How many years is a study visa in Canada?
A student visa or study permit is an official paper that the Canadian Government provides allowing international or non-Canadian students to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs). It is necessary to have a student visa in order to study in Canada and it must be obtained prior to coming to Canada.
If you are interested in applying for a student visa and want to have more information, visit: 'How to apply for a Canadian student visa?' in our Campus News section.
How many years can an international student stay in Canada under a study visa?
The student visa is valid for the duration of the study program, plus an extra 90 days in case you need to extend the study permit or arrange to leave Canada. There are different variations of the length of the study permit depending on the courses or program that is being taken:
If the student is taking prerequisite courses, which means that your institution is requesting you to take certain courses before starting with the main program. In this case, the student visa will be valid for the duration of those courses, as well as one extra year. After, when the institution authorizes your admission to the main program, you will have to apply for an extension of the study permit.
If the student completes their studies after the study permit expires, which means it was not possible to finish your studies before the expiration date on the study permit, then you will have to apply to extend the study permit. Otherwise, you will have to discontinue studying and leave the country.
If the student completes their studies before the study permit expires, the study permit will stop being valid 90 days after completing your studies, regardless of the expiration date that the study permit has. The institution you are enrolled with will send a notification through degree, diploma, letter of completion, etc., to the Canadian Government.
For more information about the duration of the student visa, please go to the Study Permit section on the Canadian government website.
What happens if the student visa expires? Is it necessary to leave Canada even if the person applied for a new permit?
You can stay in Canada as a temporary resident until the Canadian government makes a decision on the new permit application, provided that the extension for the application was submitted before the end of your authorized stay.
If the student visa expires you have various options, either renew the student visa, apply for a different kind of permit (such as work permit, residence, PGWP) or leave Canada.
If you apply to renew or extend the student visa, then you can stay in Canada, continue with your studies following the conditions of the original student visa until the Canadian government decides on your application.
If you apply for a different kind of permit (work permit, residence, PGWP, etc.), you have to terminate any doings declared on the original student visa once it expires. For instance, if you came as a student under a study permit, but you applied for a work permit you have to stop studying and wait until receiving a response on the application of your new permit.
For more information, please go to extend or restore your status section on the Canadian government website.
Can an international student stay after graduation?
If the person wants to remain in Canada, the Canadian government offers the option of a post-graduate work permit (PGWP) which allows international students to continue in Canada working for up to three years after graduation. After the first year of working full-time, the person is eligible to apply for permanent residency.
In order to apply for the post-graduate work permit, you have to demonstrate that you comply with all the conditions while being under the study permit. In other words, your principal activity during the time in Canada under the student visa should have been studying. Also, the duration of the PGWP is usually the same as the duration of the study program.
For more information, please go to the post-graduate work permit section on the Canadian government website.