3 Options for International Students in Canada to Extend their Stay

International students in Canada have several possibilities for extending their stay after completing their first study program.

With recent advances in Canadian immigration and the competition for gaining permanent residency, students are more concerned about how to legally stay and prolong their status in Canada.

Extending your stay in Canada as an international student is not difficult; with the correct information and guidance, you may achieve your goal.

To provide further clarity, we have listed the most common and practical alternatives for international students in Canada to lawfully extend their stay.

However, before deciding to extend your stay, explore your permanent residency possibilities.

3 Options for International Students in Canada to Extend their Stayword image 6709 1

1. Extend your student status

A student who has completed a one-year course can apply for a second course, extending their study visa.

Avoid claiming your post-graduate work permit (PGWP), to which you are entitled upon graduation.

Rather, use program stacking to boost your PGWP after completing the second study program.

Remember that you can only get a postgraduate work permit once in your lifetime, so make the most of it.

A one-year study program often yields a one-year PGWP, whereas a two-year study program yields a three-year PGWP.

Choose the master’s program, which will not only allow you to extend your stay in Canada but will also earn you extra points for permanent residency through dedicated PNPs such as Ontario’s Masters’s Graduate stream or even the Express Entry system.

To prolong your stay, you must apply for a study permit extension using the new study program offer letter at least 30 days before your current study permit expires.

Remember to renew your social insurance number and health insurance while your study permit is valid (extended).

2. International students are already on a PGWP that will expire soon.

International students who are already on a PGWP that is about to expire and do not have enough points to meet the current permanent residency requirements might prolong their stay as students by enrolling in a new study program.

They can change their status from PGWP to international students.

Remember that these students cannot claim PGWP again after completing their second study program because they have previously received it.

This time, select a study program that will bring you to in-demand occupations for permanent residency or one that will help you improve your current score for permanent residency.

If you do not wish to return to student status, you may apply for a closed work permit, which requires a job offer and a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from a Canadian business.

However, this might be a tough alternative because not every student will be able to obtain a job offer, either because they cannot find a job that matches their skills or because businesses are unwilling to support their immigration status.

Furthermore, it can be quite an expensive alternative because many firms illegally charge a significant fee to provide LMIA, which is often higher than the cost of a study program.

So it is preferable to spend your money returning to student status, which is typically half the cost of what firms are illegally asking for LMIAs right now.

3. Extend your stay as a visitor

Apart from the two alternatives mentioned above, international students can prolong their stay by applying for a guest visa.

A visiting visa is valid for ten years, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first, and allows you to stay in Canada for up to six months at a time.

Visitors can extend their stay beyond the 6-month limit by applying for an extension through their visitor record.

Visitors are not permitted to work legally in Canada, and any work they do for cash cannot be credited toward any of the permanent immigration schemes.

Some travelers apply for a US B1/B2 visa, leave Canada for 24 hours, and then return to remain for another 6 months without having to file for an extension.

This is a workaround for filing for an extension, but it is a legal way to stay in Canada for up to six months.

There are several options for continuing your adventure in Canada, including job permits, higher education, and visiting.

However, this requires forethought, keeping in mind your future permanent residency alternatives.

Other ways to extend your stay in Canada as a Foreigner

Depending on your existing situation, you can choose from five alternatives for extending your residency in Canada.

1. Maintained Status

With Maintained Status, you can extend your status before it expires and legally remain in Canada while your application is processed. This means you can stay in Canada under the same restrictions as your previous permit until IRCC decides on your application.

2. Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWP)

If you intend to settle in Canada, this could be a viable choice. The BOWP lets certain permanent residency candidates continue in Canada when their temporary status expires, according to Canada Visa.

These immigration programs are eligible for BOWP.

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Quebec Skilled Workers
  • Agri-Food Pilot Program

3. Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP)

This may be an option if your spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Spouses of temporary residents may also apply for this permit.

Spouses of international students participating in approved programs may apply for the SOWP if they can demonstrate their relationship is genuine.

If you’re a temporary foreign worker, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as possessing a work permit valid for six months after acquiring the SOWP. You must also meet one of the following four conditions.

Working in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level of 0, A, or B, accepting an Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) stream, holding a provincial or territorial nomination from the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), or holding a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ).

However, you should take note of the following:

Some programs, such as the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), are neither renewable nor extendable, however, this does not mean you cannot apply for another work permit.

