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.
A 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).
SAIT is a Designated Learning Institution recognized by the Alberta Government and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) DLI# O18761749692.
How to apply for your study permit
Once you have received your confirmation or acceptance letter from SAIT 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.
You can use your 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.
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.
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 in English (or French), or a certified copy of the original document in English (or French) with an affidavit.
Letter of Acceptance
The Letter of Acceptance (LoA) is the official registration document issued by SAIT to confirm your registration into a program. If you haven’t met the full admission requirements, you might receive a conditional Letter of Acceptance.
You are encouraged to apply for your study permit as soon as 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 have applied with a conditional Letter of Acceptance, you are encouraged to update IRCC as soon as you receive your unconditional Letter of Acceptance.
*If you are applying from India, Nepal, or Bhutan, you are required to use an unconditional Letter of Acceptance. You can start to prepare your application while waiting for your unconditional Letter of Acceptance.
Co-op work permit
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.
Proof of Funds
In a study permit application, it is crucial to show strong financial ability to support yourself during your studies and stay in Canada.
Watch to learn how much funds you should prepare, what kind of documents you should include and some other useful tips you can apply.
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), and 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 meets IRCC photo specifications.
Letter of Explanation
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.
Documents specific to your country's requirement
Check your country-specific requirements for your study permit application. To get the full list of documents required by your country’s visa office:
- Go to the IRCC website and select your country in the drop-down menu (under Apply on paper option).
- Select “Visa office instructions” and review the document listing the requirements.
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.
Main Application Form IMM 1294E
Make sure 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.
Here's some guidance on how to answer some of the questions on the form:
|Unique Client Identifier (UCI)||Type your UCI if known. Otherwise, leave it blank. If this is your first time applying to come to Canada, you will not have a UCI.|
|Personal details: Current country of residence status from (YYYY-MM-DD) to (YYYY-MM-DD)||The country or territory that you live in right now. If you are living in your country of citizenship, choose citizen as the status.|
|Language(s): Have you taken a test from a designated testing agency to assess your proficiency in English or French?||Yes or No. If you have completed an IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP, or another English/French language test, indicate yes.
If you completed an English/French language school program instead of an English/French test, indicate no.
|Passport: Number and country or territory of issue||This includes the number that appears on your passport issued by your country, and the country of issue is the same as your country of citizenship.
For example, if you are a citizen of China, but are getting your passport from the Chinese Consulate in Canada, China is your country of issue.
|Do you have a national identity document?||Yes or No. If you have been issued a national identity document from your home country, complete the information requested.|
|Contact information: Current mailing address and P.O. box||A P.O. box is Post Office Box. Please leave it blank if you do now have a Post Office Box.|
|Contact information: Residential address, the same as the mailing address?||If your mailing address is where you live, answer Yes.|
|Contact information: Telephone number||Choose cellular as the type.|
|Contact information: Email address||Make sure you check your email regularly, including junk mail. IRCC emails will end in @cic.gc.ca, @canada.ca, or @international.gc.ca.|
|Details of intended study in Canada: Complete address of the school in Canada||SAIT's address is 1301, 16 Avenue NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2M 0L4|
|Details of intended study in Canada: Designated learning institution number (#)||O18761749692 (this begins with a capital O letter, not a zero)|
|Details of intended study in Canada: Duration of expected study from (YYYY-MM-DD) to (YYYY-MM-DD)||In the "From" field, use the program start date on your Letter of Acceptance.
In the "To" field, use the date up to 90 days after your anticipated program completion date.
|Details of intended study in Canada: The cost of my studies will be (tuition/room and board/other)||Provide information on your first-year expenses in this section. The tuition amount can be found in your Letter of Acceptance.
You'll also need to provide the estimated cost of rent, food, textbooks, and transportation.
|Details of intended study in Canada: Funds available for my stay (CAD)||The amount should be a combination of your total available funds and matches the Proof of Funds you provide.
