Canadian Study Permit: Eight Things You Must Know
You’re finally approved! Congratulations. The Canadian Study Permit is a powerful document that not only allows you to attend a Canadian school but also opens doors to such things as work and living in Canada. With this document, however, comes responsibility. Meeting deadlines, following conditions, and knowing the rules is something every international student needs to be mindful of. Below are eight pointers to get you started!
Renew it on time!
A critical piece of information on your Canadian study permit is the expiry date. You’ll see it in the top right-hand corner of your permit. Just because you’ve been accepted into a four-year program, for example, doesn’t mean that your study permit will be open for that time. In many cases, you will have to renew your study permit. And pay attention! This can take a long time. Many international student advisors recommend you submit your files online 60 to 90 days before it expires.
One permit, two schools?
Lots of international students change their education plans after arriving in Canada to study. With this comes a common question, Can I use my study permit to study at another school? The answer, as with many in the immigration field, is it depends. For example, you first have to make sure the school you want to change to is a DLI. This means “designated learning institute”. A DLI means that the Canadian Government has approved the school for study permit applications. You also have to be sure there are no strict conditions highlighted on your permit. Have an immigration expert or qualified student advisor take a look if you are unsure.
Changed schools? Tell the IRCC!
If you changed your school in Canada, make sure you tell the IRCC (Canada’s Immigration Office). This is a relatively simple process. Just log into your online IRCC account and follow the steps outlined. Look for the key term on the website labelled “student transfer”. The process is clear, just find the DLI number for your new school. This can be found on the “DLI list”, also on the IRCC webpage.
Is my study permit a work permit too?
There is some confusion around this question. Some students can work with their study permit; others cannot. If you are a full-time post-secondary university and college students, you can probably work. Typically, work is allowed 20 hours per week during full-time study and 40 hours per week during breaks although there may be some exceptions, like International Experience Class Visas, ESL and high school students not allowed.
It’s for studying, not crossing borders.
Whenever you enter Canada, you will need to have all your documents ready. Your study permit is important to have, but the “TRV”, as many call it, is most important. The TRV or “Temporary Resident Visa” is a sticker inside your passport. This tells the Canadian immigration officer you are allowed to enter. Most students will need both a TRV and a Study Permit for their time in Canada.
Processing times often change for Study Permits
When applying and extending Canadian visas, it takes time. Your friend might get her Study Permit extended in three weeks, but your other friend might have to wait three months. IRCC does have some helpful tools to help you track and estimate the times, but these are only estimates. So remember, if you are making plans to travel on your summer break, for example, make sure you submit your application as early as possible. Cancelling your plans because you’re waiting for your Study Permit is no fun for anyone.
You are expected to keep it in your passport
As you may know, the study permit is a piece of paper stapled into your passport. Sometimes, when photocopying, students remove the permit. This may seem clear to most people, but I still see it again and again. The study permit ends up in the student’s desk drawer, separated from the passport. Then, when travelling outside of Canada, the study permit is forgotten. If you end up at the border crossing and tell the officer you are a student; the officer will probably ask to see your study permit. Not having your permit with you can be a real headache. It might cause problems for you at the border. So take note, always keep your study permit together with your passport.
You must be studying for it to stay valid
Sometimes life is full of unexpected changes. It can happen to anyone. Maybe you need to go home for a while to help your family, maybe your program is boring, and you want to change schools, or maybe you are just stressed out and need a break. Whatever your reasons are, you have to remember the conditions for an active study permit. Basically, if you stop studying for a longer period of time, or if you aren’t making progress through your program, you might be breaking the rules. You need to be enrolled, attending, and progressing through your program for your permit to be valid.
There you have it. Keep your study permit safe, don’t miss the deadlines, and do your best in school. With this in mind, you’ll be graduating before you know it!
Disclaimer: This blog has been written by a Licensed Canadian Immigration Consultant. However, the information is for general guidance only. Rules, regulations, deadlines, and other very important information may change. Also, individual cases may be different, and the information may not apply to your immigration status. Double-check with a qualified Canadian immigration expert and/or the IRCC website before making any immigration-related decisions you are unsure of.