This means that international students who have already completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program (longer than eight months but shorter than two years; if two years or more, the PGWP is eligible for three years), can use this to gain relevant and professional work experience that will help them with their future permanent residency applications.

One of the most advantageous elements of this permit is that it is open; you are not restricted to a specific employer or occupation.

If you are working or studying and want to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), this is generally not recommended because it does not allow you to work or study in Canada.

If you have a TRV, you can apply for a Visitor Record to stay for more than six months but keep in mind that you will be unable to work or study during that time.

Why Should You Study Abroad? Ten Reasons to Study in Canada.

1. Higher-quality education

Canada’s leading universities provide a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a variety of fields.

The Canadian education system is well-known for its high standards and demanding academic curriculum, which are recognized around the world. Its universities are consistently ranked in the top 100 in major international rankings.

According to the QS World University Rankings 2024, the top three universities in the country are the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia, which rank 21st, 30th, and 34th, respectively. These three universities are continuously ranked among the best institutions due to the great quality of their education and research activities in a variety of fields, including health, science, engineering, computer science, and many more.

2. Affordable Education

Compared to other popular study destinations, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, education in Canada is relatively inexpensive.

Even the cost of living in many places is significantly lower than in other major cities. Canadian universities provide high-quality education at moderate tuition prices, making them attractive options for international students from all over the world.

3. Post-graduate Work Permit

International students who complete their studies in Canada are entitled to a Post-graduate Work Permit (PGWP), which allows them to stay and work for up to three years following graduation.

The PGWP offers a fantastic chance for students to get relevant and useful job experience to help launch their international careers.

If they wish to settle in the nation, having a Canadian education and job experience makes the path to permanent immigration smoother.

4. Safe and secure environment.

Canada is known for its calm and quiet environment, which makes it an excellent choice for international students.

The country has low crime rates, tight gun restrictions, and a strong social welfare system that assures the safety of its inhabitants and residents safety and overall well-being.

Canadians happily accept people from other cultures living with them, making the general environment considerably safer than in other countries.

5. High Standard of Living.

Canada is known for its high standard of living, which includes good healthcare, social services, and infrastructure.

The government ensures that people from other regions of the world receive benefits, including job chances, even while studying. International students can expect to have a pleasant and convenient lifestyle while studying in Canada, as they are legally permitted to work up to 20 hours per week.

This possibility allows individuals to easily supplement their income and improve their standard of living.

6. Canada Scholarships

International students in Canada can apply for a variety of scholarships, including:

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships: Awarded to outstanding students worldwide who display leadership abilities and a high level of scholastic success.

Trudeau Foundation Scholarships: For international students studying social sciences and humanities, with an emphasis on public policy and leadership.

Canada Graduate Scholarships: For top-performing students seeking master’s degrees in a variety of fields.

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship program offers scholarships to international students pursuing graduate studies (master’s or doctoral) in Ontario, Canada. Scholarships are provided based on academic achievement.


Can I extend my stay in Canada as a student?

You should seek to extend your study permit at least 30 days before the current one expires. However, we urge that you apply at least 30 days before it expires. A valid study permit is required when renewing your Social Insurance Number (SIN) or health insurance.

How can I stay in Canada after obtaining a student visa?

There are a few possibilities for staying in Canada when school ends. The most common alternative is to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. A PGWP is an open work permit, which means that holders can work for virtually any firm in Canada.

What are the stay-back options for overseas students in Canada?

There are several options for staying in Canada.

The Post Study Work Permit in Canada allows you to stay in Canada after studying with a work permit for up to three years, depending on the course duration.

Students who desire to continue their education can apply for a visa to study in Canada after graduation.

What are the documents required for a study permit extension in Canada?

  • Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs)
  • Application Form to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Student (IMM5709)
  • Confirmation of enrollment (for current students)
  • Letter of acceptance (for new students)
  • Proof of financial support.
  • Copies from your passport or travel document.

How many days may I stay in Canada after my student visa has expired?

If you have not applied for study permit restoration and it has been more than 90 days since the expiry date, you must leave the country and apply for a new study permit in your place of residence/citizenship. Your new study permit application may be subject to a 6-month ban.


Canada provides different options for international students who wish to prolong their stay in the country and each option has its requirements.

Whether you want to continue your studies in Canada, permanently stay, or get professional experience, knowing the available options and planning will help you achieve your goals.

With the information in this article, you’re sure to prolong your stay in Canada as an international student.


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