Studying in Canada

How going to school in Canada can lead to citizenship.

You’re never too old to go back to school.

how to study abroad in canadaOnce you’re accepted into a valid program at a designated learning institution in Canada, you’ll be eligible for a study permit. That will allow you to live in Canada for the length of your studies, plus 6 months following the completion of the program.

As a student, you’ll be able to bring your spouse (or common-law partner) and dependent children with you to Canada during the length of your program.

In order to be granted a study permit, you’ll need to prove that you are admissible to Canada, are in good health, and have the financial means to support yourself for either the length of the program if it is less than a year, or for the first year of the program if your studies are expected to last more than a year.

As a full-time student, you can apply for work permit that will allow you to work up to 20 hours per week during school sessions and full time during scheduled breaks. During your studies, your spouse or common-law partner can also apply for a work permit for the same period of time that your study permit allows you to remain in Canada. This will allow them to find full-time employment while you are living together in Canada.

You will both need to obtain Social Insurance Numbers in order to work in Canada, but luckily this is an easy step once you have the study permit. Your academic status will be reported to the CIC from your learning institution, so you’ll need to maintain good academic standing in order to work and to remain in Canada.

How to stay in Canada after your studies are complete

Ontario Masters Graduates Stream

If you earn a Master’s degree from a publicly-funded university in Ontario and are proficient in both English and French, you can apply for permanent residency through the Masters Graduate Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). This program would require that you apply for residency within two years of obtaining the degree and you’d need to prove that you had been living in Ontario for 12+ continuous months within the last 2 years. You’d also need to show that you have enough savings to support yourself and any family members that would be immigrating with you since you are able to apply to the program without an existing job offer. You’d also have to declare your intent to settle permanently in Ontario.

Ontario PhD Graduates Stream

If you successfully complete all requirements for a PhD at a publicly-funded university in Ontario, then you can apply for permanent residency through the PhD Graduates Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). In order to qualify for this immigration program, you would need to prove that at least two years of your studies were completed at a valid academic institution in Canada and that the PhD was granted within the last two years. You’d also need to declare your intent to settle permanently in Ontario.

Working in Canada after graduating

After graduating from a program that is at least 8 months long, you can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) which will allow you to seek employment in Canada. For programs that are between 8 and 24 months long, you can get a work permit for whatever the length of your study program was for (for example, if the program was 18 months long, then you can get a work permit for no more than 18 months). For any program that lasted 2 years or more, you can get a work permit for up to 3 years.

If you’re able to get a valid job offer from a Canadian employer, then you can probably qualify for immigration through Express Entry.


Become a permanent resident through the Express Entry Canadian Experience Class

After working full time for at least a year in a professional role in Canada, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency status under Express Entry‘s Canadian Experience Class (CEC) immigration program along with your spouse and dependent children.

Only certain job types are considered applicable for the CEC program, so check the that the Government of Canada to make sure the job would qualify you for immigration as a skilled worker. Only work experience gained after graduating will be considered valid and any work experience obtained while on a student visa will be considered invalid for the sake of the CEC program.

Since the CEC program aims to bring young professionals into Canada, you’re much more likely to be eligible for immigration through the CEC program if you’re under 35. Your odds of being invited into the CEC program decrease with each birthday you celebrate after 30 and if you’re over 47, it’s unlikely that you’ll be accepted unless you have provincial nomination.

Whatever your age, you can increase your odds of qualifying for the CEC program by increasing your marketable skills:

  • Secure a valid job offer from a company located in Canada
  • Demonstrate fluency in English and/or French
  • Obtain 2+ years of continuous, full time work experience in Canada in a qualifying profession:
    • Skill Level 0: Management almost any type of job that includes manager or supervisor in the title will qualify
    • Skill Level A: Professional most office jobs will qualify. Often these types of jobs will require some sort of degree, but that’s not necessarily a requirement
    • Skill Level B: Technical – these jobs often require an Associate’s degree or apprenticeship of some kind.
  • Have 2+ years of professional work experience from anywhere in the world in the last 10 years
  • Have multiple advanced degrees
  • If you’re married, your spouse can help to increase your score by
    • attending a 2+ year academic program in Canada
    • obtaining 1+ years of continuous, qualifying skilled work experience in Canada
    • demonstrating advanced proficiency in English and French


All the ways you can move to Canada, legally

Your passport isn’t enough to allow you to move to Canada.

