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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Apply for a Student Visa

What is a study permit (student visa)?

A study permit is the official paper that authorizes you to study in Canada. It is sometimes referred to as a “student visa.” All international students planning to study in Canada for more than six months must possess a valid study permit.

How do I apply for a study permit?

Contact the nearest Canadian Visa office (Embassy, High Commission or Consulate) to apply for a study permit. The diplomatic mission will tell you what is required in order to obtain a study permit.

If your study permit application is accepted, you will be notified:

  • In most countries you will be notified with a letter. This letter is very important and must be presented to the Canada Immigration at the point of entry in Canada. The immigration official will issue a study permit to you at that time.
  • In some countries you will receive your study permit before departure, however, you must still report to Canada Immigration at the port of entry in order to have your permit validated.

If your study permit application is refused, you will need to decide whether you want to apply again.

  • If your study permit is refused and you wish to re-apply it is very likely that the process will take a time. Processing time may vary depending on the Visa Office you are working with. If you choose to defer your studies to another semester, you must let TRU know asap. Notification of deferment must be given prior to the start of the semester. Please familiarize yourself with TRU’s refund policy.

If your study permit is refused and you want a refund of fees, please send the following to

  • You must inform TRU in writing BEFORE the start of the semester.
  • You must withdraw and request TRU for a refund.
  • A copy of the letter from the diplomatic mission giving the reason for refusal must support your request for refund.
  • Please familiarize yourself with TRU’s refund policy. These are sent to you with the pre-acceptance letter.

What is an entry visa (Temporary Residence Visa)?

Students from certain countries need an entry visa (Temporary Residence Visa) in order to enter into Canada. This means that in addition to applying for a study permit some students must also apply for an entry visa (Temporary Residence Visa). Ask your nearest Canadian embassy if you will need this and how to receive it. An entry visa is a stamp/seal in your passport and not a separate document.

What do I need to do if I am already a student in Canada?

Once you have been accepted to TRU you must check your immigration documents.

A permit is invalid if it is past its expiry date.

Am I able to visit the United States while studying in Canada?

You must apply for a United States visa before coming to Canada. Most students need a Visitor’s Visa to visit the United States (US). Recent changes to the US Immigration regulations make it a lot more difficult for anyone from Canada to obtain a US visitor’s visa. If you plan to go to the United States it is advisable to apply for a US visitor’s visa before you leave for Canada. Usually the United States Immigration will not consider granting a visitor’s visa to students applying from Canada until they have been studying in Canada for more than six months.

Am I able to study with visitor visa?

One of most common scenarios is that a student who has a visitor visa changes their mind and wishes to study at TRU for a longer period of time. A visitor visa allows a student to study in Canada for a maximum of 6 months, however, if student wish to apply for a student visa they will have to leave Canada in order to obtain this permit. There is no way to apply for a student permit in Canada; the nearest embassy to apply for a student visa is located in Seattle, Washington. Please note: if a student does not have a valid United States Visa they will have to go back to their home country in order to apply.

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