Studying in Canada

Studying in Canada

Immigration Information and Assistance at the IESC

Please visit the following website for information about available immigration-related services:

Notice about the Collection of Biometrics

Effective from September 4, 2013, citizens from designated countries are required to provide biometrics (photograph and finger print) each time they apply for a visa, study permit or work permit for Canada.  However, biometrics are not required if you are “already in Canada and are eligible to apply for a visitor (temporary resident) visa, study permit or work permit to an office in Canada.  (

Please visit the following website for more information:



Applying for Your Initial Study Permit

Who Needs a Study Permit?

“Generally, if you are not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada you must obtain a study permit in order to study in Canada.” (

“You do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada:

  • If you wish to study in a short-term course or program
    You do not need a study permit if you plan to take a course or program in Canada that lasts six months or less. You must complete the course or program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada.” (

Note: “Even if you do not need a study permit, it is a good idea to apply for a permit before you come to Canada. If you decide that you want to continue your studies in another program after you complete your short-term course or program, you must apply through a Canadian visa office outside Canada for a study permit if you do not already have one” (

Note: Only a full-time student with a valid study permit can work on campus:

Eligibility Criteria

“To be eligible to study in Canada

  • You must have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada.
  • You must prove 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.
  • You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • You must be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
  • You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.”

For more information about proof of funds see section 7.7 and Appendix 11 of the CIC Operational Manual OP 12 Students:  For a table that shows the minimum amounts you will need, see:

How Do I Apply for My Initial Study Permit?

Please click here for more information on the general application procedures.

To apply for your initial Study Permit, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for detailed instructions. The official CIC Guide 5269 for study permit applications made outside Canada can be found at:

Applications can be submitted to the Canadian visa office or Visa Application Center (VAC) responsible for your area. Consult the website of the relevant office regarding accepted methods of submitting applications, for example, mail, online, in person, by courier, etc. (

“If your application is approved, any original documents, including your passport if submitted with your application, will be returned to you with a letter of introduction confirming the approval. The letter of introduction is not a study permit. [...] When you arrive in Canada, you must show the letter of introduction and the temporary resident visa, if applicable, to an officer at the port of entry. [...] The officer at the port of entry will determine whether you may enter Canada and how long you may stay. You will be issued a study permit at this time.”

Note: If you are a citizen of the U.S.A., Greenland, or St. Pierre and Miquelon, you can apply for a study permit directly at a Canadian Port of Entry. (

“If you want to study in Canada you must meet the necessary requirements and you may require a temporary resident visa. A temporary resident visa is an official document issued by an officer that is placed in your passport to show that you have met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident. [...]

See Appendix A – Temporary Resident Visa Exemptions for more information on persons who are exempt from obtaining a temporary resident visa to visit Canada.

If you are applying for a study or work permit and require a temporary resident visa, it is not necessary to make a separate application or pay a separate fee; an officer will issue it at the same time as the documentation necessary for your entry to Canada as a student.”

“The TRV will be in your passport. The expiry date on this visa indicates the date by which you must enter Canada. You must enter Canada before your TRV expires. The TRV will also indicate if you can enter Canada only once (a single-entry visa) or if you can enter Canada multiple times (a multiple-entry visa).”

For more information, visit the Temporary Resident Visa page.

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“Minor children who are less than 17 years of age and come to Canada to study without a parent or legal guardian must be cared for by a responsible adult in Canada. This person is known as a custodian. A notarized custodianship declaration, such as the form Custodianship Declaration – Custodian for Minors Studying in Canada (IMM 5646) (PDF, 1 MB), must be completed by the parents or legal guardians in the country of origin and by the custodian in Canada.

Minor children between 17 years of age and the age of majority in the province or territory (18 or 19 years old) where they intend to study, may need a custodian at the discretion of an immigration officer.”


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Changing Program of Studies or Institutions Within Canada: International Students New to Western

Note: Applicants who studied at a secondary school (i.e., highschool) in Canada and will be attending Western, must apply to modify their study permit. Applicants must make sure they have a new Study Permit that allows them to study at a "post-secondary" institution.

