Canadian Visa

Content from TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools)

Canadian Visas and Study Permits for International Students

For complete information and online application forms, visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada (en français). Canadian visa offices (en français) are located worldwide.

All international students will need a Study Permit (en français) from the Canadian federal government. International students in the province of Québec will also need a Certificate of Acceptance (en français) from Québec Immigration. In addition, most international students will need a visa.

1. Choose a Canadian boarding school

Before you can apply for the required Study Permit, you must be accepted at a Canadian school. Apply for admission at least six months in advance (some schools require even earlier applications). Contact the school(s) where you want to study to learn how to apply (see school list by province). They will send you application forms and tell you about the cost of applying, the cost of enrolling, health insurance, and required testing. Fill out the application forms for each school that interests you and submit them according to the instructions and before the deadline. If a school admits you as a student, they will send you a letter of acceptance. You will need that letter of acceptance in order to apply for a Study Permit.

2. You will need a Study Permit (and a Certificate of Acceptance in Québec Province)

You will need a Study Permit (en français) before you enter Canada; you can apply online (en français) or at your nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate. There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, you do not need a Study Permit if you are enrolling in a short-term program of six months or less. However, if you think you might study for more than six months, it is a good idea to obtain a Study Permit before you arrive.

An application for a Study Permit requires a letter of acceptance, proof of identity (such as a passport), and proof of financial support (en français)—documentation of a bank account, a loan from a financial institution, a bank draft, receipt of payment of tuition and fees from Canadian school, or a letter from a financial sponsor.

Students applying to schools in the Province of Québec will also need a Certificate of Acceptance (en français) (CAQ) from Québec Immigration (en français) in addition to the Study Permit from the Canadian federal government. Please allow another month of processing time in your application schedule for obtaining a CAQ.

3. Most students will also need a visa (in addition to your passport)

Citizens of most countries (en français) will also need a temporary visa to enter Canada, in addition to your passport from your home country. A list of countries exempted from the visa requirement can be found here (en français). A student can apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (en français) online (en français) or at a nearby Canadian Embassy or Consulate.

4. Students from many countries will also need a medical examination.

Students from many countries (en français), particularly those in the tropics, will also need a medical examination (en français) if they plan to stay in Canada longer than six months. In addition, any student who has lived in one of these countries for six or more consecutive months in the year prior to the date they wish to enter Canada will need a medical examination (en français).