If you're not a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada, you must have a valid post-secondary study permit to attend university in Canada.

A study permit is the official document granted by the Government of Canada that gives you permission to study in Canada. Visit Waterloo's Student Success Office website to learn about immigration documents and how to apply for them.

We encourage you to apply for your study permit as soon as possible because application processing times can vary. You can check the estimated processing times on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

Should I apply for a study permit if my classes are online?

A study permit is not required for you to study online from outside of Canada. But due to unpredictable processing times for study permits, we strongly recommend that you apply for your study permit immediately after getting an offer of admission and letter of acceptance from Waterloo.

Even though your classes may be online, having a study permit will ensure you’re qualified to travel to Canada when in-person classes resume.

If you receive an offer of admission to a co-op program, you should apply for a co-op work permit when you apply for your study permit.

  • Once the University re-opens for in-person classes, you’ll need a valid study permit and temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA) to enter Canada and continue your studies at Waterloo.   
  • Submitting your study permit application before beginning your studies is important if you want to count this time spent studying towards your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility.  
  • There’s no guarantee your current application will be approved, even if you’ve received a stage 1 approval (AIP).  

Information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada continues to change. We recommend that you contact Waterloo’s Immigration Consulting team if you have some questions you’d like to discuss. 

Co-op work permit

If you've been admitted to a co-op program, please apply for your co-op work permit together with your study permit application using your Letter of Acceptance from Waterloo. Highlight all components of the Letter of Acceptance which pertain to your co-op program.

If you're not issued a co-op work permit approval or a co-op work permit at the port-of-entry into Canada, you can still apply for a co-op work permit once you're in Canada. We recommend applying right away after arriving at Waterloo, as processing times from within Canada can be 4+ months.

You need your co-op work permit for all co-op work terms and you must have it before starting your first one, which can be as early as January for some Engineering programs. If your program includes a degree-required internship, you can apply for your co-op work permit from within Canada after you arrive.

Proof of payment for study permits

As part of the study permit application process, Canadian visa offices in some countries may require proof that you have paid your tuition fees.