One of the most popular study-abroad countries worldwide is Canada. The number of international students in the nation increases yearly, reaching over 300.000 in 2023 thanks to its renowned colleges, rich culture, and hospitable people. In reality, Canada ranks third after the United States and the United Kingdom in terms of the number of Master’s and Bachelor’s programs available to international students.
Even though Canada is a friendly place, there are some regulations that any student who comes to study there must abide by. The easiest method to make sure everything goes smoothly before you leave home is to be aware of the requirements for obtaining a study permit from the local government if you intend to stay for more than six months.
Canada student visas are referred to as study permits. Your study permit permits you to remain in Canada, but entry into the nation requires an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a guest visa. You will instantly get an eTA after your study permission has been accepted.
Here are the methods necessary to obtain a student visa for Canada, along with some guidance on demonstrating language proficiency and on several conditions that apply only to that nation.
Step 1: Get an acceptance letter from a Canadian university
Before beginning your application for a Canadian student visa, you must apply to and be accepted into a Canadian university. Your preferred university must be a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), which is a college allowed by the territorial government to accept overseas students, in order for you to qualify for a student visa.
The duration of your student visa may vary depending on the terms outlined in your admission letter. Your visa will be valid for the period of these preparatory courses plus one year if you received a conditional offer, which means you must complete additional courses before beginning your primary program. You’ll have to submit an application for a new visa after this one expires.
Step 2: Determine if a student visa is required
Everyone does not require a student visa. According to agreements between Canada and several nations, students are free from needing a permit. By completing a brief questionnaire with specific information about your circumstance, you can determine whether you will require a study permit for your time in Canada.
In short, you don’t need a Canadian study permit if:
- Your course of study lasts only six months;
- You belong to the household or work for a foreign official recognized by Global Affairs Canada (GAC);
- You are on official business in Canada as a member of an overseas military force;
- You are an Indian with a Registered Status in Canada;
- You are enrolled in French language and culture classes in Quebec while you are a temporary resident and asylum seeker.
If none of the aforementioned limitations apply to you, go ahead and begin the study permit application process.
Step 3: Compile all the paperwork listed below
Before beginning your online application, gather all the documentation needed for your permit. The Canadian government states that you will require:
- The original or electronic copy of your letter of acceptance from a DLI;
- Proof of identity (a valid passport or travel document, plus two recent passport-sized photos);
- Proof of funds guaranteeing you will be able to financially support yourself during your studies (enough to cover your tuition fees and living costs, or a minimum of $10,000 CAD per year of study);
- A letter of explanation detailing your reasons for studying in Canada and assuring your understanding of your
- responsibilities as an international student;
- A Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) if you are planning on studying in Québec;
- A Custodian Declaration, if you are under 17 years old; is The receipt for your payment of the $150 CAD study permit fee.
Depending on your nation of origin, the Canadian government may request additional documentation. For any potential additional requirements, check their website.
Step 4: Launch your program
Once you have all the required paperwork, including your DLI acceptance letter, you can begin your online study permit application. When submitting your application, you must:
- To ensure that you are familiar with the procedure’s steps, read the instruction manual;
- Make an online account, sign in, and use it to pay fees, submit applications, and monitor the progress of those applications;
- Fill out the forms online with your full name, address, background, and education information;
- Upload the paperwork letter, identity, financial evidence, letter of justification, etc.);
at the conclusion of the application, pay your fees;
- Check your application status frequently for modifications or additional requests.
The procedure for obtaining a student visa for Canada does not always include interviews. However, you might be invited in for an interview based on how the officer evaluates your application. In this scenario, a letter with the interview date, time, and location will be sent to you.
Your student visa will be valid for the length of your studies plus 90 additional days if your application is accepted. If you want to stay longer, you can use this extra time to be ready to leave Canada or to request a visa extension.
Step 5: Submit biometric data and pass a physical examination
If you are applying from outside of Canada and have never provided your biometrics before, you must go to an official Visa Application Center to get your fingerprints and photo taken. Besides the $150 CAN study permit price, you must pay an additional $85 CAN fee and make an appointment at an allowed biometric collecting facility.
It might exclude you from this requirement in certain circumstances. You can quickly fill out a questionnaire to confirm whether you must provide biometrics when you apply.
To complete their application, citizens of some nations will also need to submit the results of a medical examination performed by a doctor on an approved panel. To find out if you have to submit a medical exam, see this page.
Step 6: Start off early. The time to get your study permit is months.
The Canadian government estimates that it could take up to 13 weeks to process your study visa application. So be sure to start your application procedure four to six months before your trip and allow for the waiting period.
Your visa’s processing time will vary depending on several factors. These variables include the application type (online or on paper), whether you sent all the documents, how simple it is for them to check your information, or how quickly you respond to any queries from them.
You can apply through the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which is processed in 20 calendar days if you don’t want to take the chance of a protracted waiting period. If you are from one of the following nations, you may apply for this stream:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
But in order to be eligible for the Student Direct Stream, you must also have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate worth $10,000 CAN and evidence of language competency from the IELTS or the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF), with a score of 6.0 or better in each category (scoring 7.0 or higher in each skill).
Step 7: Demonstrate your command of English
When requesting a study permit in the usual stream, I do not need you to present documentation of your proficiency in English. However, you will need to show your English language skills to Canadian universities. This requirement might not apply to you if you already earned a degree from an English-speaking nation.
A certificate from an acceptable language competence test must be submitted if you are from a non-English-speaking nation. Check the page for your program before choosing which test to take because each university and program has different minimum score requirements.
The most commonly accepted tests are:
Depending on your nation of origin, there may be differences in the requirements and processing time. For instance, if you are from the USA or the UK, all the previously described processes will apply to you and you won’t need to submit a medical test.
UK applicants will have to pay the additional $7 CAN eTA cost and wait up to 21 days to gain their permission following final approval. Applicants from the USA won’t need to pay any extra fees but will wait up to 35 days to obtain their permit.
If you are submitting an application from Nigeria, you will also need to cover travel expenses to London for your medical exam in addition to the $85 CAN fee for collecting your biometrics. You could have to wait for up to 112 days to get your permission once your application has been completed and approved.