Can a foreigner become a lawyer in Canada? Is an international student allowed to practice law in Canada? Do foreign lawyers have the same rights as local lawyers? Every year thousands of students come to study abroad and move to Canada. Most of them want to study law, but few know if they can practice as a lawyer once they become a Canadian citizen.
I get this question a lot. In fact, I get that question so much that it’s one of the first questions that I ask people when they contact me. The answer is yes, but you have to be careful about how you go about it. Do you want to learn more about the process, registration, and requirements of becoming a lawyer in Canada? You’re in the right place. Find out what it takes, who qualifies, and what are their professional duties.
Can a foreigner become a lawyer in Canada?
Yes, you can become a lawyer in Canada. The requirements are different depending on your nationality and whether you are a student or not.
If you are from the United States and are attending law school, there is no requirement to take the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) admission test. However, if you wish to be admitted as a member of the Bar of Ontario, you must first complete a three-year articling program with an approved law school after graduating from college. After completing the three-year program, you will be eligible for admission as an articling student at LSUC’s four-year program.
A few months ago, I applied for a law program in Canada with my partner. We are both permanent residents of Canada and we have been living here for about 10 years.
We did not apply for a study permit because our sponsors said that it was not necessary as we had already been working in Canada for more than 6 years.
Before applying for the program, we spoke to our sponsor and asked them if there was any problem with us starting the job after graduation. They said that there was no problem because we had a work permit for the same job when we started studying at university. So we decided to apply for a student visa which was granted by the province of Ontario.
The next step was to get an employment visa from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). We were told that this would take 3-6 months based on your previous work experience and education level.
We received an appointment letter from CIC which stated that they required proof of funds before they could process our application. So we went to their office in Ottawa where they arranged everything over Skype video conference (yes, this is how it works). After paying $150 per person per day plus taxes and fees.
The answer to certification is, unfortunately, a resounding “no.” Like many other professions, in order to practice law in Canada you must be licensed within the province in which you wish to practice. For this reason, while it doesn’t absolutely close the door to your chances of practicing law as a foreigner, it certainly makes it much more difficult.
Yes, it is possible to study law in Canada as a foreign student. The costs associated with university attendance, however, can be prohibitive. But there are some options available to help international students finance their legal education. With the advent of the Internet, it is now possible for an aspiring lawyer to study law in Canada and become a lawyer in Canada.