Study Permit Application Information

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced some changes that will impact study permits for new international students. Please explore the information on this page as it may relate to your situation. We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.

There is an outside Canada and an in-Canada process for study permit applications. Most newly-admitted students must follow the outside Canada application process. The in-Canada application process is primarily available for those who are in Canada with a study permit or work permit (including their dependents) as well as exchange and visiting students studying without a study permit.

A study permit is not a travel document and does not authorize entry or re-entry into Canada on its own. You may also require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

What's New in 2024?

CHANGES TO MINIMUM FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS 

For study permit applications submitted on or after January 1, 2024, the minimum annual amount for living expenses for an individual international student is now $20,635CAD. More details are available in the Standard Required Documents section below. 

PROVINCIAL ATTESTATION LETTER (PAL) 

Initial study permit applications submitted after January 22, 2024, for undergraduate studies must now include a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) from the Ontario provincial government. Master’s and PhD program students are exempt from this requirement.

Admitted students who require a PAL will be sent information about how to acquire the attestation letter with their admission offer.

Do I need a PAL for my Study Permit Application?

How do I get a PAL?

Admitted Undergraduate International Students: 

To obtain a PAL, admitted undergraduate international students must:

  1. Accept their offer of admission to York
  2. Pay the non-refundable new student deposit of $1500 CAD within 10 business days of accepting their offer
  3. Download the Attestation Letter on MyFile.

Your PAL will not be immediately available after you pay your new student deposit. Processing times will vary depending on the volume of letters we are processing. Please check your MyFile for updates.

You cannot pay your deposit using any scholarships or awards you receive from York as these will be applied to your student account in September.

School of Continuing Studies Students: please look on your Student Portal.

Visit the Admitted Students website for additional instructions on how to pay your acceptance deposit.

How long will it take for my PAL to be issued?

Once you have paid your new student deposit, processing times will vary depending on the volume of letters we are processing.  We recommend you accept your offer and pay your deposit as soon as you can.

Applying for your Study Permit from outside of Canada

We strongly encourage you to apply for your study permit as soon as you have the letter of acceptance and all other required documents.

Generally, you must apply for a study permit before you come to Canada. Only citizens and permanent residents of the United States and residents of Greenland or St. Pierre et Miquelon can apply when entering Canada.

You can check the estimated study permit application processing time for applications submitted from outside of Canada.

Standard documents required for a regular application

Important: We recommend you check your personal checklist (generated based on your answers in the online eligibility questionnaire) for these and any other required documents. Please also remember check the country-specific application requirements provided by IRCC for additional documents that may be required or recommended.

Note: There is a $150 CAD processing fee.

Document Type: Document information:
Application for Study Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM1294) Look for the title at the top of the application, or the code at the bottom-left corner of each page.
Letter of acceptance (for new students) You can find it in MyFile. It Should include your:

  • Full name
  • York University's DLI number
  • Student number
  • Expected start and end dates of the program
Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) from the province of Ontario (for new undergraduate students)

Master’s and PhD program students are exempt.

All study permit extension applicants are exempt. To see a full list of all exemptions, please visit the IRCC website.

This letter is currently in development. If you are not exempt, do not submit an initial study permit application until you have it.

Proof of financial support 

According to IRCC’s new policy, students need to prove access to funds to cover a minimum of annual tuition plus at least $20,635 CAD (for applications submitted on or after January 1, 2024) for your first year’s living expenses. Additional funds are required if you are bringing a spouse/partner and/or children. The IRCC explains further on their website.

Details about fees and expenses can be found on Tuition and Fees page.

IRCC expects you to be able to show access to enough funds to pay for at least one year of studies, and to be convinced you will still have access to funds for any further studies. Examples of financial proof documents include but not limit to:

  • Funds in your account or bank statement(s) with your name. Four to six months of bank statements are recommended.
  • Funds coming from York University or other institutional sources with a letter detailing funding.
  • Proof of employment for yourself/your parents/sponsor
  • If your parents are supporting you, include a letter from your parents and proof of their financial resources. Proof of business ownership for yourself, your parents or sponsor

You can make a deposit of any amount using one of the two methods listed on the SFS website, and a payment receipt will be added to your MyFile in 4-5 working days from the payment receipt.

