Dal Alert!

Receive alerts from Dalhousie by text message.

X

Studying in Canada


International students, who wish to study at Dalhousie University for more than six months must have a valid Study Permit that will allow them to study at a post-secondary institution in Canada.

Students should not begin their studies at Dalhousie without a valid Study Permit.

Visas and permits needed to study in Canada

Overview & definitions

 

TYPE OF PERMIT WHO NEEDS IT AND WHY YOU NEED IT
Study permit (also known as "First Time Study Permit") If you are an international student, you require a valid study permit to study in Canada. The only exception: if you are accepted in a program that is less than six months (e.g. one term exchange students) and you will complete the program by the end of your original stay in Canada, you do not need a study permit. If you are in a mandatory co-op program, you require a co-op work permit
Study Permit extension Extends your stay in Canada as a student in order to complete your academic program. You must extend your permit before it expires; at least 2-3 months before your current permit expires. 
Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) Used only for entry into Canada. Only citizens of certain countries require a TRV. It is recommended that you maintain a valid TRV for the duration of your studies, but it is not mandatory while you are inside Canada. Learn more about a TRV.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Required for visa-exempt foreign nationals to fly to or transit through Canada. Find out if you need an eTA.

Exceptions include U.S. citizens, and travellers with a valid Canadian visa.

Passport

All students need a passport issued by the government of your country of citizenship, certifying your identity. It is used when travelling to and from foreign countries.

Must be valid for the duration of your time in Canada. Must be extended or renewed 6 months before expiration date. 

 

What type of permits do you need?

New students who want to study at Dalhousie

As an international student, there are number of documents you need to study in Canada. You are responsible for maintaining your immigration status and obeying immigration regulations while you are here.

International students must apply for a Study Permit and possibly a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to enter and study in Canada.

More information and how to apply for the documentation you need to study in Canada

Study Permit

A study permit gives students permission to study in Canada for longer than six months. To apply for a study permit you will need to contact the nearest Canadian Visa Office with the following pieces of information:

  • A valid passport
  • Your letter of acceptance to Dalhousie or University of King's College
  • Proof or statement of adequate funds to live and study in Canada
  • Letter from your sponsoring agency (if applicable)
  • The $150 CAD processing fee
  • Other documents may be required: refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada ( IRCC) website and the Canadian Visa Office for more information 

Please Note:  To apply for a study permit, you will need to identify the university by its designated learning institution number (DLI) on the study permit application form. Please use the follow appropriate designated learning number:

  • Dalhousie University (includes Agricultural Campus): O19209939282
  • Dalhousie University ESL Programs: O19091594822
  • University of King’s College: O19391556768

United States citizens and permanent residents can apply for a study permit at any port of entry into Canada. You will need the information noted above.

If you attended high school in Canada on a "secondary school" study permit, you must update your permit to a "post-secondary" study permit. To update your study permit you must complete an application to "Change Conditions and Extend your Stay in Canada as a Student."

Students bringing family members need to ensure their family members have all the required immigration documents.

Getting your permit at the airport

When you are given your permit at Canadian Border Services at the airport, it is important that you review your study permit.

Make sure your first name, last name, gender and date of birth are correct on your study permit. If they are incorrect, this is your opportunity to politely ask the Immigration Officer to make corrections.  

Make sure that your study permit has the following work conditions printed on it:
"May work 20 hrs off-campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR". 

If your permit does not have this written on it, you can ask the Immigration Officer to issue you a permit with those conditions. If you do not have these conditions on your permit when you leave the airport, you will not be able to work as a teaching assistant, research assistant, or in any part time job.

Temporary Resident Visa

Citizens and permanent residents of designated countries will require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). The TRV allows you to enter Canada as a temporary resident. It is placed in your passport.

Please visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada ( IRCC) website for an application guide, fees, and the necessary forms.

You can apply for the Temporary Resident Visa (Visitor Visa) at the same time you apply for the study permit, at an extra cost of $100 CAD.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals entering Canada by air. 

