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For information related to Study Permits and Visa changes in response to COVID-19, please see our COVID-19 FAQs
Book an appointment with one of our International Student Advisors and explore other ways to stay connected and ask questions on our remote services website,
All international students who wish to pursue a program of study of at least 6 months in length at Western University must hold a valid study permit that authorizes studies at the post-secondary level at any Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada, such as Western University or its affiliates (King’s University College, Huron University College or Brescia University College. See below if your program of study is less than 6 months in length.
DLI Numbers for Western University and its affiliates
International students are responsible for applying for their initial study permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Please visit the IRCC website for further information, document requirements and application instructions.
Your current country of residence and status in that country will determine whether you apply online, by paper through a Canadian Visa Application Centre, or upon entry into Canada. Please note that only citizens of the USA and St. Pierre and Miquelon may apply for a study permit upon entry into Canada.
Some international students can get their study permits faster by using the Student Direct Stream.
When to apply?
Apply early! Apply for your study permit as soon as you receive your Letter of Acceptance. It can take several weeks or months for IRCC to process your application.
You will need a Letter of Acceptance from Western University before you apply for your study permit from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Visit IRCC for current up-to-date processing times in your area.
Note: You may not begin your studies at Western University until you have received a study permit that authorizes post-secondary studies at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.
If you are currently in Canada and hold a study permit, ensure that it authorizes study at the postsecondary level, at any Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.
If your study permit authorizes elementary or secondary studies only (primary school or high school), you must apply for a change of conditions on your study permit before you can begin your studies at Western University. This is like applying for a study permit extension.
If you are currently in Canada and hold visitor status, you may only apply for a study permit from within Canada if you entered Canada as a short-term studies student. Otherwise, you must submit an application to a visa office outside of Canada.
View our Study Permit Extension powerpoint presentation for more details.
International students who will be attending Western University for a short-term program of under 6 months in duration such as a one-term exchange, may enter Canada as a visitor for the purpose of short-term studies. Please note that if you plan on using that course/program as a prerequisite for a subsequent program of study (e.g., English as a Second Language), you must apply for a study permit.
Students who wish to conduct research only, under the supervision of a host faculty member at Western University, please visit the Visiting Research Only students sections. Research students are responsible for securing their own host supervisor abroad in a research area that aligns with their program.
Please carefully read the instructions provided by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and follow the Document Checklists provided on their website and by their regional visa offices.
Generally, you will be required to provide the following documents in addition to the application form(s):
- Passport or Travel Document
*Note: A study permit cannot be issued for longer than the duration of your passport validity. If your passport will expire during your studies in Canada, it is your responsibility to renew it as soon as possible and apply for a study permit extension before your study permit expires.
- Letter of Acceptance from Western University
Visit your Student Center account online to download your Letter of Acceptance. This letter is not the Offer of Admission letter. (Your browser settings must allow pop-up windows).
- Proof of means of financial support
You must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover the costs of upcoming year’s tuition fees plus living expenses (for you and your family members if accompanying you to Canada) for a year. Please note that this is the minimum financial requirement to apply. You are expected to have sufficient funds or make arrangements for sufficient funds to be transferred to you for the duration of your studies. We DO NOT recommend relying upon employment in Canada to prove your financial status as this is not guaranteed and may not provide sufficient income to meet the minimum requirements.
Further information about required documents.
- Visa photos (digital if applying online)
- Biometrics (fingerprints and photograph)
You will be asked to go to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) abroad or a Biometrics Centre in Canada.
Find out more about providing your biometrics.
- Study Plan
It is recommended that graduate students provide a letter of explanation about why they have chosen a program at Western University (academic reasons), and how the program is related to any past education and/or future career goals. Undergraduate students may also wish or be required to provide a Study Plan.
- Depending on your country of residency, you may also be asked to provide:
- An immigration medical exam that has been performed by a Panel Physician who has been approved to conduct immigration medical examinations
- Specific documents to prove financial support
- A police certificate
- Any additional documents as requested by the responsible visa office
- Fee payment
"Minor children who are less than 17 years of age and come to Canada to study without a parent or legal guardian must be cared for by a responsible adult in Canada. This person is known as a custodian. A notarized custodianship declaration, such as the form Custodianship Declaration - Custodian for Minors Studying in Canada (IMM 5646) (PDF, 1 MB), must be completed by the parents or legal guardians in the country of origin and by the custodian in Canada.
Minor children between 17 years of age and the age of majority in the province or territory (18 or 19 years old) where they intend to study, may need a custodian at the discretion of an immigration officer."1
It is the responsibility of the student's family to satisfy this requirement. Western University is not able to serve as a custodian.
See IRCC's information on minor children studying in Canada.
Spouses and children of international students may apply to accompany the international student to Canada during their studies. Further information.
You have lost your status if you are still in Canada and:
- The expiry date of your permit passed before you had applied for
- a new study permit
- a work permit, or
- to stay in Canada as a visitor
- You didn’t respect the conditions of your permit
In some cases, you may apply to restore your status as a student. To apply, you must:
- Submit your application within 90 days of losing your status
- Clearly and completely explain how you lost your status
- Pay your fees
- Restoration ($200) and
- Study permit ($150)
NOTE:You may stay in Canada while we make a decision on your application. But, you aren’t allowed to study until your status has been restored. The application for restoration does not guarantee restoration of student status.
Once your study permit is approved by IRCC, you will receive a Letter of Introduction to confirm the decision. This is not your study permit. You will need to present this letter to an immigration official upon entry into Canada and your study permit will be printed and issued to you upon arrival.
- If you are a national of a country that requires a visa to travel to Canada, you will be asked to provide your passport for visa issuance during application processing.
- If you are a national of a country that does not require a visa to travel to Canada (visa-exempt), an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will be automatically issued and this is linked to your current passport.
The Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA for visa-exempt nationals) allow you to travel to and enter Canada.
If you are applying for a study permit extension from within Canada, the study permit will be mailed to your Canadian mailing address. If you also need a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for travel and re-entry into Canada during your studies, you can apply for a TRV separately through the Case Processing Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.
What a Study Permit Authorizes
The study permit authorizes your stay in Canada, student activities, and in some cases, employment.
For more information about preparing for your arrival in Canada and what to expect when you enter Canada, please visit IRCC’s information on “Prepare for Arrival”.
Your responsibilities as an International Student in Canada
International students in Canada are required to:
- Ensure that their study permit remains valid. Don’t let it expire! Apply for an extension at least 2-3 months before it expires.
- Actively pursue your studies (remain enrolled, attend classes, and make reasonable and timely progress towards completing your degree).
- Notify IRCC if you transfer institutions – you must notify IRCC if you change Designated Learning Institutions. You can do this through your GCKey account online with IRCC.
- Comply with the conditions on your study permit.