Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)

Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) are now a crucial requirement for international students in Canada. By ensuring only the highest standards in education and promoting a balanced distribution of students across provinces, PALs not only safeguard the integrity of the Canadian education system but also enhance your study experience.


A Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) is an official document issued by a Canadian provincial government to confirm that an international student has been accepted into a designated educational institution within that province.

The Provincial Attestation Letter serves as an essential part of the study permit application process. It must be included with your study permit application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) ensuring that the student is enrolled in a legitimate and recognized program.

Purpose Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)

Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) are essential for regulating and managing the influx of international students in Canada. They ensure that only genuine students, who have been properly vetted and accepted into recognized programs, are granted study permits.

This process helps maintain the integrity of the education system and manage the capacity of educational institutions. PALs also promote quality assurance by ensuring that only institutions meeting certain standards can accept international students, thereby maintaining a high level of education quality.

Additionally, PALs facilitate a balanced distribution of students across institutions and regions and enable provincial governments to collect accurate data for future planning. In response to multiple cases of fraudulent acceptance letters and revoking admission offers scandals in 2023, new measures to enhance and protect the International Student Program were launched at the end of 2023. These measures further strengthen the importance of PALs in maintaining the integrity, capacity, quality, and balanced distribution of Canada’s education system.

Who Needs a Provincial Attestation Letter?

  • most post-secondary study permit applicants
  • most non-degree granting graduate programs (for example, certificate programs and graduate diplomas)
  • anyone else not included in the exception list below

Who Doesn’t Need a Provincial Attestation Letter?

Certain groups are exempt from the PAL requirement:

  • Primary and secondary school students.
  • Students pursuing master’s or doctoral degree students.
  • in-Canada Visiting or exchange students studying at a designated learning institution within Canada.
  • Current study permit and work permit holders residing in Canada, including those applying for an extension.
  • Family members of study permit or work permit holders who are already in Canada.
  • Students whose applications were received before 8:30 a.m. EST on January 22, 2024.

How to Obtain a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)

For Schools Outside of Quebec

Before applying to get your Study permit you must apply for a Provincial Attestation Letter, you should contact your educational institution for specific application procedures.

Once you have received your PAL, you can proceed with your study permit application.

For Schools in Quebec

If you plan to study in Quebec, before applying for your study permit you will need a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ), which serves as your provincial attestation. This certificate is issued by the Government of Quebec. To apply for a CAQ, contact your school for guidance on the application process.

For the CAQ to function as your provincial attestation letter, it must include the following statement:

“This attestation letter confirms that the applicant has a place in Quebec’s share of the distribution of study permit applications or is exempt from it.”

It’s important to note that CAQs for applications received before 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22, 2024, do not require this specific statement.

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