Do I need an eTA?
To view the list of countries whose citizens require an eTA, please visit Canada.ca/eTA

Citizens of my country need an eTA. How should I apply?
If you apply for a study permit on or after August 1st 2015, you will automatically be issued an eTA along with your permit.

How long will my eTA be valid?
You eTA will be vaild for up to 5 years or until the expiry of your passport (whichever comes first)

You can verify the status and expiration of your eTA by using the Check eTA status tool. To do this, you will need the eTA number noted on the email confirmation and details from the passport you used to apply for your eTA.

Custodian for Minors in Canada

If you are a minor (less than 19 years old), your study permit application package may require you to have a custodian.  Please refer to the table below for what to do:

  Ages 18-17 Ages 16 and under
Custodian Requirement

Discretionary

As of September 15, 2011, the custodianship requirement became discretionary for students between 17 years of age and the age of majority in the Canadian province or territory where they intend to study. In Nova Scotia, the age of majority is 19 years of age.

Mandatory

Dalhousie University unfortunately does not act as a custodian for any international students

If you do not have any relatives or close friends in Canada who could act as your custodian, it is best to arrange for a homestay.

Housing Arrangements

We recommend that you live in a Dalhousie residence.

Living in residence offers an ideal living environment with comprehensive support facilities that may look favorably to a visa officer when assessing an application.

We recommend that you live with your custodian or in a homestay
Documents to support your study permit application

Apply to residence

Pay the application fee

If your application is accepted you will receive written confirmation from the Residence Office that you have been guaranteed a space in residence. 

Use the Residence Office letter and include it in your study permit application.

Custodianship Declcaration (IRCC)

Homestay Agreement

Application tips

Apply Early
Once you have received an acceptance letter from Dalhousie University and secured financial assistance, begin the process of applying for your study permit and or visa immediately. Processing times can take several months.

Applying to “study”
The primary focus of your application is your intent to study in Canada. It is not recommended to mention other long-term interests.

Keep a copy of your medical/police certificate
You may need a medical exam and submit a police record as part of your application. Keep a copy of the medical certificate or record. You may need it for future immigration applications. Bring these certificates/records with you when you travel to Canada.

Keep your Study Permit/Visa Application Number 
If you transfer to another university or college in Canada you will need to know your application number.

Bring the letter from the visa office with you
The Canadian visa office will issue a letter confirming the approval (included in the package sent back to you). This letter is not your Study Permit. Show this letter to immigration officials when you enter Canada. You will then be issued a Study Permit.

 

Current students who want to extend or renew their study permit

Current students who want to travel outside of Canada

Graduating student who would like to stay in Canada

New student visiting Dal on an exchange or study abroad program

Study Permit

In order to study in Canada for more than six months, you must apply for a Study Permit at the nearest Canadian visa office in your home country.

In addition to the study permit, you may be also required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) which gives students permission to enter Canada. It is only required for citizens of certain nationalities. Please check the list of countries and territories whose citizens require an entry visa.

If you are studying in Canada for less than 6 months AND choose not to apply for a study permit you will have to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Many students who plan to study in Canada for less than six (6) months do not apply for study permits,  they simply apply for a visa or an eTA. But we encourage all visiting students to apply for a study permit for the following reasons:

  • It allows you to work part-time in Canada.  A part-time job can be a great source of income while abroad.
  • It is easy to extend if you want to stay in Canada longer.  Some students love it here so much they want to stay longer.  This could be you! It is much easier and less expensive to apply for a study permit before you begin studying in Canada, than after.
  • It allows you to access cell phone plans and other utilities much easier.  If you are simply a visitor to Canada you may not have access to alot of great utility plans and other business options that students with study permits can take advantage of. 

