International students who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada require a study permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to study in a program that is longer than six months.
Most students will also require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to enter the country. Please check the IRCC website to see if you require a TRV or eTA.
Applying for your initial study permit
Once you have received your SAIT confirmation letter and accompanying documentation for IRCC, you can start the application process for your study permit. The application for your initial study permit must be submitted outside of Canada (if you are already in Canada as a visitor or worker, please contact the International Centre for more information). Visit the IRCC website to learn more about how to apply for your initial study permit.
Follow these tips to help avoid delays in your study permit application:
- Apply online or through a Visa Application Centre (VAC)
Visit the IRCC website to find the Canadian Visa Office that serves that your country and learn of the application options available to you. If a VAC is located in your country, consider using its services.
- Apply early
Apply early to avoid delays in the processing of your study permit. The length of time to process your application varies depending on the visa office where you applied. You can check average processing times online. If you do not obtain a valid study permit before the beginning of the semester for which you have been accepted at SAIT, you may not be able to start your program.
- Ensure you have a valid passport
Make sure your passport is valid before you apply. If your passport is about to expire, we recommend that you renew it before applying for your study permit.
- Get your medical exam as soon as possible
Some international students require a medical examination, dependent on the country of residence of the applicant in the year preceding the date you sought entry to Canada. Refer to IRCC's full list of countries that require a medical examination for more information.
- Submit all of the required documents and ensure that your documents are complete and correct
Be sure to follow all instructions. If information is missing, your application will be returned. Check the visa office that services your country to see if additional documents are required.
- Ensure that you pay the proper fee
Failure to pay the correct fee, or not pay when required, can delay processing and/or result in a negative decision for your application.