You must show you have enough funds to cover your first-year tuition fees and a minimum $10,000 CAD for living.
|Education: Have you had any post-secondary education (including university, college, or apprenticeship training)?||Answer yes if you are a transfer student or had post-secondary education before. Then enter your previous college or university study information here.
Answer no if you are coming to SAIT directly from secondary/high school.
|Employment: Current activity/occupation and previous activity/occupation||This section provides a clear picture of your past 10 years of activities.
For the current activity, use the month and year of your study permit application in the "To" date. Enter "student" as an activity and your school name as the employer if you are a student.
Fill out the form in chronological order, with the most recent job first. If you need more space, you can include more information in your Letter of Explanation.
Do not list any gap time between your activities/occupations.
Include any part-time and full-time jobs as well as any internships or practicums.
|Background information: Have you remained beyond the validity of your status, attended school without authorization, or worked without authorization in Canada?
Have you ever been refused a visa or permit, denied entry, or ordered to leave Canada or any other country?
Have you previously applied to enter or remain in Canada?
|You must provide honest answers to all the questions.
If you have previously applied to come to Canada, as a student, visitor, or worker, you need to disclose this no matter if the result was approved or rejected.
Provide dates and details/explanations if you have checked Yes to previously applying to enter or remain in Canada.
Family Information Form MM 5707
This form* is required if it’s included in your document checklist, or in 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.
Schedule 1: Application for Temporary Residency IMM 5257B
This form is usually included in the “Optional Documents” section of your checklist 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.
Once all your documents are ready, you can upload them into your application portal.
We provide some tips and demonstrate the uploading process.
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.
Immigration medical exam
You may be required to complete an immigration medical exam if:
- you have lived in a designated country or territory for more than six months in the past year, or,
- 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.
Apply for a study permit extension at least 30 days before your study permit expires, if you want to keep studying in Canada.
What to expect after you apply for your study permit
Once your study permit is approved, you’ll receive a Letter of Introduction from IRCC. Usually, the letter contains the date you need to travel by, which is also your study permit validity date.
You’ll need to bring a copy of this letter when you travel, and the border officer will issue you your study permit upon your entry.
Please note, for some students who come from a visa-required country, you might receive a passport request letter in your account first, and you will need to mail your passport to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) and get your visa stamped on your passport.
You can book your travel once you receive your Letter of Introduction. Please have the following documents prepared and bring them on board with you:
- Your Passport
- Letter of Introduction from IRCC
- Letter of Acceptance from SAIT
- Proof of funds
- Valid medical exam receipt (if applicable)
- English test result (if applicable)
Tips to avoid delays
- 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. 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. 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.
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 toward 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.
A scheduled break is a break from full-time studies (a nine or more credit course load per semester.)
Scheduled breaks at SAIT include:
- A break between academic semesters:
- The day after the last day of the semester until the day before the start of the next semester
- Reading break (Winter semester only)
- Scheduled semester break:
- One in Winter (January to April)
- One in Spring/Summer (May to August)
- One in Fall (September to December)
- You must remain enrolled full-time at SAIT in the term preceding the break and in the term following the break.
- This break typically transitions you from one year of study to the next.
During a scheduled semester break, you can choose to take no courses, a part-time course load (less than 9 credits), or a full-time course load (9 credits or more).
An example of a scheduled semester break:
|Winter semester (January - April)||Spring/Summer semester (May - August)||Fall semester (September - December)|
(minimum 9-course credit load)
(any course credit load)
(minimum 9-credit course load)
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada state each scheduled break should be no longer than 150 days. The maximum cumulative duration of scheduled breaks is 180 days per calendar year.
Students at SAIT usually take the third semester following their starting term as their scheduled semester break to align with the suggested program outline. For example:
- If you begin your program in the Fall semester (September), you will likely take the following Spring/Summer as your scheduled semester break.
- If you begin your program in the Winter semester (January), you would likely take the following Fall as your scheduled semester break.
- If you begin your program in the Spring/Summer semester (May), you will likely take the following Winter as your scheduled semester break.
Frequently asked questions
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.