Elementary and Secondary Education in Canada
When you are planning for your children to enroll in an undergraduate program at a college or university, a skilled trade school.
The first step is for them to complete the prerequisite of completing Elementary and Secondary (high school) education. The same applies to Canada.
You may wonder, do I need to secure a study permit for my child(ren) when moving to Canada or if I plan to send my child alone to Canada.
Who Needs a Study Permit
As a non-Canadian living abroad (note: this does not apply to someone with an existing Permanent Resident PR status) you will require a study permit in order to study in Canada unless exempted.
In order to qualify you must be enrolled in a program that is more than (6) months in duration at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada.
Important Requirements For a Study Permit
A few requirements need to be met before applying for a study permit:
- Obtaining a school’s Letter of Acceptance.
- Parent’s Consent Letter/ Custodian declaration (minors only: age 17 or less).
- Proof of financial status and support.
- Letter of Explanation.
- Good Health and free of any record of criminal activities.
If the school to which your child (or if you are the student applicant) decides to move forward and accept you as a student at their institution they will send you a Letter of Acceptance (includes an official letterhead, exact tuition fees, start and end dates, deadline for registration).
This letter MUST be included within the student permit application (an original or electronic copy).
If you plan to send your child(ren) on his/her own to Canada and they are a minor (age 17 or less), your child(ren) requires a custodian. A Custodianship Declaration form needs to be completed and certified by a notary.
Canada needs to ensure that you are able to support your child(ren)/student applicant financially and your family upon arrival. A few different ways of how to prove that are the following (provide a couple at least) – minimum $10,000 CAD per year per student:
- if funds have been transferred to Canada, proof of a Canadian bank account in your name,
- Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution
- proof of a student or education loan from a bank
- your bank statements for the past 4 months
- a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
- proof of paid tuition and accommodation fees
- a letter from the person or school giving you money
- proof of funding paid within Canada, scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program
this letter reflects your goals and reason for wanting to study in Canada as well as proving that you understand student responsibilities.
A medical exam might be requested to prove that you are in good health standing. Also, a Police Clearance Certificate might be requested to prove that you are a law-abiding citizen and free of any criminal activities
Validity period of School Study Permit
A study permit issued based on a school offer letter is valid for a year plus an extra 90 days and students are required to renew their study permits on a yearly basis when studying in elementary or secondary school. The 90 days allows you to prepare to leave Canada or apply to extend your stay.
- If the study program you enrolled in ends before your study permit expires, the permit will be valid 90 days after your last day of school despite what is indicated on your permit. (You may demonstrate this information through a completion letter, transcript, elementary or secondary school certificate of completion issued by your school).
Extending a Study Permit
In certain circumstances where your permit expires before you complete your studies, you will be required to extend your study permit. If you fail to do so, you will have to terminate your stay immediately and exit the country.
- Some of the reasons for which you may want to extend your study permit is:
- you have not completed your program yet
- you want to study in post-secondary programs
- you switched programs and your new program is longer than the original program which will require you to stay longer
If you decide to change schools (eg: changing to the next education level or program) you have to ensure that you still meet your study permit conditions. This means that you must demonstrate that you continue to be enrolled in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and you are actively studying in Canada.
All elementary, middle and secondary schools in Canada are listed as Designated Learning Institutions. So, as long as the school is approved to operate, it is in the list of DLIs.
Remember that all changes must be updated on your study permit profile.
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