The general rule is that all foreign students require a Canada study permit if they seek to study at any Canadian academic institution. However, there are exceptions to this rule. There are types of programs and certain circumstances where a foreign national will be permitted to study in Canada without a Canada study permit. Below you will find a list of the programs that do not require a Canada study permit:
Academic program less than six months in duration
Foreign nationals who will be in Canada as visitors for less than six months can enroll in a program of study without a Canada study permit, provided the program is less than six months in duration. Canadian immigration recommends that, even if your program of study does not require a Canada study permit, you apply for one in advance in case you decide to continue studying in another program or would like to work in Canada following your course. Foreign students who have a valid study permit can apply for a new study permit or work permit from within Canada, rather than applying through the visa office responsible for their country of Citizenship.
Diplomats and foreign representatives
A foreign representative or diplomat is entitled to have their family members accompany them in Canada. The family members of foreign representatives or diplomats, authenticated by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, are entitled to study in Canada without a Canada study permit. The Canadian embassy where they are stationed should have more information about whether or not a Canada study permit is required.
An individual member of a foreign army stationed in Canada is not required to obtain a Canada study permit, according to the Visiting Forces Act. However, this exemption only applies to the foreign military personnel, not to their dependant family members.
In general, minor children require Canada study permits in order to attend elementary school in Canada. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, a minor child attending pre-school (before grade 1), minor children of refugee claimants or who are refugees themselves, minor children accompanying their parents who are studying or working in Canada. It is important to note that if the child no longer qualifies in an exempted category, they must apply for a Canada study permit.
To find out if you need a study permit to study in Canada, please fill out the form above.