PAL Canada: Understanding the Requirement for Study Permit

PAL Canada

Starting January 22, 2024, international applicants seeking a study permit in Canada must have a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL). This requirement is part of the updated study permit regulations, where each Canadian province or territory is granted a specific quota for study permit applications annually. The PAL Canada serves as verification from the province that applicants have secured a spot within their designated allocation.

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What is PAL Canada?

A Provincial Attestation Letter is a document issued by Canadian provinces or territories, required for your study permit application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The PAL should:

  • Be issued and endorsed by the provincial or territorial government.
  • Contain the applicant’s full name, date of birth, and address.
  • Specify the allocation year and PAL expiry date (as determined by the PT or until the MIs expire).
  • Clearly state the issuance date of the letter.

From January 22, 2024, any study permit application submitted to IRCC without a PAL will be returned and refunded, as per IRCC. This attestation will act as confirmation that the student has been included in a provincial or territorial allocation within the national cap.

Unless you meet an exception stated below, you must submit your PAL:

  • With your application, not afterward.
  • Even if you’re applying for an additional course or program, even language courses.
  • For each study permit applicant, even if applying as a family and submitting your applications together.

International students whose applications were received by IRCC before 8:30 a.m. on January 22, 2024, as well as those already granted a study permit and planning to travel to Canada for an upcoming program, are not required to take any action regarding this.

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PAL Canada Validity

Your PAL must be valid at the time IRCC receives it with your application. If your PAL doesn’t have an expiry date, it remains valid until January 21, 2025. You can use the same PAL to resubmit a study permit application as long as it remains valid.

How to Get a PAL Canada?

For institutions outside of Quebec:

  • Provincial attestation letters are now accessible. 
  • They should contact their school to inquire about the PAL application process. Once obtained, a PAL enables them to apply for a study permit.

For institutions in Quebec:

  • Applicants should have a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ). They should contact their school to learn about the CAQ application procedure.
  • CAQs for applications submitted before 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22, 2024, are exempt from this requirement.

Who Doesn’t Need a PAL Canada?

Exceptions to the requirement for providing a Provincial Attestation Letter Canada include:

  • Applicants for study permits intending to enroll in preschool, primary school, or secondary school (up to grade 12).
  • Applicants for study permits aiming to pursue a master’s degree or doctorate program.
  • Study permit applicants already in Canada who:
    • Hold a valid study permit and are applying for its renewal (SP-EXT).
    • Apply within the period starting 90 days before their authorization to engage in studies in Canada expires under subsection 30(2) of the Act or paragraph R188(1)(a), and ending 90 days after that expiration.
    • Hold a valid work permit.
    • Are subject to an unenforceable removal order.
    • Have a temporary resident permit of minimum 6 months.
    • Temporary residents who:
      • Are not full-time students at a designated learning institution (DLI) 
      • Have taken a course or program of study essential for enrollment at a DLI.
    • Applicants eligible for permanent residence under the following:
      • Those who come under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class.
      • A protected person as per the law.
      • Eligible for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds per subsection 25(1) or subsection 25.1(1) of the Act, or current public policy per subsection 25.2(1) of the Act.
  • Family members of individuals described in the aforementioned categories (spouse or common-law partner, protected person, or those eligible for permanent residence based on humanitarian grounds or public policy).
  • Study permit applicants in Canada who are family members (as per subsection R1(3)) of a foreign national residing in Canada, if the foreign national:
    • Holds a valid study permit.
    • Holds a valid work permit.
    • Holds a TRP issued under subsection 24(1) of the Act, valid for at least 6 months.
    • Is subject to an unenforceable removal order.
    • Is a member of an armed force of another country under the Visiting Forces Act.
    • Is an officer of a foreign government described in paragraph R186(e).
    • Is a part of any sports activities or events, listed out in paragraph R186(h).
    • Is an employee of a foreign news company, as described in paragraph R186(i).
    • Is responsible for assisting a congregation or group, as described in paragraph R186(l).

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To sum up, the Provincial Attestation Letter Canada is important for students from other countries who want to study in Canada. It helps them apply for a study permit easily. By following the rules for getting the PAL, students can start their educational journey in Canada smoothly.

PAL Canada Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a provincial attestation letter in Canada?
A. A provincial attestation letter in Canada is a document issued by a provincial or territorial government. It confirms that an international student has been accepted by a school in that province or territory. This letter is necessary for the student to apply for a study permit to study in Canada.

Q. How to get attestation letter from province Canada?
A. For schools outside of Quebec, provincial attestation letters are now available. They should contact their school to inquire about the PAL application process, which, once obtained, enables them to apply for a study permit. For schools in Quebec, a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) is required, issued by the Government of Quebec. They should contact their school to learn about the CAQ application procedure. 

Q. How long does it take to get a provincial attestation letter in Canada?
A. The time it takes to process a PAL may differ depending on the province or territory where you plan to study. It’s advisable to contact your college or institution before applying for a PAL well ahead of your intended arrival in Canada.

Q. Which provinces have started issuing attestation letters in Canada?
A. Currently, Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island issue Canada PAL for international students. Since the number of study permits available varies by province, it’s essential to verify with your institution and province whether a PAL is necessary for your chosen program of study.

Q. Has Ontario started giving provincial attestation letters?
A. Yes, the province of Ontario has started giving provincial attestation letters.

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