International Student

British Columbia’s Attestation Letter System

The new provincial attestation letter system in British Columbia, launched today on March 4, 2024, and it marks a significant shift in the process for international students applying to study in the province. This change comes in response to the federal government’s decision to cap international student numbers, aiming to manage growth and ensure the quality of education and community integration. This requirement, announced on January 22, 2024, is essential for new study permit applications, aligning with federal guidelines to regulate international student admissions.

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Understanding the Provincial Attestation Letter System

The provincial attestation letter system involves a verification process where letters are issued by the province to educational institutions and then forwarded to international students. These letters confirm the students’ eligibility within the federal limits for international admissions. Provincial Attestation Letters are necessary for study permit applications, the letters ensure institutions stay within their allocated number of international students, with new allocations provided annually by the federal government. 


For 2024, British Columbia is set to accept 83,000 undergraduate study permit applications, a decrease from 2023’s 97,000. This adjustment aligns with the federal government’s expectations to approve around 50,000 of these applications, reflecting a reduction from the previous year’s 60,000 approved permits in B.C.

Provincial attestation letters for British Columbia will be distributed with 53% allocated to public institutions and 47% to private institutions. This allocation supports public post-secondary institutions in sustaining their international student programs and managing growth.

The 2024 allocations for provincial attestation letters will enable public post-secondary institutions with sustainable international programs to continue their operations smoothly. In contrast, private institutions, particularly those that have expanded rapidly and unsustainably, will face significant reductions, receiving 27% fewer study permit applications than in the previous year.

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Provincial Attestation Letter System Exemptions

Under the new provincial attestation letter requirement in British Columbia, certain groups of students are exempt from needing to secure such a letter for their study permit applications. These exemptions ensure that a wide range of students, particularly those at critical stages of their education or those already established in Canada, can continue their studies without interruption.

Exempt groups include:

– Primary and secondary school students
– Master’s or doctoral degree students
– Students in Canada with a valid study permit or work permit holders and their family members in Canada
– Students in Canada applying for an extension
– Students whose applications were received before 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time) on January 22, 2024.

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The introduction of provincial attestation letter system marks a significant change for international students studying in Canada. At Canada by Choice, our proximity to the University of Windsor and St. Clair college has helped us strengthen our ability to support students through Canadian immigration. With an excellent track record in aiding international students to secure acceptance and transition to permanent residency, we are ideally positioned to help students with these new changes. For more detailed assistance and information on immigration to Canada, feel free to contact us.

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The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

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