Can international students quit their studies in Canada?

When you receive a study permit in Canada, you must meet all necessary conditions. Therefore, you must study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) all the time. Moreover, you must actively pursue your course or program of study. What if you decide to stop studying? This article is an effort to explain if international students could quit their studies in Canada. Of course, we will also discuss the consequences.

Who is an international student?

In this article, an international student is someone who studies in Canada with a valid study permit. However, the level of studies is not essential. Consequently, whether you are a high school student or doing your Ph.D., the concepts in this post cover you. Also, the expectation is that you are studying at a DLI. If you are not familiar with this concept, read my article on DLIs.

What does quitting studies mean?

The Immigration Regulations expect the students to pursue their studies actively.  Generally speaking, you need to attend at least 15 hours of classes per week. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Here are three examples:

  • In your last semester, you have one or two subjects to study.
  • You are taking a leave for valid reasons.
  • You are changing your school or program, and the next program begins in less than 150 days.

Beyond valid deviations, you may not quit your studies while in Canada. Therefore, if you stop studying, then you are in breach of the IRPR and IRPA.

Do I lose my study permit by quitting my studies?

Under the immigration Regulations, you lose your study permit as soon as one of the following happens:

It seems quitting studies does not fall under any of these circumstances. However, an immigration officer may issue a removal order for someone who leaves their studies. Therefore, if you quit your studies and remain in Canada, you could lose your study permit because of receiving a removal order. The process is nerve-wracking.

Do all international students face the consequences of quitting their studies?

The simple answer is no. Some people who are exempt from these requirements are the following:

  • Family members of diplomats
  • Refugee claimants and their family members
  • People who have passed the first stage of their H&C application
  • Protected people because of PRRA or refugee claims
  • Destitute students
  • Exchange students
  • Family members of the following people:
    • Holders of study or work permits
    • TRP holders if their TRP is valid for more than six months
    • Members of foreign armed forces or diplomats
    • Receivers of unenforceable removal orders
    • Participants of sports events or activities in Canada
    • The clergy

I have summarized the list. However, it gives an idea of who could be exempt.

The solutions for international students who quit their studies

It is difficult to predict the options as the individual circumstances are different. Regardless, here are some potential solutions:

  • Leave Canada before something adverse happens.
  • Apply for a visitor record and change your status from a student to a visitor.
  • File for a TRP if you are facing inadmissibility due to the breach.
  • Get admission from a new school and apply for a new study permit.

I recommend the first option in most cases. However, I must emphasize this solution may not be for you. Also, it would be best if you talked to a professional to make sure the actions you are taking are not against the law.

Let us help!

If you have quit studying as an international student or facing other issues, fill out the following form. Of course, you may book an appointment with me for official advice.

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.