Each year, more than 130,000 international students choose to study at Canadian universities. In addition to a high-quality education system, Canada also offers numerous opportunities and a vibrant culture. Research, scientific publications and international collaborations are three of the main areas of focus for Canada and its educational institutions.
But how challenging is it to get a student visa, also known as a Canadian study permit, for Canada? Finding this out will play a very crucial role when deciding where you want to study. So what do you have to do to get your student visa for Canada and how difficult is it?
Let’s find out about it together!
Apply to a Canadian university and get the acceptance letter.
If you are still not sure where you want to study in Canada, you will need to make up your mind before you start the student visa application process. After being accepted to a Canadian university, you will get a letter of acceptance needed for your visa application.
Here are some Canadian universities we recommend:
University of Regina
Wilfrid Laurier University
Mount Allison University
2. check if you need to apply for a student visa in Canada.
You can use Canada’s official study permit tool to find out if you need a visa or study permit. You do not need a study visa if any of the following situations apply to you
You are a family member or employee of a foreign representative in Canada, accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
- You are enrolled in a degree program that lasts less than six months.
- You are a member of the foreign armed forces under the Foreign Workers Act.
- You are a citizen of another country but have registered Indian status in Canada.
Remember that the study permit/visa does not act as a regular visa that allows you to enter or travel to Canada. For this, you will need a travel visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA).
3. Start your application for a Canadian student visa.
Once you have received your acceptance letter from the university, it’s time for the next step: applying for your student visa, which is called a “study permit” in this country.
The first steps to get your student visa:
- Apply for your Canadian student visa online, on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website, before you arrive in Canada.
- Submit visa application documents by mail if you have a limited internet connection or cannot submit the documents online.
- Submit a letter of acceptance from a designated educational institution (a university recognized by the Canadian government).
- Provide evidence that you have sufficient financial resources to pay for your studies in Canada (tuition fees and living expenses).
- Submit proof that you do not have a criminal record.
- Submit a medical history showing that you are in good health; submit complete medical examinations if applicable.
Under the new visa rules, your study permit application will be processed within two weeks if you have a family member working or applying for a work permit in Canada. You can renew or extend your study permit if you
- you want to continue your studies
- your programme has an extension
- you change universities
Your study permit expires 90 days after you complete your studies (when you receive notification that your program has ended). You can still stay in Canada to travel and explore or apply for a work permit that allows you to take a full- or part-time job or even be self-employed.
Helpful hint: Check to see if your home country is on the list of required biometrics for your study permit application.
4. prepare all the necessary documents for the student visa in Canada.
The completed student permit application form.
- The original letter of acceptance from the university.
- A valid passport/travel document that also allows you to return to your home country. If you live in the USA, this is not necessary.
- Two recent passport-sized photographs, with your name and date of birth on the back.
- Proof of financial support during your studies. This means that you will need to show that you have between $10,000 and $11,000 CAD per year available for living expenses.
- A Letter of Intent.
- If you want to study in Québec, you will also need a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec, an English and French translation of your document, a statement from the translator and a certified copy of the original documents
proof that you have paid the study permit fee (150 CAD).
5. language requirements for studying in Canada
Proof of English language proficiency is not on the list of required documents for a Canadian student visa. However, if you are not from an English-speaking country, Canadian universities will require you to provide proof of English language proficiency. Accepted language tests:
Student Visa for Canada
6 Biometric appointment and interview
Depending on your nationality, you will need to visit a Visa Application Centre in your country to have your biometric data taken. The fee for the biometric examination is 85 CAD. This fee is in addition to the regular visa application fee. Some countries are exempt from this biometrics requirement, so their citizens do not even need to visit an application centre.
Depending on your individual situation, you may also be invited for an interview. Local visa application centres charge a small fee for using their services.
7. How long does it take to get my Canadian study permit?
Once you have applied for your Canadian study permit, the processing time can take up to 90 days, but it is usually quicker. This also depends on the situation in your home country.
You can use the Student Direct Stream to get your study permit faster. The fees start at 150 CAD and the processing time is usually about 20 calendar days. The Student Direct Stream is only available for students from the following countries:
For more up-to-date information on the Canadian student visa, please visit the official student visa page of the Canadian government.