Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: October 12, 2023

Compliance with study permit conditions in Canada

compliance with study permit conditions in Canada

Valentina is a Colombian citizen. She is pursuing her studies in Canada as an international student with a valid study permit. However, Valentina wants to get a leave of absence next semester. She wonders if this could affect her compliance with study permit conditions. Moreover, she wants to know if she may work in Canada once on a leave of absence.


Canada is well-known for its high-quality education system, making it a prime destination for international students. However, gaining the opportunity to study in Canada requires understanding and adhering to specific immigration regulations. One crucial aspect is obtaining and maintaining a study permit, which comes with its set of conditions stipulated by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). Consequently, this article unravels the essential points surrounding study permit conditions aimed at aiding prospective and current international students navigate this pathway.

Understanding Study Permit Conditions

According to subsection 220.1(1) of the IRPR, individuals holding a study permit in Canada must comply with two primary conditions:

  1. Enrollment at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and continuous enrolment until the completion of their studies.
  2. Active pursuit of their chosen course or program of study.

Assessing Compliance with Study Permit Conditions

Authorities evaluate a student’s adherence to these conditions through various means. Key aspects of this assessment include:

Enrolment at a DLI:

  • Any foreign national who obtained a study permit on or after June 1, 2014, must enroll at a DLI.
  • If a student’s institution loses its DLI status after the issuance of the study permit, the student can continue studying there until the permit expires or transfer to another DLI. However, renewing the study permit to continue at the institution that lost its DLI status is not an option.

Actively Pursuing Studies:

  • Effective June 1, 2014, all study permit holders must actively pursue their courses or programs in Canada.
  • The assessment of active pursuit includes considerations like maintaining full-time or at least part-time enrolment status, progressing toward course completion, and abiding by authorized leaves from studies, among others.
  • The maximum duration for a leave of absence from school is 150 days. However, multiple leaves may indicate non-compliance.

Specific Situations and Compliance

Several scenarios might affect a student’s compliance with study permit conditions. Some of these include:

Changing Institutions or Programs:

  • Students can change institutions or switch programs within the same institution, provided there are no restrictions on their study permit.
  • Any change should be aimed at making reasonable progress toward obtaining a Canadian credential.
  • The students must immediately report such changes.

Leave from Studies:

  • Students may take a leave from their studies for reasons such as,
    • medical ailment or injury
    • pregnancy
    • family crisis
    • death or severe illness of a family member
    • alteration in study program within the same institution, outside a regular break
    • dismissals or suspensions (based on degree of severity)
    • Delayed program initiation (The DLI must approve the deferral of the program)
  • Any leave should not exceed 150 days, and students must resume their studies within this period, change their status (to a visitor or worker) or leave Canada.

School Closures:

  • Students may need to put their studies on hold during strikes or permanent closures.
  • Transition to a new program, change of status, or leaving Canada should occur within 150 days of school closure.

Documenting Compliance

Students may be asked to provide evidence of compliance with the conditions of their study permit. Examples of such evidence include official documents from the institution confirming enrolment status, reasons for leave, or any changes in the program of study. The following documents could assist an immigration officer in verifying the compliance:

  • Official document from the institution confirming,
    • Enrollment status,
    • The reason for leave and the approval date,
    • The date the student formally withdrew from an institution or program of study,
    • The date the student was suspended or dismissed, or
    • The date the student discontinued studying
  • Current and previous transcripts
  • Character references (e.g., a note from a professor)
  • Note from a medical practitioner certifying the medical necessity and duration of leave required.
  • Documentation or letter verifying that the school has ceased operations and is no longer offering courses or programs of study
  • Any additional and pertinent documents, at the officer’s discretion

Non-Compliance Consequences

Failure to adhere to the study permit conditions may lead to enforcement action like exclusion orders. It might also negatively impact future applications under the IRPA and IRPR.


Specific individuals are exempt from the standard study permit conditions. Here are some examples:

  • Persons in Canada with pending refugee claims or those granted refugee protection and their family members.
  • Members of the Convention refugees abroad class, humanitarian protected persons abroad, and their family members.
  • Destitute students
  • Accredited diplomats, officials, or representatives from countries other than Canada or intergovernmental organizations where Canada is a member.
  • Members of designated armed forces under the Visiting Forces Act and their families.
  • Persons with study permits facing unforeseen circumstances and those dependent on them.
  • Students who are under specific international agreements or exchange programs between Canada and other countries
  • Workers and officials from the United States who handle immigration, customs, and related duties.
  • US Government officials with official passports on temporary duty in Canada.
  • Foreign nationals in Canada under specific conditions:
    • Those with valid work or temporary resident permits.
    • Those under unenforceable removal orders.
  • Participants in Canadian sports activities or events, whether individual or team members.
  • Media professionals and religious assistants reporting on or aiding in events or congregations in Canada.

Let us help

Understanding and abiding by the stipulated study permit conditions is crucial for a smooth educational journey in Canada. Therefore, book a consultation session if you wish to receive official advice about compliance with study permit conditions or other relevant matters. For immigration or visa issues, fill out the following form.

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    Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

    Al Parsai is 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 (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, 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.