Apply Online for an Initial Study Permit

Immigration updates
As of January 1, 2024, the minimum cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants has increased from $10,000 to $20,635 for 2024, in addition to tuition fees for the first year and travel costs. This change applies to new study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024
As of January 22, 2024, most students need to provide an attestation letter from the province or territory where they plan to study. The province of Alberta is expected to have a process for issuing attestation letters to students in place by March 31, 2024.
What you need to know before you apply online for a Study Permit from outside Canada

A study permit is an official document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which grants you temporary resident status and allows you to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) such as the University of Lethbridge.

  • A study permit allows foreign nationals to remain in Canada temporarily as a student.
  • Most foreign nationals coming to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada will need a study permit.
  • To study in Canada for any period longer than six months, you will need a study permit. 
  • Usually, you must apply for your study permit before you come to Canada.

Please keep in mind that your study permit is not an entry document. To enter Canada, you will most likely require either a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). No separate application is required for these. 

  • If IRCC approves your study permit, you will automatically be issued the travel authorization you need to enter Canada.
    • If you are from a country that requires a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for entry to Canada, IRCC will contact you to submit your passport to add the TRV (a sticker in your passport). 
    • If you are from a country that requires an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for entry to Canada, one will be electronically linked to your passport. 

We recommend that you apply for your study permit online through the IRCC websiteApplying online allows you to track your application and receive regular updates regarding the approval process of the application. If you are eligible to apply via the Student Direct Stream (SDS), you must submit your study permit application online.

When applying online, you will complete a questionnaire and generate a "document checklist" that lists the required documents you need to upload.

Visa Office Instructions: In addition to the document checklist generated in your IRCC online application, residents of some countries will have an additional list of required documents called "Visa Office Instructions". 

  • Any documents required by your visa office, which are not already included in your online document checklist, will need to be submitted as part of your study permit application. 
  • Visa Office requirements extraneous to the required uploads can be uploaded to the "Client Information" spot under the Optional Documents section in your online document checklist.​
  • Find the visa office instructions for your country of residence:
    • From the drop-down menu, select your country/territory of residence (the country from which you will be applying)
    • Find the document checklist and visa office instructions PDF (if applicable) and save or print both. Refer to these documents often.

Since your initial study permit application can take time to put together, we recommend that you apply for your study permit well before you plan to travel. Ideally, you should apply as soon as you receive a Letter of Acceptance from the University of Lethbridge. ​​

Initial study permit applications are processed at Canadian embassies and consulates worldwide. Processing times vary by country and can normally be viewed on the IRCC website

Keep in mind that the IRCC processing times do not include:

  • The time it takes to send an application between a Visa Application Centre and IRCC
  • The time it takes for you to give your biometrics

Documents for submission will vary depending on your country of residence and citizenship.

For most study permit applications, you will be required to submit:

  • IMM1294: Application for a Study Permit Made Outside of Canada
  • Proof of identity: Valid passport or travel document
  • Letter of Acceptance from uLethbridge: Sent by Admissions after you accept your offer of admission
  • Attestation Letter from the province of Alberta 
  • Proof of financial support: Check the IRCC website for required amounts and types of proof accepted
  • Statement of Purpose/Study Plan:
    • This is a brief overview of your intended studies in Canada and helps the visa officer understand your specific situation and your long-term career/study goals. 
    • Sometimes referred to as a "letter of explanation" or "cover letter". 
    • You may want to watch our "How to write a study plan" webinar found on our Pre-Arrival page for more helpful information and suggestions. 

You may also need to submit the following additional documents:

  • Biometrics: digital copies of your fingerprints, retinas and photos
  • Medical Exam: You may arrange a medical exam with an IRCC panel physician and include your medical report with your study permit application, or apply for the study permit and wait for instruction from the visa officer.
  • Family Information Form (IMM5645 or IMM5707- whichever is listed in the application package for your country)


If you apply for a study permit from outside Canada, you will be required to submit your biometrics (fingerprints and photo) in-person, at a biometrics collection point outside of Canada. 

  • If you have given your biometrics in the last 10 years, find out if they are still valid
  • If you need to provide biometrics as part of your application for a study permit, you must do so at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)
  • There is a biometrics fee, which covers the cost of collecting fingerprints and a digital photo. We suggest that you pay the biometrics fee at the same time you submit your study permit application for faster processing.
  • If you submit your study permit application online, you will receive a "Biometrics Instruction Letter" in your IRCC online account within 24 hours. With this letter, you will need to visit a VAC to provide your biometrics. 

