Studying without a Study Permit

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Foreign nationals may enter Canada or remain in Canada without a study permit to attend a course or program of study of 6 months or less. However, foreign nationals are encouraged to apply for a study permit for a short-term course or program of study if they intend to apply for another program afterwards or work on the campus of the university or college at which they are a full-time student. The following activities are not considered studies and do not require a study permit:

  • pre-school (pre-kindergarten)
  • courses of general interest or self-improvement
  • distance learning
  • audited courses (sitting in on a course, without obtaining credit for it, or having the ability to obtain credit for it retroactively)

There are some situations in which you may study without a study permit: 

  • Minor children inside Canada
  • Family members and members of private staff of accredited foreign representatives 
  • Members of the armed forces of a country designated for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act 
  • Short-term courses 
  • Family members- family members of a study permit holder (principal applicant) whose application for a work or study permit is approved in writing before the foreign national enters Canada are eligible for an open study permit (i.e., not attached to a DLI [letter of acceptance-exempt]). The duration of the study permit must be same as the work or study permit issued to the principal applicant. Compliance verification is not required for holders of open study permits.