Copies of your passport or travel document 

Including the biographical data page and all pages with visas, stamps or markings (your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the expected date of your arrival to Canada).

If you have a brand new passport, you can provide copies of both your new and old passports, but provide the new passport first, and indicate "New Passport" on the file name.

Passport-style photograph  Taken within the last six months following IRCC recommendations, noting that the frame size specifications do not apply for digital photos.
Letter of explanation including your study plan and proof of ties to your country of citizenship

Although it may not specifically be requested, we consider this a necessary document for outside of Canada applicants. The letter should outline:

how pursuing your studies at York University is important and fits with your current or previous studies, work (if applicable) and long-term plans (unless included in a study plan requested separately).

The letter should also highlight ties to your country of residence and/or citizenship to help an immigration officer understand you will have a reason to leave Canada if your status is going to expire and you are unable to extend it.

A letter of explanation and any other additional documents can be uploaded in the “Client Information” field of the Optional Documents section. Only one file can be uploaded, but it can be multiple pages.

You may need other documents, including (but not limited to):
Co-op letter

This is necessary if a work placement is a requirement of your program of study.

The co-op letter can be its own letter or included in letter of acceptance for new students.

Proof of a Custodian  Students 16 and under will require proof of a custodian. Students between 17 and 18 may be asked for proof.
Additional Documents  Immigration officers may ask you for additional documentation to make a decision about your application. If they ask you to attach the documents to your online application, you must login to your account, upload the documents and re-submit the application. IRCC provides specific details about how to do so. Failure to do so will likely result in a refusal of your application.  

How to apply

Apply online using the IRCC's Online Application.

Please check the Initial Study Permit Application Webinar and Resource section on the YI website. This resource is to help guide newly admitted international students who are applying for a study permit for the first time.

Application Tips

Start by reviewing IRCC’s instruction guide for this application.

Admitted students also have access to the immigration advising hosted by York International's Student Advisors and Immigration Specialists. Please check the YI calendar for upcoming dates.

Other considerations for your application:

Consideration information:
Medical Examination 

You must have an immigration medical exam if you have been in a ‘designated’ country for at least 6 of the past 12 months. You will also require one if you are planning to work in a health-care setting, primary/secondary school setting, or other jobs where the protection of public health is important.

IRCC provides details about who requires immigration medical exams, who can offer them, and more. 

If you require one, you can book the appointment before submitting your application, or you can do so once requested by IRCC. It is usually a good idea to do so in advance. This is called an upfront medical exam and is mandatory if applying through the Student Direct Stream (see below). 

If you had an immigration medical exam within the 12 months prior to applying for your study permit, attach proof (i.e. a copy of your medical receipt). 

Student Direct Stream (SDS)  The Student Direct Stream (SDS)  is available to legal residents of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • The Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam

It aims to process applications within 20 calendar days but has additional application requirements. Applicants in participating countries can choose the SDS if they meet the requirements, or they can apply through the regular study permit application process discussed above.

Biometrics 

Required by most temporary resident applicants (excluding US citizens) unless they have already submitted them to IRCC in the past 10 years. IRCC provides additional details about requirements and exemptions.

If you have previously given biometrics, but they will expire before you finish your studies, you should plan to give them again. IRCC has a tool to check the status of your biometrics.

If you are required to submit biometrics, you must pay an $85 CAD collection fee. After submitting the application, you will be sent a Biometric Instruction Letter that will guide you through booking a biometric collection appointment at a Visa Application Centre or Application Service Centre (ASC).

If you need to notify IRCC about a change regarding your application, you can use their web form. 

If you wish to track the status of your application, you can create a special IRCC “tracker account” to do so (note: this is not the same account where you submitted the online application). 

