Difference between Study permit and Study visa for Canada

If you’re planning to pursue higher studies in Canada, did you know that a Study visa and Study permit are not the same? Well, people often confuse a study permit with a study visa. Knowing the difference is the beginning of your wide research on moving to Canada as an international student.

Here’s a short snippet on the role of a ‘visa’ in travel and immigration.

What is a visa?

Visa is an authorization issued to a foreigner by a country’s government. This allows the person to enter, remain or leave the respective country. It is endorsed on a passport, which varies from country to country. Every country’s visa has its own purpose and validity period.

In fact, Canada offers visas like study visas, tourist visas, super visas, etc.

What is a study permit?

A Canada study permit is a document that allows you to pursue education in Canada. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offers you a study permit that allows foreign nationals to study in colleges/universities. These colleges must be accredited as Designated Learning Institutions (DLI). On your arrival, the study permit is issued by the visa officers.

A study permit is a letter that you receive before traveling to Canada. This contains your name personal details, college/ university details, and validity of the study permit. On examining your study permit letter, the officers at the Port of Entry (POE), endorse a study permit stamp in your passport.


The study permit is valid for the duration of your study program with an additional 90 days. You can use the 90 days to leave Canada or extend your stay there.

If you finish your studies before the end of the study permit duration, you won’t have an extra 90 days. If the study program is about to cross the duration of the study permit, then you can extend it.

Eligibility requirements

  1. Enrolled in college/ universities accredited by Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  2. Should prove enough funds for paying tuition fees, living expenses, and transportation
  3. Must have done a medical exam
  4. Should prove that you leave Canada when the study permit expires

What is a study visa?

A Canada study visa or temporary resident visa (TRV) is a document that allows you to enter/ re-enter Canada. A study visa is mandatory at the Port of Entry (POE). Technically the government mentions your visa category as ‘Student’.

A study visa pasted on you passport contains your name, surname, visa validity period, and your visa category.


The validity of your study visa is for the duration of your study program with an extra-time period. If you stay in Canada, longer than your visa validity period then you must renew it depending on your resident status such as Permanent Resident (PR), Temporary Resident, etc.

Eligibility requirements

You must possess the following documents to be eligible to obtain a study visa.

  1. A valid passport
  2. An ‘offer letter’ from a college/university accredited by Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  3. A Statement of Purpose (SOP)


A study permit is not the same as a study visa for Canada. A study permit allows you to study in Canada while a study visa allows you to enter/re-enter Canada. To clear common misunderstanding it is high time you know the difference before moving to Canada for education.

Pursuing an education in Canada might be your dream. However, if you’re still skeptical about choosing a college/university, selecting a course, obtaining a study visa, and assisting you in moving to Canada as an international student, contact CanApprove. With their expert team of education and immigration consultants, you can have a hassle-free process in moving to Canada.

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