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Please note that the information provided below is not legal advice and is intended for general information purposes only. For the most up-to-date information, please visit Study Permit: About the process on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

What is a study permit?

A Study Permit is a document issued by IRCC that allows a foreign national to study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada such as BCIT for a limited period of time. You must apply for a study permit directly to IRCC and you should be aware that application processing times can vary considerably depending on where you may be applying from.

International students must provide proof of having a study permit to BCIT. The only exception to this requirement is for exchange and study abroad students who will only study at BCIT for a single term and therefore do not need a study permit.

We recommend that you apply for your study permit as early as possible to make sure you will be able to start your studies as planned!

Applying from outside of Canada

Before applying for a study permit from outside of Canada, you will need to:

  1. Gain acceptance into a program at BCIT
  2. Review Guide 5269 – Applying for a Study Permit outside Canada
  3. Prepare the required documents
  4. Create an account on the IRCC website

For more information, see Study permit: How to apply on the IRCC website.

If you live in China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam, then you might be able to get your study permit faster by applying online through the Student Direct Stream.

After submitting your study permit, you will receive a letter from IRCC with instructions for providing biometrics (fingerprints and photo). Generally this required within 30 days of when you submit your application, and your study permit application will not be processed by IRCC until your biometrics have been received.

If your study permit application is approved, then you will receive a Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction along with a visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), depending on your nationality. You must show this Letter of Introduction to officials when you arrive in Canada in order to get your study permit.

Note that US nationals do not require a visa or eTA to enter Canada, so will not receive either with their Letter of Introduction.

Visit Entering Canada to prepare before you travel.

Conditions for study permit holders in Canada & government compliance

Study permit holders in Canada are subject to both of the following conditions:

  • They shall enroll at a designated learning institution (DLI) and remain enrolled at a DLI until they complete their studies.
  • They shall actively pursue their course or program of study.

For more information, see Your conditions as a study permit holder in Canada on the IRCC website.

You should understand that BCIT is required to report on the academic status of all students who have BCIT listed as the DLI on their study permit. Depending on your course enrolment for a given term, you may be reported as:

  • Full-time enrolment
  • Part-time enrolment
  • Not currently enrolled

See Academic Status to understand what BCIT considers to be full-time and part-time status.

Study permit extensions

The expiry date on your study permit tells you when you have to stop studying and leave Canada. If you want to keep studying you need to extend your study permit.

While you can apply for any extension at any time while you have a valid study permit, we suggest applying for a study permit extension three months before your current study permit will expire.

It is important to note that you can’t extend your study permit beyond your passport’s expiry date, so it may be a good idea to renew your passport first if it will expire soon.

To extend your study permit you will need to:

  1. Request an International Confirmation of Enrolment Letter
  2. Review Guide 5552 – Applying to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada – Student – online application
  3. Follow the instructions at Extend your study permit: how to apply

Note that you may have to give your biometrics (fingerprints and photo) and pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application. If you don’t, there may be delays.

After you apply, IRCC will issue a letter confirming they have received your study permit extension application in your online IRCC account. You must email this letter to along with your student ID number. You must also submit proof of your new study permit once you receive it.

When renewing your study permit, it is also important to remember to update or renew the following:

Study permit FAQ

Didn’t find the information you were looking for above? Visit Study permit: About the process on the IRCC website or see the frequently asked questions below:


Applications from outside of Canada

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, study permit applications may be subject to significant delays. Temporary closures may affect certain Visa Application Centres (VACs) as well as facilities that provide biometrics and medical exam services. For more information, check IRCC – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Apply for a visitor visa, eTA, or study or work permit from outside Canada.

You may be able to start your full-time program online from outside of Canada if you have a study permit or a Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction for a program starting in the Summer or Fall 2020 term; but you can’t travel to Canada at this time due to travel restrictions. You must contact your Admissions Officer at to verify if your program can accommodate international learners from abroad.