Even if you already have a visa or travel authorization that may allow you to travel to Canada, we usually recommend waiting outside Canada for the study permit to be approved, because you are not generally eligible to begin studying until the study permit has been issued. 

If your study permit has been approved

 

If your application is approved, the Canadian visa office serving the country where you submitted your application will issue you an approval letter, known as a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction, and an entry visa or an eTA (if applicable). Do not book travel to Canada until you’ve received your Letter of Introduction. Present the letter to the border officer when you enter Canada to get the hard copy of your study permit. 

If you require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV, also known as an entry or visitor visa), you will be asked to submit your passport so that the visa officer can affix the visa into it. You do not need to make a separate application. 

If you require an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you don’t have to submit your passport. An eTA will be issued electronically and associated with your passport number. Your eTA number and expiry date will be included in the Letter of Introduction. 

Find more information about entering Canada(opens in a new tab) or check out our Arriving at the Canadian Border Pre-Arrival Webinar (under Fall 2023). 

Note:

If you decide to change schools after your study permit for York University has been approved, butbefore you travel to Canada, you must re-apply for a new study permit.

If you change schools after arriving in Canada, you can just notify IRCC of your change of Designated Learning Institution (DLI) through their website.  

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Study Permit Application Questions

Where can I get help on my study permit application?

We recommend that you review the information about Initial Study Permit applications our Immigration Application Resources page first. You can then try filling out the application on your own and make note of any questions you have. Bring those to one of our weekly Study Permit Webinars for New Students in April and May, where you can get more tips and ask your questions to one of our International Student Advisors.

What are my options if I need urgent processing of my application?

Estimated processing times give an idea of how long an application could take to be processed. If something outside of your control makes urgent processing important, you can contact IRCC through their web form to inquire. It may take up to two weeks to get a response. Use the ‘Update or ask about your application’ option and then the ‘Other’ section, as the ‘Ask for urgent processing for your permanent resident card’ section doesn’t include study/work permits. 

If you already have status in Canada, and have applied from within Canada for a new permit, you can remain in Canada under ‘maintained status’ (formerly known as ‘implied status’) while you wait for an answer. While you can remain in Canada, you cannot necessarily begin studying until the permit is issued. Only those already in Canada on a study permit or exchange students transitioning from visitor to student status can begin studying while waiting for a decision to be made on their application. If the application is refused, you must stop studying immediately.  

If you applied outside Canada, you generally need to wait until your application is approved to travel to Canada. Even those who may be allowed to travel to Canada as a visitor are encouraged to wait and only travel to Canada after the study permit is approved and the Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is issued (if required).  

Only citizens or permanent residents of the United States and residents of Greenland, or St. Pierre and Miquelon are eligible to apply at a port-of-entry. 

When should I submit my study permit application?

We strongly encourage you to apply for your study permit as soon as you have the letter of acceptance and all other required documents. 

Generally, you must apply for a study permit before you come to Canada. Only citizens and permanent residents of the United States and residents of Greenland or St. Pierre et Miquelon can apply when entering Canada. 

You can check the estimated study permit application processing time for applications submitted from outside of Canada. 

For more information about applying for an initial study permit, visit our Application Resources page. If you have further questions about your study permit application, connect with an International Student Advisor & Immigration Specialist via virtual drop-in advising or one of our workshops. Find the schedule and sign up via YI’s Events Calendar.

What happens if my current permit expires before my new permit arrives?

If you applied through the in-Canada application process, from within Canada you can remain in Canada under maintained status. 

What if the decision on my application is taking longer than the IRCC's estimated processing times?

If you are in Canada, you can contact IRCC through their in-Canada call centre (1-888-242-2100) or through their web form. 

If you are outside Canada, you can contact IRCC through theirweb form. 

I have multiple documents to upload to a single section on the online application. How can I do it?

Each section will only allow one file to be uploaded. You will need to use software to merge the documents into a single file that is an acceptable format (ie. PDF) and fits within the file size limits. 

IRCC provides instructions in their Help Centre.

My study permit application was refused. Can I get my new student deposit back?