Note: If there is no biometrics collection service point in your home country, you may need to travel to another country to give biometrics. 

Only Panel Physicians approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada can do this exam. Your own doctor cannot perform the medical exam. 

A medical exam is required when applying for a study permit if you: 

  • Have lived in a designated country or territory for more than 6 months in the last 12 months before you apply. 
  • Would like to work in certain jobs in Canada that bring you into close contact with people who must have their public health protected such as schools, hospitals, child and senior care facilities, clinical labs.

If you are required to complete a medical exam, you have 2 options: 

  1. Take an upfront medical exam and include a copy of the print out (e-Medical) given to you by the IRCC Panel Physician in your study permit application. (Recommended option)
  2. Submit your study permit application first and wait for IRCC to send you instructions on how to complete the medical exam with details on when you should book your medical exam appointment. (You must complete the IME within 30 days of receiving the instructions from IRCC)

Note: Medical exams are valid for 12 months and must be valid when you enter Canada. If your medical exam results will expire, you will need to complete a new one before you travel to Canada. 

To apply online for an initial study permit, follow steps 1 - 5 below:

If your country of residence has Visa Office Instructions requiring additional documents, you may choose to instead apply for your study permit at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)

Create an online account through IRCC if you haven't already or if you account has expired. We recommend creating a GCKey. If you haven't already created an account, click the "Register" button at the bottom of the page and create a username, password, and security questions.

  • Once logged in to your account, under “Start an application” near the bottom of the page, click “Apply to come to Canada
  • Under “I do not have a Personal Reference Code”, click “Visitor, study and/or work permit
  • Begin the questionnaire, indicating that you would like to study in Canada. If completed correctly, the questionnaire should indicate that you are eligible to apply for a Study Permit. Select that option and click “Continue” to complete the rest of the questionnaire until you arrive at your document checklist.

IMM 1294 Application for a Study Permit Made Outside of Canada

In the document checklist, click on “Application for a Study Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM 1294)” to download the latest version of the application form. When you click on this link, you may see a "Please Wait..." message on a white page.  From here, use the download button in your browser to download the PDF document.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, follow the instructions on the "Please Wait..." page to download it.  Use Adobe Reader to open the downloaded IMM1294 file.

Use the Instruction Guide 5269 to help you complete the IMM1294.

Here are some important tips for completing the IMM1294 application form:

  • UCI stands for “Unique Client Identifier” and is also known as Client ID. It is an eight or ten-digit number found on your immigration documents from IRCC. 
    Note: If this is your first ever application to IRCC, you can leave the UCI (universal client identification number) blank.
  • Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number: The University of Lethbridge's DLI (Designated Learning Institution) number for both the Lethbridge and Calgary campus is O18776949622 (the first letter is capital O and not zero)
    Note: This number is also listed on your Letter of Acceptance.
  • Letter of Acceptance: Use this document to answer duration of study questions.
  • Employment: Enter the details of any paid employment from the past 10 years, whether part-time or full-time.
    Note: If you have no work experience, include any secondary or post-secondary studies and duration and state that your occupation was “student”.
  • Signature: If you are applying online, an electronic signature will occur prior to payment, so no physical signature is necessary for the IMM 1294. DO NOT print and scan this form.
  • Validate & Upload: When you have completed the application form, click the blue “Validate” button at the end of the form. If you have made mistakes or missed any fields, these sections will be highlighted red and you will need to complete these areas prior to attempting to validate again. Once you have successfully validated, a page of black bar codes will be generated as the final page of the document. Save the validated form on your computer and then upload this form in the IRCC account. 

IMM5707 or IMM5645 Family Information form

  • If you are required to fill out the Family Information form, it will appear in your document checklist and will need to be completed as part of the application.
  • In the document checklist, click on the Family Information form to download it. When you click on this link, you may see "Please Wait..." message on a white page.  From here, use the download button in your browser to download the PDF document. If you do not have Adobe Reader, follow the instructions on the "Please Wait..." page to download it now.  Use Adobe Reader to open the Family Information PDF file.
  • Complete this form on a computer, then print it off and sign it by hand. Once it's been signed, scan the completed form and then uploaded the signed version to your document checklist. 
    Note: Family information forms must be signed in BLACK ink. 

You will now need to upload your documents into their corresponding section of your document checklist.

