While at U of T
After getting permission to come to Canada and begin your studies, it’s important that you maintain your status. This will allow you to continue your studies without interruption. Here are some scenarios that will help you understand your rights and responsibilities related to your legal status in Canada:
It is important to apply for a new permit before your current permit expires. If you do so from within Canada, you are allowed to remain in Canada until IRCC makes a decision about your application. In that case, from the expiry date of your current permit, until a decision is made by IRCC, you have maintained status. If the application is approved, you have the new status. If it is refused, you are out of status (see the next section).
Your legal rights and responsibilities under maintained status depend on your current immigration status in Canada, and the status you are applying for.
Student to Student: You are an international student with a study permit and have applied within Canada for an extension of your study permit before it expires. In this case, you may continue your studies in Canada while you wait for a decision. Additionally, if the original permit allows you to work while in Canada, you may continue your employment. The right to continue to study and/or work during maintained status is only valid if you remain in Canada during the period between your original permit’s expiry and the date a decision is made.
Other status to student: You are a temporary resident of Canada (ie. a visitor or a worker) who has applied within Canada for a study permit before your current permit expires. In this case, you are allowed to remain in Canada while you wait for a decision on your new permit, but you are not allowed to study until your study permit is approved.
Student to Post-Graduation Work Permit: You are an international student with a valid study permit and have applied within Canada for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Special rules for the transition may allow you to begin working full-time under your study permit. In this case, if your study permit expires after you have applied for your PGWP, your maintained status will allow you to continue to work while you wait for a decision on the PGWP application.
If you are in Canada and your study permit expires before you submit an application to extend it, you will be considered out of status. You will need to apply to restore your status no more than 90 days after the expiration of your status. In this situation, you will be required to pay an additional $200 CAD fee to restore your student status, as well as the regular $150 CAD processing fee for the study permit extension.
You are not allowed to study or work until a decision is made on your restoration of status application.
This application can only be processed if you remain in Canada. If you leave the country, your application may be cancelled. In this case, you would have to submit a new application outside Canada.
The number of courses required to be a part-time vs. full-time student varies among the different Faculties and Colleges at U of T. In order to determine your status as part-time or full-time, please contact your Registrar’s Office.
Studying part-time is allowed under a study permit but it does have a negative impact on your eligibility to work on and off campus while studying and will affect your eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) that international students can apply for after graduation.
Current immigration regulations require an international student to have completed their degree requirements on a full-time basis, without any unauthorized gaps (see below), in order to qualify for the PGWP. The only exceptions to the full-time requirement are the final term (not whole year) and scheduled breaks. If you are not clear whether your program has scheduled breaks, you can check with your Registrar’s Office or program office (for graduate students).
A condition of a study permit is that international students are expected to be actively enrolled in their program of study as long as they are in Canada. Taking a gap/leave may affect your legal status and especially your eligibility to stay or work in Canada.
Under current immigration regulations, a student who takes a leave/gap from their studies will still be considered as actively enrolled if the leave/gap is authorized by the school and lasts less than 150 days. Contact your Registrar’s Office to ask whether they can support an authorized leave. In this case, you would not lose your legal status. You can remain in Canada during an authorized leave, but you are prohibited from working. If you will not resume your studies within 150 days, you should do either of the following:
- change your status to Visitor; or,
- leave Canada before 150 days have passed.
An authorized leave of absence that lasts less than 150 days will not affect your eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) if you had a valid reason for taking the leave/gap. If the authorized leave of absence is longer than 150 days, you may still qualify for the PGWP if you followed the guidance above and the immigration officer accepts your explanation. If your faculty/program cannot offer an authorized leave, you may be considered ineligible for the PGWP.
If you are considering a leave of absence (authorized by the university or not), please book an appointment with an International Student Immigration Advisor to discuss your situation.
You may be able to do some work using your study permit, while other work may require you to get a work permit. Eligibility for these options depends on your personal situation. Find more information about working in Canada.
Your study permit requires you to be actively pursuing studies at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). If you are required to stop studying, you have to pay attention to your immigration status.
If the suspension is only for one term, you can remain in Canada, and you do not need to change your immigration status.
If the suspension is for more than one term, you have three options:
- Enroll in another DLI (could be a college or university) and notify IRCC of the change of institution;
- Leave Canada within 150 days; or,
- Change immigration status by applying to extend your stay as a visitor (which requires a detailed explanation of why a student wants to stay in Canada).
Important: Suspended students are not allowed to work on or off-campus until they return to full-time studies. See our On & Off-Campus Work page for more information.
If you leave Canada, you should be able to return using the same Study Permit and TRV/eTA (if applicable) if they have not expired. It is recommended you have a confirmation of course re-enrolment from your registrar’s office to show upon entry to Canada. Find out more about entering Canada.
Immigration regulations state that a study permit can be considered invalid 90 days from when you stop studying. If you leave your studies and are not transitioning into other studies in Canada, you should plan to leave Canada within that period, or change immigration status by applying to extend your stay as a visitor (which requires a detailed explanation of why you want to stay in Canada).
If you see a mistake on your permit, how to solve it depends on whether or not IRCC officials were the one to make the mistake or whether your situation has just changed.
If the error on your study permit is the result of a change in your circumstances and is not based on an IRCC error, you must apply for a change of conditions. This means applying for a new permit.
If the mistake was made by IRCC (eg. wrong name or other personal details, missing remarks allowing employment – if you applied with a letter of acceptance to a degree program, etc.), you can ask for an amendment to your permit.
The amendment process requires you to mail the application to an office in Ottawa. You must also send:
- your actual current study permit (not a copy);
- a copy of the acceptance letter or confirmation of enrollment used when you applied for your current study permit, and;
- a current confirmation of enrollment.
It will likely take more than one month for a new study permit with the same expiry date but the correct conditions to be sent to your Canadian mailing address.
If you want your study permit extended, you must apply for a new study permit.
Note: It is a good idea to keep a copy of your current study permit when you send the actual permit.
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Frequently Asked Questions
A study permit cannot be issued beyond the expiry date of your passport. You’ll need to extend your passport before you can apply for an extension of your study permit.
A common reason for ‘early’ study permit expiry is the passport expiry date as a study permit cannot be issued beyond the expiry date of your passport. If your study permit expires early, but not on the same date as your passport, check with the International Student Immigration Advisors to determine the cause.