Who can study in Canada without a study permit?

Who can study in Canada without a study permit?

With Canada announcing its plan to limit the issuance of international study permits in the coming years, foreign nationals might wonder if they can still study in Canada without needing a study permit.

While most foreign nationals aiming for education in Canada typically require a study permit, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) highlights several exemptions to this rule.

When a study permit is required

Foreign residents need to obtain a study permit for employment in academic, professional, vocational, or other education or training that is more than six months in duration at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada.

The following activities are not considered studies for the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and do not need a study permit:

  • preschool (pre-kindergarten)
  • Courses of general interest or self-improvement
  • Distance learning
  • Audited courses (typically by sitting in on an academic course, but without accepting credit for it or having the ability to get credit for it retroactively)
  • Settlement and integration courses offered by a provincial or territorial government through settlement and integration providers (including francization courses presented by the Government of Quebec, as they are supposed settlement and integration techniques and not language lessons by IRCC)

According to IRCC, certain foreign nationals may be eligible to study in Canada without a study permit if they fall into one of the following categories.

Short-term students

International students who are coming to Canada for a post-secondary schedule that is six months or shorter in length do not need a study permit.

Family or staff of foreign representatives

If you are related to (a family member) or work for (a staff member) a person who is accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) as a foreign representative to Canada, you may not need a permit to study in Canada.

Registered Indians in Canada

Those with a Registered Indian group in Canada, even if they are citizens of another country, do not require a permit to study in Canada. Having Registered Indian status is not the same as living as a citizen or resident of India. Instead, it guides people to a grade as indigenous people in Canada.

Minor children in Canada

In the following five strategies, minor children do not need a study permit to pursue an education in Canada:

  • The minor child is a refugee or refugee claimant
  • The parents of the minor child are refugees or refugee claimants
  • The minor child’s parents are Canadian citizens or permanent citizens
  • The minor child is attending prekindergarten, primary school, or secondary school, accompanied by a parent who is allowed to study or work in Canada
  • The minor child is following preschool, primary school, or secondary school, but they are unaccompanied in Canada
Temporary residents handling settlement and integration techniques

Individuals taking provincially or territorially distributed settlement and integration techniques to help them settle into Canada do not need a study permit.

Workers who can study without a study permit 

Foreign workers in Canada may be qualified to study without a study permit if they:

  • Have a valid work permit that was published on or before June 7, 2023; or
  • Have been issued a letter on or before June 7, 2023, which permits them to work while IRCC approaches their work permit application/extension
While studying the General benefits of a study permit

Only registered full-time students with a study permit at a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) may operate on or off campus while following their education, depending on the requirements detailed on their permit.

Students need a study permit to work while studying in Canada, and they must instead be involved for a particular work permit. If you need help with your study permit and admission to Canada, please contact us directly.