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How to Get a Canadian Student Visa

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In order to study in Canada, you will need to obtain a Canadian study permit, which serves as a Canadian student visa for the duration of your stay. You do not need a Canadian study permit if your course or program lasts six months or less. Nonetheless, it may be a good idea to apply for a permit before you come to Canada anyway – otherwise if you decide you want to continue your studies in another program, you’ll need to leave Canada to apply for a study permit through a visa office.

Once you have a Canadian study permit, you can apply to renew it from within Canada if you decide to continue your studies. 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-campuswork as a co-op or intern as part of your program, stay in Canada as a permanent resident or find work after you graduate.

Applying for a Canadian study permit

You can apply for a Canadian study permit either online or through a paper application, which can be obtained from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website. Paper applications typically take about twice as long, and it’s always recommended to check the processing times well in advance. To apply online, you’ll need a credit/debit card and the ability to create electronic copies of your supporting documents (i.e. using a scanner or camera). 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:

  1. You must first obtain a standardized letter of acceptance from a recognized higher education provider. Students studying in Quebec must also apply for a certificate of acceptance, known as a CAQ, from the government of Quebec. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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, and what documents you’ll need to provide.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. You’ll need a printer or a scanner to do this.

  6. Once you have your documents and application form ready and have paid your fees, you can submit your completed application to CIC.

  7. Some applicants may have to attend an interview at their local visa office.

Additional Canadian student visa requirements 

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

  • Applicants from Europe, the Middle East or Africa may 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 or St. Pierre and Miquelon, 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 CA$10,000 (~US$7,650) for every year of your stay (CA$11,000/~US$8,400 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.

Applying through the Student Direct Stream

Canada recently introduced the Student Direct Stream, which students from China, India, the Philippines or Vietnam can apply for in order to get their study permit faster. The requirements are similar to the regular study permit, although there are stricter language requirements – you need to have an IELTS score of at least 6, or a 7 in the Niveaux the Compétence Linguistique Canadiens for French, or have graduated from a Canadian-curriculum high school. If you don’t meet the requirements for the Student Direct Stream but do meet them for the regular study permit, your application will be reviewed for the regular study permit option and you won’t get faster processing.

Next steps after applying

If and when your Canadian student visa application is approved, you’ll receive a Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction, while students from countries which require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and/or a temporary residence visa will be issued these if required. The eTA will be linked to your passport. It is important that you travel with the passport you used when you applied for your study permit. The eTA will be valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

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 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in Canada, who will then issue your Canadian study permit and allow you access into Canada.

Working while you study in Canada 

If you’d like to get a part-time job to help support yourself while studying in Canada, you can now qualify to work on or off-campus for up to 20 hours during university semesters and full-time during breaks such as the winter or summer holidays, without the need for a work permit.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Be a full-time student
  • Be enrolled at a designated learning institution at post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at secondary level
  • Be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.

You will also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs.

Your study permit will become invalid 90 days after you have completed your study program, so you’ll need to acquire a post-graduation work permit if you want to stay in Canada after your studies and seek work. This is valid for three years. For advice on finding a job after university, please download our guide

This article was originally published in January 2014. It was last updated in July 2018.

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132 Comments

Hello I need to know all the process and criteria to apply for my masters program in any university in canada.. Please help me out... With the full details

Hi, my name is Godiya E Joshua, From Nigeria. I need scholarship to study nursing in Canada.thank you.

Hi Godiya, please take a look at our lists of nursing scholarships around the world and scholarships to study in Canada

A good site, where you understand how to fill out the forms canadasimple.com. Helped me.

Hi I am naveed .from Pakistan I want study in Canada top universities .give me scholarship b.a based

My name is waheedullah Ghawsi and I am from Afghanistan I wish to do BBA from torrontto Canada. so what would be the best university for it/ and can I get a scholarship and what would be the cost per annum

Hi i am fariha from Rawalpindi can you help me to get visa of Canada for bsc in medical on top university.

Fariha ap pakistan sa ho to mara bahi bi waha sa ha junaid butt id ha check os na bi medcial ma lana ha to aplie kia ha ap sister os sa help ly lo ap ko bata dy ga

Aoa Dear Jamal Bhai meiny V Lena Hy bSc Mein KindLy Bhai ka Numbr Dey dein
ThanKX

student visa is yet another categories immigration designed to process application of students willing to pursue higher education in Canada.

hi there, my question is if I'm planning on completing my BA at a university where the fees are approximately CAD$8000 a year, do I need to show proof of CAD$32,000?

