Immigrating to Canada for academic purposes is a valid way to secure PhD programs and other university courses unavailable in an international student’s home country. However, students who intend to go to Canada for these opportunities must secure a student permit before finalizing their immigration papers.
What is a Canadian student permit?
Foreign nationals who have the opportunity to study in Canada need to have a study permit throughout their stay for the program if it exceeds 6 months. However, short-term courses or residency programs end earlier than half a year, such as training seminars, one-week crash courses, or English as a Second Language (ESL courses), are exempt from this requirement and won’t require a study permit application. However, you may still need to file for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).
Typically, applicants who need a student permit are those applying for a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or a PhD program at a Canadian university. However, this also applies to applicants who are studying at an elementary or secondary school level.
How is a study permit different from a visa?
A study permit explicitly states that its purpose is for entering Canada for academic purposes. On the other hand, a Visa is to enter Canada, mainly for tourism or visitation purposes. If a student comes from a non-visa-exempt country, they will only need to apply for a study permit.
After getting approval, the immigration authorities will then issue a TRV. Keep in mind that a study permit doesn’t allow re-entry since it should only last until the academic program’s duration. However, its effect may lose validity if you lose the ability to actively continue your studies, either by the school’s prerogative or your own.
Thankfully, you can apply for a new study permit if you have issues completing your academic duties at the set date of your study permit’s expiration. This is a helpful feature to account for personal and educational obstacles you may experience during your stay in the program.
Who is eligible to apply for a study permit?
Besides foreign nationals who already received an invite or sponsorship from a Canadian school, other groups of people can also apply for a student permit. This is usually necessary for individuals who want to explore academic opportunities even though they aren’t official Canadian citizens. Listed below are several categories of people who can apply for a study permit after already crossing through Canada’s borders:
- Holders of a TRP that’s valid for 6 months or more
- Minors who want to study at Canadian preschools or primary and secondary schools
- People who have completed prerequisite courses in Canada and wish to continue their schooling with a longer program
- Individuals currently residing in Canada and are applicants for permanent residency as a common-law partner or spouse
- Individuals with approved refugee protection and are currently applicants for permanent residency
- Individuals applying for permanent residency under Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) considerations; this classification also applies to their family members
Finding academic opportunities far from your homeland can be challenging since you’re travelling to another country, and it is just one of your problems. Adjusting to new time zone climates, understanding commute routes, and learning the local language can be a considerable obstacle to your academic pursuits. Thankfully, consulting with a Canadian immigration agency can help you beyond your paperwork. They can give you important insights into what life in Canada will be like and how you can prepare yourself for it.
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