  • Application for a Study Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM 1294)
  • Letter of Acceptance from uLethbridge
  • Attestation Letter from the province of Alberta 
  • Family Information Form 
    • IMM5645 or IMM5707 (whichever is listed in the application package for your country)
  • Passport
    • Scan the biographical page of your passport, as well as all pages with stamps or visas
    • All images must be consolidated into one file
  • Proof of Finances
    • Click on the “” in your document checklist to see a list of possible ways to demonstrate your finances.
    • The more documentation you can provide as evidence of your financial status, the better. 
    • All images must be consolidated into one file
    • Note: If your country uses foreign-exchange controls, you will need to provide proof that you will be allowed to export your funds.
  • Digital photo
    • Colour photo; Image size at least 420 x 540 pixels. Frame size must be at least 35mm X 45mm. 
    • Must show full front view of head, face in the middle and include the top of the shoulders against a white backdrop. Click on the “?” in your document checklist for more photo specification details.
    • Note: This photo does not need to be an official passport photo.
  • Client information 
    • This is where you'll upload any documents required by your visa office, which are not already included in your online document checklist
      • Study plan/Statement of Purpose
      • Other visa office requirements
    • Note: "Client Information" only allows for a single file to be uploaded in the document checklist. You will need to combine all additional required documents into one PDF file and upload the file 

If you're applying via the Student Direct Stream (SDS), you'll also need to upload:
  • Proof of a valid IELTS test with scores of 6.0 in each skill, completed within the past two years
  • Proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of at least $10,000 CAD
  • Proof of payment of tuition for the first year of study
    • Tuition payments to uLethbridge can be made using GlobalPay by Convera and PayMyTuition.  After payment has been made, email to request a receipt that you can include in your study permit application. 

After uploading the completed application form(s) and all supporting documents, you will click “Continue” at the bottom of the page. On the next page you will provide your electronic signature by typing in your full name as it appears on your passport. Once you’ve signed, you will be taken to the payment page. Payment will be made by credit card.

  • For a study permit application, there are two (2) types of fees:
    • The application processing fee of $150 CAD and
    • The Biometric fee of $85 CAD (per person) or $170 CAD (for a family of 2 or more if applying with dependents)
      Note: Most applicants for a study permit will need to provide biometrics. If you’ve given your biometrics before, your biometrics may still be valid.
    • Find out if your biometrics are still valid and when they expire by using the Check status tool.
  • Take screenshots of any confirmation numbers regarding payment and ensure you have a screenshot of the “Acknowledgement of receipt” page after the application is submitted. If you need to leave the application and return at any time, your application will be saved in your GCKey account for 60 days from the date that you first started the application. 
  • You will be able to follow the processing of your application via your GCKey account.  If IRCC requests any additional document(s) for your application, you will receive an email from IRCC and instructions on how to submit the document(s). If you submit your application online, you should be able to provide the requested documents online via your GCKey account. You must provide any documents requested by the deadline given by IRCC, or your application will be refused.

If your study permit application is approved:

  • IRCC will provide you with a "Letter of Introduction". This letter is not your study permit, but a document stating it has been approved. You will bring this letter with you, when you come to Canada and a Border Services Officer will issue you your study permit at the port-of-entry. 

Entry Documents

  • If you are from a country that requires a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for entry to Canada, and your study permit application is approved, IRCC will contact you to submit your passport to add the TRV (a sticker in your passport). 
  • If you are from a country that requires an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for entry to Canada, one will be issued upon approval of your study permit application. The details of the eTA will be listed in your Letter of Introduction.

If your study permit application is refused:

  • IRCC will send you a refusal letter that includes an explanation on the reasons for refusal. Please contact us for advice before re-applying.

If you have a Letter of Acceptance to the Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Nursing After Degree or to the Bachelor of Education, you will require a co-op work permit in addition to your study permit. The co-op work permit will allow you to complete the practicum components of your program.

To apply for the co-op work permit together with your initial study permit:

  • Review your Letter of Acceptance. In Box 24, ensure that "Yes" is checked.
  • In the online questionnaire, answer "Yes" to the question regarding work being an essential component of your program.
  • Upload the letter from your faculty regarding practicum work under "Evidence of Work Requirement in Study" in your document checklist. This letter will been provided to you by email together with your Letter of Acceptance.

Please note that work which brings you in close contact with people, such as nursing or teaching, requires a medical exam performed by an IRCC panel physician.

Your co-op work permit will be issued to you along with your study permit at the port of entry upon your arrival to Canada.

Request Assistance from an International Student Advisor

This guide has been written by a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA) in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations.  The information provided is subject to change at any time. While we will endeavor to update this page regularly, please always see the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for the most current information.

Last updated: February 5, 2024 at 10:28am