Sabrina, iam from Nigeria I will love to study in Canada or Australia, can you pls help me

Hi Im Nafeel,

Ive got admission from confederation college canada for business administration. But i got my visa refused the first time. I have showed 43,000Cad in my account. The reason for refusal was not enough of funds plus purpusfully shown for visa purposes. Now im goin to reapply the visa. Please suggest me a good method to obtain visa this time.
Thankyou.

Hi there My name is aran i'm from iraq i want to study master in Canada how i can get Visa thank you

Hi there Sabrina.My name is Murad ali from Pakistan im studying in A.level in pre.medical can you kindly tell me how much percent i have to get in A.level(intermediate)so that i will get admission in any university in canada.
thank u please inform me

Hi!
I was rejected a Canadian visa to study in Toronto on reason of lack of funds in March 2017, despite having US$40000 in my account. And I got admission to Australian National University in May, only to be refused CoE after waiting for almost six weeks since payment. They said my visa refusal by Canada made them to deny me an admission. Can I still apply to another reputable university in Australia without being deprived of CoE?

Hi there,
My name is Ehab and I recently got admitted into Brandon University for a BSC program. I had some questions in regards to the requirement of funds for the study permit. I currently have $20,000 in my account and the fees for the program per year are approximate $8000. My uncle is also willing to finance my expenses in Canada and will write a letter and provide proof (bank statement). So my question is would this be good enough to attain a study permit? Your assistance on this matter would be highly appreciated. Thanks.

Hi Ehab, I've replied to your query here. :)

Please help me I'm from Pakistan i want go to Canada thanks

Hey !
My name is Thaer , from Syria . I am studying IT in Damascus university , after tow months will be done from the first year and i am thinking abou continuing my education in Canada. Could you please help me by writing me what am i soposting to do nu ?
With regards

Thought-provoking writing , I was fascinated by the specifics . Does someone know where my business might be able to obtain a fillable LA Students Year Guidelines form to use ?

Hello Dear, My Name is Surafel Mehari from Ethiopia. And I Graduated BSC degree in Information Technology in 2013 from Wollo University in Ethiopian and know I have three years working experience as a system engineer in Ethiopian science & Technology Information center . I'm looking for a Full MSC scholarship to study Information technology or computer sciences in any country. I have Good grade in University. Please help Thanks.

Hello ma'am
I have 87% in ssc
80% in hsc
7.94cpi in engineering
7.5 bands in ielts
I want to study in canada which university should I apply

Hi Sabrina

Would appreciate if you answered my question ASAP.

I am a 31 year old guy with no formal education, mainly due to political problems in my country in the 80s and my refugee status. But I have 10-year work experience as a travel agent and sales executive. Nonetheless my most passionate dream has been enrolling in (perhaps a Canadian) university and getting a degree one day. I have now finally earned almost enough to materialize that dream. But I have a few problems I need your help in finding a solution for:

1. In order to enroll, the universities that I have looked up require 10th, 11th and 12th year high school degrees and score-cards. But since I already mentioned that I have no formal education, what I have in mind is to pass only 12th year high-school exams in my country of origin (math & science) in order to get the university enrollment. Is this possible, and if not what can I do to get accepted?
2. I have saved about CAD $40,000. According to my calculations, this will last two years (tuition and living costs). I am planning to work part-time during my studies and save for the third year while there (I am looking for a 3 year degree). Is this financial plan feasible?

Thanks and have a good one.

Hi dear we re are you from can you tell so I can help you

Haii Sabrina,
I am Akib Zaka, from india I got the admission letter from Delhouise University Canda, I also pay the fee of that program which is MS in Internetworking. I did my engineering with 70%,I have taken the IELTS exam in 2 times but unfortunatly I got only 5.5. Can I am eligible for student visa for Canada. & also tell me IELTS is required foe the embessy or an admission process. Kindly give me the favorable responce as soon as possible.

Thanx & Regards
Akib Zaka

How do I get a scholarship study in Canada

Hi Carlos, I've replied to your comment here.

Hi,my name is samuel. I have an admission offer from a university in canada. I want to know that in the course of processing my student visa,will the embassy ask me to pay my fees and present the receipt? Or i have to pay the fees before i start processing my application?

Hello, I am Himel. I wanna do under graduate on "Human resource & management" on any Canadian University with relatively low cost . Can anyone help me on this regard?

Hi,

I am receiving a funding of 24000 CDN/year for my post graduate studies. Please tell me if I can be granted study permit on this scholarship because I don't have enough funds in my bank account.

