A student visa or study permit is an official paper that the Canadian Government provides allowing international or non-Canadian students to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs). It is necessary to have a student visa to study and it must be obtained prior to coming to Canada.
If you are interested in applying for a student visa and want to have more information, visit: ‘How to apply for a Canadian student visa?‘ in our Campus News section.
How many years can an international student stay in Canada under a student visa?
The student visa is valid for the duration of the study program, plus an extra 90 days in case you need to extend the study permit or arrange to leave Canada. There are different variations in the length of the study permit depending on the courses or program chosen:
- If the student is taking prerequisite courses; it means that your institution is requesting you to take certain courses before starting with the main program. In this case, the student visa will be valid for the duration of those courses, as well as one extra year. After, when the institution authorizes your admission to the main program, you will have to apply for an extension of the study permit.
- If the student completes their studies after the study permit expires, which means it was not possible to finish your studies before the expiration date on the study permit, then you will have to apply to extend the study permit. Otherwise, you will have to discontinue studying and leave the country.
- If the student completes their studies before the study permit expires; the study permit will stop being valid 90 days after completing your studies, regardless of the expiration date that the study permit has. The institution you are enrolled with will send a notification through degree, diploma, and letter of completion to the government.
For more information about the duration of the student visa, please go to the Study Permit section on the Canadian government website.
How long does it take to apply for a Canadian study permit?
Applying for a study permit can vary depending on the country of application. The processing times can go from 2 weeks to a wait time of more than 3 months. The better you prepared the correct documents that the government is asking for and even present the optional ones; it might help to quicken the processing time to get the study visa.
Check the processing times on the Canadian government website.
What are the requirements to apply for the study permit?
The Canadian government has certain requirements for people interested in applying for a study permit. These requirements allow that your application gets processed and has the chance to be approved as well.
- The institution that you are going to apply to needs to be a designated learning institution (DLI)
- Be an active full-time or part-time student
- Do not take any authorized leaves that last longer than 150 days from the program of studies
- When your study permit expires you must leave Canada
- End your studies if your permit expires or if you no longer meet the requirements of being a student
Have in mind that other secondary requirements that appear in your study permit that is important to be aware of work off or on campus, hours that you can work, report of medical exams, allowed to travel within the country and level of studies.
What happens if the student visa expires? Is it necessary to leave Canada even if the person applied for a new permit?
You can stay in Canada as a temporary resident until the government makes a decision on the new permit application. They will do it provided the submission of extension for the application is before the end of your authorized stay.
- When the student visa expires you have various options; either renew the student visa, apply for a different kind of permit (such as a work permit or residence) or leave Canada.
- If you apply to renew or extend the student visa; then you can stay in Canada, and continue with your studies following the conditions of the original student visa until the Canadian government decides on your application.
- If you apply for a different kind of permit (work permit or residence); then you have to terminate any doings declared on the original student visa once it expires. For instance, if you came as a student under a study permit; but you applied for a work permit you have to stop studying and wait until receiving a response on the application for your new permit.
For more information, please go to extend or restore your status section on the Canadian government website.
Can an international student stay after graduation?
If the person wants to remain in Canada, the Canadian government offers the option of a post-graduate work permit (PGWP); it allows international students to continue in Canada working for up to three years after graduation. After the first year of working full-time, the person is eligible to apply for permanent residency.
To apply for a PGWP, you have to demonstrate that you meet the conditions while being under the study permit. In other words, your principal activity during your time in Canada under the student visa should have been studying. Also, the duration of the PGWP is usually the same as the duration of the study program.
Can an international student work while studying in Canada?
Yes, an international full-time student is allowed to work for 20 hours per week; however, check what your study permit states before working. If the student takes any breaks, they can work up to 40 hours during those times. Also, check if the study permit meets the conditions to work on-campus or off-campus.
An international student can work only if the study permit states so and at the moment they start their studies. It is not possible to work before starting officially to study in your post-secondary institution.
For more information, please go to the post-graduate work permit section on the Canadian government website.