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Why Choosing Canada as destination for study?

Choose to study in Canada, and you’ll have the opportunity to encounter vastly different cultural and natural experiences – from the ski slopes of British Columbia to the prairie province of Manitoba, with cities such as Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Quebec famously friendly, tolerant and multicultural.

Occupying the northern half of the North American continent, Canada is known for its natural beauty – few nations in the world can boast anything close to its wealth of forests, lakes and mountains – and for its multicultural diversity. The country has official bilingual status, with English and French used concurrently in government and official documents.

benefits to studying in Canada

While studying in Canada, international students in Canada may also:

  • work for up to 20 hours per week while in school, and on a full-time basis during school breaks;
  • obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit for the equivalent duration of the studies once the program is successfully completed, allowing students to remain in Canada for many years before becoming a permanent resident;
  • bring an accompanying spouse or common-law partner to Canada on an open full-time work permit, allowing him or her to work for any employer;
  • bring accompanying minor children to study in Canada at the same rate that Canadians pay; and
  •  become eligible for Canadian permanent residence, either through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), through Quebec’s immigration system, or through the Express Entry immigration selection system.

Education System in Canada

Canada claims one of the highest rates of post-secondary education completion in the world. More than half (53%) of Canadians between 25 and 64 years of age have completed some form of post-secondary education; the OECD average, by comparison, is 32%. Post-secondary institutions are located throughout the country; there are just under 100 universities and 127 colleges in Canada.

In Canada, the provinces and territories are responsible for all levels of education including colleges and universities.

In addition to post-secondary options, Canada offers a wide range of independent private boarding schools for younger students noted for their excellence in preparing young people for university and college placement.


Canadian universities offer high-quality education and are very well respected around the world. A degree from a Canadian university holds substantial prestige, thus making Canada a primary target for many international students.

University degrees are offered at three successive levels – bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. Bachelor’s degrees normally require three or four years of full-time study, depending on the province. An honours bachelor’s degree involves a higher degree of concentration in the major subject, as well as a higher level of academic achievement, and in some cases, an additional year of study. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study after completion of either a general or an honours baccalaureate program.

Virtually all Canadian universities are public institutions, which is the main difference between Canadian and American universities.


Canada’s colleges and institutes are increasingly relevant education institutions. Their education model involves experienced professionals and educators working in partnership with local businesses, communities, and industries. Colleges are designed to offer students the skills required for careers in a rapidly evolving job market.

Many colleges now offer undergraduate and post-graduate degree programmes as well as one- to three-year diplomas.

College programmes are generally more affordable than university prorgammes and more career-oriented.

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 in each province in order to be able to find the best educational institution for yourself. With 10 provinces and 3 territories to choose from, your study abroad experience in Canada can be as dynamic as the many universities, colleges and trade schools that exist in each one.

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, your application will be refused.

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 here.

Get your study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream

Do you live in China, India, the Philippines or Vietnam? You might be able to get your study permit faster by using the Student Direct Stream. As of April 30, 2019, you must apply online.



elementry/secondry school

post-secondary education


The study permit is a document that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLI) in Canada.

Your study permit is Not a visa. It alone doesn’t allow you to enter Canada. You may also need a temporary resident visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA).

You can study in Canada if you:

  • are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • show proof that you have enough money to pay for your tuition fees, living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and
    return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
  • obey the law, have no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • are in good health. You may need to complete a medical exam.
  • convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your studies.

Generally, you must apply for a study permit before you come to Canada. Some people can apply for a study permit from within Canada. In some cases, you can apply when you arrive in Canada at the port of entry. Make sure you understand which option is available to you.

  • Apply outside Canada

You can apply online or on paper.

  • Apply within Canada

You can only apply for a study permit within Canada if you’re:

  1. a minor child in primary or secondary school
  2. an exchange or visiting student
    a student who has completed a short-term course or study program, which is a condition for being accepted at a DLI
  3. someone who holds a temporary resident permit (TRP) valid for at least 6 months, or their family member
  4. a spouse or common-law partner (and their family members) being sponsored to immigrate, who are:
    in Canada, and
    have applied for permanent residence, if eligible
  5. a person with a study permit from a visa office abroad, and the permit was issued before you got to Canada, who wants to keep studying
  6. the family member of:
    athletes on a Canadian-based team
    media representatives
    members of the clergy, or
    military personnel assigned to Canada
  7. a family member or private staff member of a foreign representative who is properly accredited (90 days before or after you are no longer authorized to study without a study permit), or
  8. a foreign national or their family member with a valid study or work permit, who wants to stay in Canada longer to study

If you’re in Canada and none of the options above describe you, you need to consult with immigration consultant.

