The general rule is that all foreign students require a Canada study permit if they seek to study at any Canadian academic institution. However, there are exceptions for certain categories of students who do not require a study permit.
Groups that do not need a Canada study permit include:
1. Individuals studying in an academic program less than six months in duration: Foreign nationals who will be in Canada for less than 6 months as a visitor can enroll in a program of study or classes without a Canada study permit.
2. Diplomats and foreign representatives: A foreign representative or diplomat is entitled to have their family members accompany them to Canada. The family members of foreign representatives or diplomats, whose eligibility is authenticated by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Canada study permit.
3. Military Personnel: An individual member of a foreign army stationed in Canada is not required to obtain a Canada study permit to study at a Canadian institution, pursuant to the Visiting Forces Act. However, this exemption only applies to the foreign military personnel, not to their dependent family members.
4. Minor Children: In general, minor children require Canada study permits in order to attend elementary school in Canada. However, there are some exceptions to this rule and there are certain categories of minors who are exempt from the requirement to get a Canada study permit. For example, a minor child attending pre-school (before grade 1), minor children of refugee claimants or who are refugees themselves, minor children accompanied by their parents who are authorized by Canadian immigration to work and/or study in Canada.