All international students (with the exception of those in programs that last less than 6 months) must obtain a study permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in order to study in Canada. You should begin this procedure as soon as you receive your letter of approval for your CAQ (the original is not required).
- Submit your application online using the GCKey service (recommended).
- Mail a printed application or submit it to the visa application centre (VAC) for your region in person.
- Pay the processing fees ($150).
- Collect all of the required documents and keep a printed or digital copy of your file. If you submit an application through the Student Direct Stream, contact email@example.com to arrange for payment of your tuition fees.
IMPORTANT! Depending on your country of origin, there may be additional requirements for obtaining a study permit. Consult the application package for instructions pertaining to your Canadian Visa Office. It is important to understand that the refusal rate for study permits is extremely high for certain countries. Attach a detailed letter of explanation and be sure to submit a complete file along with adequate proof of financial support. Please refer to our document Understanding a refusal for a sample explanation letter that can be used when first applying for a study permit and for advice in the case your application is denied.
Paying tuition fees before arriving | Student Direct Stream (SDS) program
If you are a resident of China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam, you may be able to obtain a study permit more quickly through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program. You must meet certain requirements, including having paid your tuition fees for your first year of study. IRCC may also require other students to pay tuition fees.
To do so, you must send an international transfer (ÉTS bank contact information). Allow for a delay of up to 2 weeks for ÉTS to receive the payment. If this deadline has passed, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and attach proof of payment and your permanent code. You can produce a receipt for your transaction yourself via the MonÉTS portal, under Mes documents (My documents). Any amount that is sent will be credited toward the payment of subsequent sessions. If you change your study plans, you can request reimbursement to the issuing account. If you have any other questions concerning payment, please contact email@example.com.
Check processing times online (processing times vary widely from country to country). If the indicated processing times are exceeded, you can submit a request using the IRCC Webform. If you still do not receive a response, you can contact IRCC from outside of Canada by calling 613-944-4000. You will first have to select your preferred language, and then select the Immigration, citizenship and visas for Canada option. Please note that this is not a toll-free number, and patience will be required.
If your application is refused, you must begin the process again, with additional supporting documents. Read our document about understanding a refusal, which includes a sample explanation letter, and be sure to submit a complete file along with adequate proof of financial support.
If your application for a study permit is approved, you will receive a letter of introduction from your embassy. Keep this document safe and present it to the Border Services Officer when you arrive in Canada.