Student Permits

Approval process: study in Canada

Upper Canada Immigration works with students and their families.
Students can work with us to obtain permission to travel to Canada to begin, or continue, their study programs. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
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tudents planning to start school in Canada anytime can now breathe a sigh of relief. Immigration, Refugees and Citizen Canada (IRCC) has implemented  a two-tiered approach to issuing study permits: you can get approval now contingent on supplying documentation and other necessary papers later. COVID-19 measures have been in place in Canada since March 18, 2020 and in most source countries in the world.

  • Visa Access Centres have been closed, borders have been shut down and  obtaining  official documents have become almost impossible;
  • Students who may have obtained a study permit prior to March 18 were/are exempt from the imposed travel restriction placed on Canada’s borders.

Nonetheless, such students, upon arrival at a port of entry are still subject to an examination by the CBSA, and can be refused entry, if it is found that they could have been studying on-line instead.

To resume their programs and restore revenue generation mechanisms, educational institutions have developed on-line studies  as part of their offering to students, both local and abroad. Recognizing the difficulties experienced by international students on obtaining key documents and evidence for their applications in their respective countries, IRCC has  issued new, albeit temporary, instructions and procedures for Visa Officers in processing study permit applications.

The two-step process

  1. Students will now receive a first stage approval so that they can start studying their courses on-line, from their country of residence. The advantage of doing this is that the student does not lose time;
  2. When first stage approval students are able to produce mandatory documents such as submitting their original passport or travel document, enrolling in the biometrics program or undergoing a medical examination, their study permit will be finalized. The student still needs to produce these documents. However, you will receive extra time to gather and produce them.

Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

International students planning to study at a Canadian institution can start their studies online from their home country and even if they were to complete their entire program online, will still be eligible for a post graduation work permit (PGWP). However, students who complete their entire program on-line, will not be given comprehensive ranking points for “Canadian Education” in the Express Entry management system.

Before pandemic measures were put in place in March 2020, students whose programs comprised more than 50 percent online studies, were disqualified from applying for the coveted PGWP. Being granted a PGWP means that a student is permitted to work for any employer in Canada for a prescribed number of years. The length of the PGWP depends on the length of studies completed. Well known and acknowledged amongst students, is the clear pathway to permanent residence that the PGWP facilitates, provided that their Canadian work experience qualifies under specific rules of the Express entry management system.

Travel to Canada

Once the Canadian border is open for non-essential travel, students will travel to their Canadian destination to either continue their studies, or start working.  If you are such a student who wishes to take this opportunity to start your studies in Canada, contact us now. See the Help in three steps box on this page. Upper Canada Immigration will help you prepare a successful package of documents. The minimum set of document you need to have in hand for stage one or pre-approval includes:

  1. Letter of Acceptance;
  2. Proof of funds for the first year of studies;
  3. Rationale for your choice of program (background or training)
  4. Study plan;
  5. Demonstration of your ties to your country of residence/citizenship;
  6. Evidence of any ties to Canada.

This is a highly-competitive process. The best applications will be successful. You may do this once in your life. We do it for our clients on a continuing basis. You will likely need help from us. See the Government of Canada web site for more information on the temporary measures for processing student permits.