Can I apply for a study permit in Canada because my classes were postponed?

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Every year, Canada welcomes people from around the world that are looking to take advantage of Canada's great education. 

COVID-19 has caused some of those classes to be postponed and international students are wondering what effect this may have on their status in Canada. 

This situation can be particularly problematic for students that came to study on a short-term basis (6 months or less).

A further complication can be created with the lack of international or very expensive flights that are currently available. 

How long can I stay in Canada as a visitor?

Most visitors can stay for up to six months in Canada, from the date of entrance. 

If the study period is less than six months, a study permit may not be required.

When can I study in Canada without a study permit?

You can study in Canada without a study permit if:

  • your course or program lasts 6 months or less
  • your studies aren’t part of a longer program and
  • you’ll complete all your studies within the time you were approved to stay in Canada (usually 6 months after you enter)

For example, if a course has a duration of 12 months but you are only planning on studying for 6 months, you would need a study permit because the studies are part of a study program that is longer than 6 months.

Other exceptions of when you can study in Canada without a study permit:

  • Family or staff of foreign representatives
  • Members of foreign armed forces
  • Registered Indians in Canada
  • Minor children in Canada
    • if they’re in kindergarten
    • if they’re refugees or refugee claimants
    • if their parents are refugees or refugee claimants or
    • if they’re in pre-school, primary or secondary school, and they’re already in Canada with a parent who has a work or study permit. 

If a visitor does not need a study permit, he or she may receive an SX-1 visa or a visitor visa that is exempt from requiring a study permit.

If I came to Canada on an SX-1 Visa, can I apply for a study permit from within Canada?

It depends. Only some people can apply for a study permit when they're already in Canada. You may need to apply for a study permit as though you're outside of Canada.

Only the following people can apply for a study permit from inside Canada:

You can apply for a study permit from inside Canada if you’re currently in Canada and one of these applies:

  • you have a valid study or work permit;
  • your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a valid study or work permit;
  • you’re a minor child in primary or secondary school;
  • You’re an exchange student or visiting student;
  • you completed a short-term course or study program required to be accepted at a Designated Learning Institution;
  • you or your spouse, common-law partner or dependent child has a temporary resident permit (TRP) valid for 6 months or more;
  • you’re being sponsored to immigrate and you already applied for permanent residence (if you’re eligible);
  • you or your spouse, common-law partner or dependent child are subject to an unenforceable removal order;
  • you’re the spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of:
    • an athlete on a team based in Canada
    • a member of the media
    • a member of the clergy
    • military personnel on duty in Canada or
    • an accredited foreign representative

What do I need to extend my status as a visitor of Canada?

Your application to extend your status as a visitor in Canada should include:

  • Full details of why you want to stay longer;
  • Proof of identity;
  • Proof of current status in Canada;
  • Evidence of how you will support yourself or be supported in Canada and how you will pay for transportation to leave Canada. For example:
    • Guarantor’s letter;
    • Bank statement indicating name of account holder and account number; or
    • Details of how you intend to leave Canada including the date, time and type of transportation.

TIP: Even though you may not NEED a study permit, you can still apply for one and it may even be beneficial in certain circumstances.

Why get a study permit if you don't need one?

There are 2 reasons you may want to get a study permit even if you don’t need one:

  • You may be able to continue studying (as long as you meet the requirements).
  • You may be able to work on-campus or off-campus.

Examples of this are:

Continue Studying

  • If you’re studying for less than 6 months, but are looking to study in a longer program or
  • If you already have a study permit and your study situation changes (for example, you want to study for more than 6 months or apply to a longer study program) you can continue studying in Canada while your permit is valid. If you need to extend your permit, or it expires while we process your application for an extension, you’ll also be able to continue studying because you have implied status.
    • However, if you don’t have a study permit already, you would need to stop studying or wait until you get a study permit to start or continue your studies.
  • if you’re taking prerequisite classes required for a longer study program. You may not need a study permit for your prerequisite classes, but you may need one for your full study program.
    • In this case, you should get a study permit even though you don’t need one right away. If you don't, you may not be able to start your longer study program, depending on whether or not your study permit is processed in time.
  • if you’re the child of a parent who’s authorized to work or study in Canada, but you will soon turn 18 (and will no longer be a minor).

Work on-campus or off-campus while you are studying

  • if you have a study permit and you’re registered as a full-time student at a DLI, you may be able to work on-campus or off-campus. If so, your study permit will include a condition that says you’re allowed to work while studying.
  • If you don’t have a study permit, you can’t work while you’re studying in Canada. In this case, you need to apply for a work permit.

If you apply for a study permit even though you don’t need one, you should include a letter explaining why you want one with your application.

How can we help? 

If you have any questions or need tailored advice for your specific situation, schedule a call


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