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I'm hoping this is the appropriate place to ask; I've recently moved to Canada, and I want to move back home to the States for personal, mental health reasons. My study permit is valid for two years (through to March 2019), and I know there's no way I'll last to the end of this week, let alone the start of 2019.

Is it possible to withdraw from my courses and legally 'cancel' my study permit? If I do so, will I ever be able to return to Canada in the future, as a visitor or seeking some other type of residence? I'm terrified if I don't see this through right now, I'll be permanently barred from reentry. I have friends in Canada, and I don't want to never be able to visit...

Any help would be hugely appreciated! Thank you very much.

  • If you're a US citizen, you don't need a visa to enter Canada in most circumstances. For study however you need a proper study permit. Having said that, yes its possible to inform the border services that you are going back because of whatever reasons that might be but you should inform and be very clear about it. Getting a study permit in the future totally depends on the immigration office processing your file. Study permits are never guaranteed. – Dipen Shah May 1 '17 at 14:20
  • Thank you very much! I'm not likely apply to a study permit in the future, but I do have a significant other in Canada, so if we decided to stay together, I wouldn't want this to like... completely prevent that in the future. I'm planning to cross the border by car, so would it be acceptable to stop then at the border and tell them I've withdrawn from classes? By "being very clear about it", do you think I'll need any documentation or is just explaining similar to how I did above going to be enough? – anonymous May 1 '17 at 14:34
  • No it most likely won't – Dipen Shah May 1 '17 at 14:35
  • Thank you! And sorry, ahhh; I didn't expect you to reply so quickly! Just to copy from above: I'm planning to cross the border by car, so would it be acceptable to stop then at the border and tell them I've withdrawn from classes? By "being very clear about it", do you think I'll need any documentation or is just explaining similar to how I did above going to be enough? (I completely understand you can't tell me exactly, and really the only way to know is to just do it, but!) – anonymous May 1 '17 at 14:36
  • You have to inform the college/uni you were planning to attend. They might have a procedure for this. Also you have to inform the Canadian Border Services Agency. I am not sure of the specifics but be honest as much as you can. Canadian border services don't ask you any questions when you are leaving Canada. – Dipen Shah May 1 '17 at 14:39
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Abandoning a course of study for personal reasons, whether temporarily or permanently, is not by itself a bar to future entry.

(Of course, there is a small chance that the law could change, but the probability of such a change is so small as to be effectively zero.)

One can imagine all sorts of reasons related to mental health that might cause you to abandon your studies and also pose a problem for reentry. A thorough lawyer might qualify advice with reference to these possibilities, to ensure that you understand the situation fully. For example, someone who committed a violent crime would be inadmissible to Canada. But the fact that lawyers have to mention these things doesn't mean that they're necessarily going to be problems for you. You are in the best position to know that.

Another thing that could affect you would be the impact that your story has on a border officer or visa officer evaluating your future application for entry. Such a person might be led to a heightened suspicion that you meet some criterion of inadmissibility. But, assuming you don't in fact meet any of those criteria, this would only mean that they look at you a little more closely, find that everything is okay, and admit you or grant your visa.

As a personal anecdote, somewhat related, that should help put your mind at ease, I can offer the story of someone I know who was approved to immigrate to Canada and then, after receiving all of her documents, decided not to go there so she could accept a position with the United Nations. She now lives in New York, and has several friends in Canada whom she visits frequently. Until a few years ago, she had to get a visa to travel to Canada, and at her visa interviews, she was always asked about why she abandoned her chance to immigrate. After she explained, the visa officer always granted her visa, and she has never had trouble entering the country.

The decision to withdraw from a course of study is difficult and stressful. You should not add to that by worrying about the effect it will have on your future ability to travel to Canada. Do be certain to coordinate with the foreign student office at your institution. Ask whether you need to inform the Canadian immigration authorities. If they don't know, ask the immigration authorities directly. It's likely that such a step is unnecessary, but you will sleep that much more easily if you know for sure.

  • Thank you so, so much! This helps a ton. I'm currently trying to get in touch with my school, since any communication will likely have to be over the phone, as I will likely be leaving today or tomorrow. I will have the chance to stop at the border on the way out, I believe, so I can hopefully explain to them there if need be. But thank you so much again; I'm very unfamiliar with international travel at all, so I have no clue what might prevent someone from being readmitted or allowed to visit. – anonymous May 1 '17 at 15:16

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