Study permit and student visa are often used interchangeably. However, the two terms do not mean the same thing. To most people, the difference doesn’t even matter. However, if you aim to study in Canada, you must know the difference between the two. After all, you cannot study in Canada without either of the two documents.  

This article will look at what distinguishes a Canadian study visa from a study permit.

Study Permit versus Student Visa.

A student visa gives you conditional authorization to enter a country, in this case, Canada. It only affords you the chance to travel to a country. However, the border officer may still deny you entry into the country.

Think of it as what lets you get to the border.

On the other hand, a student permit gives you the authority or the permission to stay in a particular country. It carries all the necessary details regarding your stay in the country. This includes 

  • your purpose for visiting the country
  • the duration of your study
  • the course that you will be studying 
  • any restrictions about your employability during your stay

While the student visa only allows you to get to the Canadian border, the study permit is what lets you stay in Canada.

Getting a student visa versus getting a study permit

Honestly, the Canadian government doesn’t even issue a student visa. Instead, what you get is an electronic travel authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa. These two guarantee you entry into Canada and are only issued when your study permit is approved.

However, your study permit is subject to further approval by the officer at the border. The officer will use the reference number for your study permit to issue you a final study permit. This reference number is on the letter of introduction that the visa office sent when they approved your study permit. Once there are no issues with your documents, the border office will issue you a completely approved study permit. This final study permit will allow you to stay in Canada. Make sure to confirm the details on your study permit before leaving the border office.

Suppose you want more information on study permits and student visas. In that case, you should check out the Canadian government’s study permit guide. You can find this guide on the country’s official website.



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