Important information regarding recent announcement by the Government of Canada

  • For new international students applying to Mount Allison: as of Jan. 22, 2024, most international students need to provide an attestation letter from the province or territory where they plan to study before they apply for a study permit.
    Read complete details

    Currently, the Government of Canada has advised that any application for a study permit received on or after Jan. 22, 2024, without an attestation letter will be returned unless you are exempt.

    When will attestation letters be available?

    • Each province or territory is developing a process to issue an attestation letter. These processes are expected to be in place by March 31, 2024.
    • Mount Allison is working with the Government of New Brunswick to have attestation letters as soon as possible.

    Do not attempt to submit an application for a study permit until you receive your attestation letter.

    Please check if you require a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) for your study permit application. 

    If you have further questions, please email 
    You are also encouraged to visit these official websites:

  • For current international Mount Allison students: please note that the announcement by the Government of Canada regarding the implementation of a new cap on international student enrolment DOES NOT affect students applying for study permit extensions.

Before you come to Canada

The information in this section will be updated as soon as more information becomes available about attestation letters and study permit.

It can take several months to receive an approval for a study permit so it's important to apply as soon as possible.

Initial Study Permit Application Guide

Applying for a study permit

A study permit is an immigration document issued by the Canadian government that gives you permission to remain in Canada, on a temporary basis, to study.

As an international student, you must apply for a study permit before coming to Canada if your program of study is longer than six months in duration.

Most visiting international students who come to Mount Allison for one semester (less than six months) do not require a study permit.

To find out if you need a study permit, visit Government of Canada — Study in Canada as an international student.


In order to receive your Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) and Letter of Acceptance (LOA) for your study permit application, you must:

  • receive an unconditional offer of admission
  • receive an invitation email from Mount Allison outlining further steps to accept your offer of admission and complete the PAL process. 

Please check if you require a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) for your study permit application.

Do not attempt to submit an application for a study permit until you receive your attestation letter. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

It can take several months to receive an approval for a study permit so it's important to apply as soon as possible. If an error is made on an initial application, or further information is requested from a Visa Officer, you may be required to resubmit an application a second time. Plan accordingly.

Recommended option:

Initial Study Permit Application Guide

Alternative options:

  • In person — at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)
  • In person at a Canadian border. Only for US citizens or permanent residents, and residents of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon

IRCC processing times vary widely. Check typical processing times for your country on the IRCC website.

Before you begin to apply for a study permit for the first time, read this Study Permit Application Guide carefully. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to set up an IRCC account and how to answer the IRCC questionnaire.


The Letter of Explanation helps the visa officer understand you and your goals. It explains:

  • why you want to study in Canada and
  • that you understand your responsibilities as a student

For more information:

Letter of Explanation template

The Letter of Explanation should be a one-page letter written by you which should answer the following questions and include any other information relevant to the processing of your application:

  • Why do you wish to study in Canada in the program for which you have been accepted?
  • What is your overall educational goal?
  • Why are you not pursuing a similar program in your country of residence?
  • How will this program enhance your employment opportunities in your country of residence or citizenship?
  • What ties do you have to your country of residence or citizenship? 
  • If it has been more than two years since you have left full time education, please provide your Curriculum Vitae (resume).
  • What are your parents’ or guardians’ immigration status in their current country of residence?
Travel authorization documents

Your study permit is not a visa. It doesn’t let you enter Canada.

Find out if you need a visitor visa or an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization (Government of Canada).

  • If you're applying for a study permit, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will issue one to you with your approved study permit.
  • If you don't require a study permit, most students will require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) in order to fly to Canada. Students can apply for it on the IRCC website.
Additional considerations before you arrive

Medical exams

Check the IRCC website to see if you need to take a medical exam. If you do, you have two options:

  1. Take a medical exam with an IRCC-approved Panel Physician before submitting your initial study permit application. Then include your medical report in your application. We recommend this option as it may save you time.
  2. Alternately, apply for your study permit first and wait for a visa officer to send you a medical exam request. This may delay the processing of your application.

Biometrics (photographs and fingerprints)

Most study permit applicants will be required to give biometrics (fingerprints and photo) as part of their application. US nationals are excluded from this requirement. For more information and for instructions on how to give your biometrics, please visit the IRCC Biometrics information page.

If you have given your biometrics in the past for a Canadian immigration application, your biometrics may still be valid. Find out if your biometrics are still valid and when they expire by using the Check status tool. If they’re still valid, you don’t need to give your biometrics again.

While you are in Canada

It's important to keep your documents up to date while you are in Canada. Don't let your permits and passport expire!

Renewing your study permit

Every study permit has an expiration date. If your studies require you to remain in Canada beyond the expiry date of your study permit, IRCC must receive your application for extension before your current study permit expires.

You should apply to extend your study permit at least 30 days before it expires. The International Centre recommends that students apply for an extenension 3 months in advance.  

You can't extend your study permit beyond your passport's expiry date. If your passport will be expirying during your studies, be sure to apply to renew your passport as soon as possible. 

If you apply to extend your study permit before it expires, you can stay in Canada under the same conditions as your current study permit until a decision is made on its renewal. 

If your study permit expires, and you haven't applied for an extension, you must leave Canada.

Step-by-step guide

The International Student Advisor has created a step-by-step guide to assist students with their study permit extension application:

If you have any questions as you work through the guide, or would like to have your documents reviewed before submission, don't hestitate to reach out to the International Centre.  

To learn more about the extension process, visit the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Working as an international student

You can work as an international student in Canada if your study permit lists a condition that says you're allowed to work work on- or off-campus.

You can only start working in Canada once you start your studies.

You can work on-campus, without a work permit, if you:

  • are a full-time Mount Allison student
  • have a valid study permit
  • have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

A Social Insurance Number is a 9-digit number that the Government of Canada gives you. Applications for a SIN can be done online, by mail, or in person. The International Centre provides guidance to students applying for a SIN number at a Service Canada office.

To apply for a SIN, you must have one of these conditions printed on your study permit:

  • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
  • This permit does not authorize the holder to engage in off campus employment in Canada. May accept employment only on campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.

For more information, visit work on campus on the Government of Canada website.

After you graduate

If you are interested in staying in Canada after your post-graduation work permit expires, it may be possible to do so.

Apply for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP)

To work in Canada after you graduate, you may apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP).

The PGWP allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution (including Mount Allison) to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Skilled Canadian work experience gained through the PGWP helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

A work permit under the PGWP may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program at Mount Allison, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. 

You have 180 days after you get your final marks to apply for PGWP.

Permanent residency resources

If you are interested in staying in Canada after your post-graduation work permit expires, it may be possible to do so.

You may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through one of Canada’s immigration programs.

Two immigration streams are highlighted below: Canadian Experience Class and the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program.

For full details and eligibility requirements for all Canadian immigration programs, please visit the immigration and citizenship Canada website.

Canadian Experience Class

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a category of permanent residency for certain skilled temporary workers and international students with Canadian work experience.

To apply for permanent residency status through the CEC, you must:

  • have at least 12 months of full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before you apply
  • have gained your experience in Canada with the proper authorization
  • meet required language levels needed for your job
  • plan to live outside the province of Quebec

The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program

The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) is a provincial immigration program that selects, and nominates, qualified skilled workers for permanent residency from around the world who wish to live in New Brunswick

The immigration information on this page has been reviewed and endorsed by Mount Allison University’s Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA Registration No. S708818) in compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. However, information may change without notice. Always refer to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) at for the most up-to-date information.