Typically, international students need a study permit to enroll in schools or universities in Canada. However, some situations allow foreign nationals to study without a permit. If you’re considering a Canadian education, here are things you should know about study permits in the country.
When Do You Need a Study Permit?
If you’re attending an in-person program in a Canadian school, you would typically need a study permit. Students in distance learning need not apply for a study permit. However, enrolling in a distance learning program won’t qualify you for a post-graduation work permit program (PGWP) or similar benefits. Consult an immigration agency to learn more about your specific situation.
Furthermore, Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations or IRPR do not require study permits for specific groups. For instance, the private staff and family members of foreign representatives are exempt from applying for a permit. Global Affairs Canada helps IRPR determine which applicants qualify for this exemption.
Members of the armed forces in Canada under the Visiting Forces Act are also exempt from applying for a permit. However, their family members might still need one. Registered Indians and people studying for less than six months need not apply for a permit as well.
The entire program should last for half a year at most—you cannot take a degree program in smaller parts to fit into six-month periods.
Do Minor Children Need a Study Permit?
Most minor children do not need a permit to study in Canada. The government defines a minor child as someone who has not reached the age of majority, which varies depending on location:
- 18 years old – Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island
- 19 years old – British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
Minor children of parents unauthorized to work or study in Canada (for example, tourists) are not eligible to study in the country without a permit. They need to apply for one if they want to enroll in a Canadian basic education institution. Meanwhile, the following minor children are exempt:
- Children of permanent residents or citizens of Canda
- Refugees or refugee claimants, whether with their parents or not
- Children with at least one parent with a valid Canadian study permit
- Children attending junior and senior kindergarten
- Children without status
How to Apply for a Study Permit for a Minor Child
You need to apply for a study permit outside Canada, from the country of your last permanent residence. Sometimes, immigration officers refuse applications within the country, though paragraph 215(1)(f)(i) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations allows in-country applications. Consult an immigration advisor to clarify whether or not you need a study permit for your minor child.
Can I Apply for a Permit Even if I Don’t Need To?
If your studies are for less than six months, you can still apply for a study permit. A permit offers plenty of benefits. For example, students with valid study permits can work on-campus. You could also apply for another permit from inside Canada if you already hold a valid one.
Keep in mind that working off-campus is only available to permit holders whose programs will take longer than six months to complete. Also, immigration officers can only issue study permits for people enrolling at a Designated Learning Institution.
Canada is famous for high-quality education, and many young people seek out study permits to enroll in schools in the country. Don’t gamble on your future—contact an immigration expert before you apply so you can secure the best possible outcome. At Bright Immigration, we can help light up your future today!
If you’re looking for professional help from a trusted firm, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-404-8472.