Study Permits

Understanding Study Permits 

Any student admitted to a program of study or who will be enrolled at the University of Alberta for six (6) months or longer is required to apply for a study permit. This includes degree-seeking students, ESL and visiting/exchange students.

When should I apply for the study permit?

You should apply as soon as you receive your University of Alberta acceptance letter, as it may take months for IRCC to process your application. To access current processing time, please click here

You should not make any travel plans to enter Canada before your application is approved.

What documents do I need to submit?

You will need the following documents: 

Other requirements may be needed for your application:

In addition to these documents, you may have to provide other information when you apply. Check the website of the visa office responsible for your country or region for local requirements.

How do I apply for a Study Permit?

You can choose to apply online or through a paper application . Whether you apply online or by paper, we recommend you review the specific visa office requirements to your country of residence and take them into consideration when preparing your application. Certain foreign nationals may be eligible to apply for the Study Permit at the Port of Entry (POE).

When you complete the Study Permit Made Outside Canada (IMM1294) application form, you must include the University of Alberta Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number.

University of Alberta DLI #: O19257171832.

Note: The first character in the DLI number is the letter' O', not the digit/number zero '0'.

The application fee is $150 CDN and must be paid when applying. Some applicants may also be required to pay the biometrics fee ($85 CDN). 

NOTE: When you apply for a study permit, you will automatically be considered for a visa or eTA without applying separately.

If you will be applying online (regular stream application or through the Student Direct Stream (SDS)), you will need to create an IRCC account (GC Key).
NEW: What is a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)?

A two-year cap was placed on the number of new study permits that will be issued by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). To implement the cap, most study permit applications submitted to IRCC will require a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) from a province or territory. All provinces and territories are expected to establish a process for issuing attestation letters to students by March 31, 2024. The Province of Alberta has its PAL process in place.

  • This cap does not apply to students who are currently in Canada and will be applying to extend their study permits. 
  • The cap will not apply to degree-seeking students in Master's and PhD programs.

Learn more about the PAL

NEW: What is the Letter of Acceptance (LOA) verification process ?

As part of the Study Permit application, applicants are required to submit a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) to IRCC. Designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada (i.e. Post-secondary institutions) are required to verify the letter of acceptance of all post-secondary study permit applications. This process is called the LOA verification process. 

Students are not required to complete any additional steps to initiate the LOA verification process. Once you have successfully submitted your Study Permit application to IRCC using the Letter of Acceptance/Offer of Admission issued by the University of Alberta, the Registrar’s office at the University of Alberta will receive a notification to verify the letter of acceptance you submitted to IRCC as part of your application. Please note, that the LOA Verification process and the PAL process are different. Read more about the PAL process here.

U of A Study Permit Webinar (video)

Important notes pertaining to the video:

  • As of January 22, 2024, undergraduate students who will submit their study permit application to IRCC are required to submit a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL issued by the Province of Alberta. This page will be updated once we receive more information about this process. 
    • Note: Graduate students (Masters and PhD) are exempt from the attestation letter requirement.
  • International students who will submit their study permit applications to IRCC on or after January 1, 2024, are required to show $20,635 in funds for the cost of living for the first year in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs for a single applicant. Details here.

If you will be submitting an online study permit application under the regular stream (non-SDS), we strongly advise you to watch our instructional video to understand the online process and learn tips on strengthening your application.

Common Questions

Can I apply for a Study Permit at the Port of Entry (POE)?

You may apply for a study permit when you enter Canada if you are a:

  • U.S. citizen
  • U.S. permanent resident
  • Person who has lawfully been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence
  • Resident of Greenland
  • Resident of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

Find out which documents you will need to apply. Make sure to include them with your application at the POE.

Note: In order to apply for a study permit at an air POE, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. travelling to Canada must apply and obtain an eTA before boarding their flight to Canada.

What if I am studying for less than 6 months?

It is possible to study in Canada for less than six months without a Study Permit. The program must be completed within the original period authorized for your stay when you entered Canada (usually six months). If you are from a visa-exempt country, you must apply for an eTA . If you are from a visa required country you must apply for a visitor visa (Temporary Resident Visa - TRV).

If you originally attended UAlberta for one term without a study permit (e.g., exchange and visiting students) but now want to extend your studies for another term, you will be able to apply for a study permit from within Canada (refer to the Study Permit Extension information to learn more).

What if I already have a study permit?

High School Students:

If you are currently studying at a high school in Canada, and your Study Permit is still valid, you may be able to start your university program with your current study permit. We recommend you apply to extend your study permit in the following situations:

  • 4 - 5 months before the expiry date OR 
  • you wish to change the conditions on the study permit to allow you to work during your studies. 

Transfer Students: 

Post-secondary students who already have a valid Study Permit issued for studying at a different Designated Learning Institution (DLI) are required to notify IRCC when transferring from one DLI to another if they plan to use the same study permit to study at the University of Alberta.

You can do this through your IRCC account. Detailed instructions on how to notify IRCC about DLI changes can be found here

If you will be submitting a study permit extension application with your UAlberta offer of admission, you are not required to do the online process of DLI transfer.

Please note: If you will be using the same study permit to study at UAlberta and you do not tell the IRCC that your DLI has changed, you will be reported to IRCC by your previous Canadian institution as not attending classes. This can lead to an investigation into failing to comply with your study permit conditions.

You must keep your contact information up to date with the IRCC if you have an application under process. You can change your residential address with the IRCC web form.

Do I need a study permit if my program has an online component?
Please refer to the information we have on Programs with Online Components to learn more.
My application was approved, what’s next?

Once your application is approved, you can expect to receive an eTA or visa (as applicable) in addition to your Letter of Introduction confirming that your study permit application has been approved. 

You will need to present this letter to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer at the Port of Entry when you first enter. Your study permit will then be issued to you.

We recommend you carefully review the information on your issued study permit. Make sure there are no errors in your personal information. Let the CBSA officer know if you find any errors.

If you have been admitted to a degree-seeking program, you should also verify that your study permit has been issued with the work authorization remarks: “may work” or “may accept employment.” If it doesn’t, you should let the officer know that you will need these remarks printed on the study permit to be eligible to apply for a SIN and work part-time during your full-time studies. This is especially important if you are a graduate student and will be getting paid by your department. Without a SIN, your stipend may be delayed.

We recommend you review IRCC’s Prepare for arrival page and our Travel to Canada page to better prepare for your entry to Canada.  

NOTE: If you are already in Canada with a valid study permit that will expire in 4-5 months, you should submit a Study Permit Extension application.

Now that I have my study permit, can I laminate it to protect it?

Your study permit is an IRCC-issued document to prove your status when applying for services and other benefits such as the SIN. 

As such this document must not be altered in any way. 

IRCC states that status-issued documents (such as your study permit) cannot be:

  • used for travel on its own (eTA or visa is also needed)
  • used as an identity document
  • laminated or altered in any way (altered or laminated documents are no longer valid)

To learn more click here.