Studying in Canada - do I need an eTA or a study permit

Contributed by Electronic Visa Solutions, 10 July, 2020

Canada is a popular destination for students that are looking to study abroad for a few semesters or a year. Like most countries in the world, however, Canada is not automatically free to enter for all foreigners. Regardless of whether you are coming to study or to work or just to travel around the country a bit, you will need a special visa or travel authorization. And they come in many forms. For students, which visa or travel authorization is required depends on the length of their study and how long they will be staying. In some cases, you don't even need to apply for a visa or special study permit to begin with, and you can simply enter Canada with an eTA. For longer stays, however, an eTA is not sufficient and you will need to apply for a study permit (a type of student visa).

eTA Canada

What is an eTA anyway? The abbreviation eTA stands for "electronic Travel Authorization". The eTA is digital travel permit to travel into Canada. It was introduced to make travelling to Canada easier for residents of certain countries (including the United Kingdom). Travellers from these countries usually no longer need to apply for a visa, but can simply travel with the eTA, which can be applied for online using a digital application form. Since the application is submitted online, there is no need to visit the embassy or send the passport by post like with the visa. eTA applications are generally approved after just a few hours, while visa applications for Canada can take several weeks.

Study permit

Strictly speaking, a study permit is not a visa. If you have a valid visa, this does not mean you will automatically be allowed to study in Canada. Likewise, with a study permit you can study in Canada, but the permit on its own is not sufficient to enter Canada. This might sound contradictory; why issue a study permit if you're not allowed to enter the country? This is because in addition to the study permit, an eTA travel authorization is required to enter the country. Thankfully, in most cases the eTA Canada is issued automatically when the application for a study permit is approved, so it is not necessary to also submit a separate eTA application.

With a study permit, you are only allowed to study at certain educational institutions. These are educational institutions that have been approved by a Canadian provincial or territorial government to host international students. They are on a list of so-called Designated Learning Institutions (DLI).

In order to apply for a study permit, a letter of invitation from the institution to be visited must be submitted. You must also be able to prove that you have sufficient financial resources for your entire stay in Canada. These documents are not required for an eTA application.

Is the eTA sufficient or do I need a study permit?

Not all types of studies in Canada require a special study permit. In some cases, the Canada eTA to enter Canada and study there. Whether an eTA is sufficient, or whether you also need a study permit, depends on the duration of your studies in Canada. With an eTA, you can study in Canada for up to 6 months. Thus, an eTA is usually sufficient for a semester abroad. If your studies in Canada last longer than 6 months, you will need to apply for a study permit.

Since applying for an eTA in Canada is easier, quicker and cheaper than applying for a study permit, it is recommended you apply for a study permit only if your stay in Canada is longer than 6 months or if you do not meet other requirements for the eTA.

Tags: Education | Immigration | Study | Education | Immigration | Visas and Passports | Canada |



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