When Do Minors Require Study Permits?

 

With school starting this week I thought I would take a few minutes to comment on study permits for minor children. When do they need them, and when does this change?

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) section 30 (2), states the following:

Every minor child in Canada, other than a child of a temporary resident not

authorized to work or study, is authorized to study at the pre-school, primary

or secondary level.

This means that as long as a parent has a valid work or study permit, the minor child of that parent may attend school in Canada, even without a study permit. Instead, the child should be issued with a visitor record with the statement “authorized to attend primary or secondary school” in the remarks section of the document.

A child is required to hold a study permit when unaccompanied in Canada by a parent, or when their accompanying parent is in Canada pursuant to a visitor record. In these instances, a study permit can only be obtained when the child can present a letter of acceptance from the school they will attend in Canada as well as provide proof of their financial means to support themselves.

I generally see minor children applying for study permits when parents, who have been or are coming to work in Canada, are concerned that the timing of their employment transfer will interfere with their children’s school year. Often a parent will want to send their child, usually a high school student, to Canada a few weeks (or months) before the parent’s scheduled arrival so the child can start the new school year with the rest of their class.

Conversely, parents who are being transferred out of Canada sometimes want their children to finish their school year at their current school or want them to graduate with their current class. In these situations a study permit would be required for the child to study in Canada when their parent is not working in Canada.

In this legislation the specific words to take note of are the words “minor” and “in”.

Once a child is no longer a minor, the age of 18 or older, they will technically require a study permit to continue with their education in Canada. As many children are still finishing high school at the time of their 18th birthday they may need to update their visitor record to a study permit at this time.

The other word to note is “in”. The legislation says “…minor children in Canada.” This is interpreted to mean that if the child is in Canada at the time the application is submitted (including applying at a port of entry), a study permit is not required. If the child is a visa requiring national and must make an application at a Canadian visa post abroad before traveling to Canada, the child is not considered “in Canada” at the time of the application and must apply for a study permit (even though technically they don’t need it as soon as they arrive).

The end result is that a child may need to request a study permit when they originally apply for entry to Canada, but upon renewing their documentation inside Canada after it expires they only require a visitor record.

I hope everyone has a great start to the new school year.

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