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Foreign citizens who would like to study in Canada at any level are usually required to apply for and receive a Canadian study permit. However, there are certain circumstances in which foreign nationals are not required to obtain a study permit.

Short-Term Study in Canada

International students do not need a study permit to pursue a program that is six-months or less. The program of study may consist of any subject(s) or course(s) and can be taken on a part-time or full-time basis; however, the program must be completed within six months. IRCC will not permit a visa extension for the sole purpose of completing a short-term program.

Foreign nationals in Canada who wish to enroll in educational programs that take longer than six months must apply for a study permit outside of Canada. An exception may be made if the course is short-term and can be completed within the original period of stay stated upon entry to Canada.

Foreign nationals who intend to work on campus while pursuing a short-term program, or intend to further their studies afterwards are advised to obtain a study permit.

Minor Children in Canada

Minor children of temporary students or workers, Canadian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to attend school without a study permit. This exemption does not apply to children of temporary residents who are not approved to work or study in Canada (i.e. visitors).

Family Members and Private Staff of Diplomats

Family members and private staff members of foreign emissaries and authorized foreign representatives do not require a permit to study in Canada.

For purposes of this exception, a family member is defined as:

  • A spouse or common-law partner;
  • The dependent child of the individual or their spouse/common-law partner; or
  • The dependent child of a dependent child.

Members of Foreign Armed Forces in Canada

Members of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state under the Visiting Forces Act do not require a permit to study in Canada.