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VCC International

What is a Study Permit

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires foreign nationals to obtain a study permit to study for more than 6 months at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada, such as VCC. VCC’s DLI number is O19279717512 (the first character is the letter ‘O’). VCC’s DLI number is on all letters issued by VCC International Education.

A study permit is not an entry visa. The study permit allows an international student to stay in Canada for the authorized period indicated in their document. Depending on their nationality, international students may still need a visa to enter Canada - eTA and TRV. When foreign nationals apply for an initial study permit from outside Canada, IRCC will usually issue a study permit approval and a visa to enter Canada altogether (if applicable).

At VCC, a study permit is required to study in one of our full-time programs available for international students.  Temporary residents who are interested in studying in a part-time Continuing Studies course/program can refer to our Temporary Residents Registering in Continuing Studies Part-Time Courses page.


The study permit approval letter is officially called the port of entry (POE) letter of introduction. It can also be called a POE letter, correspondence letter, introduction letter or introductory letter.

The POE letter is not your study permit. However, it is the document that proves your study permit application is approved and one of the documents that you need to provide to the CBSA officer while entering Canada. If your entry into Canada is approved, the CBSA officer will issue you your study permit and your co-op (practicum) work permit (if applicable).


International students are responsible for maintaining valid immigration status and following IRCC regulations while studying in Canada. As a study permit holder, you must comply with your study permit conditions in Canada. If an international student is not compliant with their study permit conditions, they may lose their student status and study permit. They may also be required to leave Canada.

At VCC, to actively pursue studies, an international student must:

  • be enrolled with full-time academic status, with exception of the final semester, depending on the program
  • be on a scheduled break in your program (if applicable)

Please visit How to Maintain a Valid Immigration Status in Canada to learn more.


VCC requires international students accepted into a program to submit their study permit or study permit approval (port of entry POE letter of introduction) by the study permit deadline.

After you arrive in Canada, please send to ieadmissions@vcc.ca (include your VCC ID, full name, and program of study in the email):

  • A copy of your study permit (or study permit extension document)
  • A copy of your co-op work permit (if applicable)

If you extended your study permit while studying at VCC, please email your updated study permit and co-op work permit (if applicable) to ieadmissions@vcc.ca.

 

 

How to Apply for a Study Permit

International students can apply for a study permit from inside (if eligible) or outside Canada. Usually, you must apply for your first study permit before coming to Canada. Some international students, such as Citizens of the United States, may be able to apply for a study permit at the Canadian port of entry. Ensure you have the right documents, including proof of financial support and enough time to apply for a study permit before starting your program.

Apply from outside Canada

You can apply for a Study Permit from outside Canada:

We encourage you to review Guide 5269 - Applying for a Study Permit outside Canada for instructions.


If you will apply for your study permit from outside Canada, it is strongly recommended that you also submit your co-op work permit application if your program requires practicum experience, at the same time by using your VCC LOO (Letter of Offer) or LOA (Letter of Acceptance). If your program requires practicum work experience, your VCC letter will have all the necessary information about this practicum component.

Once you apply for a study permit and indicate that you would like to ‘study’ while indicating that you are currently outside Canada, the system will understand that you want to come to Canada as a student (study permit). The system will ask if ‘work is an essential component of your studies’. Please answer ‘yes’ only if your program requires practicum experience.

After answering all the questions from the online wizard, you will be provided with a personalized document checklist. The checklist will require you to upload your ‘Letter of Acceptance’ and ‘Evidence of Work Requirement in Study’. Please upload your VCC LOO (Letter of Offer) or LOA (Letter of Acceptance) on both sections.

Once your application is approved, your port of entry (POE) letter of introduction will contain the information about your study permit and co-op work permit (if applicable). Once you present the POE letter to the CBSA officer upon entry into Canada, they may issue your study permit and co-op work permit documents (if applicable) at the same time. Before leaving, carefully review the documents to verify if all information is correct.

Student Direct Stream

If you are a legal resident living in one of the following countries, you may be able to get your study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream (SDS): Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam. International students applying through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) must submit an online application.

Please refer to the International Tuition Estimate & Deposit Amounts page for first-year estimated fees.


If you apply for a study permit on paper, read the instruction guide based on the country you are submitting your study permit application from. Once you select the country from where you are submitting your application, the system will generate a list of documents and forms you need to submit. Then, submit your completed application with all required documents and the fee receipt to the address given in the application package.

Apply from inside Canada

You may apply for a Study Permit from inside Canada.


Usually, you must apply for your first study permit before coming to Canada. Only some foreign nationals may be eligible to apply for a new study permit from inside Canada. Those foreign nationals must meet the criteria to apply after entry, as per IRPR section R215. Please visit Study permits: Making an application to learn more.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may apply for a new study permit from inside Canada. Once at the Study permit: How to apply page, scroll down to ‘Get specific instructions on how to apply’ and select ‘inside Canada’. Read and ensure you meet the criteria to apply from inside Canada and click ‘yes’. Then, the system will generate the instructions for you to submit your application.

We encourage you to review Guide 5552 - Applying to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada for instructions.


International students are responsible for always maintaining a valid status in Canada. If your study permit expires before you complete your program of studies, you must apply to extend your study permit before its expiry date if you want to keep studying and have maintained status in Canada. It is recommended that you apply to extend your study permit at least 3 months before its expiry date. Please request a VCC study permit extension letter for this application and select ‘yes’ to the co-op work permit question only if your program requires practicum experience.

