Last Updated on May 12, 2021
International students planning to attend Canadian colleges and universities in September need to hand in their completed study permit applications by this Saturday – or they might not be able attend the fall semester.
“If you submit a complete application after May 15, 2021, we will process it as quickly as possible – but you may not get a final decision before the fall semester begins,” Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) advises international students on its website.
Canadian immigration officials are promising to process study permit applications by Aug. 6, in time for students to attend colleges and universities in the country, outside of Quebec, only if they are handed in by May 15.
“We may not be able to process your application by Aug 6, 2021, if you’re unable to submit a complete application because of COVID-19 restrictions, such as reduced service at visa application centres (VACs) or other providers,” states the IRCC website.
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The tighter-than-usual deadline is a measure designed to allow international students ample time to self-isolate for 14 days as required under Canada’s emergency COVID-19 requirements.
Applications for study permits are to be completed online, regardless of whether the student is already in Canada or in a foreign country.
With their study permit applications, international students need to submit:
- the letter of acceptance issued to them by the designated learning institution (DLI);
- as many of the documents needed for a complete application as possible, and;
- a letter of explanation for any documents that are missing due to COVID-19.
The francophone province of Quebec has its own additional processes which international students must follow, including application for a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ – Québec Acceptance Certificate).
Those international students planning to attend college or university in Quebec, who are not yet in the province and are still waiting for their CAQ, can instead submit their proof of receipt of their online application for temporary selection for studies as part of their study permit application.
Ottawa will then process those applications and put a hold on them pending a decision regarding the CAQ. Foreign students just need to make sure to submit their CAQ to the IRCC once they receive it to finalize their applications.
Quebec’s immigration ministry, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), is encouraging all international students to apply for the temporary selection for studies through its Arrima Expression of Interest portal as soon as possible and to include all the required documents.
Quebec is bullish on attracting international students, earmarking $9.1 million in the latest budget to be spent over the next three years through economic development agencies in Montreal, Quebec City and Drummondville to attract foreign students.
International students are increasingly important to Canadian colleges and universities.
During the decade that closed at the end of the 2018-19 academic year, the growth in the number of international students attending Canadian universities and colleges far outstripped the growth in the number of Canadian students.
“Enrolments for Canadian students in formal programs grew by 10.9 per cent, from 1,486,602 to 1,648,923. Over the same period, the number of international students more than tripled, from 101,304 … to 318,153,” a Statistics Canada study reveals.
That’s led to a growth in the proportion of international students attending Canadian colleges and universities, from 6.4 per cent during the 2008-09 school year to 16.2 per cent a decade later.
International students accounted for 57.2 per cent of the total growth in academic programs at Canadian colleges and universities during that time.