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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Study Permits for Canada

On January 22, the Canadian government introduced a new cap on study permit approvals for 2024 and implemented a provincial attestation letter policy for international students applying for their study permit.

Below are some of the most common questions and answers regarding the changes:

What is a PAL and who is required to provide it?

A Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) is a document issued by a provincial or territorial government confirming your studies and that your program aligns with immigration and labour market needs.

Most study permit applications submitted after 8:30 a.m. EST on January 22, 2024, require a PAL.

Individual provinces will provide more information on how to apply for a PAL by March 31, 2024.

Who does not need a provincial attestation letter?

Exceptions to the PAL:

  • Students whose applications were received by IRCC before 8:30 a.m. EST on January 22, 2024
  • In-Canada study permit holders applying for an extension
  • In-Canada pathway students (having completed a course or program of study that is a prerequisite to their enrolling at a designated learning institution)
  • In-Canada work permit holders
  • Visiting or exchange students
  • Primary and secondary school students
  • Master’s or doctoral degree students
  • In-Canada family members of study permit or work permit holders
I have a letter of acceptance (LOA) and am planning to study in Canada in the next few months. Do I have to wait until March 31 to apply for a study permit and attestation letter?

Yes. As of 8:30 a.m. EST on January 22, 2024, most students must include a provincial attestation letter (PAL) from the province or territory where they plan to study with their study permit application. 

I already received my study permit. Do I still require an attestation letter?

No. If you have already received your study permit you do not need an attestation letter.

Can I study in Canada without a study permit (SP)?

Yes. If you are enrolled in a program that is less than 6 months (24 weeks) you do not need a study permit. If you wish to study for longer than 6 months you must apply for a study permit, and exceptions apply on who can apply for a SP from inside Canada.

Are new incoming students currently able to apply for a study permit from outside Canada?

No. There is a freeze on new study permit applications expected until March 31, 2024. Once the PAL process is confirmed by all provinces and territories in Canada the freeze will be lifted.

I am planning to study English at Tamwood for more than 6 months. Do I need an attestation letter?

Yes. A PAL is required for any ESL program longer than 6 months if you did not apply for a study permit before January 22.

 

The following students or temporary residents inside Canada do not require an attestation letter:

  • Work permit holders
  • Students on exchange or visiting student status at a DLI
  • Visitors who have completed a course or program of study that is a prerequisite to enrolling at a DLI
  • Visitors with a temporary resident permit (visitor record) with more than 6 months
Can students on a study permit extend their status?

Yes. In-Canada study permit holders applying for an extension are exempt from the PAL.

I am currently in Canada with a visitor visa/electronic travel authorization (eTA). Can I apply for a study permit from inside Canada?

Only some people can apply for a study permit from inside Canada. This includes those who have completed a short-term course or study program required to be accepted at a DLI such as pathway students.

 

Other exemptions for those who can apply for a study permit from inside Canada:

  • If you have a valid study or work permit
  • If your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a valid study or work permit
  • A minor child in primary or secondary school
  • An exchange student or visiting student
  • A Ukrainian national or family member of a Ukrainian national
  • A spouse, common-law partner or dependent child who has a temporary resident permit (TRP) valid for 6 months or more
  • If you were sponsored to immigrate and already applied for permanent residence
Can I still apply for a pathway program and start at a higher education institution in September?

Yes. You can apply to 100+ ILAC pathway partners, both universities and colleges. Your pathway certificate is valid for up to two years. Please contact your pathway specialist for a free consultation.

Where can I find a list of ILAC pathway partners that offer Masters?

Go to https://www.ilac.com/pathway and download “Pathways to master’s degrees”.

I am an onshore student with a valid study permit. Can I enrol at an ILAC PPP for May 2024 for a second program and still be eligible to apply for a post graduate work permit (PGWP)?

Yes. Students enrolled for May 2024 upon successful graduation will be eligible for a PGWP. The length of their PGWP will align with the length of their program. In-Canada study permit holders applying for an extension are exempt from the PAL.

Can I bring my spouse to Canada with a study permit?

In the coming weeks, eligibility for open work permits for the spouses and common-law partners of international students will be updated.

For new applications, eligibility is now limited to the spouses and common-law partners of students in master’s and doctorate professional degree granting programs only. Spouses and common-law partners of international students in other levels of study, including college programs, will no longer be eligible for an open work permit.

Spouses and common-law partners can still come to Canada as a student or visitor. To apply for a study permit, your spouse needs to apply for admission at a DLI, either public or private. Study permit holders enrolled as full-time students at a DLI can work for 20 hours/week off-campus or full-time on-campus and full-time during regular breaks.

IMPORTANT: Always confirm your immigration questions with a registered immigration consultant.