International students have many compelling reasons to continue pursuing their studies in Canada. The opportunity to gain world-class education at an economical cost in comparison to countries like the United States, United Kingdom or Australia, a growing multicultural environment, and the potential of applying for permanent residence upon completion of studies are just some of the reasons. 

In this article, we will be focusing on the process of extending a student permit. The information provided here will be beneficial to those – 

  • Who are currently studying in Canada on a valid study permit, OR 
  • Whose study permit has recently expired. 

Understanding the validity of your study permit

Each study permit that is issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has an expiry date. This date informs you when you have to stop studying and leave Canada. 

You can find the expiry date noted on your permit. The date provided is usually the length of your study program, plus 90 days. The extra 90 days gives you time to prepare to leave Canada or to extend your stay in Canada. However, the expiry date may also match your passport validity date – a study permit cannot be issued beyond your passport’s expiry date.

For a detailed understanding of additional exceptions and conditions that may affect the validity of your student permit, read our blog on Student Permit: Moving to Canada as an International Student.

There are certain situations where a study permit will expire prior to the expiry date noted on the documents. Two such situations include: 

(1) If you finish your studies earlier than you expected, your student permit will expire on the date marked on the permit or 90 days after the day you complete your studies, whichever comes first. 

The 90 days begin:

  • On the date you get the first notification from your school (such as an email, letter, transcript, etc.) that you completed your program; OR
  • When you get your degree, diploma or certificate.

(2) If you have not completed your program of study, and take an authorized  leave of absence of more than 150 days, or you stop studying with no intention to resume study, your study permit will expire on the 150th day. Within this period you must apply to amend your status in Canada, or depart. 

When should you apply for an extension of your study permit?

Situation 1: Your study permit is expiring soon and you want to continue studying in Canada

If you want to continue studying beyond the expiry date mentioned on your student permit, you should apply for an extension at least 30 days before it expires. However, you may wish to apply even earlier than this – current processing times for study permit extension applications are found here. You also need to ensure that your passport doesn’t expire at the same time as you can’t extend your study permit beyond your passport’s expiry date. 

If your study permit expires, and you haven’t applied for an extension, you must leave Canada. If you intend to continue staying in Canada but are no longer studying, so long as your study permit remains valid you may apply to change your status and stay in Canada as a visitor, or a worker. 

Remember: You should apply to extend your study permit if you plan to travel outside Canada and your permit will expire while you’re travelling.

When you apply for an extension before your permit expires, you can continue to stay in Canada after the expiry of your current permit under the same conditions until a decision is made on your application. If you depart Canada prior to the new permit being issued, you will lose this authorization and must wait until your new document has been issued to you to resume studies. 

Situation 2: Your study permit has already expired and you want to continue studying in Canada

If your study permit is no longer valid and you have not applied to extend your status in Canada within its validity period, you may be eligible to apply to restore your status in Canada. If you apply to restore your status as a student, you cannot resume study until your new permit is issued. If you are not eligible to restore your status, you should depart Canada and apply for a new study permit from abroad. 

Application process for extending your study permit

Before you apply to extend your study permit, make sure your school is on the Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) list. If your school is no longer on the DLI list, you can keep studying until your current permit expires. To extend your study permit, you’ll need to enroll at a DLI.

In most cases, you must apply online to extend your study permit. If you can’t apply online or use the forms provided because of a disability, you can ask IRCC for other formats, including large print and braille.

To apply online, you’ll need:

  • A scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents.
  • A valid credit or debit card.

Based on information contained in your study permit application, a checklist will be pre-populated for you but you’ll need to ensure that it includes everything in the predefined document checklist as well as the items mentioned under ‘Gather the Documents’ in the instruction guide. 

Situation 1: Your study permit is expiring soon and you want to continue studying in Canada

Step 1: Read the instruction guide

Read the instruction guide before you complete your application. The guide explains how to complete each field on the form.

