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Study Permit 101: 7 basic guidelines for study permit holders

As a study permit holder, you may wonder what your options are for working, changing programs or continuing your studies in Canada.

As usual, Canadian immigration policy is continuously changing and you should consult IRCC’s official website for important updates.

1. Studying obligations while holding a study permit:

While you have a valid study permit, you must remain enrolled and make reasonable and timely progress towards completing your studies.

2. Working off-campus during your studies:

In order to legally work while you are on a study permit, you must absolutely meet the following conditions:

  1. Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). Here is how you can obtain your SIN:

  2. Be registered for studies at a designated learning institution.The list of designated learning institutions can be found here:

If you meet these conditions, you may work up to 20 hours a week during your regular academic session.

3. Working off-campus during summer and/or winter vacations:

During your summer vacations or winter breaks, you may also work full-time off-campus.

In order to work full-time off campus during these academic breaks, you must absolutely meet the following conditions:

  1. Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). Here is how you can obtain your SIN:

  2. Hold full-time student status during the academic session at a designated learning institution prior to, as well as subsequent to the scheduled break. You may not be working full-time off-campus for more than 5 months for each calendar year.

4. Working on-campus during your studies:

You may work on-campus for an “on-campus” employer without a work permit during your studies if you are:

  1. Enrolled as a full-time post secondary student at a college or university

  2. A holder of a valid SIN card

  3. A holder of a valid study permit

For more information regarding on-campus work, visit:

5. Changing study program or institution:

If you are a primary school or high school student, you will need to apply to modify your study permit only when you move on to the next level of education (Ex. From primary to high school).

Here are the instructions to modify or extend your stay in Canada as a student:

If you are a post-secondary/university student, you will not need to apply for a new study permit when you change study programs or institutions. However, you will need to advise IRCC of a change in Designated Learning Institution.

Here are the instructions on how to change your DLI:

IMPORTANT: If you are studying in the province of Québec, you will also need to apply for a new “Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec (CAQ)” if your level of studies is changing

6. Work permit for your spouse or common-law partner:

While you are a full-time student with a valid study permit, your spouse or common-law partner will be able to obtain an open work permit which will be valid for the duration of your own study permit.

7. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP):

If you have completed your full-time studies and passed all of your program requirements, you may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.

The validity of this permit will depend on the length of your study program, for a maximum of three years.

You must apply for the PGWP within 90 days of the completion of your study program.

Furthermore, during the time your valid PGWP application has been submitted, you may work full-time until a decision has been made on your application.

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