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 firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for payment of your tuition fees.
NOTICE! 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. For example, if your application is processed in Dakar, please consult the document entitled Comprendre un refus (Understanding a refusal – in French) and attach a detailed letter of explanation (lettre explicative détaillée – in French). In all cases, be sure to submit a complete file along with adequate proof of financial support.
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. Refer to the document entitled Comprendre un refus (Understanding a refusal – in French).
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.