How to apply for your first study permit

Once you have received your confirmation or acceptance letter from SAIT and your Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL), you can start the application process for your study permit.

IRCC International Student Cap

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada's latest policy announced in January 2024 may impact current and prospective international students at SAIT in relation to obtaining your study permit, open work permit or post-graduate work permit (PGWP.)

Learn more about the changes and impact

Start your journey in Canada with SAIT and BorderPass

SAIT has partnered with BorderPass to offer all direct international applicants access to its premium Canadian immigration services.

BorderPass offers access to trusted immigration lawyers and legal services via a digital platform.

New applicants who have been accepted and received a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) and a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) can use this service to apply for their study permit.

This service is exclusive to applicants who aren’t working with an Agent.

How to apply with Borderpass

❗️If you are working with an agent, please follow the steps below. If you are using Borderpass, the platform will walk you through the necessary steps.

Step 1: Create or log in to your IRCC GCkey account

You need an IRCC account to apply for your study permit, co-op work permit, Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), Temporary Resident Visa and more.

This video will provide a step-by-step guide on how to create your IRCC account.

If you already have a GCKey account, log in.

Step 2: Create your own document checklist

The next step of your study permit application is to create your own document checklist.

Watch to learn how to navigate the IRCC online system in two steps to create your personal application checklist.

Step 3: Prepare your documents and complete forms

Download and complete the IMM1294e study permit application form

Ensure you download the latest form directly from the IRCC website for your application. 

Do not print and sign the form. You can type your name in the signature and dates on the form. Once you finish entering your information, select "Validate," and the form will generate an additional page with many bar codes if it's validated successfully. 

If you want to make changes to the form, remember to validate it and save the form after every edit.

Get help answering questions on the IMM 1294E form

Collect your documents

Certain documents will be needed when you apply for your study permit.

If your documents are not in English or French, they should be accompanied by an official translation or a certified copy of the original document in English or French with an affidavit.

The Letter of Acceptance (LoA) is the official registration document issued by SAIT to confirm your registration into a program.

You might receive a conditional Letter of Acceptance if you haven't met the complete admission requirements.

You are encouraged to apply for your study permit when you receive your Letter of Acceptance.

If you are applying with your conditional Letter of Acceptance, please include a section in your letter of explanation as well as other proof documents that show how the conditions have been or will be met. If you are applying from India, Nepal, or Bhutan, you are required to use an unconditional Letter of Acceptance. You can prepare your application while waiting for your unconditional Letter of Acceptance.

If you have applied with a conditional Letter of Acceptance, you are encouraged to update IRCC as soon as you receive your unconditional Letter of Acceptance.

International students applying for a study permit to attend an undergraduate program in Alberta will be required to submit a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) along with the letter of acceptance.

SAIT will request the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) on your behalf. Please contact us at if you have not received your PAL.

In a study permit application, it is crucial you show strong financial ability to support yourself during your studies and stay in Canada.

Additionally, you must provide evidence to support any accompanying family members while in Canada.

For the Proof of Funds, you should show sufficient funds to cover the remainder of your program. You should add the amount of tuition you are responsible for paying and the amount to cover your living expenses. The total is what you should prepare to have in your proof of funds.

Here are a few documents you can use in your proof of funds:

  • the last four months of bank statements in your Canadian accounts
  • the bank statement of your GIC account if you have one
  • the last four months of bank statements of your parents or your sponsor.

For more information on Proof of Funds, please refer to the IRCC website.

You will need to scan and upload a copy of your passport on the bio-data page (the page with your photo and all other personal information), as well as any other pages with stamps, visas, or markings from any county.

If you have a new passport, you need to provide copies of both your new and old passports.

Your study permit will not be issued beyond your passport expiry date. Thus, if your passport will be expiring soon, you should extend it first before you apply for the study permit.

Your passport photo should be less than six months old and meet IRCC photo specifications.

A letter of explanation is a self-written document providing additional information to support your application.

We walk you through some general guidelines to write a letter of explanation and what topics to include.

Check your country-specific requirements for your study permit application. To get the complete list of documents required by your country’s visa office:

  1. Go to the IRCC website and select your country in the drop-down menu, which you will find under the Apply on paper option.
  2. Select “Visa office instructions” and review the requirements document.

You are encouraged to include all required documents in your application submission to avoid possible delays or refusal.

If you are applying online through IRCC secure account, any additional documents can be combined and uploaded into the "Client Information" section under Optional Documents in your online checklist.

Additional documents you may need

If you are accepted into a program with co-op/internship/practicum at SAIT, you can choose to apply for your co-op work permit together with your study permit.

Make sure you indicate you are also applying for a co-op work permit when creating your document checklist. You can use your Letter of Acceptance for proof of co-op by highlighting Section 24 Internship/Work Practicum on your LoA.

This form is required if it’s included in your document checklist or your country-specific requirements.

This form needs to be printed out and signed by hand. Please note you might need to sign multiple places on this form:

  • if you indicate that you don’t have a spouse or common-law partner, sign and date Section A
  • if you indicate that you don’t have children, sign and date Section B
  • finally, sign and date Section C.

IRCC might make a minor adjustment to application forms without notice. Please check for instructions for each form and make sure the form is thoroughly completed.

This form is usually included in your checklist's “Optional Documents” section, and most students do not need to include it in the application.

However, if you have answered “Yes” to questions 3, 4, 5, or 6 in the “Background Information” section of the main application form IMM 1294, then you’ll need to include this form in your application.

This form doesn’t need to be signed but needs to be validated.

Step 4: Upload documents and submit application

Once all your documents are ready, you can upload them into your application portal.

We provide some tips and demonstrate the uploading process.

Step 5: Get your biometrics and medical exam (if applicable)

Biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) are collected to confirm your identity and will facilitate your entry to Canada. While exemptions can be granted, most study permit applicants will be required to provide biometrics.

Once you have paid your biometrics collection fee ($85 CAD) and submitted your online application, you will receive a biometric instruction letter in your account. Then go to the nearest biometrics collection center with the letter.

Your biometrics will be valid for 10 years. If you have provided biometrics in a previous application, you don’t need to provide them again. To find out if your biometrics are still valid, you can use the online tool.

You may be required to complete an immigration medical exam if:

  1. you have lived in a designated country or territory for more than six months in the past year, or,
  2. you would like to work in a job that will bring you close to patients, children, the elderly, etc. This includes public health, health sciences, or agriculture-related fields (for example, healthcare workers, and primary and secondary school teachers.)

If you need a medical exam, you can choose either:

  • Submit your application first, and wait for the medical exam instruction letter from IRCC, or,
  • Do an upfront medical exam first and include the exam confirmation receipt in your application.

In general, it can save some processing time when you provide an upfront medical exam. Your medical exam result will be valid for 12 months from the date of the exam and should be valid at the time when you travel.

Find a panel physician that can conduct your medical exam.

After you apply

You can check the processing time for a study permit outside Canada on IRCC's website. You will receive emails from your IRCC GCKey account informing you of any updates on your application.

Once the application has been approved, you will be required to submit your passport to the closest VAC centre. Please follow the instructions in the approval letter when you send your passport.

Contact us

International Centre

AA206, Heritage Hall, SAIT Main Campus


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