Canada is considered one of the best countries in the world to live in, and is also one of the countries with the largest number of international students. This is no surprise: the high quality of life, a renowned education system and the economic prosperity of the country make studying in Canada one of the best options for students from all over the world.
To study in Canada as a foreigner, you will need either a travel permit or a visa, depending on the length of stay and study. In some cases, you can simply travel to Canada with an eTA and do not need to apply for a visa. However, the eTA is not sufficient for a longer stay, and in these situations a specific study permit must be obtained.
What is the eTA Canada?
The eTA (short for “electronic Travel Authorization”) is an electronic travel authorisation that allows citizens of 55 countries, including Ireland, to enter Canada without applying for a visa. The eTA application can be completed online using a digital application form, so you don’t have to visit the Canadian consulate or embassy. Applications generally take around five to ten minutes to complete and processing of the application takes around three days. Once approved, an eTA Canada allows you to stay in Canada for up to 6 consecutive months during an overall 5-year validity period. This makes it an ideal option if you want to study in the country for up to 6 months, as visa applications for Canada usually take several weeks or months and are more expensive.
Students who travel with only an eTA Canada can leave and re-enter the country as often as they like to visit family and friends. However, they must take into account the validity period of the eTA when they return to continue their studies. In the rare case that the study permit is still valid but the eTA has already expired, the eTA will need to be renewed before you travel to Canada again.
When do I need a study permit?
Students who are going to Canada on an exchange program, or who want to follow a study programme that lasts longer than 6 months, will have to go through a few extra procedures besides the eTA. A study permit allows you to study in Canada at certain educational institutions that have been approved by the Canadian government to accept international students and that are on the Designated Language Institutions (DLI) list. The application for a study permit must be submitted via the government website, at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or at a visa office. Before beginning the process, you must have an invitation letter from the educational institution you will be attending and you must prove that you have sufficient funds to finance your stay in Canada. Those who choose to study do not need to apply for an eTA separately, as this travel permit is issued automatically when the application for a study permit is approved. Those who wish to study and work at the same time in order to finance part of their stay can do so for a maximum of 20 hours per week on the campus of the educational institution in question.