Recent changes for international applicants and students

Monday, February 5, 2024

Information last updated Friday, March 28, 2024.

The Government of Canada recently announced a two-year cap on new study permits for international students. The government also introduced an additional step in the study permit application process, requiring students to have a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) to be eligible to apply for a study permit. 

Who needs a PAL? 

Applicants who receive an offer of admission to one of the on-campus direct entry Graduate Diplomas (GDip) programs listed below are part of the Government of Canada study permit cap and are, therefore, required to have a PAL. A direct email communication will be sent to GDip applicants with an offer that includes the next steps.

  • Graduate Diploma (GDip) in Business and Entrepreneurship (direct entry)
  • Graduate Diploma (GDip) in Data Analytics (direct entry)

Who does not need a PAL? 

The cap and PAL requirement do not apply to applicants who receive an offer in the following programs, though all international students must have a valid study permit and follow the study permit application process:

  • Students pursuing a master’s degree
    • including joint master’s, i.e. UW-Warwick double degree (Balsillie School), or joint MA in Intercultural German Studies (IcGS)
  • Students pursuing a PhD degree
    • including dual PhD or Cotutelle students
  • International Visiting Graduate Students (IVGS)
  • One-term (4 month) graduate exchange students
  • Students pursuing an online direct entry Graduate Diploma Program (GDip)
    • Graduate Diploma (GDip) in Climate Risk Management (direct entry)(online)
    • Graduate Diploma (GDip) in Electric Power Engineering (direct entry)(online)
    • Graduate Diploma (GDip) in Planning (direct entry)(online)
  • current valid study permit holders 

Check your PAL eligibility online 

The University of Waterloo has made available a quiz to confirm the need for a PAL, as well as any necessary next steps. Here is how applicants and students can access the quiz (using a computer platform, not available on mobile):

  • Log in to Quest*
  • Select the “Personal Information” tile
  • Scroll down to “Provincial Attestation Letter” (PAL)
  • Select the term for which you require the PAL
  • Once you have selected your term, the quiz will open

*note: One to two business days after completion of the online application for graduate admission, and the fee being processed, applicants will receive an email from the University with instructions to claim their identity (user ID and password) to access Quest, the University of Waterloo’s student information system.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have announced that as of February 15, 2024, a longer, 3-year post-graduation work permit will be available to those who are graduating from a master’s degree program that is less than two years and who meet all other Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility criteria. Open work permits will also remain available to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs.

Learn more about applying for a study permit.

Financial requirements - updated as of January 1, 2024

The Government of Canada has updated the financial requirements for study permit applicants. This change applies to all new study permit applications, both undergraduate and graduate (master’s and PhD), received on or after January 1, 2024. The new amounts reflect updated cost-of-living requirements.

If you have questions, please reach out to our Graduate Admissions team.