A Guide for
Coming to Canada
Your decision to
study in Canada
is an important one. You will need as much information as possible and at
least six months to plan and prepare for your move.
Primary and secondary
If you or your
dependants want to upgrade your education before applying to a
post-secondary school, make sure the courses you take will allow you to
register at the post-secondary school you choose.
standards are set individually by each province. If you want to go to a
primary or secondary school, you can get information on provincial
standards by writing to the Department of Education in the provincial
capital. If you have any questions, you may also write to one of the
organizations listed in this pamphlet.
university, university college, technical school or community college sets
its own requirements. The registrars of these schools can provide
- tuition fees,
- health insurance,
- lodging and living
Before you enroll in a
private institution, please check with Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(CIC) officials in your country to ensure that the institution meets
Canadian requirements or the rules of the province where the institution
Here is the Internet
address for CIC offices abroad: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/info/emission.html
student in Canada has to pay tuition fees. The fees vary from school to
school and from year to year. The registrar will help you determine the
Canada has two
official languages: English and French. You will need to know one or the
other to follow course lectures and reading assignments. Some
post-secondary schools might ask you to take a language test. They may
charge a fee for this test which you will have to pay yourself.
are set by each school. School registrars can give you information on
Medical, hospital and
dental care in Canada can be expensive. As a foreign student, you are not
insured for these expenses by the Canadian federal government. The school
you attend may provide health insurance for foreign students, but be sure
to ask when you are writing for information. If the insurance provided by
the school does not meet your needs, you should make your own arrangements
before leaving home. Certain provinces (British Columbia, Alberta and
Saskatchewan) cover foreign students under their health-care plans or
offer group insurance to educational institutions.
Once you have decided
on the courses you want to take, officials at the school where you apply
will tell you if you qualify. If you are accepted, you will receive a
letter of acceptance from the registrar, the school board or the school
To be acceptable to
CIC officials, the letter should
- be completed by
the educational institution,
- be the original,
not a photocopy, and
- include the
institution's letterhead, full mailing address, telephone and fax
numbers and, if available, e-mail and Web site addresses.
Some information may
not be applicable or may not be known at the time of the application. If
the information is not applicable, N/A should be indicated. If the
information is not known, N/K should be indicated.
In order to
streamline processing, a standardized "Letter of Acceptance" has been
posted on our Web site at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdffiles/pub/acclet-e.pdf
for use by educational institutions. Educational institutions are invited
to download the letter and to import their respective letterhead into the
Keep this letter to
apply for your student authorization at the CIC office abroad and to show
to immigration officials when you arrive in Canada.
If you have any
questions about the letter of acceptance or the student authorization, you
should write to the CIC office in your country.
Studying in the province
If you wish to attend
a school in the province of Quebec, you will have to apply for a Certificat d'acceptation du Québec
(Quebec certificate of
acceptance, or CAQ). Please note that for students destined for an
educational institution in the province of Quebec, obtaining a CAQ is a
necessary prerequisite for the issuance of a student authorization. In
order to reduce delays, the application process can be started
simultaneously by the closest CIC office and Quebec Immigration. There may
be a Quebec office in your country where you can go for information.
institution can give you all the necessary information about the
procedures that apply in Quebec.
Before you apply for
your student authorization or visitor visa, you must have
- a valid passport,
- a letter of
acceptance from a Canadian school,
- proof that you
have enough money to support yourself and your dependants for your
entire stay in Canada,
- a letter from your
sponsoring organization if you are being sponsored, and
- a medical
clearance, if required.
You must be able to
prove you can support yourself and your dependants before a student
authorization can be issued. A letter from your bank, a bank draft or a
letter from your source of funding will show CIC officials that you can
afford to pay your expenses and, if necessary, the expenses of your spouse
and dependants, while you are in Canada.
include post-secondary tuition, food, clothing, shelter, books,
transportation, medical insurance, entertainment, personal or family needs
and return trips home. The winters in Canada can be cold, so include warm
clothing when calculating your living costs.
The cost of living in
Canada varies from province to province. CIC officials in your country
will tell you approximately what it will cost to live in the province
where you will be attending school.
To be accepted by CIC
officials, you must prove you are a responsible person and that you have
no criminal record. You may be asked to provide evidence of this through
your local authorities.
You must be in good
health. You may be asked for a medical certificate if you have been living
in a country with a high health risk.
will tell you what you need when you make your application.
Once you have all the
letters and documents required, you may apply for your student
authorization. Normally, you will have to apply at the nearest CIC office
Citizens or permanent
residents of the United States, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Greenland may
apply for authorizations at any Canadian port of entry. Wherever you
apply, the requirements are the same.
authorization allows you to study in Canada. Keep it with your passport.
