In order to study in Canada at any level, a foreign national is usually required to apply for and receive a Canadian study permit. However, there are circumstances in which a foreign student is exempt from this requirement.
Short-Term Study in Canada
Individuals do not require a study permit in order to pursue a program of study for six months or less. Courses may consist of any subject(s), and may be taken on a part- or full-time basis. In order to be deemed exempt from the requirement for a study permit, the course of study should be completed within the six month period. A visa extension will not be granted for the sole purpose of completing a short-term program.
Minor Children in Canada
Any minor child residing in Canada may study at a pre-school, primary or secondary level without a study permit. This applies to the children of temporary students or workers, as well as Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
This exception does not apply to children of temporary residents who are not authorized to work or study in Canada (i.e. visitors).
Family Members and Private Staff of Diplomats
Family members or members of the private staff of foreign diplomats and foreign accredited representatives do not require a permit to study in Canada. For purposes of this exception, a family member is defined as:
- A spouse or common-law partner;
- The dependent child of the individual or their spouse/common-law partner; or
- The dependent child of a dependent child.
Members of Foreign Armed Forces in Canada
Members of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state under the Visiting Forces Act do not require a permit to study in Canada.