For studying in Canada at any level, usually a foreign national is required to apply for and then followed by that receive a Canadian study permit to begin studying in Canada. However, there are some factors in which a foreign student is exempted from this requirement and can pursue to study without a study permit in Canada.

Short-Term Study in Canada

A study permit is not required if you wish to pursue a study program that is six months long or less. Courses may consist of any subject(s) and may be taken on a part or full-time basis. In order to be exempted from requiring a study permit for studying in Canada, the course of study needs to be completed within the six month period also take note that a visa extension will not be granted only for the purpose of completing a short-term program.

Foreign nationals in Canada without a study permit who wish to enroll in an educational program must apply for a study permit from outside Canada. An exception may be made if the course is short-term in nature and can be completed within the original period of stay specified upon their entry to Canada.

In case you intend to work or continue with your studies in Canada after the completion of your initial program then as per the recommendation of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the foreign nationals should consider seeking a study permit for a program.

Minor Children in Canada

Minor children residing in Canada can study at a pre-school, primary, or secondary level without having a study permit. This applies to the children of temporary students or workers, as well as Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Note: This exception does not apply to children of temporary residents who are not authorized to work or study in Canada (i.e. visitors).

Family Members and Private Staff of Diplomats

Family members, members of the private staff of foreign diplomats, and foreign accredited representatives also do not require a permit to study in Canada. For this exception, a family member is defined as:

  • A spouse or common-law partner
  • The dependent child of the individual or their spouse/common-law partner; or
  • The dependent child of a dependent child

Members of Foreign Armed Forces in Canada

Members of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state under the Visiting Forces Act also do not require a permit to study in Canada.