There should be a universal fact stating that “If you want all things great in your life, you should just go work and study in Canada.” Besides the most compassionate Prime Minister, it’s kind and welcoming citizens, and its adorable polar bear-shaped license plates, Canada stands among the world’s topmost educated countries, with about half of the population having a college graduation degree.
Canadian universities are the top choice of over 130,000 international students every year. Offering a high-quality education system, Canada is also rich in living standards, growth possibilities, and cultures. Research, international collaborations and scientific publications are three fundamental aspects that Canada and its universities have their primary focus on.
But how difficult is it to get the student visa or study permit in Canada? Figuring this out will play an important role when you sit down to decide in which university you want to enroll yourself. So, in this blog post, you will find out everything you need to know before getting your Canadian student visa.
1. Pick a University to Apply and Get Your Acceptance Letter
If you’re still not sure about your career and degree options in Canada, you will have to do some digging before you can begin your student visa application process. After being accepted at a university of your choice, you’ll get an acceptance letter – which is required among other visa application documents.
Some of the top universities in Canada for international students are:
- Brock University
- Seneca College
- Wilfrid Laurier University
- Mount Allison University
- University of Regina
2. Check if You Have to Apply for a Student Visa in Canada
You don’t need to apply for study in Canada immigration or Canadian study permit if any one of the following scenarios applies to you:
- You are a relative or staff member of a Canadian foreign representative – accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
- You enroll yourself in a study programme that will not last more than six months.
- Visiting Forces Act applies to you, and you are a member of foreign armed forces.
- You are a citizen of some other country, but you have your Indian status registered in Canada.
However, you will still need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to fly to the land of your dreams, Canada.
3. Get Started With Your Application Process
Universities and colleges in Canada for international students offer you an acceptance letter. As soon as you get your acceptance letter from your college or university, its time to move forward to the next step: applying for a Canadian student visa, also known as student permit locally.
The first steps for obtaining your student visa are as follows:
- Apply online for your student visa, on the CIC – Citizenship and Immigration Canada website before you are set to fly to Canada.
- In countries where internet access is limited, students can also apply for a visa on paper.
- Submit the acceptance letter that you received from a designated institution (a university that is recognized by the Canadian government).
- Deliver your proof of sufficient financial resources with other documents. You are required to be stable enough to support your education in Canada (tuition fees and other living expenses).
- Have no criminal record.
- Submit clinical reports and medical examinations that state you are in good health.
According to recent Canadian visa regulations, if you have a family member currently working or applying for a work permit, the application for your study permit in Canada will be processed in two weeks. You may renew your study permit or extend it if you wish to continue your studies, or if your programme is extended or if you change your school.
The study permit remains valid for 90 days after the completion of your programme. You can still stay in Canada and travel, explore or apply for a work permit, which lets you take part-time or a full-time job in Canada, or even be self-employed.
Useful tip: you can also check out if your home country is up on the list of biometrics requests for filing study permit application.
4. Prepare All the Necessary Documents for Your Student Visa
- Completely filled student permit application form
- The original acceptance letter from the university, college, or community college in Canada
- A valid passport or travel document, which will also allow you to return back to your home country. If you are an American resident, this is not necessary.
- Two fresh passport-size photographs, with specifications of date of birth and name on the back
- Proof of financial stability during your study programme. This means proving that your financial situation is fine and you have around 10,000 to 11,000 CAD in your account to bear the cost of university in Canada and sustain a living in the country (per year)
- A letter of intent
- If you have applied to study in Quebec, you will also require a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec, English and French translations for your papers/documents, a statement from the French-English translator and a copy of the original documents
- Proof of the paid study permit fee (150 CAD)
5. Language Requirement for the Student Visa in Canada
Unless you are from an English-speaking country, Canadian universities will need you to submit the proof of English language proficiency. Some varified language tests that are accepted are:
Proof of your language and speaking skills is not included on the list of necessary documents for a Canadian student visa. But it is always a good idea to have some certification and proof of English proficiency, just in case.
6. Interview and Biometrics Appointment
Depending on the requirements and regulations for your respective home countries, you might have to visit the Visa Application Centre in your country for your biometrics. The biometric fee is only 85 CAD. This fee is an add-on to the regular visa fee. Some countries are exempted from the biometrics visit, so it’s likely that the students won’t need to visit their application centre at all.
After applying for your study permit in Canada, the processing time for your visa can take up to 90 days, but usually, it gets processed in less. The processing time also depends a lot on the situation of your home country.
Depending on your application and your individual situation, you might also have to go for an interview. Local visa application centres, in such scenarios, charge a small amount of fee for using their services.
For more up-to-date information about the Canadian student visa application and process, and how to adjust in the country, international students in Canada can check out our Canadian study immigration group.