Changes to IRCC Processes

This information was last updated on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Please refer directly to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for the most up-to-date information. 

IRCC Announcement

On January 22, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced new measures to stabilize the number of international students in Canada. Their news release can be found here: Canada to stabilize growth and decrease number of new international student permits issued to approximately 360,000 for 2024.

Getting a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) at CBU

At this time, we have been given our allocation of PALs by the province of Nova Scotia and have begun issuing PALs to eligible applicants. If you have been accepted for Spring 2024 or Fall 2024 intakes, have paid your tuition deposit and have been issued a CBU email address, you must fill out this form to express your request for a PAL.

*Note: Students entering the Master of Business Administration program in Spring 2024 or Fall 2024 do not require a PAL and are not required to complete the PAL Request Form.

If you already have your visa, or submitted your visa application before January 22, 2024, you do not need a PAL.

If you have confirmed your seat and would like to proceed with your PAL request, please fill out the form:

Submitting this form does not guarantee you will receive a PAL. The form indicates your desire to apply for a PAL. After submission, CBU will review your application and determine whether or not you are eligible to receive a PAL. You will be notified via email once this decision has been made.

This form is only open to students who have been accepted for Spring 2024 or Fall 2024 intakes. All future applications will have an updated process with more information to come.

Process Breakdown

  • Be accepted for Spring or Fall Semester of 2024
  • Pay your tuition deposit and confirm your seat
  • You will be issued a CBU email address after your payment has been processed
  • Fill out the PAL Request Form using your CBU email address
  • CBU reviews your eligibility
  • CBU requests the PAL on your behalf
  • Your PAL gets uploaded to your future student account

PALS Will Not Be Issued for Spring 2024 

Due to delays in the provincial process, we will not be issuing PALs for the Spring 2024 semester. Students who have been accepted for Spring 2024 will be given the opportunity to defer to September intake and proceed with a PAL request for Fall 2024. Even if Spring 2024 is listed as your last available intake, in this instance we will be allowing you to defer to Fall 2024 due to the PAL process delays.

Changes to the Cost of Living Requirement

On January 1, 2024, IRCC made changes to the cost of living requirement for study permit applicants. For up-to-date requirements, visit the IRCC webpage here. 


Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs were last updated March 28, 2024. Please refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for the most up-to-date information.

No, filling out the PAL request form does not guarantee that you will be issued a PAL. This will depend on a number of factors including how many PALs CBU is able to issue, as well as your eligibility.

Yes, starting January 22, 2024, all new international students will require an attestation letter to apply for their study permit unless they are applying to study in a master’s degree program.

For those that have applied via an agent, the PAL can be accessed only by the agent via their Agent Account if and once this has been issued. The agent is responsible for providing this to the applicant as soon as possible once issued.

Applicants without an agent can access this themselves via their personal Future Student Account.

Both applicants with and without agents will receive notification to their personal email address on file once their PAL request has been issued or denied.

No, applications for visas received before 8:30am ET on January 22, 2024, do not require an attestation letter.

No, students applying to extend their study permit do not need an attestation letter.

This announcement does not affect current CBU students with existing study permits or those awaiting permit renewals.

There is no change for CBU students related to PGWP. All of our programs are eligible for a PGWP. Students who complete their program can proceed with their PGWP as usual.

The MBA in Community Economic Development program has different admission requirements (notably, the requirement to submit GMAT test results, a letter of intent and provide references). You will need to submit a new application for admission to that program. Before doing so, we suggest you review the MBA admission requirements to ensure that you are eligible.

We understand the disappointment about the recent IRCC announcement. For information about the refund process, please refer to CBU’s Refund Policy. If you have any additional questions, please connect with our team at 

PAL eligibility is based on Cape Breton University’s Strategic Enrolment Management Plan which outlines enrolment and diversification goals. The Federal Government has put a cap on new study permits for 2024, making PALs extremely limited. CBU has set PAL caps by country to ensure enrolment goals are met while maintaining our commitment to diversification.

We ask that you fill out the form so that our team is able to review your PAL request and determine your eligibility based on the factors outlined above:

There is no extra fee payment you need to make for issuance of a  PAL. PAL is issued after paying a seat confirmation tuition deposit mentioned in your Notice of Acceptance. This deposit is the only monetary requirement for applying and receiving a PAL.  If you are being told by someone to make that extra payment to receive a PAL, kindly do not pay them as this is fraudulent.

A PAL expires 10 weeks after the date it has been issued to a student.