2024 Study Permit FAQs

Answers to the most commonly asked questions about provincial attestation letters and other changes to the Canadian study permit process made in 2024

Latest updates: April 17, 2024

On January 22, 2024, the Government of Canada announced changes to the existing study permit process to ensure that all students coming to study in Canada are fully supported and set up for success. These changes are aimed at promoting sustainable enrolment growth, improving the integrity of Canada’s immigration system, and ensuring a positive experience for international students that includes housing and student support. Due to the potential for confusion and misinformation on this topic, we recommend students and their families refer only to the information published on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada website (IRCC) and official university websites.

At Carleton University, we are excited to welcome international students starting their programs in September 2024. We are accepting applications for most programs until April 01, 2024, and beyond as availability allows. We continue to offer our merit-based scholarships, and we guarantee on-campus housing for current high school students. We are working closely with the government and other stakeholders to ensure as smooth an application and study permit process as possible for our incoming students.

Please review the following questions and answers to learn more about the updated study permit process:

Based on Your Application Application Status

If you are an international student currently studying at Carleton.

The new announcements will not affect your status in Canada, as study permit renewals are not included under the new regulations. Please refer to the ISSO study renewal guide for additional information. Master’s and PhD students are also exempt from the new regulations and caps.

If you have received an offer of admission to a bachelor’s program from Carleton.

Congratulations! Once you check that your name, address, and other biographical details are correct, accept the offer (see here how) and celebrate this big milestone, you can start preparing documents for the next steps. Part of the new study permit process includes the receipt of a new document, called a ‘provincial attestation letter’ or ‘PAL’, to be issued by the provinces.

In most cases*, you do not need to take any action to receive the PAL once you have received and accepted your offer of admission from Carleton. Once you accept your offer, we will initiate the attestation letter process. We will upload your attestation letter to Carleton360, so you can view and retrieve it along with the offer of admission. Note, as of the 17th of April 2024, we anticipate the time between accepting your Carleton offer and seeing the PAL in Carleton360 to be approximately one week.

Attestation letters cannot be reissued, so please ensure your personal information (name, address, etc) is correct before accepting your offer letter.

*The process is different for international students studying at an Ontario curriculum high school outside of Canada. Please contact us at international@carleton.ca to request an attestation letter.

It is very important that you accept an offer and get an attestation letter from only one Canadian university.

Learn more about attestation letters on the IRCC website.

If you have already applied for a bachelor’s degree and are waiting for a decision.

be sure to check your status on Carleton 360 regularly and upload any missing or requested documents to make sure your application is complete. Admissions processing may take between  4-6 weeks from the time all your documents are received.  Check out our I applied, now what page for more details.

If you are an international student thinking of applying to an undergraduate program at Carleton University for Fall 2024.

If you require a study permit (see who is exempt), you need to focus first on your academic application, providing your documents to the university, and awaiting your admissions decision. See our page outlining this process. The sooner we can make a decision on your application, the sooner we will be able to guide you through the study permit process.

Attestation letters and other changes

How will I receive a PAL (Provincial Attestation Letter)?

Once students check that their name, address, and other biographical details are correct and accept their offer of admission at Carleton, we will initiate the PAL process. Within approximately a week, students will be able to access PALs in Carleton360, along with their offer of admission. Please note that notifications are not sent out once the PAL is added to your account, so check your account a week after accepting your offer. Attestation letters cannot be reissued, so please make sure your personal information (name, address, etc) is correct before accepting your offer letter.

Do I need to request a PAL?

Different universities have different PAL processes. Carleton doesn’t require you to request the attestation letter unless you are an international student studying in an Ontario curriculum high school outside of Canada. In this case, please contact us at international@carleton.ca to request an attestation letter.

Will you have enough PALs?

Carleton will be issuing attestation letters to all admitted students who have accepted their offer of admission to Fall 2024.

What documents do I need to prepare for the study permit?

The primary documents you’ll use for your study permit application are the offer of admission and the provincial attestation letter (PAL). Even before you receive your offer and PAL, you can start preparing the other documents you’ll need for the study permit application. The official list of documents can be found on the IRCC website. Once you prepare all the documents, including the offer of admission and PAL, you can apply for a study permit. If you have questions about study permits, the International Student Services Office (ISSO) has information available on their website, and you are welcome to attend an ISSO online event. Immigration advisors can answer your questions about study permits at any of the ISSO’s Ask an Advisor: Immigration Q&A or Ask Us Anything sessions.

I’ve heard there’s a verification process as part of the study permit application – how can I be sure Carleton will verify my offer?

Once you have all the required documents, and submit a study permit application, IRCC sends the universities the offers to verify. Carleton University is receiving these requests, and verifying offers twice per week, well within the 10-day timeframe. Once we verify the offers of admission, IRCC proceeds with the study permit assessment. No action is required from you. You don’t need to request a verification.

Have these changes affected the length of the post-graduate work permit? 

The post-graduate work permit for students graduating from undergraduate (Bachelor’s) degrees has not changed. After completing your degree program, you can apply for a three-year post-study work permit to gain Canadian work experience. Additionally, at Carleton University, we assist our students in obtaining their first local work experience through paid co-op placements, internships, and research opportunities during their studies.

I have also heard that Canada changed its financial requirements for international students.

This is true. The IRCC website states: “For 2024, a single applicant will need to show they have CAN$20,635, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs. This change applies to new study permit applications received, on or after January 1, 2024. This amount reflects updated cost-of-living requirements.” Learn more on the IRCC website.

Contact us

Carleton University’s admissions team is here to answer any additional questions you might have! We will be updating this page regularly as new information becomes available. You can always contact us at international@carleton.ca. In addition, you may wish to check back on this page and the IRCC website for the latest updates.

Carleton360 Logo

Get started in Carleton360 to receive tailored information on our programs, student services and community.


Explore Carleton virtually

Take a virtual tour of Carleton’s beautiful riverside campus! (Available in EnglishArabicChineseFrenchPortugueseSpanish and Turkish!)