Mobeen, how did that go? Did you need to provide extra proof of funds?

Hi there. I have received a scholarship and an acceptance letter from a university and now need to apply for a study permit. However, I am working in the UK and need to apply as a South Africa. Is it possible to get the medical record and police clearance whilst in the UK? Thank you.

Hello
I have recently get letter of acceptance from a Canadian institute. Now I am preparing for study permit application. I have question whether to submit academic documents e.g Certificate , transcript etc, to the visa office along with the application form? In the CIC document checklist its not mention anything about that. Can you give me appropriate information please? Thanks

Hello, as far as I'm aware you do not need to provide an academic transcript or certificate to apply for your study permit. However, you will need your letter of acceptance. Hope this helps.

Hi,

I recently just got into Memorial University of Newfoundland and I have a few questions. My grandfather is giving me the money for tuition for the first year and I have someone helping me with room and board cost. If I get this transferred to a Canadian bank account, do I have to have four months bank statements because I plan on opening the account tomorrow?

Also, if I was to have a letter for a proof of funds, is it okay if my significant other who is from Newfoundland writes that letter and shows proof through bank statements? We are not married but are in a conjugal relationship.

I have Canadian Student visa and going for Fall Intake. before going to Canada I want to go to USA as a visitor. Can I get Visitor visa easily if I have Canadian student visa?

Hi Jay, you can read about the steps you'll need to take to gain a visitor visa for the US here.

I have admission at University of Saskatchewan Canada to study Post Degree Nursing which is 2 years program but I will have to do prerequisite course 15 credit units before applying for post Degree Nursing now I have been offered an admission for the prerequisite courses which is for one term in the department of Arts and Science but on my admission it reads 4 years program I called the school that it was a mistake on their part and they replied me no that after I my completion of my 5 prerequisites I can Change to my Post Degree Nursing now I am scared how can I explained this situation to CIC for my study permit and scared I am not science background but my present job as flight attendant we were trained to do apply first aid and ba y delivery onboard and other safety job. Please what is my chances of getting the study permit ?

hello, I'm from Ecuador, I was already accepted in a school in Vancouver. The program last more than 6 months. I would like to know if I need both a Study Permit and a TRV (Temporary Resident Visa), or is it enough to apply for the Study Permit to be able to travel and study. Thanks

Hi Jorge, you can find out if you need a temporary resident visa as well as a study permit on the Government of Canada's website. :)

Hello, can you please answer my two questions?
1. I have won the Connaught scholarship for studying at the PhD program (UToronto) - basically 35 000 per year. Should I upload any other financial documents in addition to that?
2. I am currently working. Is it necessary to provide a document proving that I am employed and that my employee will gladly accept me back after four years at PhD? I am afraid that it would be a very difficult task.
Thank you!

Did you need to provide extra proof of fund in addition to your funding?

Visa sestion asked for acadimic documents, but I did not find the place where I can upload the same....

Hello Sabrina, I'm an international student currently studying in Ottawa. My study permit and student visa are close to be expired ( first week of April) and from what I found regarding extending these two, I need to start my application at least 30 days before the expiry date. I already submitted my study permit application but I haven't started my student visa application yet. One of the documents needed for the visa application is my study permit, which the application is in progress. I was wondering if I'm able to start my application when my study permit is extended, which will exceed the 30 days prior deadline, or will this be an issue I need to resolve? Would I be able to stay in Canada without my study permit or visa until I receive them? Thanks.

Hi Amirreza, you can stay in Canada while a decision is reached about your study permit under an implied status. You can find out more on the Government of Canada's website. Hope this helps!

Sabrina, I plan on covering my tuition with a student loan and have a parent sponsor me. How do i go about providing this when it comes to my proof of funds? Does the money need to be in my account or can it come from their account?

This whole process is so confusing to me. I just want to make sure I submit the right documents the first time.

Hi Michael, to prove you have the financial requirements, you could provide a letter from the parent outlining that they will sponsor you, bank statements from your parent to prove they can afford to do so, and proof of your student loan. Alternatively, you could provide proof of a Canadian bank account in your name if the money has already been transferred to Canada. Hope this helps.

Hi, I'm 17 and from Germany. I have an acceptance from a High School in Vancouver and a host family and I will stay in Canada for 2 1/2 months (April-June), but I'm not sure if I need a study permit. Could you tell me if I need one? And if yes how long it takes to get a study permit? :)

Hi Angie, I don't think you'll need a study permit in this case, but you could contact the high school in Vancouver to double check this.