Canada May Not Accept Fresh Study Permit Applications Until March 31, 2024

Canada May Not Accept Fresh Study Permit Applications Until March 31, 2024

In a dramatic turn of events, Canada may only welcome new study permit applications on March 31, 2024. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship of Canada (IRCC) announced reforms this week to stabilize development and reduce the number of new international student permits issued in 2024.

The IRCC relies on the provinces to help execute a cap of approximately 360,000 new study permits in 2024. Unless the areas act quickly, no new study permit applications will likely be until March 31, 2024.

Before IRCC’s recent announcement, international students only needed a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) before applying for their study permit.

As of January 22, 2024, IRCC says that “every study permit application submitted to IRCC will also need an attestation letter from a province or region.” Note, attestation letters must be submitted to IRCC alongside, not in position of, an LOA from the Canadian DLI an international student desires to attend.

IRCC hopes that attestation letters will act as additional proof of a study permit application’s rightfulness, further protecting the integrity of Canada’s international student system. Provincial and territorial governments are being given until March 31st, 2024, “to establish a method for issuing attestation letters to students.”

While provinces and territories across Canada may execute such processes at any time, there is no assurance that such systems will be in place until the deadline suggested by IRCC or beyond. This could mean that no fresh study permit applications are offered to IRCC until after March 31, 2024.

Impact on Aspiring Students

  1. Delay in Academic Pursuits

Prospective students planning to start their academic journey in Canada need more time. This suspension may disrupt educational timelines and prompt individuals to review their study plans.

  1. Navigating Uncertainty

The Uncertainty surrounding this period challenges students to adjust to unexpected changes. Navigating these apprehensions requires resilience and proactive planning.

  1. Evaluation of Alternatives

Due to the application pause, people are compelled to investigate alternative options for pursuing their education. This may include considering other countries or modifying academic goals.

Applying for a Study Permit

Once an international student receives an LOA and a letter of certification from the academy and their province/territory of study, they can apply for a study permit in Canada.

The following resources can help forthcoming international students understand the study permit procedure in Canada:

  • How to study in Canada
  • How to get a Canadian study permit
  • Study permit denials
  • Renew or change a study permit
  • Work while studying


Canada is making other changes to its international student schedule.

In addition to the introduction of attestation letters, IRCC’s recent press release points to several other steps being taken to change Canada’s international student program and its corresponding policies.

For instance, IRCC announced a two-year cap on the number of new study permits taken nationwide.

Additionally, Canada is set to make changes to the eligibility standards for its Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWP), including:

  1. Starting September 1, 2024, international students starting a study program that is part of a curricular licensing contract will no longer be eligible for a PGWP upon graduation.
  2. Graduates with master’s degrees and other short postgraduate agendas will soon be eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit.

Click here to learn more about recent changes to Canada’s international student program, and visit this Idea Immigration to read the entire IRCC press release of January 22, 2024.


Q: Can I still apply for a study permit extension if I am already in Canada?

A: Yes, the temporary pause applies to new applications only. Existing study permit holders can proceed with extension applications.

Q: Are there any exceptions to the application pause?

A: While general applications are on hold, certain exceptions may apply. It is recommended to check with Canadian immigration authorities for specific circumstances.

Q: How can prospective students stay updated during this period?

A: Regularly checking official idea immigration websites, subscribing to newsletters, and consulting with educational institutions are essential for staying informed.

Q: Will this pause impact Canada’s reputation as a preferred study destination?

A: While there may be short-term impacts, Canada’s commitment to quality education and inclusive policies will likely sustain its reputation in the long run.

Q: What support measures are institutions offering to affect students?

A: Educational institutions are enhancing support services, providing guidance on alternative study plans, and ensuring transparent communication to assist students during this adjustment period.