Study Permits

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship CanadaImmigration and Visas

The Canadian federal government recently announced a temporary cap on study permits for international students seeking undergraduate post-secondary education in Canada. As of January 22, 2024, study permit applications will require potential students to obtain Provincial Attestation Letters (PAL) from the province where they plan to study. Master’s and doctoral students are not included in the cap and do not require a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) to apply for their study permit.  

In preparation of the new Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) process and to improve UNBC Admissions' ability to quickly request a PAL, UNBC is reaching out to admissible students to request their passport numbers. If you have any questions about this process please contact

The Province of B.C. is currently working on a process for issuing attestation letters, which is expected to be in place no later than March 31, 2024. Find more information on the Government of Canada’s website. We will keep this page updated as information becomes available.  

Other resources: 

Steps to Apply for a Study Permit

It is important for you to start your study permit process immediately after receiving acceptance to UNBC. It is your responsibility to apply with enough time to arrive for the start of the semester and acquire the correct visa or study permit before you arrive in Canada. The following are general guidelines. Please always refer to the Government of Canada's website for official information.

Step 1: Check study permit processing times. Please ensure enough time to apply, receive your study permit and make travel arrangements before the start of the semester. When estimating the time it will take to receive a study permit and arrive in Canada please consider the following: 

- 8 to 12 weeks may be needed to complete an application, and gather the required documents. You may be required to submit biometrics and complete a medical exam

- 4 weeks (1 month) of additional processing times in case of delays or interruptions.

- 2 to 3 weeks if you require a temporary resident visa (TRV) as you will be required to mail in your passport.

Step 2: Create an account or sign in on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website

Step 3: Answer the online questionnaire (be sure to select “Study Permit” when prompted)

Step 4: Upload your supporting documents and a completed application form

Step 5: Press “Submit” and pay the application fee

UNBC's Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number is O19283889692. Please use this number when applying for your study permit. 

Common Study Permit Questions

How do I know if I need a study permit?

All students who plan to study in Canada for greater than 6 months require a study permit. 

Is there another option to applying online?

Yes. You can go to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) and submit your application through them. Visa application centres are private companies that have formal contracts with the Government of Canada.

What is the difference between a visa and a study permit?

A study permit allows you to study in Canada for greater than six months.

A temporary resident visa (TRV) is issued to most passport holders before they can travel to Canada. Some travellers, for example citizens of the European Union or Australia, will not require a TRV, but will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

I have heard about the Study Direct Stream. What is this and can I apply through it?

The Student Direct Stream is an expedited study permit processing program. It is currently only open to legal residents who also live in one of the following countries: China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal and Vietnam.

Applicants must meet specific eligibility requirements to get their study permit faster. If you are a legal resident from these countries, you can check the requirements and eligibility from the IRCC website.

I want to start studying at UNBC, but my study permit was issued for another post-secondary institution. Can I still study at UNBC?

Yes. It is important that you change the post-secondary institution you are studying at. This can be done through your online portal.

If you change schools and don't tell IRCC, your old school will report you as not being registered to study. If you aren’t registered to study, you’re breaking the conditions of your study permit. You may be asked to leave the country, and this may prevent you from coming to Canada in the future.

I still have more questions about study permits and immigration issues. What should I do?

Contact us at for further support, or to ask specific questions.