Once you apply to extend your study permit and indicate that you would like to ‘study’ and that your current immigration status in Canada is ‘student’, the system will understand that you want to apply for a study permit (in Canada). The system will ask if ‘you also want to apply for a work permit’. Please answer ‘yes’ only if your program requires practicum experience.

After answering all the questions from the wizard, you will be provided with a personalized document checklist. The checklist will require you to upload your ‘Letter of Acceptance (Letter of Enrolment/Registration)’ and a ‘Co-op Letter’ (if applicable). Please upload the VCC Study Permit Extension Letter and Co-op Work Permit Letter (if applicable) accordingly.

Once your application is approved, you will receive a pdf letter in your IRCC secure account to indicate that the original documents will be mailed to your provided address. Make sure your address is correct once submitting your application.

Please review the following documents for instructions on how to submit a study permit extension application online from inside Canada:

Apply at the Port of Entry

Usually, you must apply for your first study permit before coming to Canada. However, some international students, such as Citizens of the United States, may be able to apply for a study permit at the Canadian port of entry. Those foreign nationals must meet the criteria to apply on entry as per IRPR section R214. Please visit Study permits: Making an application to learn more.


If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may apply for a new study permit at the port of entry. Follow the instructions as if you were submitting a paper application. Read the instruction guide based on your country for a complete list of required documents. Ensure you have all necessary documents to provide to the CBSA officer at the port of entry.

You’ll meet a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer when you arrive in Canada. The officer will:

  • ask to see your passport or travel documents,
  • check if your medical exam is valid (if you need one),
  • ask you a few questions, and
  • verify if you meet the eligibility requirement to apply for a study permit at the port of entry.

Please note that entry to Canada is at the discretion of a CBSA officer. The CBSA officer will review all your supporting documents and decide whether you can enter Canada at your port of entry. In addition, they must be satisfied that you meet the requirements to enter Canada and that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.

 

 

Important Considerations

Review the following important considerations related to the study permit.


Do not let your study permit expire while you are studying. Check your study permit expiry date and extend if needed. Ensure your passport is valid to allow the extension of your status in Canada.

A study permit is usually valid for the length of your program of studies, plus an extra 90 days. A study permit becomes invalid in two ways:

  • Based on the expiry date written on the study permit, OR
  • 90 days after written confirmation of program completion

When international students apply to extend their study permit from inside Canada before it expires, they maintained status in Canada, regardless of IRCC processing times. Maintained status allows international students to continue their studies and work (if applicable) until a decision is made on the new application.

Note that if you do not apply to extend your study permit before it expires, you are out of status and must stop studying. You may apply for restoration of status (within 90 days of losing it) and return to your program of studies only after your new application for restoration is approved. If this applies to you, please email ieservices@vcc.ca to book an appointment so that we can assist you.


If you submit a study permit application to IRCC and you decide to change your designated learning institution (DLI) before coming to Canada, you need to inform IRCC of this change.

  • If your application is still in progress, you need to submit your new Letter of Acceptance (LOA) using the IRCC webform.
  • If your application is already approved, you will need to submit a new study permit application with a Letter of Acceptance (LOA).

If you have a valid study permit from a different designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada and change your school to VCC, please remember to change your post-secondary school in your account.

Ensure you have your previous DLI Letter of Acceptance (LOA) and VCC Letter of Acceptance (LOA) to submit your request online. The dates indicated on the form need to match the dates on those letters; otherwise, your request won’t go through.

If your VCC program requires practicum experience, you will need to apply for a co-op work permit. This means your co-op work permit will have “Vancouver Community College” as your employer.


When you move to the next education level (for example, moving from a high school to post-secondary) and your study permit is still valid, you can apply to extend your study permit.

If you graduate from high school, your current study permit will become invalid based on its expiry date or within 90 days of your program completion, whichever comes first. Therefore, ensure you extend it before it expires to maintained status in Canada.

Please note that you may not be eligible to work until you receive your new study permit with the conditions that allow on and off campus work.

If your VCC program requires practicum experience, you will need to apply for a co-op work permit at the same time you apply to extend your study permit.


In British Columbia, international students under 19 years old are considered minor children. Therefore, you may need to have a custodian when you apply for a study permit. A custodian is a responsible adult who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident who will care for and support the minor child. A custodian is optional for minors 17 years of age and older, but an officer can request one case-by-case. Please visit Studying in Canada as a minor to learn more.



You may be able to leave and return to Canada as long as your visa to enter Canada - eTA and TRV is still valid. If your visitor visa or eTA is expired, you must apply for and receive a new one before you leave. Please visit IRCC Help Centre to learn more.


The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have created a Voluntary Compliance Portal (VC Portal). The VC Portal is a system that allows international students to submit their arrival information in advance to the CBSA officer in order to expedite the issuance of a study permit at the airport.

To be eligible to submit their information in advance, international students must:

  • Have Vancouver International Airport as their first port of entry in Canada
  • Have a study permit approval letter - port of entry (POE) letter of introduction.
  • Submit all required information at least 72 hours before arriving at YVR

Using the VC Portal is entirely optional, and it will only be used to expedite the process. If you submit any wrong information, you can submit a new form. Please note that entry to Canada is at the discretion of a CBSA officer.

 

 

Next Steps

Review your study permit to ensure all your information is correct. It is recommended that you make a copy of it and store the original in a safe place.

Apply or Renew your Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Apply or Renew your Medical Services Plan (MSP).

If you applied to extend your study permit, apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to re-enter Canada (if applicable).

Visit the VCC Career Guidance page to help you prepare your Resume and Cover Letter.


The information on this page has been developed and endorsed by Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) in compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. However, the information may change without notice, and this is not a legal document. Please visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for the most up-to-date information.