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.
SAIT is a Designated Learning Institution recognized by the Alberta Government and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) DLI# O18761749692.
What is a study permit?
A document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows foreign nationals to study and remain in Canada as a temporary resident for a specific amount of time-usually the duration of your program.
Note: Your study permit is not the same as a temporary resident visa (TRV) and does not allow you to enter or re-enter Canada. To enter Canada, you also require a Temporary Resident Visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Applying for your initial study permit
Once you have received your SAIT confirmation/acceptance 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.
Maintaining your student status
There are a number of conditions associated with your study permit that you must meet. These include:
- be enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
- show you are actively pursuing your studies by:
- being enrolled full-time or part-time during each academic semester (excluding regularly scheduled breaks)
- making progress towards completing your program's courses, and
- not taking authorized leaves longer than 150 days from your study program
Please note that part-time studies have implications for working and post-grad work permit eligibility.
As an international student, it is your responsibility to be aware of when your status will expire and ensure that you take the necessary steps in order to extend your status if necessary.
Studying part-time during the academic semester means that you are no longer eligible to work (if you were previously). Part-time studies can also affect your eligibility to apply for a post-graduation work permit upon completion of your program. If you are considering studying part-time, please visit the International Centre to meet with an advisor first.
The Canadian government mandates that international students should be actively and continuously pursuing studies. Having a gap in studies (not including your scheduled break) can impact your eligibility to work while studying, and your eligibility to apply for a post-graduation work permit. If you are considering taking a leave in studies, please meet with an advisor first.
If you need to continue studying, we recommend that you apply to extend your study permit 3-4 months prior to the expiration date on your current study permit.
If your study permit will be expiring shortly and you are graduating, please meet with an advisor in the International Centre.
You can extend your study permit online within Canada. It costs $150 to apply.
Once you have signed into your account, you will complete a questionnaire to generate your own personalized document checklist. The application form that you will be submitting is the Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Student (IMM5709).
In addition to the application form, the standard required supporting documents for all students include:
- Letter of acceptance or enrolment — current SAIT international students can request the letter by completing the online letter request form.
- Proof of means of financial support — you must provide proof that you can support yourself and any accompanying family members while you are in Canada. Proof may include:
- your bank statements for the past four months
- bank draft in convertible currency
- pay stubs
- an employment letter
- proof of assets or business
- proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees
- tax reports, declarations or statements
- proof of a student or education loan from a financial institution
- a letter from the person or institution providing you with money
- proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program
- proof of a Canadian bank account in your name if money has been transferred to Canada
- Passport — scans of the page that shows your birth date and country of origin and any pages with stamps, visas or markings. Please note that your study permit cannot be extended past the validity date of your passport.
- Digital Photo
You can follow the application instruction guide to complete the process.
The answer depends on which situation applies to you:
- I applied to extend my study permit before it expired — — In this situation, you now have "maintained status". This means that you can continue to live and study in Canada (and continue working if you meet eligibility requirements) until a decision is made on your extension application.
If you plan on leaving Canada while you are on implied status, please review the Government of Canada guidelines on implied status as a temporary resident.
- I did not apply to extend my study permit before it expired — In this situation, you do not have implied status and are now out of status.
You will need to stop studying (and working) immediately and will need to apply to restore your status. Please visit the International Centre to talk with an advisor if this happens.
No. Once you receive your extended study permit, you can then apply for a new TRV - if required for your country.
Your family member’s immigration status won’t be extended automatically together with your study permit extension if no application is submitted for them. You could choose to include your family members’ immigration application into your study permit extension into a same application package when you take the IRCC eligibility test, or they could apply for extension separately.
Yes. You can visit a registry office to extend your Albert Health Care coverage and visit a Service Canada location to extend your SIN. Coverage duration is tied to the validity on your study permit.
If you lose your study permit (or co-op work permit), you will need to request a replacement from IRCC as soon as possible. To do so, please follow the steps to submit an Application for Replacement of an Immigration Document.
We recommend that you always keep a photocopy of your immigration documents and passport.
If you are eligible to work under your study permit, and you find your study permit doesn’t have the conditions or remarks printed with the wording: ”may work” or “may accept employment”, then you need to amend your study permit before you can work in Canada. There’s no cost of this application.
If you weren’t previously eligible to work off-campus but now you have changed to a program that allows you to work off-campus (for example, you completed an English or Upgrading program, and are now starting a diploma , degree or certificate program), you can apply to change the conditions of your study permit. You can apply to change the conditions of your study permit online from within Canada. This is the same process as extending your study permit, and costs $150.
Tips to 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 your country and learn of the application options available to you. If a Visa Application Centre 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 you renew it before applying for your study permit.
- Get your medical exam and biometrics (if applicable) as soon as possible- Some international students require a medical examination, dependent on the applicant's country of residence 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.
Depending on your nationality, you may need to give your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph.) The time allotted for the collection and screening of biometrics is not a part of application processing times. We encourage applicants to give their biometrics as quickly as possible after receiving the Biometric Instruction Letter, as the sooner an applicant provides biometrics, the sooner IRCC can start processing his or her application.
Refer to the IRCC website to find out if you need to give biometrics and learn where to give your biometrics.
- 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.
Get assistance from the International Centre
Book an appointment with our staff to learn more about programs for international students, how to apply, study permits and visas, events and more.