Province of Alberta and British Columbia Are Now Issuing Provincial Attestation Letters (PAL) for International Students

Canada News
Written By GHV Immigration Services
March 6, 2024

Alberta and British Columbia have announced the issuance of Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) directly to qualifying postsecondary institutions for new international student applicants. Both the provinces have taken this measure following the instructions from the government of at the start of this year.

On January 22, 2024, the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that new study permit applicants must attach a PAL with their study permit application, with some exceptions.

Alberta & British Columbia Issuing Provincial Attestation Letters

The positive aspect of the current PAL issuance mechanism is that institutions are actively acquiring the PALs for international students.

  • British Columbia: The Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) issuing procedure in British Columbia is already up and running, starting from March 4, 2024. 
  • Alberta: The province of Alberta will setup a process for issuing attestation letters to students by March 31, 2024.

The foreign students intending to pursue studies in British Columbia and Alberta can now reach out to their respective institutions for further details regarding PALs.

What is Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)?

The provincial attestation letter is a verification letter that will be sent from the Province to the institution, then from the institution to the international applicant.

The letter will act as an evidence that the candidate falls within the maximum limit set by the federal government. Applicants needs to attach the attestation letter with their study permit application. Institutions that consume their entire allocation will be unable to submit extra applications until a new allocation is granted by the federal government for the subsequent year.

Who is exempt from PAL?

The following students are exempt and/or will not be affected by this change:

  • primary and secondary school students;
  • master’s or doctoral degree students;
  • students already in Canada with a valid study permit
  • in-Canada work permit holders and their in-Canada family members;
  • students already in Canada applying for an extension; and
  • students whose application was received before 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time) on Jan. 22, 2024.

As a study permit applicant for Canada, do I need to apply for a PAL?

No, as of right now, B.C. and Alberta have set up a procedure whereby your educational institution will be in charge of obtaining a PAL for you along with your offer letter.

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