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International Student Guidebook

Visitor Visa, Temporary Resident Visa and eTA

VISITOR VISA or eTA (study less than 6 months)

You do not need a study permit if you plan to take a course or program in Canada that is six months or less in duration. You must complete the course or program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada.

Please note that you cannot change from visitor status to student status from within Canada – you need to apply outside the country for an initial study permit. The application guide for this process is here.

To study in Canada for less than 6 months, you must apply to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a visitor visa or electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Please check the CIC website to see what is required to enter Canada from your home country: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp


If you require a Temporary Resident (visitor) Visa (TRV), application instructions can be found here. Instructions to renew your TRV are here.


If you plan to fly into Canada by air, make sure you have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), otherwise you may get stuck at the airport.

What is an eTA and why do I need it?

An eTA is an entry requirement for citizens from countries, other than the U.S., that do not need a visa to come to Canada. It is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires.

Do I need an eTA if I already have a study permit?

Yes! A study permit is not a travel document. However, beginning August 1, 2015, an eTA is automatically issued to you with your study permit. You will need to apply for an eTA separately only if:

  • your permit was issued before August 1, 2015;
  • you renewed or plan to renew your study permit and do not have a valid eTA
  • you got a new passport since you received your permit.

How do I apply for an eTA?

Applying for an eTA is a simple online process that takes just minutes to complete.  The fee is $7.00 CAD.

All you need to apply is a valid passport, a credit or a debit card, and an email address.

For more information or to apply, visit Canada.ca/eTA. The application guide for electronic travel authorization (eTA)  and biometrics can be found here.

Note: * Students from visa-exempt countries coming to Canada for a short-term study program (less than 6 months) do not need a study permit, but will need to apply for an eTA to be able to board a flight to Canada.