Study Permits

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.

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 Spring, 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 or admissions@bcit.ca to verify if your program can accommodate international learners from abroad.


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.

To satisfy BCIT's Study Permit Requirements, all international students must provide proof of having a study permit to BCIT. Exchange and study abroad students who will only study at BCIT for a single term do not need a study permit.

We recommend for you to 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 application, you will receive a letter from IRCC with instructions for providing biometrics (fingerprints and photo). Generally this is 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.

Applying from within Canada

There are some situations in which individuals may be eligible to apply for an initial study permit from within Canada. See Study permit: How to apply on the IRCC website and select that you are applying from inside Canada for more information.

Conditions for study permit holders in Canada

Study permit holders in Canada are subject to a number of conditions including the following:

  • Enroll at a designated learning institution (DLI) and remain enrolled at a DLI until you complete your studies.
  • Actively pursue your 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. 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 statusdoc@bcit.ca 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:

Implied Status

As long as you apply to extend your study permit before your study permit expires, you are considered to have implied status. This means that you can stay in Canada under the same conditions as your current study permit until IRCC make a decision on your application.

It is very important to understand that if you leave Canada while on implied status you may not resume study in Canada until you receive your new study permit.

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.

What if my study permit is denied?

See What to do if your study permit is denied on BCIT Study Permit Requirements for important information and what to do if your study permit application is denied.

My study permit expired. What should I do?

If your study permit has expired and you did not apply for an extension before it expired, then IRCC requires you to stop your studies immediately. You should also email isc_info@bcit.ca to notify the International Student Centre as soon as possible. You will need to apply to restore your status within 90 days of your study permit expiring.

When does my study permit expire?

Your study permit will expire on the date marked on the permit or will become invalid 90 days after the day you complete your studies, whichever comes first.

How can I replace my study permit?

In order to get a copy of a lost, stolen or destroyed study permit you must fill out an application and pay a fee to replace the permit.

My study permit that I used for high school in Canada has not expired. Can I continue to use that same study permit at BCIT?

If your study permit is still valid, you don’t need to change or apply for a new permit if you’re moving between school levels, for example from a high school to a post-secondary. You must apply to extend your study permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation of high school completion, or before your study permit expires – whichever comes first.

If you’re moving to post-secondary school and want to be able to work while you study, you must apply to change the conditions of your study permit. There is a fee to make this change. To do this, you’ll need to apply for a study permit for post-secondary studies.

What should I do if I am transferring from another college or university in Canada?

If you studied at a different post-secondary institution and will transfer to BCIT, you must notify IRCC of your change of school. Institutions have different DLI numbers. The DLI number for BCIT is O19330128542.

You will need to change your institution number in your MyCIC account online.

If you change schools and don’t inform IRCC, your old school will report you as not being registered to study. This will affect you meeting the conditions of your study permit.

Does my study permit allow me to work in Canada?

See Work Eligibility to understand if your study permit allows you to work during your studies.

Is the process different if I am under 19 years old?

See Studying in Canada as a minor and Study permits: Guidelines on minor children on the IRCC website for more information.

What should I do if there is an error on my study permit?

It's always best to review your study permit immediately when you receive it at the port of entry. If you discover later that there is an error such as your name being misspelled, you can apply to amend your study permit. If an error was made by the officer who issued the permit, then there is no fee.

How can I change the conditions of my study permit since I should now be eligible to work?

You’ll need to apply for a new study permit from within Canada.