5 Steps to Canada

Secure your study permit

Most students must get a study permit to go to school in Canada. To help guide you, we've written an in-depth guide to the process.

Here's what you need to know about getting a study permit for Canada.

Determine if You Need a Permit

Most students require a study permit, but not all. The Government of Canada has a simple online tool to help you find out if you need a permit. Expect to wait anywhere from 9 to 15 weeks to hear back about your study permit, but this timeline is always shifting.

Required Documents

You'll need several documents as part of your application for a study permit. Don't apply for a permit without these documents.

Acceptance Letter: to College or University You must be accepted to study at an accredited college or university in Canada to apply for a study permit.

Provincial Attestation Letter: This letter comes from the province you're studying in. You'll need to contact the school to learn how to get the letter. (In Quebec this is called a Quebec Acceptance Certificate.)

Proof of identity and proof of funding: A copy of your passport serves for proof of identity, but you also need to prove you have at least $20,635 CAD available for living expenses. A guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) is the most common way, but there are other ways to show you have the funds required.

Other documents that may be needed

You may be asked for additional documents, like a letter of explanation, proof of a medical exam, or a custodial declaration for minor students. You'll find all the details on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Applying for your permit

Canada charges an application fee of $150 CAD, and you may also have to cover a $100 fee for mandatory biometrics: your fingerprints and official photo.

You can apply for a study permit online, whether you're already in Canada or not.

Processing can take 3 to 9 weeks, or more, so apply as soon as possible. You can track the status of your application on the IRCC website.

Next Steps

If you're not approved for a study permit, you'll get a letter explaining why. If you're approved, you'll receive the permit when you arrive in Canada — or in the mail if you're already here.

Now it's time to think about other fees: housing, bank account, phone service, and more. Check out the next article on getting ready to thrive in Canada.

 5: Get ready for Canada