Your student authorization may specify terms and conditions that govern
your stay in Canada. For example, the duration of your studies, the name
of the institution or the level of studies you are allowed to undertake.
Please read these carefully. If you do not understand its contents, talk
to CIC officials.
Unless there are
special circumstances, your student authorization for post-secondary study
should be valid for the duration of your course of studies.
Arrival in Canada
Once you have all
your papers and have arrived in Canada, you must show CIC officials the
- your student
authorization (form IMM 1208),
- a valid passport,
- a valid visitor
visa if required, and
- any letters or
papers used to obtain your student authorization.
If any documents
are missing or incorrect, you could be refused admission to Canada.
Passports and visas
permanent residents of the United States, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and
Greenland do not need a passport or a visitor visa to enter Canada. If you
are coming from anywhere else, you will need a passport and possibly a
visa as well. Please refer to our Web site for the list of countries whose
nationals need a visa to come to Canada: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas_e.html
If you do not have
access to the Internet, CIC officials in your country will inform you
whether you need a visa before you leave home. The Canadian visitor visa
is affixed to a page of your passport. It shows the date by which you must
arrive in Canada, and whether it is valid for one or more entries to
When you arrive in
Canada, you must show your passport and, if applicable, your visa to CIC
officials. The passport will be stamped with the date on which you must
leave Canada. Please ensure that the period allowed covers your whole
stay. If you require an extension of your student authorization, contact
the CIC Call Centre to obtain an application kit. Do not stay beyond the
date stamped on your passport. If there is something you don't understand,
immigration officers will be happy to help you.
If you want to renew
your passport while you are in Canada, contact your embassy or consulate
at least two months before your passport expires. You may wish to keep a
photocopy of your passport, visitor visa, most recent immigration stamp
and student authorization for your own records. Make sure that your
passport will allow you to return home or travel to another country if you
Canada Customs and
As a foreign student
studying in Canada, you are eligible for certain customs benefits,
including the temporary importation into Canada of your household and
personal effects. A number of conditions apply, so before coming to Canada
you should refer to the booklet Entering Canada to Study or to Work. This is available from the Canadian consulate or embassy in your
country, or by contacting
Canada Customs and
Customs and Excise
Working in Canada
Foreign students may
be allowed to work while attending school. But jobs may be difficult to
find in Canada, so you should not count on getting one.
You may be allowed to
work if you meet one of the following requirements:
- you want to work
as a graduate assistant;
- your employment is
part of a course of study, such as a work term during the year, as in
- you want to work
on campus; or
- you want to work
after graduation in a study-related job for up to one year.
Your spouse may also
be allowed to apply for an employment authorization. A CIC official can
give you details on working in Canada as a foreign student.
If you work without
an employment authorization, you may be in violation of the Immigration
Act, and you may be required to leave Canada.
Fees for immigration
CIC charges a fee to
process your application. Please refer to the brochure entitled Fee
Schedule for Citizenship and Immigration Services, consult a CIC
official for information or visit our Internet site at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/info/fees-e.html
If your circumstances
If anything about
your studies, funding or documentation changes, you must immediately
contact the CIC Call Centre. Contact the Call Centre if
- your course is
longer than you expected,
- you finish your
studies before the course has ended, or
- you wish to change
any terms and conditions noted on your student authorization.
Other questions about
your stay in Canada can also be answered by CIC Call Centre officials. If
you do not report your changed circumstances to CIC, you might be asked to
Telephone numbers for the
If you are in the
local calling area of:
call (514) 496-1010
call (416) 973-4444
call (604) 666-2171
If you are anywhere
else in Canada, call toll-free 1-888-242-2100.
For more information
For more information
on educational options and requirements, contact one of the following
Canadian Bureau for
220 Laurier Avenue West, Suite
Canada K1P 5Z9
Fax: (613) 237-1073
Universities and Colleges of Canada
350 Albert Street, Suite
Canada K1R 1B1
Tel.: (613) 563-3961
other non-degree courses
Canadian Community Colleges
110 Eglinton Avenue West, 2nd
Canada M4R 1A3
Fax: (416) 489-5080
Association of Career Colleges
P.O. Box 340
301 Fairview Drive,
Canada N3T 5N3
Fax: (519) 753-4712
Information Centre for International Credentials
252 Bloor Street
West, Suite 5-200
Canada M5S 1V5
Fax: (416) 964-2296
The admission of
foreign students to Canada is regulated by the federal government, but
your admission may be affected by educational or other policies in the
province where you want to study. Ask a visa officer for more details.
For more information,
contact the CIC Call Centre in Canada or a CIC office abroad.
This is not a legal document. For precise legal
information, consult the Immigration Act and the Immigration