How can I extend my stay in Canada as a student?

Julia Hornstein
Published: February 15, 2024

After an international student obtains a study permit, they may need to extend or change the permit during their studies in Canada.

Discover your options to study in Canada

A study permit expires 90 days after the end of a study program. If you do not finish your program before the date on your study permit, you will be required to apply to extend your stay as a student. If you finish your program early, your study permit will expire 90 days after that, regardless of the original date on your study permit.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) advises students to apply to extend their study permits at least 30 days before their current permit expires. However, they recommend applying more than 30 days before it expires to account for any delays or other issues you may encounter in the process.

If you are studying in Quebec, you may also need to obtain a new Certificat D’acceptation Du Quebec/Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ). As a general rule, if you require a study permit, you also require a CAQ.

If your study permit has yet to expire

If you submit an application for renewal, change or extension before the current status expires, you are considered to be on “maintained status” as a temporary resident until IRCC has made a decision on your application.

If your status expires before IRCC decides on your application, you will only be able to continue studying as long as you remain in Canada.

Maintaining legal status in Canada throughout this process is very important. It is imperative that you do not to exceed the duration of your authorized stay in Canada without first applying for a change in status.

If your study permit has already expired

If you haven’t applied to extend your study permit and your permit expires, you have lost your status in Canada. You can’t continue or restart your studies until IRCC has restored your status and issued a new study permit. You have 90 days to apply to restore your status and extend your permit.

There’s a CAN$200 fee to restore your status, as well as a CAN$150 fee for the new study permit.

If you’re planning to travel outside of Canada

Make sure you have the travel document you need to re-enter Canada. You must have a valid travel document to re-enter the country.

If you’ve applied for a different permit

If you were a student, but you’ve applied for a work permit instead, you are not allowed to keep studying while you wait for a decision on your work permit application. You also can not work until IRCC has approved your application.

However, you are allowed to stay in Canada as a temporary resident (visitor) until you get a decision on your application.

How can I stay in Canada after I graduate?

To stay in Canada after you graduate, you must maintain legal status by:

  • Applying for other types of work permits depending on your situation and eligibility (e.g., a work permit that is tied to one employer)
  • Applying to change your status to visitor, or
  • Applying for a second study permit, allowing you to continue your studies.

Some graduates are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which allows students to stay in Canada and obtain Canadian work experience.

As an International graduates you may be eligible for the PGWP as long as:

  • You completed a PGWP-eligible program from a designated learning institution
  • The program was at least eight months long
  • You were a full-time student during every semester. Part-time status is acceptable in the last semester of studies, or if you have become a part-time student as a result of coronavirus disruptions
  • You have a transcript or letter confirming that you have completed your studies
  • You apply within 180 days of completing your program and obtaining your transcripts.

Discover your options to study in Canada

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