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)

Students, who need Northeastern University’s assistance with their study permit application, will be able to download their Proof of Acceptance (POA) document from the Graduate Student portal.

If you are unable to download your POA, please email [email protected].

Confirming Enrollment Decision

Use your myNortheastern credentials to login to the Graduate Student Portal using the link provided in your acceptance package.

Some students may be asked to provide additional information under the “Additional Information” section if they already have a permit to study in Canada.

If no additional information is required, please follow the instructions to confirm your enrollment in the Graduate Student Portal.

Payment (Deposit or first-year tuition for SDS)

During enrollment confirmation, international students (from one of the 14 SDS countries) will have the option to indicate how they would like to apply for their study permit processing, e.g.: SDS/non-SDS.

After confirming enrollment, and based on the student’s response, you should receive an email in 3-5 business days (to both the registered email account and the NU Husky email) from Student Accounts with payment instructions.

International students applying for a study permit through the non-SDS process are not required to pay the first-year tuition in advance. They will receive a deposit invoice for $500 CAD.

International students applying for a study permit through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) process will receive an invoice which will include the estimated first year tuition fee.

Payments can be made via wire transfer or credit card, and must be initiated online through your payment portal.

After you make the payment using the payment portal, you will be issued a receipt within two weeks, depending on your method of payment, to attach to your study permit application. The confirmation email will be sent from [email protected]. All payments are due 30 days from the invoice issue date.

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.

Co-op or Internship Work Permit

You may also apply for a co-op permit when you apply for your study with your initial study permit.  

  • You may upload your POA document as your “School Letter” to the IRCC portal.  You may be given a Co-op permit at the border with your Study Permit. 

For more information about co-op permits and work during your co-op see the Co-op Permit page. 

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].