For information on how to apply to modify your study permit, please see:

Post-secondary students

International students in post-secondary studies can transfer between programs of study and institutions without applying for a change to the conditions of their Study Permit:

  • “You may change your school, program and/or field of study without applying for a new study permit. You do not need to apply for a change to the condition of your study permit, either. You may continue to use your study permit as long as it is valid.
  • If you are changing your level of study (e.g., bachelor’s to master’s), you do not need to apply for a change to the condition of your study permit, either.”


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Extending Your Study Permit

Please click here for more information on CIC’s general application procedures.

All international students must have a valid Study Permit while studying at Western University (The University of Western Ontario), unless the duration of studies will be 6 months or less.

“Check your study permit expiry date, and make sure to apply before that date. Applications for renewal should be submitted at least 30 days before the current permit expires.” (

Students may wish to apply two to three months prior to the expiry date, having in mind the current processing times:

Note: Students who have an expired study permit should read CIC’s instructions for restoration of status:

Regarding Passports

 “The validity of your study permit cannot exceed the validity of your passport. Therefore, you should ensure that your passport will be valid for at least the same amount of time as your requested extension.”  (

If you need to obtain a new passport, you are recommended to begin this process 4 to 6 months before your passport expires.  For a list of all Embassies and Consulates in Canada click here.

Family members

Note: “Each member of your immediate family (spouse or common-law partner, dependent children) who wishes to remain longer, study or work in Canada must apply for permission to do so. If you all apply at the same time for an extension, each person has to submit a separate application form. All appropriate documentation and the required fee for each person must also be included.” (

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Restoration of Status – Expired Study Permit

If an applicant does not make an application to CIC for the renewal of their Study Permit and the Study Permit expires, the applicant will lose their status as a student in Canada.

“In some cases, you may apply to restore your status as a student within 90 days of losing it. You may only apply if you have continued to meet the requirements under which you were allowed to enter and stay in Canada and you have met all the conditions imposed on your permit.

After you apply to restore your status, you may stay in Canada until a decision is made on your application but you are not allowed to study until your status has been restored.

There is no guarantee that your application to restore your status will be accepted. On your application, you must provide full details of all the facts and circumstances that caused you to lose your status.

In addition to a fee for renewing your study permit, there is also a fee for restoring your status. The fee is required for each family member who has lost status. To find out about application fees, go to Pay my application fees.”

NOTE: The application for restoration does not guarantee restoration of student status.  It is therefore critical to apply for renewal of the Study Permit prior to the expiration date.  For more information, visit

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New Changes to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Procedures!
Effective December 15, 2012

With the global launch of CIC’s Electronic Applications (e-Apps) for Temporary Resident programs, applicants for Temporary Resident Visas, Visitor Extensions, Study Permits and Work Permits, whether they are in Canada or abroad, are now able to submit their applications electronically.  Through the e-Apps system, you will be able to pay online, submit your applications online and upload your supporting documents.  

Note:  The new e-Apps system is not mandatory.  There is still the option of submitting paper applications to a Case Processing Centre, Canadian Visa Office or a Visa Application Centre (VAC).  Applicants for permanent residence, permanent resident travel documents and temporary resident permits, are not eligible to apply online at this time.

Application Process

There are normally two options for submitting applications: A) online applications and B) paper applications.  To check the difference in processing times for these two options, please see the CIC website:  

A) Online
- All required documents can be uploaded and submitted online. Access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies is required for the online application. To complete the online payment, applicants will need a VISA, MasterCard or American Express credit card.

B) Paper
- Paper applications can be sent by mail to the designated address.

Using the E-Application System

STEP 1: Complete the Come to Canada Wizard questions.

Based on your answers, the Come to Canada Wizard will determine what you are eligible to apply for and if you are eligible to apply online.  If you are eligible to apply online, you will be provided a Personal Checklist Code (PCC) and a specific document checklist for the application.  If you are not eligible to apply using the online application, you will be directed to the paper-based forms. (

Note: If you are presently in Canada, you should select ‘Canada’ as your current country of residence. (Country of residence means “[t]he country a person is living in. A person’s country of residence may be different from their country or countries of citizenship.”

You can access the Come to Canada (C2C) Wizard at:

STEP 2: Read the CIC Instruction Guide

Carefully review the application instructions in the relevant CIC Instruction Guide.

