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How To Get a Provincial Attestation Letter For Studying In Canada In 2024 - Update From the BC Government

provincial attestation letter
This is not an official Provincial Attestation Letter

*The above letter is not an official Provincial Attestation Letter.


In an unprecedented move at the start of 2024, Canada's immigration minister announced the introduction of an international student cap set at 360,000. Accompanying this cap is a significant change affecting international students: starting January 22, 2024, to apply for a study permit, you'll need a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL). This new requirement has stirred questions among students worldwide, and I'm here to guide you through what you need to know.

"It’s important that you understand there’re 2 different government platforms to apply for a Study Permit: IRCC portal and GCKey." - Max Medyk

Who Needs a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)?

The PAL is now a staple in the application process for several categories of international students. If you fall into one of the following groups, securing a PAL is crucial:

  • International Undergraduate Students: Specifically, those whose study permit applications were received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) after January 22, 2024.

  • Graduate Certificate, Diploma, and Professional Program Students: This includes anyone enrolled in these programs, emphasizing the broad scope of the requirement.

  • Visiting/Exchange and ESL/FSL Students: If your study duration exceeds six months, a PAL is necessary.

  • Visiting Student Researchers: Engaging in research activities at Canadian institutions requires a PAL.

Interestingly, there are exemptions to this rule, highlighting the tailored approach Canada is taking towards international education.

Who Doesn’t Need a PAL?

The exemptions are as specific as the requirements, aimed at ensuring that students in critical fields of study and short-term exchanges face fewer barriers:

  • Master’s and Doctoral Students: The higher echelons of academia, including Master’s and PhD students, are exempt, regardless of application dates.

  • Short-term Students: Those visiting or exchanging for under six months, along with ESL/FSL students in short-term studies, don't need a PAL.

  • In-Canada Permit Holders: If you're already in Canada on a study or work permit, including extensions, you're exempt.

  • Primary and Secondary School Students: Young learners are also exempt from this requirement, streamlining their entry into Canadian education.


How to Obtain Your Provincial Attestation Letter:

British Columbia leads the charge in streamlining the PAL acquisition process, a model expected to be replicated across other provinces. Here’s how it works:

  1. Accept Your Offer: Your journey begins with accepting an offer from a Canadian institution.

  2. Pay Your Admission Deposit: Commit to your chosen institution financially to secure your place.

  3. Receive Your PAL: Along with your letter of acceptance, your institution will issue a PAL, pivotal for your study permit application.

Remember to save your login information for your school's portal, as it's likely where you'll access your PAL and other important documents.

Applying for a Study Permit

Understanding the application platforms is crucial. Canada offers two primary government platforms for study permit applications: the IRCC portal and GCKey. The IRCC portal is recommended for those applying independently due to its straightforward process. However, if you prefer professional guidance, we offer full representation and support through our partnered immigration lawyers, complete with a money-back guarantee.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the new requirements for studying in Canada in 2024 doesn't have to be daunting. With the right information and resources, securing your PAL and study permit can be a smooth process. For more detailed guidance, including legal support, visit I'm Canada Immigrate.


Navigating the complexities of immigration can be overwhelming. To avoid mistakes and access more resources, including legal support, visit I'm Canada Immigrate for expert guidance and consultation. Let us help you plan your journey to Canadian PR with confidence.

For further guidance and to avoid mistakes in navigating Canada's changing immigration landscape, click the button below for more resources and legal support.

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