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Student Visa Extensions and Post-Graduation Stay in Canada

Studying in Canada as an international student is a rewarding experience, but it comes with administrative responsibilities, such as ensuring your study permit remains valid throughout your academic journey. In this article, we will explore the process of extending your stay in Canada as a student, the importance of maintaining legal status, and options for staying in the country after graduation.


Extending Your Study Permit:


A study permit in Canada typically expires 90 days after the completion of a study program. If your program of study still needs to be completed, it is crucial to apply for an extension at least 30 days before the permit expires. However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recommends submitting the application well in advance to account for potential delays.


For those studying in Quebec, obtaining a new Certificat D’acceptation Du Quebec (CAQ) may also be necessary. Generally, if a study permit is required, a CAQ is also mandatory.


Maintaining Legal Status:


Applicants who submit renewal or extension applications before their current status expires are considered to be on “maintained status” until IRCC makes a decision. It is essential to be aware of the expiry date of temporary resident status, which is typically stamped in the passport upon entry to Canada.


If the study permit has yet to expire, students can continue studying while waiting for a decision. However, it is crucial to apply for a change in status within the authorized stay duration.


Expired Study Permit:


If a study permit expires without an extension application, the individual loses their status in Canada. In such cases, studies cannot be continued or restarted until IRCC restores the status and issues a new study permit. There is a 90-day window to apply for status restoration and permit extension, with associated fees of CAN $200 for status restoration and CAN $150 for permit extension.


Travelling Outside Canada:


For students planning to travel outside Canada during this process, having a valid travel document is essential for re-entry.


Transition After Graduation:

To stay in Canada after graduating, individuals must maintain legal status by applying for other types of work permits, changing their status to visitor, or obtaining a second study permit. The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is a viable option for many international graduates.


Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP):


Eligibility for the PGWP includes:

  • Completing a PGWP-eligible program.
  • At least eight months in duration.
  • Being a full-time student.
  • Applying within 180 days of program completion.


Exemptions and specific requirements must be met, and applicants must provide transcripts or a completion letter.


Important Updates:


As of January 22, 2024, new study permit applications require a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL), with exemptions for certain students. A minimum cost-of-living financial requirement for 2024 has been increased and may impact new study permit applications.

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