Step 2: Create your IRCC online account or sign in to your existing account

You need an account to apply online. You can use your account to pay your fees, submit your application, and check your application status. 

Step 3: Prepare your responses for the online tool and fill the forms

Before you can upload your application, you must answer some questions online to check whether you are eligible to extend your study permit. If so, IRCC will use your answers to create a personalized document checklist for you. 

Be sure to complete all sections of the application. If a question or a section does not apply to you, write “Not Applicable” or “NA,” except for your name (last name and given names). If your application is incomplete, you may face processing delays, or your application may be rejected.

Step 4: Pay the fees

IRCC will ask you to pay your fees  prior to submitting your application online. The only acceptable form of payment is online payment. If you send any other form of payment, IRCC will return your application.

In most cases, your fees will include processing fees for you and anyone you include on your application. 

How much does it cost to extend a study permit?

Current fee structure:

  • Study permit (including extensions) – per person: $150 CAD 
  • Restore your status as a student: $350 CAD 

Biometrics fee: If you have to give your biometrics (fingerprints and photo), you will need to pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application. 

  • Biometrics – per person: $85 CAD
  • Biometrics – per family (2 or more people applying at the same time and place): $170 CAD 

Note:
Ensure that: 1. You are eligible to apply to extend your permit before you pay your fees, and 2. That you provide all the information and documentation requested before you submit the application. The processing fee will not be refunded, regardless of the final decision once IRCC has started processing your application.

Step 5: Submit your application

Once you complete your application and pay the fees, you can submit your application online. IRCC’s Case Processing Centre will then review your application to determine if it is complete, and whether you are eligible to extend your permit.

Note:
If your application is rejected as incomplete, it is considered to have never been submitted, and therefore you will not benefit from implied status. If you reapply after your current status has expired, you will need to apply for restoration of status.

If your application is complete, the Case Processing Centre will send you either:

  • A visitor record, a new work permit or a new study permit, if your application is approved; OR
  • A letter refusing your application; OR
  • Notification that your application has been referred to a local Canada Immigration Centre for further assessment.

If your application is referred to a local office, they will contact you to request additional information or clarification and, if required, invite you to attend an interview. It may take up to three months for them to contact you.

Once IRCC receives the additional information or clarification, the local office will complete the final stages of processing and notify you by mail of their decision.

The current processing time for student permit applications is 119 days. To check your application status, you can log in to your IRCC account and check your status online.

Situation 2: Your study permit has already expired and you want to continue studying in Canada 

If you’ve lost your student status while you are still in Canada, you may be eligible to apply to restore our status as a student, at the same time to apply for a study permit. 

To be eligible to apply for restoration of yous status as a student, you must:

  • Submit your application within 90 days of losing your status (see step-by-step process outlined in Situation 1). 
  • In Step 3 of the process outlined above, in the application form, select both:
    • An initial study permit or extension of study permit, and
    • Restoration of temporary resident status as a student
  • Explain how you lost your status and why you stayed in Canada longer than allowed. 
  • Continue meeting the initial requirements for your stay.
  • Have met all the conditions listed on your permit, other than its expiry date.
  • Pay the correct application fees

Note:
There’s no guarantee that IRCC will accept your request to restore your status in Canada. You can stay in Canada while your application is being processed, but you can’t study until your student status is restored.

If your spouse, common-law partner or dependent children came with you to Canada, they may also need to restore their status.

Whether it’s a student permit, work permit, or temporary resident visa that you’re applying for, it’s always a good idea to be well-informed and follow the guidelines mentioned by IRCC in their respective application guides. And if you’re confused or have a complex situation, you should consult an authorized immigration consultant or lawyer. 

Considering moving to Canada soon?

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Sources:
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
Green and Spiegel Immigration Law Firm

 

Note:
The information provided in this article is general, is subject to frequent changes and does not constitute legal advice. For specific immigration legal advice that you can rely on, please contact Green and Spiegel.

 

 

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