  • Apply at the port of entry

You can apply for a study permit when you enter Canada, if you’re a:

  • citizen of the U.S.
  • permanent resident of the U.S.
  • person who has lawfully been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence
  • resident of Greenland
  • resident of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

A study permit is usually valid for the length of your study program, plus an extra 90 days. This extra time lets you prepare to leave Canada or apply to extend your stay.

If you can’t finish your courses before the date on your permit, you must apply to extend your stay as a student.

If you finish your studies early, your permit will stop being valid 90 days after you complete your studies (no matter what day is printed on the study permit).


If you plan to leave Canada during a scheduled break (such as the summer, or winter holidays and spring break), you may need to show proof you are enrolled in your school when you return to Canada. If you came here on:

a visa, you also need to make sure it is still valid.
an electronic travel authorization (eTA), and you leave and return to Canada by air, you will need to make sure it is still valid

Short-term studies (six months or less)

You can study at any school in Canada without a study permit if:

  • your course or program is for six months or less
  • your studies aren’t part of a longer program and
  • you will complete all your studies within the time we approved you to stay in Canada (usually six months after you enter).
Family or staff of foreign representatives

You may not need a study permit if you are a family member or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Your embassy can contact GAC to find out if you need one.

Members of foreign armed forces

If you are a member of a foreign armed force in Canada on official duties, you don’t need a study permit. If your family members (including minor children), want to study in Canada, they may need one.
Registered Indians in Canada

You don’t need a study permit if you are a citizen of another country who has Registered Indian status in Canada.
Minor children in Canada

Minor children don’t need a study permit if they:

  • are in kindergarten
  • are refugees or refugee claimants
  • have parents who are refugees or refugee claimants or
  • want to go to pre-school, primary or secondary school, and are already in Canada with a parent who is allowed to work or study in Canada.

There are many ways to work in Canada while you complete your education:

  • On-campus work

“On campus” refers to all the buildings on your university or college campus.

If your school has more than one campus, you may only be allowed to work at the campus where you attend classes. Check with the school’s administration.
If you are working as a teaching or research assistant and your work relates to a research grant, you may be able to work at a library, hospital or research centre that is part of the college or university—even if they are not on the campus.

  • Off-campus work

Off campus” means the parts of your town or city that are not part of the university or college campus. When you are working off campus, you may be working:

As a co-op student
As an intern
Part-time with a private business or government department
Full-time with a private business or government department
Generally, international students can work up to 20 hours per week:

During regular school sessions or while you are studying as part of an intensive program with no planned breaks.
If your studies are part-time because you are finishing the last session of your program.
If you are a graduate student who has finished the required courses for your degree.

You can work full-time:

During official school breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break
After you finish your studies if you have applied for a non-student work permit

  • Co-op placements

A co-op placement or program involves working as part of your program of study. You may work on or off campus.

For example, you may be enrolled in a co-op degree program in environmental studies. This differs from the standard degree in environmental studies because it allows you to spend 3 or 4 months (or more) each year working in your field of study. It’s a great way to get hands-on professional experience in a Canadian work setting.

When you are part of a co-op program at a college or university, you can apply for a co-op work permit if:

  • You have a valid study permit
  • Working is integrated into your study program in Canada
  • You have a letter from your school that confirms all students in your program need to complete work placements to get their degree
  • Your co-op or internship is 50% or less of the total program of study.

You are NOT eligible for a co-op work permit if you are studying:

  • English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL)
  • General interest courses
  • Courses to prepare you for another study program

In the cases listed directly above, you need to get a valid work permit to work in Canada.

  • Internships

An internship provides you with on-the-job training. When you are an intern, someone in the workplace supervises you. By working as an intern, you gain knowledge and skills to help you succeed in a trade or profession.

The Canadian work permit you need for an internship is the same as the work permit for co-op students.

One of the major advantages of making the decision to study in Canada is that graduates have access to a Post-Graduation Work Permit on completion of their studies in Canada. Post-Graduation Work Permits allow certain individuals who have studied in Canada to stay and work under an open work permit for up to three years, allowing them to enter the Canadian workforce and gain valuable Canadian work experience that may help them to immigrate permanently.

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