How to Get a Canadian Study Visa

It is important to follow these steps if you want to go to college or university in Canada.

Once you have decided on the universities that might be best for you, you will need to send in your applications and required documents. It is best to apply to a couple of different institutions, to give yourself more options. Apply early, November and December are the best months for international students. This will give you an advantage and enough time to collect the required documents. Some universities have an application fee and this varies at each institution. Check the requirements by going to your preferred university’s website.

The difficulty involved in getting a study visa depends on where you want to study. However, there are some major steps that are common no matter where you decided to study in Canada. Let’s have a look at what you need to do to get your Canadian Study Visa.

Apply for an acceptance letter.

The very first step is deciding on the institution. There are two options; universities or colleges. Before applying,  you must consult the Designated Learning Institution List. If your school is not on the DLI List, you are not eligible to apply for a study permit. Once you apply for an acceptance letter and get approval, you are on the road to immigrating to Canada as a student. 

You are required to submit a proof of your language skills to schools if you don’t come from an English-speaking country. Be sure to check with your school to know their language requirement as it may be different depending on what major you are taking. Besides that, although proof of your language skills is not included on the list of demanded documents for a Canadian study permit and visa application, it is a good idea to have proof of proficiency in English. 

Check if you need a study permit

What is a study permit?

The study permit is a document that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLI) in Canada. Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada. Make sure you have all the documents you need before you apply. You should apply before you travel to Canada.

You might or might not need a permit to study in Canada. You are not required to apply for a study permit if …

  • Your study is 6 months or less
    • You can study at any school in Canada without a study permit if:
      • your course or program lasts 6 months or less
      • your studies aren’t part of a longer program and
      • you’ll complete all your studies within the time we approved you to stay in Canada (usually 6 months after you enter)
    • If you’re taking classes you need to take and pass before you can start a longer study program (prerequisite courses), you should get a study permit, even if the courses are less than 6 months long. If you don’t, you’ll have to apply for a study permit before you can start your full study program. Depending on processing time, you may not get it in time to start your studies.
  • You are a Family or staff of foreign representatives:You may not need a study permit if you’re a family or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada that has been accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Your embassy can contact GAC to find out if you need one.
  • You are a Member of a foreign armed force on official duties in Canada, you don’t need a study permit. If your family members, including minor children, want to study in Canada, they may need one.
  • You have Registered Indian status in Canada, you don’t need a study permit even if you’re a citizen of another country.
  • You are a minor child in Canada, you don’t need a study permit if:
  • you are in kindergarten
  • you are refugees or refugee claimants
  • your parents are refugees or refugee claimants or
  • you are in preschool, primary or secondary school, and you’re already in Canada with a parent who has a work or study permit
A study permit isn’t a visa. It doesn’t let you enter Canada. 

Even though you don’t need a study permit, you still need a valid passport or travel document. Depending on your travel document, you also need one of the following:

Having one of these allows you to enter Canada. If your study permit application is approved, the visa is issued with your study permit.

Prepare for your Canadian study permit application

Once you receive your acceptance letter from the university or college where you applied, you are ready to make a study permit application. Follow these steps to obtain your permit:

  • Apply online on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website before flying to Canada.
  • If you have limited internet access in your area of residence, there is a paper application option. Check CIC website to find your closest visa application centre (VAC) or with your local Embassy or Consulate General of Canada. 
  • Gather all required documents

The application should include: proof of acceptance, proof of identity and proof of financial support. You may also need a letter of explanation, a certificat d’acceptation de Quebec (CAQ), a custodian declaration (minors only) and/or other documents.

Generally, you must apply for a study permit before you come to Canada. Some people can apply for a study permit from within Canada. In some cases, you can apply when you arrive in Canada at the port of entry. Make sure you understand which option is available to you.

The application can be made online. If you apply from outside Canada and on paper, you should read the instruction Guide 5269 – Apply for a Canadian Study Permit outside Canada and ensure to gather all documents required in the Document Checklist IMMI 5483.

Read more from the official site of Canadian government here.

Under the new visa rule, your study permit will be processed in two weeks if you have a family member applying for a work permit or working in Canada. You can renew or extend your study permit in case your program has an extension or if you change your school or wish to continue your studies.

Your study permit expires after three months (90 days) from the date you receive an official notification stating you have completed your program. You can still stay in Canada for these 90 days and decide on what you want to do next; explore Canada, take another course or apply for a job (full-time or part-time) or be self-employed.

Biometrics are asked for depending on the requirements of your home country. You might need to visit a Visa Application Centre in your country to have your biometrics taken. The fee for this is $85 CAD, which is separate from the visa fee. 

It will take a maximum 90 days for visa processing after you have applied for your Canadian study permit. You would need to pay a small fee at your Local Visa Application Centre for using their services.

If you are from China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam, you might be able to get your study permit faster by applying online through the Student Direct Stream.

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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