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Study in Canada: How To Obtain A Canadian Student Visa

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As international students, you will need a Canadian study permit to study in Canada. The Canadian study permit will serve as a Canadian student visa for the duration of your stay.

A Canadian study permit is not required, if your course or program lasts six months or less. For full-time students registered at an accredited higher education institution, a study permit also allows you to work part-time on campus. You may also be able to work off-campus, work as a co-op or intern as part of your program, stay in Canada as a permanent resident or find work after you graduate.

To be eligible to study in Canada:

  • You must have been accepted by a designated learning institution in Canada.
  • You must prove that you have enough money to pay for your:
  • tuition fees
  • living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and
  • return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
  • You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • You must be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
  • You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.

How to apply for a Canadian study permit?

  • You can apply online or through a paper application for a Canadian study permit.
  • The application can be obtained from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.
  • It is always recommended to check the processing times well in advance, as paper applications take about twice as long.
  • To apply online you will need credit/debit cards for online payment and soft/electronic copies of your supporting documents.
  • The visa office in your country will provide specific instructions about which documents you need to provide; this can vary depending on your location.
  • If you need assistance, you can get help at your nearest visa application center (VAC).

The process for obtaining a Canadian student visa is as follows:

  • You must first obtain a standardized letter of acceptance from a recognized higher education provider.
  • You must acquire this before you are permitted to apply for a study permit.
  • You can get this online, by printing out a form, or by requesting a paper form from your university, which will also provide advice on this subject.
  • You must acquire this before you are permitted to apply for a study permit.
  • You can get this online, by printing out a form, or by requesting a paper form from your university, which will also provide advice on this subject.
  • The next stage is to get a Canadian student visa application package, either from the CIC website or by contacting your local visa office, or the Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country.
  • You may also need to obtain a temporary residence permit if you are from a designated country (find out if you need to get one here), but this will not complicate matters too much as it'll be processed at the same time as your study permit application.
  • In order to get your application package you'll need to answer a few questions about yourself on the CIC website.
  • These questions will determine whether you are eligible to apply online for a Canadian student permit.
  • If you are found eligible, you will receive a personal checklist code, valid for 60 days, which you will need in order to submit your application online.
  • Make sure to print out the page containing your code for future reference.
  • The page will also include an application guide, an estimated tuition fees amount, a list of documents you will need to submit with your application, and guidelines for your next steps.
  • When you are ready to apply, create a MyCIC account, where you will enter your personal checklist code.
  • You will then receive your personal document checklist which allows you to upload and send your documents to CIC.
  • Once you have your documents and application form ready and have paid your fees, you can submit your completed application to CIC.
  • Some applicants may have to attend an interview at their local visa office.

Also read: Why Study In Canada?

Additional Canadian student visa requirements

Some or all of the following additional Canadian student visa requirements may also apply:

  • Applicants from certain countries will need to provide biometrics (photograph and fingerprints).
  • Some applicants may also need to get a medical exam and/or police check before submitting their application.
  • You will not be able to get a study permit if you have a criminal record - you may be asked to provide a Police Clearance Certificate as proof.
  • Unless you're from the US, St. Pierre and Miquelon, or Greenland, you will need to prove you have a valid passport which allows you to return to your country of origin after your course is complete.
  • Two passport-sized pictures are also required, with your name and date of birth written on the back.
  • Canadian student visa requirements also include proof of funds to support yourself.
  • At present this is deemed to be C$10,000 (US$9,400) for every year of your stay (C$11,000/US$10,350 if you're applying to study in Quebec) on top of your tuition fees.
  • You will also need to make sure you have enough money to pay for transportation to return home.

To prove you have this money, you can provide any of the following documents: bank statements, evidence of a Canadian account in your name if the money's been transferred, a bank draft in a convertible currency, proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees, a letter from a person or institution providing you with money, or proof of funding paid from within Canada if you have a scholarship or are undertaking a Canadian-funded program.

If and when your Canadian student visa application is approved, you'll receive a letter of introduction, and a temporary residence visa if required. Present these along with your passport, proof of your finances and your letter of acceptance (and any other documents that you've been advised to take) to the border control agency in Canada, who will then issue your Canadian study permit and allow you access into Canada.

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