Let’s prepare for getting your study permit

All information provided are directly from IRCC
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Prepare to study in Canada

1. Choosing a program and school

In Canada, each province and territory is in charge of their own education system.

Get more information about schools and the education system:

Primary and secondary schools

Schools that teach students up to the grade 12 level are known as primary and secondary schools. Primary usually means grades 1-8 and secondary usually means grades 9-12.

All primary and secondary schools in Canada can enrol international students.

There are special rules for minor children studying in Canada.

Post-secondary schools

Post-secondary schools are:

  • colleges
  • universities
  • private career colleges and
  • vocational and technical schools.

Each post-secondary school has its own set of rules on how to apply, including the level of English or French you need to be accepted.

Get more information on post-secondary schools:

Language schools

Many schools in Canada teach English or French as a second language. For more information about private language programs, contact Languages Canada.

Studying in French

There are many ways to study in French across Canada.

Designated learning institutions

Provinces and territories approve (or “designate”) schools that can enrol international students. These schools are known as designated learning institutions (DLI).

If you need a study permit, your acceptance letter must be from a DLI. If it isn’t, we will refuse your application.

All primary and secondary schools in Canada are DLIs. You can search a list of the post-secondary schools, such as colleges and universities, and language schools that have been designated.

2. How to apply to a school, college or university

Once you choose a school, college or university, you must apply to go there. Every school has different rules on how to apply.

Make sure you apply at least:

  • six months in advance if you want to study at a primary or secondary school,
  • a year in advance for a post-secondary program at a university, college, etc.

Contact the school where you want to study to learn how to apply. They will give you the list of all the documents you need to send them. Your school will be able to tell you about:

  • the cost to apply
  • tuition fees
  • health insurance
  • rent and how much it costs to live in Canada
  • language tests.

Fill out the application forms for the school or schools of your choice. Follow their instructions to submit them.

If the school admits you as a student, they will send you an acceptance letter. You need this letter to apply for a study permit.

Health insurance

The Government of Canada doesn’t pay for the medical costs of foreign students.

Health coverage for foreign students is different depending on where you live. Contact the school you are applying to for more information about health insurance.

3. Get the right documents

You need these documents to apply for a study permit:

Depending on your case you may also need:

Proof of acceptance

Your school must send you an acceptance letter. Include the original letter with your study permit application.

If you need to take some courses before you are accepted into your program (conditional acceptance), we will only issue your study permit for the length of those courses. Once you are accepted into the main program, you will need to apply to extend your stay as a student.

Proof of identity

You and each family member who comes with you to Canada must have:

  • a valid passport or travel document. It must allow you to return to the country that issued it. Citizens of the United States have some options on the identification documents they can carry.
  • two recent passport-size photos. The name and date of birth of the person should be written on the back of each photo.

Proof of financial support

You must prove that you can support yourself, and the family members who come with you, while you are in Canada.

You can prove your funds with:

  • proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if you have transferred money to Canada
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution
  • proof of a student/education loan from a bank
  • your bank statements for the past four months
  • a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
  • proof you paid tuition and housing fees
  • a letter from the person or school giving you money or
  • proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program.

Minimum funds needed to support yourself as a student (and family members who come with you):

Persons coming to CanadaAmount of funds required per year (additional to the tuition)Amount of funds required per month (additional to the tuition)
You (the student)$10,000$833
First family member$4,000$333
Every additional accompanying family member$3,000$255


If you and two family members want to come to a province outside Quebec for a year, you will need:

  • Tuition +$10,000 (for the student)
  • +$4,000 (for the first family member)
  • +$3,000 (for the second family member)
    Total: Tuition + $17,000
Persons coming to CanadaAmount of funds required per year (additional to the tuition)Amount of funds required per month (additional to the tuition)
You (the student)$11,000$917
First family member (18 years or older)$5,100$425
First family member (under the age of 18)$3,800$317
Every additional accompanying family member (18 years or older)$5,125$427
Every additional accompanying family member (under the age of 18)$1,903$159


If you and two family members (over the age of 18) want to come to Quebec for a year, you will need

  • Tuition +$11,000 (for the student)
  • +$5,100  (for the first family member)
  • +$5,125 (for the second family member)
    Total: Tuition + $21,225

If your country uses foreign-exchange controls, prove that you will be allowed to export funds for all of your expenses.

Letter of explanation

This letter helps the visa officer to understand you and your goals. It explains:

  • why you want to study in Canada, and
  • that you understand the responsibilities as a student.

You should include this letter if you decide to apply for a study permit even though you are exempt.

Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ)

If you will study in Quebec, you need a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) issued by the Québec government. Your school can give you all the details on how to apply for the CAQ.

If you got approved but are waiting to get the CAQ, you can apply for your study permit, with the approval letter from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI).

Find out about the process and the documents you need for studying in Quebec.

Custodian declaration (minor children)

If a minor requires a custodian in Canada, you must have the Custodian Declaration Form(PDF, 1.02MB) that has two pages that must be notarized (certified by a notary) and included with the study permit application:

  • the custodian in Canada must sign the first page and
  • the parents or legal guardians of the minor child in the child’s home country must sign the second page.

Other documents

Check the visa office instructions for your country or region for local requirements.

If you are not currently in your home country, you may have to prove your immigration status in the country you apply from.

If the government that issued your passport or travel document needs you to have a re-entry permit, you must get one before you apply for a Canadian visa. You may also need other documents.

Date modified: 2018-04-20 by IRCC
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
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