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Before proceeding with any application or travel to Canada, you should always check the current entry requirements related to COVID-19, which are continuously evolving and may affect your circumstances.

I am an international student and I am studying at a college in Toronto. I finished my first year of college, and I would like to transfer to another college which has a program which sounds like a better fit for me. My study permit was issued for a period of three years, and I would like to know if I have to apply to change the terms of my study permit prior to September, when I will switch schools.

As you probably already know, you must study at a Designated Learning Institute (DLI) to maintain a valid study permit. As long as you continue to study at the same level (college) at another DLI, you do not need to apply for a new study permit. However, you should notify Immigration by updating your status online with the new DLI name. To do this, please visit: 


If your studies will take longer than three years, you can apply for an extension prior to the expiry of your current study permit.


I came to Canada as an international student and I was planning to graduate this June. However, I have just received notification that I am missing one credit but I cannot take it this summer as I have to return to China. My study permit is valid until December, and I would like to take this one credit in fall semester so I can graduate in December. As I will be only a part-time student, I would like to know if there is any issue with my study permit and whether I can work off campus during this period. 

There will be no issue with your study permit, as you will be continuously enrolled in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and progressing toward your studies. With respect to your ability to work off campus, usually you must be registered as a full-time student in order to work legally, however there is a special exemption for students who are in your exact situation. If you are studying part-time in your final semester to complete the requirements for your diploma or degree, you may work off campus.  Remember, you may only work 20 hours per week while you are studying, even if it is only one course.


I am currently in Canada on a work permit and I would like to take some courses during the evenings. As these courses would eventually lead to a post-graduate college diploma, I believe I would require a study permit. However, as the studies will be part-time, I am not sure I am eligible for a study permit. Could I get a study permit?

You require a study permit if you will be engaging in studies for longer than a six-month period and you do not meet one of the exceptions. As you have indicated you will be pursuing a diploma, you will require a study permit and you should apply for and obtain one prior to commencing studies. It does not matter that you plan to study part-time – you must obtain a study permit, and meet the requirements, including obtaining an offer of admission from a designated learning institution and proving sufficient funds to pay for your studies. You should obtain proper legal advice if you have further questions.


I have a study permit which will expire on December 31, 2018. I completed my college diploma in August 2018 after finishing summer courses, and I am planning on doing a post-graduate diploma commencing in January 2019. The program I am applying for is difficult to get into, so I do not have an offer of admission yet. Can I apply to extend my study permit or do I have to apply for a new one?

Even though the expiry date is December 31, 2018, your study permit will actually expire 90 days after the completion of your studies, which means it will expire some time in November 2018. If it has expired, you cannot apply for an extension and must instead apply for a new study permit outside of Canada. You should therefore apply for an extension as soon as possible, assuming you can obtain an offer of admission. You should obtain proper legal advice to make sure there are no other issues. 


My friend will be visiting Canada with her 16 year old daughter in the summer and staying with our family. Her daughter would like to go to summer school to take a course with my daughter and we would like to know if she requires a study permit. 

Generally, children intending to study in Canada require a study permit unless they are already in Canada accompanying a parent who has a work permit or study permit themselves. However, there is an exemption from the requirement to obtain a study permit if the course of study is less than six months. If her intention is to continue studying in Canada, it would likely be better to apply for a study permit upfront, but if she is only staying for the summer, then she can study without a permit.


I am in Canada on a study permit but I was given an authorized leave from my university because of a death in my family. I have now returned to Canada and will resume studies in September and would like to work over the summer. Am I still permitted to work off campus?

A person who has been provided an authorized leave from studies must wait until resuming studies in order to begin working again. You should also note that authorized leave may only be up to 150 days, so make sure you re-commence studies within that time frame. Perhaps you could resume studies during the summer session. You should obtain proper legal advice to ensure you do not encounter future issues.


I am currently in Canada on a study permit and have been admitted to a three-year program at a public college in Toronto, commencing in September. I recently learned that my program has the option of being accelerated so that I can finish the program in less than two years, provided I study throughout the summer sessions. My question is how long will my post-graduation work permit be granted for? As I will be studying less than two years, I am afraid I will get a shorter work permit.

Assuming you meet the criteria for a post-graduation work permit, you will receive a three-year work permit. As you know, post-graduation work permits are granted according to the length of studies, provided the applicant has graduated from a qualifying post-secondary program at a Designated Learning Institute longer than eight months. Any program exceeding two years is eligible for a three-year work permit, and programs under two years will result in a work permit issued for the actual length of the program. According to IRCC, if you complete your program on an accelerated basis, you will obtain a post-graduation work permit for the normal period of the program. As your program of study is three years, you will be entitled to a three-year work permit, even if you complete the program on an accelerated basis. Of course, always stay up to date on changes to the regulations and policies and obtain proper legal advice to ensure you qualify at the time you are ready to apply.


My school has lost its status as a Designated Learning Institution. I have already completed a year of studies and I have one more year to go. Also, there is gossip that the school is about to close down. What should I do? 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has advised that if your school loses its status as a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), you may continue your program until graduation, as long as your study permit does not expire before then. If your study permit expires prior to that, you will need to switch to a DLI and extend your status on the basis of the new admission. If the school closes down, you will have 150 days to enrol in a proper DLI and notify IRCC of the change. As the situation sounds unstable, I recommend that you explore options to switch to a different school immediately. You may be able to transfer your credits and continue studying in a similar program. Unfortunately, many educational institutions are not well-funded or operated and this is the reason​ that students must conduct thorough research before choosing a DLI. You should speak to an immigration lawyer if you have any doubts or concerns.


My niece in China would like to apply for a study permit and we have heard that there is a faster stream for students from China. How can she apply?

The Student Direct Stream is available to international students who are legally resident in China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam. Qualifying students’ applications are processed on a priority basis in approximately 20 days. In order to qualify your niece must:

    • have an acceptance letter from a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI);
    • prove that she has paid the tuition fees for your first year of study;
    • live outside of Canada when she applies;
    • have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000;
    • have a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion if she plans to study in Quebec;
    • get a medical exam before you apply;
    • get a police certificate before you apply (if she is 18 or older);
    • submit her most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcript(s);
    • provide an IELTS result that shows a score of 6.0 or higher in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening) or a Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) score that is equal to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening).

Although this allows for more simplified and faster processing, your niece must still satisfy the officer that she meets the requirements to study in Canada, including sufficient funds, a genuine intention to study and willingness to comply with immigration law.