Photo credit: Franck Michel

When Changing Status from Visitor to Student

One of the most common instances for people who are interested in studying in Canada is to enter the country as a visitor, to search for academic programs of their liking, and then trying to find a way to apply for a study permit. At Global AG, we have helped a lot of students with these kinds of applications throughout the years, but in the last few months, there have been some complications for these types of clients.

Recently, there have been observations made by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which question the authenticity of the intentions to study from those who have stayed in the country for a long time as visitors and later seek to change their status by applying for a study permit outside of Canada, while they are still physically present in Canada as a visitor. This tends to happen when the person has already extended their stay as a visitor, meaning they have a “visitor record” which means that the staying period is greater than the initial period and that further complicates the application.

What is mentioned above does not mean that you cannot come into Canada and later look for a study permit, because that would go against all logic, seeming that many students need to physically visit the school in order to make a decision, and once in Canada they want to wait for their study permit approval within Canada, rather than going back to their country of origin. It is also important to demonstrate the bona fide nature of the applicant and what has been done during their stay in Canada.

It is important to keep in mind that the process of application for a study permit for a person that is in Canada as a visitor has two parts: 1) the status as a visitor inside Canada and 2) the application for a study permit done outside Canada (generally, the application is sent to the embassy of Canada at the country of origin of the applicant).

The aforementioned implies that the person has to maintain a valid visitor status in Canada, while the application is being processed outside Canada.

In light of this new tendency, what we are recommending to our clients is that they do not prolong their application for a study permit, considering that the maximum time a person should take is 3 months after having arrived in Canada as a visitor to solicit a study permit, and therefore avoid a rejection.

Nevertheless, sending your application on time is not the only thing that matters, because it is also important that you send your application correctly to avoid any time delays due to errors and therefore having to extend your stay in Canada as a visitor and possibly face a rejection to the study permit.

All in all, the best way to avoid a rejection to an application of a study permit done by someone with a visitor status in Canada is to send the application as soon as possible, and with a solid plan for your studies in Canada.

If you are in this situation, I am are here to help.