Applying to College as an International Student

Follow the steps on our How to Apply page to create an account and begin your application. However, as an international applicant, there are several other things to keep in mind, such as document translation, English language proficiency, and immigration requirements.

Many Ontario college programs have multiple start dates, giving you the flexibility to choose to begin your program in the fall (August / September), winter (January), or spring (May).

In early October, the application becomes available for programs beginning in the following academic year (August to July). Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to complete the academic and immigration requirements before your studies begin. Depending on the country in which you live, this process can take anywhere from three to nine months.





You may apply to any program offered by a public college in Ontario, as long as you meet the admission requirements. Note, however, that priority is given to permanent residents of Ontario and Canada for admission to Highly Competitive Programs.

You may only study as a full-time student.

You cannot come to Canada as a visitor and then attend college in Ontario. If you plan to attend college in Ontario, you should make the arrangements before you leave your home country.

Most colleges have an International Office where staff can answer your questions and help you with:

  • travel arrangements
  • finding a place to live in Ontario
  • banking
  • translation of legal documents
  • finding your way around the community
  • college tours

Some colleges charge additional fees for services provided to international students. For details, please contact the college directly.

To learn more about college education in Ontario, use our Find a Program tool to browse program offerings by college and/or area of study. Information about each of the 26 public colleges, including contact details, can be found in the Colleges section of this website.

Depending upon the program(s) to which you apply, a Credential Assessment Report may be required. This report allows college admissions staff to understand how education completed outside of Canada compares to credentials obtained in Ontario. Contact the college(s) to which you are applying to confirm if both the high school and postsecondary evaluations are necessary. Additional details will be sent to you once your application is received at ontariocolleges.ca.

Two organizations can assess your academic documents. Visit their websites to learn more about how to obtain a report.

The evaluating organization will forward the report to ontariocolleges.ca. We process your information, post it to your application and forward it to your college choice(s). If you already have a Credential Assessment Report issued by International Credential Assessment Service (ICAS) or World Education Services (WES), contact the agency to see if the report can be sent to ontariocolleges.ca.

Do not send original academic documents/transcripts to ontariocolleges.ca. These documents will not be returned.

If necessary, you can have your certificates/transcripts translated by an organization here in Ontario. For your convenience, we’ve listed one organization here. Please contact them directly for details and costs.

Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO)
1 Nicholas Street, Suite 1202
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7
Telephone: 1 800.234.5030 or 1.613.241.2846
Website: atio.on.ca
Email: info@atio.on.ca

If you are applying to a program taught in English, and if English is not your first language, proof of English proficiency is required. If you are applying for programs taught in French, you may need to complete a test to determine your French language skills.

English Language Testing

The following four services evaluate language skills of people whose first language is not English. Contact the college you wish to attend to find out what test and score is needed there.

  • Test of English As a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    Website: ets.org/toefl
    Telephone: 1.877.863.3546
    Use Institution Code 0211 when taking the TOEFL test
  • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS)
    Website: ielts.org or ieltscanada.ca
  • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)
    Website: cambridgemichigan.org/test-takers/tests/melab
    Telephone: 1.866.696.3522
  • Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL)
    Website: cael.ca
    Telephone: 1.855.520.2235

If you have taken language tests other than those listed above, please contact the college directly to determine whether they will meet language testing requirements.

Some colleges may also ask you to take a college language assessment test before being accepted as a full-time student in a college program.

English Upgrading

Many colleges offer English as a Second Language programs to help you improve your language skills. Contact the International Office at the college of your choice for more information.

International student fees are approximately $14,000 in Canadian funds per year (two semesters). Colleges may also charge additional fees.

You are not insured for medical, hospital or dental care by the Canadian government. However, most of the colleges have a health plan available for international students. For details, contact the International Office of the college you are planning to attend.

You cannot receive financial assistance from the Canadian government. As part of the immigration requirements, you need to prove that you have enough money to fully support yourself and your dependents during your stay in Canada.

Information about scholarships for international students is available at the following links:

Once enrolled at an Ontario college, international students usually qualify for the same awards and scholarships as other students.

The Canadian government regulates the admission of international students to Canada. These regulations are subject to change. Contact the Canadian Embassy nearest you or contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada for more information.

Obtaining a Study Permit

Once you’ve received a letter of acceptance from an Ontario college, you need to apply for a study permit (Form IMM1294). You may apply for a study permit online, or you may obtain a paper application from your nearest Visa Application Centre.

To do this, you need:

  • a valid passport, in most cases
  • a letter of acceptance from the college stating the program of study, including start and end dates
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents during your entire stay in Canada
  • a letter from your sponsoring organization, if you are being sponsored
  • a medical clearance and/or security clearance, if necessary, depending on your home country

There is an application fee to apply for a study permit (see the Citizenship and Immigration Canada fees page for details).

When You Arrive in Canada

Immigration officials will ask to see these documents:

  • study permit (Form IMM1294)
  • passport (depending on your home country)
  • visitor visa, if required
  • all letters and papers used to obtain your student authorization (study permit)

You should not expect to fund any part of your studies in Canada through money received from part-time employment while attending college. However, international students can work in Canada in the following situations:

  • employed as part of a course of study, such as a work term during the year, as in cooperative programs
  • employed on-campus
  • employed off-campus (requires an Off-Campus Work Permit)
  • employed after graduation in a study-related job for up to two years

There are some further restrictions on these conditions. Contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada for full details.

If your spouse is coming to Canada with you, she/he may also be allowed to apply for an employment authorization.

Working without an employment authorization is a violation of the Immigration Act and may result in you having to leave the country.


The following websites can provide more information about studying in Canada as an international student: