Interestingly, more than 130,000 international students choose Canadian universities as their study destinations yearly. You may be asked why this is so. Aside from the high-quality education system which focuses on research, scientific publications, and international collaborations, Canada also provides various possibilities and vibrant culture.
The question now should be; how difficult or easy is it to get a student visa for Canada? Knowing the answer to this question is important, not just for Canada but for anywhere you want to study.
Let us find out how you can get your student visa for Canada.
How to get your student visa for Canada
The first step is to apply at a Canadian university and obtain your acceptance letter
Before you kick off the process for your student visa application, you must first decide where you want to study in Canada. Once you are accepted, you will be issued an acceptance letter to the Canadian university because this letter will be required for the visa application.
Below are a few of the Canadian universities we recommend:
- York University
- University of Winnipeg
- Thompson Rivers University
- University of Manitoba
- University of Toronto
2. Find out if you need to apply for a student visa in Canada
There is an official study permit tool that can assist you to check if you need a study visa or permit. If any of the below conditions apply to you, then you don’t need a study visa:
- If you are a family or member of staff of a foreign representative in Canada, who is accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development Canada.
- If you register in a study program that lasts below six months.
- If you belong to the foreign armed forces from the Visiting Forces Act.
- If you are a citizen of another country, however, you have an Indian status registered in Canada.
Also, please take note of the fact that the study permit/visa does not serve the purpose of a regular visa, which permits you to enter or travel to Canada. For this reason, a travel visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is required before you can enter the country.
3. Kick start your application for the Canadian student visa
After you must have received your acceptance letter from the university, you can now proceed to take the next step: applying for a student visa, which is also known as a study permit.
The initials steps to take to get your student visa:
- Go to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website online and apply for your Canadian student visa before you arrive in Canada.
- In a case where you have a limited internet connection or cannot submit the documents online, you can forward the visa application documents by post.
- Submit an acceptance letter issued to you from a selected learning institution (a university acknowledged by the Canadian government).
- Submit proof of adequate financial resources to fund your studies in Canada (tuition fees and living expenses inclusive).
- Submit proof guaranteeing that you don’t have any criminal record.
- Submit clinical documents showing that you are in good health; if need be, submit complete medical examinations.
According to current visa regulations, 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. Furthermore, your study permit can be renewed or extended under one of the following conditions:
- If you desire to further your studies
- If your programme was extended
- If you change your university
Please also note that the study permit becomes invalid 90 days after your studies are finished (after you have been sent a message notifying you of the completion of the programme). You can choose to remain in Canada to travel and explore or apply for a work permit, which permits you to take either a full-time or part-time job, or even be self-employed.
4. Get all the necessary documents for the student visa in Canada ready
- A filled student permit application form
- The original copy of the acceptance letter obtained from the university
- A valid passport/travel document that permits you to go back to your home country, nevertheless, this is unnecessary if you reside in the USA.
- Two current passport-size photographs stating on the back, your name and date of birth
- Proof of financial backing during your study program. You must prove that you have between 10,000 and 11,000 CAD yearly for residing in the country.
- A letter of intent
- You will also need a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec, a statement from the translator, and a certified copy of the original documents, English and French translations of your document if you plan to study in Quebec.
- Receipt showing proof that you paid the study permit fee (150 CAD)
5. Language requirements for studying in Canada
Though proof of English language skills is not contained on the list of needed documents for a Canadian student visa. However, if you do not come from an English-speaking country, Canadian universities will ask you to submit proof of English language mastery, and below are the accepted language tests you can take to prove this:
- TOEFL iBT
- IELTS Academic
- C1 Advanced
- PTE Academic
6. Biometrics appointment and interview
You may have to go to a Visa Application Centre in your country to have your biometrics taken but this depends on your nationality because there are countries that are exempted from this requirement, therefore, their citizens do not have any need to visit an application centre. In addition to the regular visa application fee which is 150 CAD, the biometrics fee is 85 CAD.
Also, do not be surprised if you are invited for an interview though this depends on your situation.
7. How long does it take to be issued the Canadian study permit?
The processing time may take up to 90 days after applying for your Canadian study permit though it’s usually faster and also depends on the situation in your home country.
You can get the study permit faster (processing time is usually around 20 calendar days) using the Student Direct Stream at a fee of 150 CAD. Only students in the countries listed below can access the Student Direct Stream:
- The Philippines