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Study permits

Most international students need a study permit to study in Canada. However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) lists some exceptions

It is important to apply for your study permit as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance from UVic. Check IRCC's estimated processing times to find out how long it can take to process your application.

Notice: IRCC announces changes to Canada's international student program

On January 22, 2024, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced several measures intended to protect the integrity of Canada's international student program. These measures include new documentation requirements for most study permit applications submitted outside Canada.


You will need to provide a letter of acceptance from UVic as part of your study permit application.

If you are an undergraduate student:
  • you will receive an admission letter and a letter of acceptance via email from the UVic Undergraduate Admissions Office after you have been accepted to UVic
  • these 2 letters need to be included in your study permit application as your letter of acceptance
If you are a graduate student:
  • you will receive an admission letter and a study permit letter from the UVic Graduate Admissions and Records Office via email after you accept your offer
  • these 2 letters need to be included in your study permit application as your letter of acceptance

All documents submitted to IRCC must be in English or French. If your documents are in another language, refer to Translation of supporting documents for applications.

Distance learning and blended programs

If your program includes distance learning (online) components, it’s important to be aware that this may impact your eligibility for a study permit and/or a post-graduation work permit.

Study permits for distance learning

Online-only programs

Programs that are delivered entirely online are not normally eligible for a study permit. These programs can be completed from outside Canada.

Programs with both online and in-person components

As per IRCC guidelines, a study permit (and co-op work permit, if applicable) should only be issued for the duration of the in-Canada portion of your program. 

  • If your overall program of study (including both online and in-person components) is six months or less, a study permit is not required and you can enter Canada as a visitor to complete the in-Canada portion. However, if the in-Canada portion includes a work component such as a co-op, practicum or internship, a study permit and co-op work permit will be required for the in-Canada portion.
  • If your overall course or program of study is longer than six months, you are required to have a study permit (and co-op work permit if applicable) for the in-Canada portion, even if the in-Canada portion is less than six months. 

If you have any questions about study permit eligibility for distance learning or hybrid programs, contact an International Student Adviser.

Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) impacts

For information about how distance learning impacts your eligibility for a PGWP, see the Post-graduation work permit section of our Working in Canada page.

Apply online

Study permit applications must be submitted online unless you are eligible to apply on paper.

Follow IRCC's instructions to apply online

  • depending on your situation you may be directed to apply via either the IRCC secure account or the IRCC portal
    • if you are applying with a spouse or common-law partner who needs a work permit, or if you are applying from inside Canada, you must use the IRCC secure account
    • if you are applying from outside Canada and you are not applying for a work permit for your spouse or partner, you are encouraged to use the IRCC portal
  • you may be eligible to submit an application via the Student Direct Stream (SDS)

Apply at a port of entry

Most students should travel to Canada only after they receive their study permit approval.

Visit the Justice Laws website to see if you qualify to apply for a study permit at a port of entry (POE) (e.g., your airport of arrival, sea or land border crossing into Canada).

  • if you apply for a study permit at a POE, your application will be processed by a border services officer

Apply from within Canada

If you are already in Canada as a visitor, you are allowed to apply online for a study permit. (NoteIRCC will process your application as if you were applying from your home country.)

If you would like to stay in Canada while your application is processed, you must maintain valid visitor status until you receive your study permit.

  • if your visitor status will expire before you receive your study permit, you should apply to extend your stay or leave Canada before your visitor status expires

Application tutorials

For a detailed overview of the application process, please review the video tutorials below.

Applying via the IRCC portal

You may apply using the IRCC portal if:

  • you are submitting your application from outside Canada, and
  • you are not applying with a spouse or common-law partner who needs a work permit

If you prefer to apply via the IRCC secure account, or if you are applying with a spouse or partner who needs a work permit, please review the tutorial on applying via the IRCC secure account.

Applying via the IRCC secure account

You must apply via the IRCC secure account if:

  • you are applying with a spouse or common-law partner who needs a work permit

Please note that this tutorial is meant for students applying from outside Canada only.

Please note

The information in these tutorials is accurate as of April 19, 2024. Policies and programs may change without notice. Please visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website at for accurate, up-to-date information.

After you apply

  1. If your application is approved, you will receive a POE letter (also known as a study permit approval letter or letter of introduction). 
    • a POE letter is not a study permit, it is proof that your study permit application is approved
  2. You must show your POE letter to a Canadian border services officer and ask for your study permit to be issued.
    • if you are already in Canada, you will need to leave the country to reach a POE

You may also need to provide fingerprints and a photo (biometrics).

Maintain your documents

You are required to maintain your documents and comply with your study permit conditions, which include actively pursuing studies in Canada and making reasonable progress toward completing your program. Learn more about:

Information on this page has been reviewed by Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants and Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors in compliance with the Government of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

If you are not an international student, you can find additional immigration information on the UVic Immigration web page.

Information can change without notice. For the most current information, visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.