If your study permit application is refused, York will return your new student deposit to you. You'll be asked to provide a copy of your refusal letter to York before your deposit is returned.

New Student Deposit Questions

Can I use my York scholarship to pay for the deposit?

Scholarships are applied to a student’s account in September when they begin their studies. The deposit is required shortly after you accept your offer. As a result, the scholarship cannot be used to pay your new student deposit.

Do I have to pay the deposit to get a PAL? / I can’t pay the deposit, can I still get a PAL?

All admitted undergraduate international students must pay the non-refundable $1500 CAD new student deposit. We cannot issue a PAL without this deposit.

The new student deposit must be paid shortly after you accept your offer while scholarships are applied to your student account in September. You will not be able to use any York scholarships or awards to pay the deposit.

I don't need a PAL. Do I still have to pay the $1500 deposit?

Yes. All new students must pay a non-refundable deposit when they accept their offer to York so they can enrol in courses. Please ensure to pay your deposit within 10 business days of receiving your offer of admission.

I accepted my offer a while ago and I already paid a deposit of $300. Do I have to pay another $1500?

Since you've already paid $300, you will only need to pay $1200 for your deposit. Don't worry, this will go towards your total tuition payment so it's not an extra fee or a fee you're paying on top of tuition.

I'm an international student but I'm eligible to pay domestic fees. Do I pay $300 or $1500 for the deposit?

Some international students are eligible to pay domestic fees. This includes those who have a work permit or who are dependents of a work permit holder. You can check the Academic Tuition Fees webpage for eligibility and to apply.

Only students who have already been approved to pay domestic fees are able to pay the $300 deposit. If you still need a PAL, please fill out the Provincial Attestation Letter Request Form.

If you have applied for a tuition category change but not yet heard back from York, please pay the non-refundable $1500 deposit. This amount will be applied to your tuition fee.

I'm an international graduate student. How do I pay my deposit?

International graduate students should check the Admitted Graduate Students page for the Incoming Student Checklist to see what your next steps are in order to accept your offer and get you started!

Current International Student Questions

How does this impact international students who are currently in Canada with a valid study permit?

These new measures are not applicable to international students currently in Canada and pursuing their post-secondary studies. Study permit renewals (or extensions) will not be impacted.

Do the new requirements apply to all international students?

The requirement of a PAL applies to most new undergraduate international students, but not all.

You do not need a PAL when applying for a study permit if you:

  • are applying to study in a preschool, primary school or secondary school (up to grade 12)
  • are applying to study in a master’s degree or doctoral degree program or
  • have entered Canada and one of the following situations applies to you:
    • You have a study permit and are applying for a study permit extension.
    • You have a work permit.
    • You’re a temporary resident who is a visiting or exchange student studying at a designated learning institution (DLI).
    • You’re a temporary resident who has completed a course or program of study that is a prerequisite to you enrolling at a DLI.
    • You’re under a removal order, but can’t be removed from Canada at this time.
    • You have a temporary resident permit valid for at least 6 months.
    • You’re a protected person.
    • You’re eligible for permanent residence
    • You’re the family member of a foreign national who lives in Canada and is one of the following:

For full details, please visit IRCC's Study Permit page.

I'm a current international student and I need to apply for a new study permit from outside Canada. How do I get a PAL?

Current international students may need a NEW study permit for a variety of reasons. If you need a a PAL, please fill out the Provincial Attestation Letter Request Form and we will review your request.

We also recommend you speak with an academic advisor about your course selections or if you have deferred exams or grades.

You can also attend one of our Study Permit Webinars for New Students for more information on the PAL and tips on submitting your study permit application.

Additional Support

Where can I find this information on the Government of Canada’s website?

More information can be found on Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Study Permits website, and the official news release.

Rest assured that York will email you important information and updates as soon as they are available, to guide you through this process. Please check this FAQs page often for any additional updates.

I still have questions, where do I get more help?

Check out our Immigration Application Resources page for more support. We also have weekly Study Permit Webinars for New Students in April and May, open to all new international students and others needing to apply for a new study permit.