Studying in Canada as a minor child

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Find out what a minor child needs to do to study in Canada if he or she is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
In Canada, each province and territory decides the age at which a person is considered an adult. This is called the age of majority. A person who has not reached the age of majority is considered a “minor child”.

Province or territory Age of majority
Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan 18
British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories and Yukon 19
Caring for a minor child in Canada
Parents or legal guardians must prove that the minor child will have adequate care and support while in Canada.

A minor child under the age of 17 must either:

be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian; or
have a guardian in Canada.
A guardian is a responsible adult, who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, who is responsible for the care and support of the minor child. In the case of minors 17 years of age and older, a guardian is optional; however, the officer may request a guardian on a case-by-case basis.

How do I appoint a guardian?
To appoint a custodian, send us the Custodian Declaration Form (PDF, 1.01 MB) with the minor’s application for a study permit. The two pages of the form are similar, but :

the first page must be signed by the custodian and notarized (attested by a lawyer or notary) in Canada;
the second page must be signed by the parents or legal guardians of the minor child and notarized in the country of origin.
Minor children before entering Canada
Minors who wish to study in Canada must apply for a Study Permit before entering Canada. This includes minor children who are accompanied by parents who already have a valid study or work permit.

If children are coming to Canada with their parents who have a valid study permit or work permit, they do not need to provide a letter of acceptance from an institution when they apply for a study permit.

Before your minor child travels to Canada, ensure that their FDE is on the list of FDEs with an approved case plan in response to COVID-19. They will not be allowed to enter Canada if their DPE is not on this list.

Minor children already in Canada
Minor children already in Canada should apply for a study permit. In some provinces and territories, they may need this document to obtain social services.

Minors who are already in Canada can study without a Study Permit if they are in one of the following situations

they are in kindergarten, regardless of their parents’ status in Canada
they wish to attend pre-school, elementary or secondary school and one of their parents is authorized to work or study in Canada
they are refugees or refugee claimants;
have parents who are refugees or refugee claimants;
have come to Canada as visitors to take a course or program of study of six months or less;
will be attending a course or program of study of six months or less;
they are alone in Canada.
Minors who do not have a study permit must have a valid visitor status while in Canada.

Applying for a Study Permit in Canada
You will need a letter of acceptance if you are a minor child in Canada with a family member whose work or study permit has been approved prior to entering Canada.

Applying for a Study Permit in Canada
Extending a Study Permit in Canada
You need a Letter of Acceptance to extend your Study Permit in Canada. The duration of a minor’s study permit is based on the letter of acceptance. Be sure to apply for a new permit at least three months before your current permit expires. The expiration date is on the study permit.

If your study permit has expired
You must maintain a valid status while in Canada. Usually, this means that your Study Permit must be valid. If you are allowed to study in Canada without a Study Permit, you must have a valid visitor’s visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).

If you have not applied to renew your Study Permit before it expires, you will lose your student status and have 90 days to apply to reinstate it. You are allowed to continue your studies until we decide to accept

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