Study Permit Extensions (Instruction Guide IMM 5552):

Temporary Resident Visas (Instruction Guide IMM 5256):

Work Permits for students (Instruction Guide IMM 5580):

Work Permits for spouses of international students (Instruction Guide IMM 5553):

STEP 3: Register and Login to your MyCIC account

If you are submitting an online application for the first time, you will need to register and login using the secure GCKey or Sign-in Partner, then enroll for a MyCIC account:

Note: If you are applying for an Off-Campus Work Permit, it is essential that you enter your Client Identification Number when you create your MyCIC account. You must provide your Client ID Number in order to be able to submit a request for an Eligibility Verification Number (EVN) for an Off-Campus Work Permit.

Your Client ID Number (also known as your UCI) “has four numbers, a hyphen and four more numbers. (Example: 0000-0000).” You can find this number on your study permit. (

STEP 4: Complete the e-App online, using your MyCIC account

Complete and upload the application forms and supporting documents to your MyCIC, according to the document checklist generated in Step 1 above.

Supporting documents must be scanned and then uploaded to your MyCIC account. For each required supporting document only one file can be uploaded. Multiple pages (e.g., several documents to prove financial support), can be scanned together, and saved and uploaded as one file.

NOTE:All documents must be provided in either English or French. If you have a document in another language, please provide a copy of the document in the original language with an English or French translation.” (

NOTE regarding Temporary Resident Visa applications

If you are applying for a Temporary Resident Visa, you will receive further communication from CIC once your application has been processed as to where and how to send your passport so that your visa can be issued. Applicants should “NOT send in their passport until CIC requests them to send it in.”(

STEP 5: Pay the application fee

“Once the application is complete, applicants will be required to provide their credit card information to pay the applicable fees to the Receiver General of Canada portal. Applicants will then be automatically directed back to their MyCIC account. Clients who are fee exempt, and can upload proof of why they are fee exempt (i.e. an explanation), will bypass the e-Payment step.”

STEP 6: Submit your application

Upon submission of your application, you will receive instant confirmation of receipt. You will then automatically receive an acknowledgement receipt generated by GCMS (Global Case Management System) which will contain your application number.

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Submitting Paper Applications

Information and application materials are available on the CIC website for the following permits and visas:

Study Permit extensions: 

New Study Permit applications:

Temporary Resident Visas (from within Canada):

Temporary Resident Visas (from outside of Canada):

Work Permits (including Off-Campus Work Permits, Post-Graduation Work Permits, Co-op Work Permits, and open Work Permits for spouses of international students):

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Checking Processing Times and the Status of your Application

Current processing times are available online at:

Applicants may check the status of their application by calling the Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Call Centre at the following toll-free telephone number: 1-888-242-2100. The Call Centre automated telephone service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and allows applicants to listen to pre-recorded information about Citizenship and Immigration programs, order an application kit, and check the status of an application. Call Centre agents are available to answer questions Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except for statutory holidays. (You must choose one of the first five recorded options before you can press “0” to speak to an agent.)

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For More Information and Assistance

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Getting Documents from Western

One of the required documents needed to apply for a Study Permit extension or Temporary Resident Visa is a letter from The University of Western Ontario stating that you are a registered student. This "Letter for Visa Purposes" (Official Western Letter) can be ordered by visiting Student Central (Office of the Registrar) on the main floor of the new Western Student Services (WSS) Building or by completing the Official Western Letter Request Form and faxing it to 519-850-2590. Alternatively, you may wish to complete the Official Western Letter Request Form on-line through your Student Center (click here for instructions).

The Letter for Visa Purposes will include the following information: Registration, Start and End Dates, Fees Paid, Full- or Part-Time Status, Faculty, Year Enrolled, and Program Length.

The Letter for Visa Purposes is available to Main Campus registered students only. Students at the affiliate colleges should visit the Office of the Registrar of their own affiliate college.

It normally takes a few days to receive the letter. There is also a fee for this letter.

Note to Graduate Students:

Graduate students may also be able to obtain this type of letter from their departments. Students can ask the Graduate Assistant in their department if this is possible and if so, they can ask about the procedure for obtaining the letter.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please see Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Help Centre for answers to frequently asked questions, including (

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Last Updated: September 30, 2013

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All information disclosed by students to IESC will be kept confidential. It will not be shared with family, university staff, course instructors, or others without written permission and will not become part of academic records.

The International and Exchange Student Centre is experienced in working with diverse populations.

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