Study Permit

A study permit gives students permission to undertake academic study in Canada and is required for students in programs that are longer than six months in duration. However, CIC recommends that "even if you do not need a study permit, it is a good idea to apply for a permit before you come to Canada." In addition, having a study permit will allow you to work on campus if you wish to do so. For detailed information on the study permit application process and the documents required, please visit the IRCC website

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

To apply for a temporary resident visa, visit the Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada website to access the application form, an application guide, costs, and further instructions on how to apply. Applications for TRVs must be processed outside of Canada. You must also consult the Canadian Visa Office serving your country or region of residence as each office may have its own requirements.

When applying for a study permit and/or TRV, processing time can take several months, therefore apply early. To know how long it will take for your application to be processed, visit the CIC website for current application processing times.

 

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Citizens of my country need an eTA. How should I apply?

Step 1: Gather supporting documents:
    Valid passport
    Credit card
    Email address (that you regularly review)

Step 2: Got to Canada.ca/eTA and click on Apply online for an eTA

Step 3: Answer the eligibility questionnaire. Answer all the questions that follow.  

Step 4: Pay the eTA application fee of $7 CAD online with a credit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express).  Please do not forget to print a receipt.

Note: If you apply for a study permit on or after August 1st 2015, you will automatically be issued an eTA along with your permit.

When should I apply?
Apply for an eTA a month in advance of the date you plan on travelling to Canada.

How long will my eTA be valid?
You eTA will be vaild for up to 5 years or until the expiry of your passport (whichever comes first)

You can verify the status and expiration of your eTA by using the Check eTA status tool. To do this, you will need the eTA number noted on the email confirmation and details from the passport you used to apply for your eTA.

Tips for your application


Apply Early

Once you have received an acceptance letter from Dalhousie University and secured financial assistance, you should begin the process of applying for your study permit and or visa immediately. Processing times can take several months.

Applying to “Study”

The primary focus of your application is your intent to study in Canada. Do not recommend mentioning other long term interests.

Keep yor medical receipt/certificate

You may be required to do a medical exam as part of your application. Keep a copy of the medical reciept/certifcate. You may need it for future immigration applications. Bring this receipt with you when you travel to Canada.

Bring the letter from visa office with you

The Canadian visa office will issue a letter confirming the approval (included in the package sent back to you). This letter is not your Study Permit. Show this letter to immigration officials when you enter Canada. You will then be issued a Study Permit.

 

Your responsibilities as a student

Actively pursue your studies

As of June 1, 2014, all study permit holders in Canada will need to actively pursue studies. This means that:

  • if you hold a study permit, you must remain enrolled and make reasonable and timely progress towards completing your program; and
  • failing to do so could lead to your removal from Canada.”1

Educational institutions "will report to IRCC on your continued enrolment and academic status. You may also be asked by an immigration officer to provide evidence of your continued enrolment and academic status."2

View important information on the requirement to actively pursue your studies, how this will be monitored, and exemptions from this requirement.

If you transfer to another institution

"If you apply for a study permit on or after June 1, 2014, you must notify IRCC via your MyCIC account when you are transferring from one designated learning institution to another, even if it is at the same level of study.

If you are thinking about changing your institution or your program, you need to ensure that you continue to meet the conditions of your study permit, as well as the conditions that allow you to work, should you wish to work during your studies."3

To ensure the validity of your Study Permit

Under new Regulations effective from June 1, 2014, “your study permit will become invalid 90 days after you have completed your study program. If you switch to a shorter-term program or finish your studies early, your study permit will expire 90 days after your study program has been completed. Your program is considered complete when you receive written notification of program completion (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from your institution or once you obtain your degree, diploma or certificate. This does not apply to you if your study permit application was received before June 1, 2014, or if you were issued a study permit before June 1, 2014.”4

If you experience or intend to change your academic status, there may be implications to your immigration status in Canada. Please contact the International Centre to meet with an International Student Advisor.

NEED HELP?

Meet with an International Student Advisor

  • Email international.centre@dal.ca. Please include your student number (B00) in the subject line and in the body of the email, include your name, your citizenship(s), Permit/Visa expiration dates (if applicable) and if you are currently in Canada (YES or NO).
  • Book an appointment via MyDal under "Find a service"
  • Or drop by one of our locations across campus.