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Switch a Visitor Visa to a Study Permit | International Students in Durham Region and the GTA

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Switch a Visitor Visa to a Study Permit | International Students in Durham Region and the GTA

Jade Calver

Oftentimes, those who come to Canada for the purpose of travel have a positive experience and choose to extend their time here by studying. Our clients often ask us: How can I switch my Visitor Visa for a Study Permit? First, we always clarify that you cannot exchange your current status in Canada for another. In other words, you cannot simply “switch” a Visitor Visa to a Study Permit. However, as a Visitor, you can submit an application for a Study Permit.  

Study Permits are one of the most common types of applications we handle for clients in the Durham Region. With so many reputable high schools and colleges located in the GTA, Southern Ontario is a popular location for international students to study.

Some local high schools we have assisted our clients in obtaining a study permit to attend include: Trinity College, Lakefield College, Albert College, and Trafalgar Castle School.

We also handle study permit applications for post-secondary students. Within the Durham Region, we have assisted in applications for students who attend Ontario Technology University (University of Ontario Institute of Technology/UOIT), Durham College, and Trent University. Within the GTA, we have also assisted students who go on to attend Centennial College among other schools.

Who Needs a Study Permit?

It is important to note that there are a few exceptions to the rules in terms of who is required to obtain a study permit to study in Canada. If you plan to study in Canada for a period of 6 months of less, you can do so with a Visitor Visa. You may also not require a study permit if you are:

  • A family member or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada;

  • A member of a foreign armed force in Canada on official duties;

  • A Registered Indian; or

  • A minor (i.e. child in kindergarten, child with refugee status or parents with refugee status, are already in Canada with a parent who is allowed to work/study in Canada).

Regardless of whether you can study with a Visitor Visa or you require a Study Permit, you must have legal status in Canada.

How to Apply for a Study Permit on a Visitor Visa

If you apply for a Study Permit on a Visitor Visa, you are likely applying for a study permit within Canada. To apply for a Study Permit within Canada, you must ensure you meet the eligibility requirements.  

Eligibility Requirements to Apply for a Study Permit from Within Canada

  • a minor child in primary or secondary school
  • an exchange or visiting student
  • a student who has completed a short-term course or study program, which is a condition for being accepted at a DLI
  • someone who holds a temporary resident permit (TRP) valid for at least 6 months, or their family member
  • a spouse or common-law partner (and their family members) being sponsored to immigrate, who are:
    • in Canada, and
    • have applied for permanent residence, if eligible
    • a person with a study permit from a visa office abroad, and the permit was issued before you got to Canada, who wants to keep studying
      • the family member of:
  • athletes on a Canadian-based team
  • media representatives
  • members of the clergy, or
  • military personnel assigned to Canada
  • a family member or private staff member of a foreign representative who is properly accredited (90 days before or after you are no longer authorized to study without a study permit), or
  • a foreign national or their family member with a valid study or work permit, who wants to stay in Canada longer to study

Once you are confident that are eligible and you require a study permit, you must download the application package and begin the process of completing your forms, retrieving the required documents from the school you will attend (i.e. proof acceptance, proof of enrolment, etc.), and securing copies of personal identification documents (i.e. passport, marriage license or certificate, etc.).

Where to Study 

High Schools

Trinity College

Trinity College School (TCS) is a private day and boarding school located in Port Hope, Ontario. Established in 1865, TCS is one of the oldest educational institutions in Canada. This school offers day school for students in Grades 5 to 8 and boarding school for students in Grades 9 to 12.   

Lakefield College School 

Lakefield College School is a private day and boarding school located in Lakefield, Ontario. It has an esteemed list of Alumni, including Prince Andrew, Duke of York. This school offers international students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rigorous, yet rewarding academic program in a small, supportive community.

Albert College

Albert College is an independent day and boarding school located in Belleville, Ontario. Founded in 1857, it is the oldest co-ed boarding school in Canada. International students comprise 30 percent of the senior school population at Albert College, with students from over 25 countries.

Trafalgar Castle School

Trafalgar Castle School (TCS) is located in Whitby Ontario. It is an internationally known private day and boarding school for girls and young women. The boarding program at TCS is popular amongst international students in grades 7 to 12.  

 
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Universities and Colleges

Ontario Tech University (formerly University of Ontario Institute of Technology)

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology, now referred to as Ontario Technology University is located in Oshawa, Ontario. This school is home to over 600 international students who study in variety of programs ranging from Social Sciences and Humanities to Business to Engineering and more.

Centennial College

Centennial College is an applied arts and technology school located in Scarborough, Ontario. Centennial is another popular school of choice for international students who comprise over 9,000 people in the school’s student body.

Trent University

Trent University has campuses located in both Oshawa and Peterborough, Ontario. Trent University is known for its small class sizes and Oxbridge college system. Trent offers a wide variety of programs for international students, including arts, sciences, and business programs.

Durham College

Durham College is located in Oshawa, Ontario. This school offers dozens of programs for international students and offers both on-campus and off-campus accommodations. Tuition at Durham College is also relatively affordable for international students in comparison to other Colleges in Ontario, making it another popular choice.  


Our Services

Whether you are applying for a study permit from inside Canada (as a Visitor), or from outside Canada in your home country, there are many steps involved in the process. For this reason, Study Permit applications are one of our most popular services. From eligibility requirements to forms to supporting documents, the application process can be both lengthy and daunting. Not to mention, minor errors often lead to the return of an application.  

If you are unsure of what steps to take next, contact us. 

We can help you determine the best course of action for your unique situation and ensure your immigration goals are met with success.