Canada welcomes more than 350,000 students from foreign jurisdictions each year. If you intend to study at a Canadian educational institution, most foreign nationals must apply for a study permit. A study permit, once issued, allows a foreign national to study in Canada at an approved institute for the duration of the specified course or program.
In some cases, you do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada:
- If the course or program you intend to study is less that 6 months in duration.
- If you are a family member or staff of a foreign representative to Canada.
- If you are a member of a foreign armed force.
To be eligible to study in Canada:
- You must have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada.
- You must prove that you have enough money to pay for your:
- tuition fees;
- living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada; and
- return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
- You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
- You must be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
- You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.
A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also be required if the student is a citizen of a country from which Temporary Resident Visas are required for entry into Canada. A Temporary Resident Visa is not required for citizens of visa exempt countries.
Working in Canada as a Student
It is possible to work in Canada, while you are here as a student, under any Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC’s) work programs for students.
A student may be able to work in Canada during the course of study under the following categories:
- On campus without a Work Permit;
- Off campus with a Work Permit;
- In Co-op and Internship Programs, where work experience is part of the curriculum, with a Work Permit.
In addition to this, spouses or common-law partners of foreign students are eligible for a work permit for the duration as the study permit.
Upon graduation, a foreign student may apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Under this program, the work permit may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years.
A visitor means a person who is lawfully in Canada, or seeks to come into Canada for a temporary purpose (such as work, study or visit) and who is not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or the holder of a minister’s permit.
Every visitor, unless exempted, must apply for and obtain a visa before appearing at a Port of Entry (POE). All visitors who are required to obtain a visa must be in possession of the visa when they appear at a POE.
As of November 10, 2016, all air travellers from visa exempt countries require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before they board a flight. This includes those who are transiting through Canada. It only includes travellers arriving by air. For more information, click here.
The Canadian visitor visa application involves a two-step process:
First Step: The foreign national must first submit a visit visa application to the responsible Canadian visa office in the country or region where they reside. At this time, the applicant may need to attend an interview where the visa officer will verify the applicant’s reasons for visiting Canada, the applicant’s ability or willingness to leave Canada within the visa validity date and the applicant’s overall admissibility to Canada.
Second Step: Once a visit visa has been issued, the applicant may land in Canada. At the port of entry an immigration officer will question the applicant to ensure admissibility.
A visitor visa may be for single entry or multiple entry use. Single entry visas may be issued up to six months before the expected date of travel. The maximum validity date for multiple entry visitor visas is up to ten (10) years or one month prior to the expiry date on the passport/re-entry visa, whichever is earlier. POE officers will routinely grant entry for a period of six months to a person requesting entry as a visitor.
A foreign national who has an immigrant visa already in process is not prohibited from applying for a temporary resident visa.
Determine whether you require a visitor visa to visit Canada:
Citizens of the following countries and territories require a Visa to VISIT or TRANSIT Canada:
- Burkina Faso
- Republic of Cameroon
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- People’s Republic of China
- Congo, Democratic
- Republic of the Congo
- Republic of the Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- East Timor
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
- Israel (only Israeli citizens holding valid Israeli “Travel Document in lieu of National Passport”)
- Ivory Coast
- Korea, North
- Lithuania (holders of non-biometric passports only)
- Macao S.A.R.
- Maldives Islands
- Marshall Islands
- Micronesia, Fed. States
- Myanmar (Burma)
- Palestinian Authority
- Poland (holders of non-biometric passports only)
- St. Lucia
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines (St. Vincent)
- Sao Tomé e Principe
- Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
- Taiwan (except holders of the ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes their personal identification number)
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
Additional requirements for citizens of certain countries:
If you are a national of a country or territory listed below, you will need to appear in person to have your fingerprints and photograph (biometric information) taken when you apply for a temporary resident visa, study permit, or work permit.
CIC will start to collect this information from people on a mandatory basis in September 2013. By December 2013, biometric screening will be mandatory for all temporary resident applicants who are a national of a country or territory listed below. The following are the proposed dates when mandatory collection of biometric information will begin:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Saudi Arabia
- South Sudan
- Burma (Myanmar)
- Sri Lanka
- Palestinian Authority
Citizens of the following countries and territories are visa exempt:
- Anguilla (conditions apply)
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bermuda (conditions apply)
- British Virgin Islands (conditions apply)
- British Subjects (conditions apply)
- Cayman Islands (conditions apply)
- Falkland Islands (conditions apply)
- Gibraltar (conditions apply)
- Holy see (conditions apply)
- Hong Kong (conditions apply)
- Israel (conditions apply)
- Korea (Republic of)
- Latvia (Republic of)
- Lithuania (conditions apply)
- Montserrat (conditions apply)
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Pitcairn (conditions apply)
- Poland (conditions apply)
- St. Helena (conditons apply)
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- Taiwan (conditions apply)
- Turks and Caicos Islands (conditions apply)U
- United Kingdom: British citizens and British overseas citizens (Re-admissible to the UK)
- United States citizens and permanent residents (with evidence of permanent residence)
- Western Samoa
Citizens of British dependent territories: You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you are a citizen of a British dependent territory who derives their citizenship through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British dependent territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands.
British National (Overseas): You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you hold a British National (Overseas) passport issued by the United Kingdom to persons born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong.
British Subjects: You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you hold a British Subject passport issued by the United Kingdom which contains the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you hold a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
Holy See: You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you hold a passport or travel document issued by the Holy See.
Taiwan: You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you hold an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes your personal identification number.
Israel: You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you hold a national Israeli passport.
Lithuania: You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you hold a biometric passport (e-passport) issued by Lithuania.
Poland: You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you hold a biometric passport (e-passport) issued by Poland.
Canada welcomes more than 35 million temporary residents each year. Unless they Canadian citizens or Canadian Permanent Residents, individuals coming to Canada for the purpose of visiting, studying or working may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to enter Canada.
Types of Non-immigrant Visas:
Canada Visit Visa
A visitor visa allows you to enter Canada as a visitor or tourist. Generally, you can stay in Canada for up to 6 months as a visitor.
Canada Student Visa
A Study Permit allows a foreign national to study in Canada at a specific Canadian educational institution and in a specific program.
Canada Work Visa
A work visa allows a foreign national with an offer of employment from a Canadian company to work in Canada on a temporary basis.
Parents and Grandparents Super Visa
A super visa allows parents or grandparents of Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewal of their status.