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.
When residing outside of Canada, it is recommended that you apply for all of the permits and visas that you will need together, at the same time.
Once you receive your Letter of Acceptance from the college, you should apply to obtain your:
- Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
- Study Permit
- Co-op Work Permit* (if you have admission to a program that includes a co-op work term or work placement)
*Note: A Co-op Work Permit is not the same document as a Study Permit. A Co-op Work Permit will have the words “Work Permit” printed at the top of the document. A Study Permit will have the words “Study Permit” printed at the top of the document.
Submit a copy of these documents to the International Office as soon as you receive them.
Notice: Applicants and students are responsible for compliance with all IRCC regulations at all times while in Canada and encouraged to consult the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website or call 1-888-242-2100 to confirm or clarify immigration-related information and requirements. Conestoga College employees are not authorized to provide advice or guidance on immigration-related matters. Likewise, this information is provided as a reference ONLY and is not meant as advice or guidance.
Temporary Resident Visas and Electronic Travel Authorization
A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Visa, as it is commonly known, is a document issued by IRCC that allows someone who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada to enter the country. Citizens from some countries require a TRV to enter Canada. There are also some countries whose citizens do not require a TRV. If you are from a Visa-exempt country, you will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada.
To confirm whether you need a TRV or an eTA, visit the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada website.
Remember: If you want to study, you likely need to get a study permit too. 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 in Canada.
If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada and wish to live and study here for longer than six months, a Study Permit is required.
Students who enter Canada on a visitor visa may study English for Academic Studies for up to six months. However, if you plan to study longer than six months you should obtain a Study Permit before beginning your studies.
To apply, visit the IRCC website.
If you are applying for a study permit through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) and require a GIC, you may apply through CIBC.
CIBC has partnered with the Government of Canada to offer a Student GIC Program that helps you get your study permit. The process is cheaper, faster, and easier.
Get your GIC with CIBC. To learn more, click www.cibc.com/isbo
Co-op Work Permits for Co-op Work Terms and Unpaid Education Placements
When do you need to apply?
If you currently living outside of Canada, you should apply for the Co-op Work Permit at the same time apply for your Study Permit. A Co-op Work Permit is required for any program with a co-op work term or an unpaid education placement, no matter if the activity is paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time, on-campus or off-campus. You should obtain your Co-op Work Permit when you arrive in Canada at the same time as you are given your Study Permit. There is no cost to apply.
If you are currently living in Canada with a valid Study Permit, you can apply online to get a Co-op Work Permit.
How do you apply?
Step 1: A letter (an electronic letter is acceptable) will be provided to you by International Admissions. This document is included in your Letter of Acceptance (page 4) and states that your intended co-op work term or unpaid education placement is an essential part of your program of study.
Step 2: Find more information or apply at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/work-coop.asp or contact Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) directly at 1-888-242-2100.
Step 3: Upon receipt of your Co-op Work Permit, please email the International Office with the following information
- date of co-op work permit application
- document number (the number that starts with ‘U’ on the top right corner of the permit)
- expiry date of permit
The work permit can only be used for activities assigned as part of your program of study.
Students may not begin any co-op work term, internship or unpaid education placement until a valid Co-op Work Permit is received.
Work Off Campus
As of June 1, 2014, you may qualify to work off campus without a work permit. If you qualify, your Study Permit will allow you to:
- Work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and
- Work full-time during scheduled breaks within a single program, such as the winter and summer holidays or reading week.
Study Permit holders cannot work if they have completed one program in Canada and are waiting for their next program to begin.
You must have one of the following conditions or remarks printed on your Study Permit to apply for a social insurance number for off campus work:
- May work 20 hours per week off-campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR
- May accept employment on-campus or off-campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria
If your Study Permit does not have one of the above conditions or remarks, please visit the International Office to speak with an Advisor.
Visit www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/work-offcampus.asp for further details.
Note: students engaged in co-op work terms, internships or unpaid education placements are required to have a Co-op Work Permit which can only be used for activities assigned as part of your program of study.
Post-graduation Work Permit
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) is designed to provide graduating students with Canadian work experience.
Eligibility to apply for a PGWP is dependent on the length of the student's program of study at the College. If the official length of your program of study is:
- Less than 8 months you are not eligible for this work permit.
- More than 8 months and up to two years, you may receive a work permit for a period no longer than the length of your program of study (for example, if you studied for nine months, a work permit may be issued for a period of up to nine months).
- Two years or more, a work permit may be issued for up to three years
You must apply for a Work Permit while your Study Permit is still valid AND within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from the educational institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your program of study. Calculation of the 90 days begins the day when your final marks are issued or when formal written notification of program completion is received.
For more information, visit the PGWPP website.
Leaving and Re-entering Canada (Travelling)
If your current Study Permit is valid but your existing TRV (sticker on your passport) or eTA is expired, you will need to obtain a new TRV (or eTA) before you leave Canada.
Please visit the IRCC’s website about traveling outside of Canada during studies for more information.
Study Permit, Co-op Work Permit, and TRV (eTA) Extensions
- A Study Permit, Co-op Work Permit, Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), will not be valid for longer than your passport expiry date.
- Please note your Study Permit (and Co-op Work Permit) expiry date. The permits and visas that you are granted should have an expiry date that falls 90 days after the end date of your program of study.
- Applications to extend the permits must be made 90 days before their expiry date. Once a Study Permit or Work Permit has been renewed, you should apply to renew your TRV (or eTA).
Who Needs to Extend their Study Permit (*and Co-op Work Permit)?
You need to extend your Study Permit (and Co-op Work Permit**) if one of the following is true:
- Your current permit will expire before your program is completed or,
- You have completed a program and will begin studying a new program.
**Note: You only need a Co-op Work Permit if you are (or will be) in a program that includes a co-op work term or any type of work placement (paid or unpaid, part-time or full-time, on-campus or off-campus).
How do I Extend my Study Permit (and Co-op Work Permit)?
First, ensure your travel documents (for example, your passport) are current and up-to-date. You may apply to renew your Study Permit (and Co-op Work Permit) as early as 90 days before it expires. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) advises students to apply for permit renewals at least 30 days before the current permit expires.
Note: we recommend that you apply for your study permit extension online as the processing times are typically much shorter.
Your study permit will become invalid either on its expiry date or 90 days after you have completed your program – whichever date is sooner.
If you will continue to study in Canada after you complete your first program, you should apply before the expiry date on your permit AND within 90 days from the completion of your first program to apply for a new Study Permit for your second program.
For more information, visit the IRCC’s web page about extending your study permit
If you also need to extend your Co-op Work Permit, you should do so at the same time as your Study Permit extension.
Please visit the International Office and speak with an Advisor to get further instructions about the application process.