Applying for a Study Permit

29th Nov 2018 Comments Off on Applying for a Study Permit

Last updated on July 30th, 2021

Generally, to be eligible for a study permit, a potential student must:

  • present a letter of acceptance from the educational institution where she intends to study. This school must be a Designated Learning Institution;
  • be able to both pay the tuition fees of the program as well as be able to financially support themselves and any accompanying financial members. Depending on the person’s country of origin, they may be required to take out a GIC with a designated Canadian bank;
  • be able to cover the cost of transportation to and from Canada;
  • pass any medical examinations;
  • possibly show proof of health insurance;
  • demonstrate that they are a bona fide student and that they will leave Canada at the end of the period authorized by their stay. .

Not every student needs a study permit. Exempt students include:

  • persons seeking to study for a short-term program (unless they wish to work on campus).
  • minor students in Canada.

Approval Rates

The following chart obtained through an Access to Information request shows the CIC approval rate for study permit applications based on certain countries of origin from 2009 – 2013.

Another ATI shows the breakdown of approvals for India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam broken down by level of study, gender, age, and whether the person applied online or in person.

A more recent ATI request shows the monthly 2019-2020 (Oct) approval statistics based on country and proposed program of study.

Finally, here is the breakdown of approvals for 2016 –

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The Reasonableness of a Proposed Program of Study

29th Sep 2018 Comments Off on The Reasonableness of a Proposed Program of Study

Last updated on June 20th, 2021

One of the more common reasons for a study permit application to be refused is because a visa officer determines that an applicant’s proposed program of study in Canada is unreasonable given the applicant’s background.  The wording of such refusals varies, but it typically includes statements about how an individual could study in a similar program for a cheaper cost in their country of residence, or that there is no logical academic progression given their previous studies.

The following is an example of such a refusal.

The Law

Visa officers have the authority to determine whether a study permit applicant’s proposed program of study is reasonable.  It is reasonable for an officer to find that an intended program does not accord with an applicant’s previous academic history.  Officers can also question applicants who are abruptly changing career paths.

However, the decisions of visa officers must demonstrate that all evidence of applicants was considered. Where they do not, the decisions will be unreasonable.

For example, in Taiwo v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), Justice Shore stated that:

The Officer should not have doubted the Applicant’s explanations regarding his change of career path. The Applicant first studied in Sociology from 1995 to 2000, even though from 2004 to 2012, he has been employed as a Financial Officer and a Financial Manager. In 2012, the Applicant became the Financial Director at Tropical Spectrum BDC Ltd., a family owned business by the Applicant himself, in which he owns the majority of the shares of the company. The business is currently still running, recognizing that it is the Applicant’s wife, as stated in her sworn affidavit of financial support that she will take care of the company during the absence of her husband.

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Studying without a Study Permit

7th Sep 2016 Comments Off on Studying without a Study Permit

Last updated on March 27th, 2021

Foreign nationals are required to obtain a study permit for engaging in academic, professional, vocational or other education or training that is more than six months in duration at a designated learning institution (“DLI“) in Canada.

So what does this mean, and who doesn’t need a study permit?

The  Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act“) provides that every minor child in Canada, other than a child of a temporary resident not authorized to work or study, is authorized to study at the pre-school, primary or secondary level.

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) further provide that a foreign national does not need a study permit to study in the following circumstances:

(a) if they are a family member or a member of the private staff of a foreign representative who is properly accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and who is in Canada to carry out official duties as a diplomatic agent, consular officer, representative or official of a country other than Canada, of the United Nations or any of its agencies or of any international organization of which Canada is a member;

(b) as a member of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act, including a person who has been designated as a civilian component of those armed forces;

(c) if the duration of their course or program of studies is six months or less and will be completed within the period for their stay authorized upon entry into Canada; or

(d) if they are an Indian.

Short-Term Courses 

There is alot of confusion regarding whether people can complete short-term courses in Canada without a study permit.  

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Study Permit Regulations to be Overhauled June 1, 2014

21st Feb 2014 Comments Off on Study Permit Regulations to be Overhauled June 1, 2014

On February 12, 2014, the Government of Canada stated that it had made regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”) which will take affect on June 1, 2014.  The changes will alter Canada’s international student landscape.