If you’re looking to immigrate to Canada, there are a number of pathways to permanent residency and citizenship.

Have skills

If your score is high enough, you can have PR status within 6 months.

Marry a Canadian

Marriage doesn’t automatically get you a Canadian passport, sorry.

Take a working holiday

If you’re under 35, you can try out living in Canada for up to two years.

What you need to know

There are a lot of things to think about before moving to another country.

Other options

There are a lot of ways to move to Canada. See which is the best fit for you.

Can you move to Canada?

Take the quiz and find out in 5 minutes.

Serious about moving?

Get the full story in our book. Find out everything you need to know about moving to Canada without an immigration attorney, from applying for residency, to getting across the border, and getting settled in your new life.

The definitive guide to Express Entry

Do you qualify for Canada’s skilled worker program? It doesn’t require a job offer or even a degree if you have what they’re looking for.

How Express Entry Works

Exactly how Canada’s skilled worker program works, including how much it cost us and the timeline for our application.

Express Entry document checklist

A comprehensive list of the documents you’ll need for Express Entry, with or without a spouse.

How to improve your CRS score

These 9 ways will bump up your comprehensive ranking system (CRS) points without breaking the rules.

Moving to Canada

You get your visa to move to Canada.

What comes next?

  • Declaring yourself a landed immigrant
  • Getting pets across the border
  • Moving your things through customs without owing duties
  • Getting new IDs, enrolling in health insurance, and getting your SIN

Canada is just like home.

Except for when it’s not. We share what we’ve learned to save you some trouble.

  • Healthcare in Canada
  • Finding a job in Canada
  • Canadian salaries
  • Cross-border banking
  • Understanding currency conversion
Living in Canada
Living in Toronto

Welcome to Toronto

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, it’s financial capital, and a place where over 50% of residents were born abroad.

There’s more to being Canadian than watching hockey and saying ‘eh.’

Canada isn’t just a colder US, it’s got a culture and history of it’s own. They’re just too modest to brag about it.

  • Becoming a Canadian citizen How long it takes, whether or not you have to give up your US citizenship, and other things you should know before making a decision.
  • Kingdom of Canada How exactly did Canada wind up with a queen and what is a dominion?
  • Canadian Federal Government A 101 guide to Canadian politics
Becoming Canadian


There are so many immigration pathways and scenarios, it can be confusing to figure out the best choice for you — or even what programs you qualify for.

Luckily, we have a simple quiz that will help you sort through the options.

We moved to Canada without an immigration attorney or consultant and you can, too.

Now that we’ve successfully immigrated to Canada from the US using the Express Entry program, we’ve writing the guides we wish we’d had.

Get the full story

What other prospective immigrants have said about our book,
Moving to Canada: A detailed immigration guide from two Americans who’ve done it.

If you want the step by step process on how to immigrate to Canada, here it is. I found the book easy to read, inspiring, and very informative.

Laura J.I.


Useful for getting a general overview of the process all in one place, rather than searching around the internet.

R. Marshall


This book is clearly exhaustively-researched. Each section gives detailed information on how to begin the process of moving to Canada, with super informative with real-world examples and step-by-step instructions. I found the section on health care and taxes especially informative!

Briana Rubin

We are an American couple planning our immigration to Canada through the Express Entry program. This book has been very helpful to aid us in planning and organizing all the steps and timelines for the immigration process. It also has lots of other great information about the actual moving, landing, and transitioning process. If you are a professional looking to navigate through the Canadian immigration program this book is well worth the read. We actually are using it as a reference as well, keeping pages bookmarked and using the spreadsheets and timelines, costs, etc as a model for our own documents.




A lot of the other books about moving to Canada talk about what it’s like to live in Canada, whereas this book talks about how to actually get there. A must have for anybody thinking about immigrating.



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