduation work opportunities, Canada offers endless reasons to apply. But before you start shopping for that Hooded cold weather coat and perfecting your plans – there’s one crucial step. Obtaining your Canadian study permit.

Without this magical piece of paper, your dreams of studying in Canada will melt faster than a maple syrup popsicle. So today, We’re spilling all the tea on how to get your hands on a Canadian study permit.

This is the ultimate insider’s guide to successfully applying for (and rocking) your Canadian study permit. Let’s get started!

READ ALSO: Why Canada’s Tech Hub is a Playground for International Student Innovators

What is a Canadian Study Permit?

First things first – what exactly is a Canadian study permit?

Simply put, a study permit is an official document issued by the Canadian government allowing international students to pursue an education within Canada’s borders.

Unlike a visitor visa, a study permit allows you to live and study in Canada for the duration of your academic program plus some extra time before and after. It also allows you to work part-time or full-time during eligible periods.

In other words, a study permit is a golden ticket to unlocking the Canadian student experience. So you’re gonna want to get yours pronto!

How Do I Get a Canadian Study Permit?

Alright, moment of truth. How does an eager international student like yourself actually get their hands on this magical study permit?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying for (and securing) your Canadian study permit:

  • Choose an Eligible School

Your first move is researching study programs and choosing one that meets your interests and career aspirations.

But not just any school will do. It must be a designated learning institution (DLI) approved by the Canadian government to host international students. We’re talking accredited colleges and universities, trade schools, language institutes – you get the gist.

Most likely, the school of your dreams is DLI-certified. But double-check to be sure!

  • Get Your Letter of Acceptance

You can’t apply for a study permit without an offer of admission in hand. Once your dream Canadian school accepts you, they will issue you an official Letter of Acceptance.

Guard this letter with your life – it’s your ticket to a study permit. Time to celebrate with some freshly tapped maple syrup!

  • Submit Your Study Permit Application

Here comes the fun part – actually submitting your study permit application. This happens online through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

You’ll need to create an account and provide some key documents:

  • Proof of identity – passport, photos, etc.
  • Letter of Acceptance from your designated school
  • Proof you can support yourself financially while studying
  • Any required medical exam results
  • Police certificates proving you’re criminally rehabilitated (if needed)

It’s a lot of paperwork, so start gathering your docs EARLY and submit them before program deadlines hit.

  • Get Your Biometrics Taken

Depending on your home country, you may also need to complete biometrics after submitting your online application. This means getting your fingerprints and photo taken at an IRCC office.

You’ll be informed if you need to complete this step, so keep an eye on your application status.

  • Await Decision

Then comes the agonizing wait for a decision. Study permit processing times range from 2 weeks to 3+ months depending on nationality.

Do NOT make any travel plans until you get approved! The last thing you want is to be stuck abroad without your permit.

Time to distract yourself by shopping for those Sorels and perfecting your Canadian accent. “How aboot some maple taffy, eh??”

READ ALSO: When to Start Preparing for English Language Proficiency Tests for Canadian University Applications 

How Do I Ace My Canadian Study Permit Application?

With so much riding on getting approved, how can you ensure study permit success?

We’ve got you covered with pro tips to create the ultimate study permit package:

  • Apply Early

We can’t stress this enough – start EARLY! Processing times for study permits can be long, so submit your application up to 6 months before your program start date.

This gives you a cushion in case anything goes wrong or gets delayed. Don’t gamble with your education – apply early.

  • Provide Genuine Financial Documents

You must prove to the Canadian government you can cover tuition plus $10,000 CAD per year for living expenses.

Be sure to provide current bank statements, investment portfolios, proof of student loans – anything to show your financial security. Give accurate info or risk getting denied.

  • Write a Standout Statement of Purpose

Your “letter of explanation” is your chance to share why you must study in Canada. Make it personal and compelling. Help the visa officer connect with your story on a human level.

  • Proofread Your Application…Twice!

Typos or missing info can sabotage your study permit success. Read every page carefully and check twice before submitting. Don’t let silly mistakes crush your Canadian dreams.

  • Apply Well Before Program Deadlines

Canadian schools have firm application deadlines. Be sure to apply for your study permit with plenty of buffer room before the program start dates hit.

Rushing leads to mistakes. Get your permit secured nice and early.

What If My Canadian Study Permit Is Denied?

No one likes unexpected bad news. But unfortunately, study permit rejections do happen.

Don’t panic yet! Here are some potential reasons your study permit was denied:

(a) Insufficient financial documents
(b) Application errors or missing info
(c) Issues with your chosen Designated Learning Institution
(d) Prior visa rejections or overstaying visits

Whatever the reason, take time to understand what went wrong before reapplying. Correct any issues and try again with a stronger application.

And remember – Canadian dream schools would love to have you. So don’t give up over a small setback!

Life After Getting Your Canadian Study Permit

Oh yes, you got approved! Time to do a celebratory moose dance. Now let’s talk next steps once you land in Canada:

  • Complete Your Port of Entry Interview

All newcomers to Canada must undergo immigration screening when entering the country. Bring your study permit and be ready to describe your plans to the officer.

  • Apply for a Social Insurance Number

A SIN is required for things like getting paid by an employer, filing taxes, and accessing government services. Apply ASAP once you arrive.

  • Understand Your Study Permit Conditions

Make sure you know the rules, especially around working. Some jobs like on-campus employment are usually permitted, but confirm what’s allowed for international students.

  • Consider Applying for a Post-Grad Work Permit

Eligible international students can obtain a PGWP to remain working in Canada for up to 3 years after finishing their program.

How Can International Students Work in Canada?

As an international student, you may be eager to find a part-time campus job or paid co-op placement. Here are some key things to know about working in Canada:

  • On-Campus Work

Most study permits allow students to work up to 20 hours per week on campus while enrolled and attending classes. This includes jobs like tutoring, research, food services, etc.

  • Off-Campus Work

After 6 months of full-time studies, you can typically seek off-campus jobs up to 20 hours per week during the school year. Summers are unlimited.

  • Co-op and Internships

Paid co-ops and internships related to your field of study are another excellent way to get Canadian work experience on your study permit.

The Post-Grad Work Permit: Your Ticket to Staying in Canada

If you’re dreaming of launching your career in Canada after graduation, the Post-Grad Work Permit (PGWP) is for you.

This allows you to remain living and working in Canada for the same length of time as your academic program, up to a maximum of 3 years.

To be eligible, you must have:

  •  Graduated from an eligible Canadian post-secondary institution
  • Maintained full-time student status
  • Applied within 180 days of receiving confirmation of graduating

The PGWP is the golden ticket to gaining professional Canadian work experience in your field before deciding whether to immigrate permanently.

The True North Strong and Free Await You!

Ready to make those maple-flavored dreams come true? We hope this guide got you pumped for your Canadian study permit adventure.


READ ALSOEssential Banking Tips for International Students in Canada.

With early preparation and a flawless application, your approval is all but guaranteed. Before you know it, you’ll be rocking beaver tail pastries and cheering on the Leafs!

Canada is calling your name. Heed the call and make your mark as an international student in this diverse, welcoming country.

Your future starts now.

Go seize the opportunity!


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