The new rules are being introduced because the Government of Canada has been concerned that some educational institutions have been taking advantage of international students.  (One of my biggest annoyances is meeting with international students who state that their private post-secondary schools misled them into thinking that they would be eligible for post-graduate work permits.)   The government has even suspected some educational institutes are little more than  “visa mills” whose primary purpose is to get students work permits.  As well, there has been an increasing tendency of internationals students using study permits as a means to enter Canada for purposes other than study, including employment, and, allegedly, criminal purposes. Canada’s reputable post-secondary institutions, which have to compete for the best and brightest international students, have been unamused with how some of the unscrupulous behaviour has impacted their ability to market.

The changes are:

Current regulations
New regulations, as of June 1, 2014

Applicants must show that they intend to pursue studies in Canada when applying for a study permit.
Applicants must enrol in and actively pursue their course of studies in Canada.  The failure of a study permit holder to do so could lead to removal from Canada. The Government of Canada has amended IRPR s. 228 so that inadmissibility reports based on international students not actively pursuing studies in Canada do not require a referral to the Immigration and Refugee Board.  Instead, an officer can directly issue an Exclusion Order.  There are several exceptions to this removal possibility, including study permit holders who possess study permits because they are the family members of foreign workers,  » Read more about: Study Permit Regulations to be Overhauled June 1, 2014  »

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Environmental Overview – Nairobi

9th Aug 2013 Comments Off on Environmental Overview – Nairobi

The following is a summary of the Environmental Overview of the immigration functions at the Canadian High Commission in Naiorbi (the “Environmental Overview”).  The Environmental Overview was prepared as part of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2013-2014 planning exercise, and is current as of January 2013.

Areas in blockquote are direct passages from the Environmental Overview.


The Canadian High Commission in Nairobi (“CIC Nairobi”) provides visa services to residents of Kenya, Burundi, Congo, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, French Southern Territories, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Many visa applicants, including senior government officials from many of the countries within Nairobi’s jurisdiction, are inadmissible for activities ranging from genocide to subversion, a factor which continues to be a bilateral irritant for Canada in the region.

There are 13 Canada Based Staff, 2 Designated Immigration Officers, 3 Immigration Program Officers, 2 Locally Engaged 06, 22 Locally Engaged 05, 4 Locally engaged 04, and 9 locally Engaged 03 working at CIC Nairobi.

With the advent of e-applications, Nairobi is now starting to benefit from the assistance of QRC in the promotion on Temporary Resident applications. However, given that bandwidth speed continues to be slow, processing e-applications currently takes significantly longer than the paper equivalent.

55,000 old applications are slated for shredding.  An additional 11,000 were to be shipped in March.

Permanent Resident Program


2012 Visas Issued
2013 Visa Targets

Federal Skilled Worker



Quebec Skilled Worker



Provincial / Territorial Nominees



The average processing time for the above applications was between 12-18 months.

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Sign at Canadian Embassy in Beijing Shows Impact of PAFSO Strike

Sign at Canadian Embassy in Beijing Shows Impact of PAFSO Strike

26th Jul 2013 Comments Off on Sign at Canadian Embassy in Beijing Shows Impact of PAFSO Strike

A reader sent me a digital photograph of a sign allegedly posted at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.  As the PAFSO job action continues, the implications for prospective international students is become quite serious.  I can’t even guess on how post-secondary institutions are preparing and mitigating.

China Door Sign re Strike

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Study Permit Restrictions to Take Affect January 1, 2014

2nd Jan 2013 Comments Off on Study Permit Restrictions to Take Affect January 1, 2014

The Government of Canada has introduced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations which will restrict which schools are eligible to have international students study at them.  Effective January 1, 2014, the issuance of study permits will be limited to international students attending designated learning institutions.

Currently, most provinces and territories have a mix of public educational institutions, private degree-granting institutions, and private non-degree-granting career colleges.  The latter are subject to varying degrees of regulations, and private language schools are generally not regulated at all.  Previously, any of these institutions could host international students on study permits.  Under the new regulations, however, only students attending designated institutions can receive study permits.

Designated institutions include:

  •  a learning institution that is administered by a federal department or agency;
  • if a province has entered into an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada in respect of learning institutions that host international students, a learning institution in Canada that is designated by that province under the agreement; and
  • if a province has not entered into an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada in respect of learning institutions that host international students, then any of the following:
    • a public post-secondary learning institution in Canada that is recognized by the province,
    • in the case of Quebec, a private post-secondary learning institution in Quebec that operates under the same rules and regulations as public post-secondary learning institutions in Quebec,
    • a private post-secondary learning institution in Canada that is recognized by the province and that is authorized by the province to confer degrees, but only in the case where the foreign national in question is enrolled in a program of study that leads to a degree as authorized by the province,

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