Long-term Study permit, also known as regular study permit, is a document issued by Immigration Canada that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLI) for a long-term (over six months) in Canada. Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. Make sure you have all the documents you need before you apply. You should apply before you travel to Canada.

Your study permit is not a visa. It doesn’t let you enter Canada. You may also need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). If we approve your study permit, we’ll issue one to you with your study permit.


How long can you stay in Canada with a long-term study permit?

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


Who can apply

  1. You can study in Canada if you:
  • are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • prove 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 get a police certificate (if required)
    • are in good health and get a medical exam (if required)
    • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires
  1. Your responsibilities

While studying in Canada you must:

    • make progress towards completing your program
    • respect any conditions listed on your study permit
    • stop studying if you no longer meet the requirements and
    • leave Canada when your permit expires

Depending on your case, there may be conditions on your study permit such as:

    • if you’re allowed to work in Canada
    • if you’re allowed to travel within Canada
    • the date you must stop studying


How to apply

Generally, you must apply for a long-term 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 online from outside Canada

  • Step 1: Make sure you have what you need
  • Step 2: Read the instruction guide
  • Step 3: Prepare your answers for the online tool
  • Step 4: Know the fees you have to pay
  • Step 5: Create your online account or sign in


Document Checklist


After apply

Once the online application is completed, you are going to give your biometrics information to Immigration of Canada. It includes your fingerprints and photo. You must give biometrics at a designated Visa Application Center where located in your own country.

If your application is approved, a letter of introduction will be sent to you. You need to show it to an officer when you arrive in Canada and your study permit will be issued to you at port of entry. At the same time, Immigration of Canada will also send you an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) to enter Canada.


Arriving in Canada

When you arrive in Canada, you’ll meet a border services officer. The officer will:

  • ask to see your passport or travel documents
  • ask you a few questions and
  • make sure you meet the requirements to enter Canada
  • You may have prove that you’ll leave Canada at the end of your stay.

When you meet the border services officer, you may have to show them:

  • a valid passport or travel document
  • the letter of introduction the visa office sent you when they approved your study permit
  • a copy of a valid letter of acceptance from your school
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Canada
  • either a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or visitor visa (temporary resident visa)


Frequently asked questions about study permit application

When apply to a long-term study permit, there are two common refusal reasons, namely Immigrant Intent and Insufficient Funds. Therefore, the application materials must be targeted in these two aspects:

How to reduce immigration tendency

  • The rationality of the study plan. Logic of your academic background, which means, you should apply for undergraduate program in Canada after graduating from a college in your country or apply for graduate school in Canada after finished undergraduate program or apply for PhD after achieved master’s degree in your country. Try to avoid going backward in your academic plan, which means, applicant who has post-secondary education background applying for a lower-level education in Canada, such as a bachelor graduate applies for a college in Canada.
  • According to the data published by the Canadian Embassy in previous years and our experience, the higher degree applicants hold, the greater opportunity to pass. Canada highly welcomes educated talents.
  • Secondly, the degree applicant applies for must be in his/her age group, otherwise it will be difficult to convince the visa officer.
  • Students who start school in September will have restrictions on the number of issuances by the Embassy. This can be demonstrated by the previous visa experience over the years. When the application time is getting closer to September, the more likely it will be refused because of the limit on numbers. So, prepare and submit the application as early as possible is always the right thing to do.
  • If the situation of reversal academic does apply to you, we recommend applicant go to licensed experienced institution in Canada for planning and assistance in application.


  • The guarantee deposit must provide a 12-month deposit history, and each fund must have a detailed source description.
  • The funder’s work income information must be detailed and reasonable.
  • We strongly recommend that you prepare the funds beforehand.

When do you start preparing to apply?

The submission of the application for the study permit should be made after the receiving admission letter and the medical examination result, but the preparation of the materials normally needs to be 6-10 months in advance. If you need to take IELTS, many applicants start the preparation two years before going abroad. Taking the admission of September 2019 as an example, the ideal timeline is:

  • January-September 2018: Prepare for IELTS. If there is deposit in the bank is not enough, you can start depositing money at this time.
  • October-December 2018: Get an IELTS score and apply for schools
  • January-March 2019: Obtain a school admission letter and submit the study permit application
  • April-August 2019: If refused, you will receive a refusal letter from the Embassy. The letter will clarify the reasons for your refusal (insufficient funds, immigration tendencies, etc.). Therefore, during this time period, applicant can make remedial measures and re-apply based on the reasons for the refusal.
  • September 2019: Admission

How long can you get the result after the application?

The Canadian Visa Application Center officially shows that the study permit processing time will be 8 weeks. If you are in the off-season of the visa, it usually takes only one to two months. However, the processing time will be extended when these situations occur:

  • Peak period of study permit application (May-July)
  • Requirement of medical examination / re-examination
  • Embassy investigation, supplementary documents, embassy interviews (rarely), etc.

In the above cases, the processing time will be delayed for about two months. In order to avoid delays of the admission, we recommend applicants plan and apply in advance, and prepare all materials at the same time.

What is the Designated Learning Institution (DLI)?

  • Since June 1, 2014, only the students who enrolled in the Canadian Immigration Office (DLI)will be granted a study permit and can work part-time during the full-time courses.
  • Applicants do not need to be enrolled in the Canadian Immigration Office (DLI)for projects within 6 months, but admission letter from the Canadian Immigration Office (DLI) is required for applying study permit.
  • All primary and secondary schools are default Canadian Immigration Office (DLI). All schoolsin Quebec that have a Quebec Acceptance Letter (CAQ) are default Canadian Immigration Office (DLI) . Other situations can only refer to the list of Canadian Immigration Offices (DLI) on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.


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