IRCC Announcement

On January 22, 2024, the Government of Canada announced proposed changes to the study permit application process for new international students. To apply for a study permit, most new international students will require a Letter of Attestation from the province or territory where their Designated Learning Institution (DLI) is located. Universities and other designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Nova Scotia are working with the provincial government to determine how Letters of Attestation will be issued to new international students.

You can obtain additional information on this matter by visiting the IRCC website.

Getting a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) at MSVU

PALs are now a required component for most international students applying outside of Canada to receive a study permit. To identify whether you are exempt, please see the second drop-down below.

These PALs will be issued to students, along with their Letter of Acceptance (LOA), upon the payment of a student’s $6,000 CAD confirmation deposit.

Along with submission of the deposit, students must also provide consent for the university to allow the province of Nova Scotia to issue the PAL. This is done by completing the Release of Information form to Upon receiving the deposit and the student’s consent, MSVU will issue both the LOA and PAL so the student can submit these required documents together to IRCC.

NOTE: The PALs will expire ten weeks from the date they are issued to the student. If you do not apply for your study permit within those ten weeks, your PAL will expire.

For more information regarding attestation letters, and the new study permit policy, please refer to the drop-down menus below.

Not all international students need to apply for a study permit to begin their studies at MSVU. If you fall into one of the following categories, you do NOT need to apply for a new study permit:

  • If you are coming to MSVU as a visiting student (not pursuing a certificate, diploma, or degree) for less than 6 months;
  • If you are coming to MSVU as an exchange student AND you do not want to work while you are in Canada on exchange;
  • If you currently have a valid study permit and are transferring to MSVU from another postsecondary institution in Canada;
  • If you currently have a valid study permit and are coming to MSVU from high school;
  • If you currently have a work permit valid from June 27, 2023 or earlier – you can study without a study permit until June 27, 2026;
  • If you will be studying online from your home country, and do not plan to come to Canada.

Please note: If you plan to study online from outside of Canada, you will not be eligible for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

For a full listing of who requires a Study Permit, please visit IRCC’s website.

If you are unsure if you need to apply for a study permit, please email for a consultation with an immigration advisor.

Most new undergraduate students coming to MSVU to study in a certificate, diploma, or degree program are required to submit a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) as part of their study permit application.

The following categories of students DO NOT require a PAL:

  1. Students in our Masters and PhD degree programs
  2. Students who are currently in Canada AND


    • Hold a work permit;
    • Hold a current, valid study permit- If you hold a valid study permit, you will not need to apply for a new permit using a PAL. This includes international students who are:
      1. transferring to MSVU from another postsecondary institution in Canada
      2. coming to MSVU from a high school located in Canada
    • Are completing a pre-requisite English language program as a requirement for your conditional admission;
    • Are on exchange for one term and would like to extend their exchange to MSVU beyond one academic term;
    • Are the family member of a foreign national who is currently in Canada and holds a work permit, study permit, or temporary resident permit.

If you identify with one of the above categories, you are considered PAL EXEMPT. You can apply for a study permit without a PAL.

For the complete list of exemptions (that includes less-common situations), please visit IRCC’s Website.

If you are uncertain about whether you require a PAL, please email

The confirmation deposit indicates that you intend to begin your studies at MSVU and apply for a study permit. The confirmation deposit is applied toward your first-year tuition.

If you require a PAL:

You will be required to pay a $6,000 CAD confirmation deposit. When the payment is received, we will issue both the Letter of Acceptance (LOA) and the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) to enable you to proceed with your study permit application.

If you do not require a PAL:

You will pay a $500 confirmation deposit. This will release your Letter of Acceptance.

If you are PAL exempt because you already hold a study permit, you will be required to adjust the DLI on your study permit to indicate MSVU once you are registered for classes. For support with this process, please contact

As an accepted student to MSVU, the details of your application and file are private unless you, the student, provide us with consent to share that information with anyone besides yourself. To receive a PAL, the university is required to share information from your application with the province so we can provide you with your PAL letter. Without this consent, we can not request your PAL from the province.

If you are considered PAL-exempt, you will not be required to provide this consent form as you already hold a study permit.

The most efficient way for a student to pay the confirmation deposit is through a service called Convera. For more information on using Convera, please visit this detailed guide.

You can pay this deposit in installments, but you will only be provided with a PAL when the entire amount of the deposit is received. A partial deposit does not put a PAL on hold.

You can pay your confirmation deposit by visiting and selecting Confirmation Deposit – International – Undergraduate Programs.

An international student who requires a PAL can request a refund of $5,500 CAD of their confirmation deposit under the following circumstances:

  1. Your study permit application was rejected using a PAL issued by MSVU. Proof of rejection from IRCC will be required to confirm a refund is possible
  2. MSVU receives your deposit and is unable to award you a PAL. This would occur for two reasons:
    1. You have received a PAL from another NS institution, which would then block MSVU from issuing you a PAL
    2. MSVU has a very limited number of PALs we can award each year. If you have paid your deposit and we have identified that we have run out of PALs, we will refund you your deposit

All other confirmation deposits at MSVU are non-refundable.

Yes. You will have ten weeks after we issue your PAL to apply for a study permit. If you do not apply for a study permit by that deadline, your PAL will expire. You will not receive a refund on your confirmation deposit if your PAL expires.