What is a Study Permit?

A Study Permit is the immigration document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that provides permission for an international student to study in Canada. This permit is your status document while you are studying in Canada and you must make sure to meet the requirements of your study permit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/temporary-residents/study-permits/assessing-conditions.html

It is your responsibility to ensure that your Study Permit is valid for the duration of your academic program in Canada.

If you are from a country that requires an entry visa OR an eTA, this will be issued for you upon approval of your study permit – you do not make a separate application for a travel visa. On approval, you will be given a visa or eTA and a letter of introduction to travel to Canada and issued your study permit upon arriving at the Port of Entry.

When to Apply

The Study Permit application process can be lengthy. It is very important you apply for the permit as soon as you receive the Proof of Acceptance letter. We recommend applying a minimum of 3-4 months before your program start date. Be sure to check with IRCC to determine the estimated processing time based on your country of application.

Proof of Acceptance (POA)

The Proof of Acceptance (POA) letter is the official letter from NU that you will use to support your study permit application, along with the other documents required by IRCC. The POA can only be obtained by requesting one through the OGS Student Portal. 

Please note that payment of a $1000 CAD tuition deposit will be required prior to obtaining your POA. This deposit is applied to your first semester fees.

Click here for detailed information about how to request your POA and the deposit policy.

Apply for your Study Permit

Students may apply for their Study Permit via an online application portal or via paper application. You also have the option of using the services of an authorized third party application collection service, called a Visa Application Centre (VAC). If you are able, apply using the online application portal, as generally, online applications are processed more quickly than paper applications. Estimated processing times per country are available on the IRCC site.

All the information you need for the Study Permit application process is available on the IRCC website. This process is not managed by Northeastern University and we do not have additional insight into processing times or delays.

If you choose to use the services of an immigration advisor or lawyer to assist you with your application, please be certain to choose someone who is legally permitted to represent you to IRCC. To determine if a person is an authorized representative, please read the guidelines here.

Documents Required for Initial Study Permit

Please visit the official IRCC website for the complete details.

Please make sure to also read the visa office specific guidelines for your country of nationality.

Next steps

If your application is approved, the visa office serving your country of residence/citizenship will issue you a Letter of Introduction. Please read through your Letter of Introduction/Port of Entry letter (POE) closely and carefully. Further instructions related to requirements for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), Entry Visa, or eTA will be included in this letter. Please note that it is imperative that you take any next steps outlined in your Letter of Introduction (POE) in a timely manner. Do not book your travel arrangements to Canada until you’ve received your Letter of Introduction.

Please check the updates under the COVID-19 on here.

Entering Canada

OGS recommends that students arrive no earlier than 30 days before their program start date. Canadian immigration regulations do not specify a timeline for when a student can arrive before the program start date, however the border services officer may question a student’s intention should they arrive months before the start of the program. If you meet the requirements to work on or off campus as stated on your study permit, you may not begin working until your classes have started, so there is no advantage to arriving too early.

When you travel, make sure to have the following documents in your carry-on bag:

  • A valid passport
  • Letter of Introduction/Port of Entry (POE) Letter – contains permit reference number
  • A copy the the admission letter from Northeastern University
  • The POA letter
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Canada
  • Letters of reference or any other documents
  • Either a valid eTA or Temporary resident visa
  • Any other document as required by IRCC or the Government of Canada
  • Please do not travel with large sums of cash for your own safety. If you do choose to travel with cash, please make sure you declare any amount of $10,000 CAD (in all currencies) or more, or you could have your money seized.

If you plan to travel during COVID-19, please read how to request for a travel letter.

Student Direct Stream

Please read this section if you are applying from an SDS eligible country.

Depending on your country of citizenship AND country of residence, you may be eligible for the Student Direct Stream processing, which provides expedited processing, usually in 3-4 weeks. To qualify to use the Student Direct Stream, the student should be a citizen and residing in one of the following countries:

  • China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Vietnam.

Student must pay upfront one year of tuition in order to show IRCC a copy of the receipt and purchase an investment certificate to cover living expenses for their first year of living expenses (the actual cost of living varies greatly depending on accommodation and other variable expenses, so the required GIC may not be sufficient for all your living expenses).

To learn more about the Student Direct Stream, please visit the IRCC website.

To be eligible, applicants must meet specific requirements by providing documentation up front. Please check the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for more information and instructions.

The amount billed on the SDS payments is an estimate of fees for the year. Exact tuition rates are updated every year. You are responsible for checking the amount per credit hour for your program. Depending on your program and the number of courses you take, you may end up owing more or less for the year. If you have paid more than the amount owed for the year, it will sit in your account as a credit; if you have paid less, you will be billed the difference at the beginning of the next semester.

Proof of Acceptance Letter and SDS

When requesting your POA, you will need to indicate if you are applying through the SDS process. This information is given to Student Accounts to generate an invoice for you. If you do not indicate SDS, you will not be invoiced. Errors in completing your POA request will delay your ability to gather the documents required for your study permit application, so please take care when completing the POA request.


Once you have indicated SDS on your POA request, you will receive an invoice and payment instructions from Student Accounts. You will need to pay the invoice in order to get the receipt required for your study permit application.

PLEASE NOTE THAT ONLY SDS ELIGIBLE STUDENTS WILL BE INVOICED IN ADVANCE. ALL OTHER STUDENTS WILL BE BILLED AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH SEMESTER BASED ON COURSE REGISTRATION. For non SDS students, paying your fees up front does not guarantee a higher likelihood of a positive decision on your study permit application.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about applying for your study permit, please email us at [email protected]