Studying in Canada

How going to school in Canada can lead to citizenship.
Attending university in Canada doesn’t just get you a great education, it also puts you on the pathway to Canadian citizenship.

Getting accepted into a designated learning institution in Canada makes you eligible for a study permit. Not all schools in Canada are approved by the government to qualify you for a student visa, so make sure your school is on the list before you apply. If your school loses its designated learning institution status, you can complete your current study permit term, but not renew it unless you change schools. You need an acceptance letter from the school first before you can apply for a study permit.

Once approved for a study permit, you’ll be able to live in Canada for the length of your educational program, plus an additional six months after your program is completed.

Your student visa will allow you to bring your spouse (or common law partner) and your kids with you. Your spouse or partner can even apply for an open work permit for the length of your student visa.

As a student, you can apply for a work permit, too. Because you need to be enrolled in classes full-time in order to qualify for a study permit, you can work up to 20 hours a week while school is in session and full-time during breaks.

Your learning institution will report your academic status to the CIC, so make sure you stay in good academic standing in order to keep your study permit (and any associated work permits) from being cancelled.

How to stay in Canada after your studies are complete

Stay in Canada with a work permit

Once you complete your studies, you can apply for a post graduation work permit. There are specific criteria you need to meet in order to be eligible for a post graduation work permit, so keep this in mind. You have to apply before your student visa expires and have maintained full-time student status for the duration of your program, among other requirements. Your post graduation work permit can be valid for as long as three years.

Become a permanent resident

The most common route from student visa to Canadian citizenship is to use the post graduation work permit to get the experience required for Express Entry through the Canadian Experience Class. Most students will qualify for Express Entry after a year of work.

If you already have two or more years of professional experience from the 10 years prior to your graduation from a Canadian university, you may be eligible for Express Entry immediately.

Get provincial nomination to stay in Canada

There are lots of programs to encourage you to stay in Canada after you graduate from a Canadian university. These change, depending on the needs of each province and the whims of politics.

Most of these programs are run by the province and for Masters and PhD students from that province.

Don't take my word for it

Read interviews with other people who successfully moved to Canada from countries around the world.

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.

Go to school

A Canadian degree can put you on the path to citizenship.

Retire in Canada

Retiring in Canada is no longer as simple as it used to be.

All the options

There are a lot of ways to move to Canada. Find the best fit for you.

What you need to know

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

Immigration FAQs

Have questions? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Can you move to Canada?

Take the quiz and find out in 5 minutes.

Serious about moving?

Get the full story in my book, with 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 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 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. I share what I’ve learned to save you some trouble.


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.

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.

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

Now that I’ve successfully immigrated to Canada from the US using the Express Entry program, I wrote the guide I wish I’d had.

Get the full story

What other prospective immigrants have said about my book,
Moving to Canada: A complete guide to immigrating to Canada without an attorney.

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.

This book is very well written, chock full of useful information and tips. The writing style is crisp and engaging. I enjoyed reading about the author's personal experiences with immigrating to Canada, as well as the loads of information she provided on how the process worked. Somehow she took a potentially boring and tedious subject and made it interesting. Did I still have a few questions after reading this book? Of course! But thats because each person has a unique set of needs and personal history and reasons for moving. I believe this book will provide most of the basic information you will need to start the progress of moving to Canada. It is very thorough and well organized. I feel pretty confident that I understand all that will be involved in applying for a permanent residency after having read this book. Plus I enjoyed reading the background material about Canada.

J. Garrison


moving to canada book cover

Some reviews are for the 2016 , 2017, 2018, and 2019 editions.

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.


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

R. Marshall

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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