Changing Schools or Programs | International Student Canada

19 May, 2017 Changing Schools or Programs | International Student Canada

Prospective students spend hours trying to find exactly the right program to apply to. But no matter how much research you do beforehand, sometimes the program you enrol in just doesn’t end up working for you, or you change your mind about what you want to study.

For most students who change their mind about a program, the answer is simple: transfer or drop out. Either you find a new program that you think will work out, or decide to stop pursing further education. However, when you’re an international student, it might seem a bit more complicated.

Did you know? International students in Canada can transfer programs or schools without needing a new study permit!

Becoming an international student in Canada is kind of a two-step process. First, you need to be accepted into a Canadian school. Once you have a letter of acceptance, you can apply for a study permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

If you are issued a study permit, it is on the basis of your acceptance into a Canadian school. However, if you are studying at the post-secondary level, you can change your school, program, field of study, or level of study without needing to apply for a new study permit.

Once you’re accepted into the program you want to transfer into, you just need to notify IRCC if you have changed schools. You can do that online through your MyCIC account.


The only exception to the two-part process is Quebec. Quebec has a lot more autonomy than other provinces in Canada, so there are three steps to becoming an international student in Quebec.

The first step, like always, is to be accepted into a program. Once you’re accepted, you need to apply to Immigration Quebec for a certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ). Finally, once you have a CAQ, you can apply for a study permit from IRCC.

If you already have a study permit for a school outside of Quebec, and you want to transfer into a school in Quebec, you will need to apply for a CAQ. Once you have a CAQ, you do not need to apply for a new study permit.


One thing you should pay attention to if you’re transferring schools or programs is your study permit validity period. When they’re issued, study permits are generally valid for the same time period as the program you’re enrolled in. If the program you’re transferring into is going to take longer than the time your permit is valid for, you can apply for an extension.


The Canadim Team’s Study-2-Immigrate program can help you get started studying in Canada. Our dedicated experts will help you find the right program based on your needs, and help you apply to the school. Once you’ve been accepted into a Canadian school, we’ll be able to help you apply for a study permit. Fill out our free online student assessment today to find out if you may be eligible to come to Canada as a student. 


The Canadim Team!

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