International students in Canada

If you are an international student studying in Canada, you may have to file a Canadian income tax return. You must determine your residency status to know how you will be taxed in Canada.

Residency status

For income tax purposes, international students studying in Canada are considered to be one of the following types of residents:

  • resident (includes students who reside in Canada only part of the year);
  • non-resident;
  • deemed resident; or
  • deemed non-resident.

Residency status is based on the residential ties you have with Canada.

What are residential ties?

Residential ties include:

Other residential ties that may be relevant include:

  • a Canadian driver's licence;
  • Canadian bank accounts or credit cards; and
  • health insurance with a Canadian province or territory.

Determining your residency status

In general, you probably have not established significant residential ties with Canada if you:

  • return to your home country on a periodic basis or for a significant amount of time in the calendar year; or
  • move to another country when not attending university in Canada.

However, many international students who study or carry on research in Canada do establish significant residential ties with Canada.

Resident of Canada
You are a resident of Canada for tax purposes if you establish significant residential ties with Canada.

Non-resident of Canada
You are a non-resident of Canada for tax purposes if you do not establish significant residential ties with Canada and you stay in Canada for less than 183 days during the year.

Deemed resident of Canada
If you do not establish significant residential ties with Canada, you may be a deemed resident of Canada for tax purposes if you:

  • stay in Canada for 183 days or more in a calendar year; and
  • are not considered a resident of your home country under the terms of a tax treaty between Canada and that country.

Deemed non-residents of Canada
If you establish significant residential ties with Canada and are considered a resident of another country with which Canada has a tax treaty, you may be considered a deemed non-resident of Canada for tax purposes.

You are a deemed non-resident of Canada when your ties with the other country become such that, under the tax treaty, you are considered a resident of that other country.

As a deemed non-resident, the same rules apply to you as a non-resident of Canada.

For more information
For more information on residency status, see Determining your residency or Income Tax Folio S5-F1-C1: Determining an Individual’s Residence Status.

If you would like an opinion about your residency status, complete and submit Form NR74, Determination of Residency Status (Entering Canada).

Your tax obligations

Your residency status determines your income tax return filing requirements in Canada:

  • If you entered Canada during the year and have established significant residential ties with Canada, follow the filing requirements for newcomers to Canada.
  • If you have not established significant residential ties and are not deemed to be a resident of Canada, follow the filing requirements for non-residents of Canada.
  • If you are a deemed resident of Canada, follow the filing requirements for deemed residents.
  • If you are a deemed non-resident of Canada, the rules that apply to non-residents of Canada also apply to you.

Forms and publications

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