Study permit holders in Canada are required to actively pursue their studies. Part of pursuing your studies includes, but is not limited to, being enrolled in a designated learning institution, making a steady progress towards completing your study program and maintaining your immigration status.
Actively Pursuing Your Studies
Study permit holders are supposed to be actively pursuing their studies. To be considered as actively pursuing your studies, you should be enrolled full time and occasionally enrolled part time. However in order to work in Canada while on a study permit, you need to maintain a full-time status.
Each educational institution defines full-time studies differently. However, for most institutions, full-time studies usually means a minimum of 9 credits (3 courses) per semester.
In accordance with the law, Canadian Designated Learning Institutions periodically report on each international student’s enrollment status to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Canadian immigration officers impose conditions on your study permit. These may include one or more of the following:
- the type of studies or course you may take;
- the educational institution you may attend;
- the location of your studies;
- the time and period of your studies;
- the times and places at which you shall report for medical examination or observation;
- the times and places at which you shall report for the presentation of evidence of compliance with applicable conditions;
- the prohibition of engaging in employment; or
- the duration of your stay in Canada
Failure to comply with these conditions can have serious consequences.
Study Permit Renewal
You must apply for a study permit renewal renewal before the expiration of your current study permit if you would like to continue studying in Canada.
It is advisable to apply for a renewal three months before the expiration of your current study permit to allow for processing time. While waiting on a decision, you must remain in Canada and meet the conditions of your current study permit. (i.e.: you cannot quit school and start working)
Expired Study Permits
A student is considered out-of-status if his/her current study permit expires before the submission of an application to extend his/her study permit. In such cases, the students must drop all courses and/or stop working immediately.
If you fall out-of- status, you have 90 days from the expiration date of your study permit to apply for a restoration of status. This must be done inside Canada and the student cannot exit the country until a decision has been made. It can take several months for a decision to be made on a restoration of status application and there is no guarantee that a study permit will be granted.
Lost Study Permits
In the case of a misplaced or lost study permit, the student will have to launch an application named, “verification of status or replacement of an immigration document.” You may continue to study while this application is ongoing but are not allowed to leave Canada until you obtain a copy of your study permit.
Taking a Semester Off
If a student takes the semester off, it could affect his/her study permit and ability to work. Check with your international student advisor if you would like to take time away from your studies.
Regular and Scheduled Breaks
Only reading week, winter and summer holidays or a transition between graduation and obtaining a post-graduation work permit are considered regular or scheduled breaks. In accordance with IRCC, a consecutive four-month break can only be taken if:
- It is done once in a calendar year; and
- Students have had full-time enrolment before and after the term that is considered a scheduled break.
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