Canada is one of the most beautiful countries to visit. The endless lakes, parks, forests, and monuments promise to make your vacation worthwhile. But, alongside all the beauty, the country is also home to world-class universities and a high-quality education system that attracts around 150,000 international students annually. So, if you are a tourist who is a student or are planning to pursue higher education, you might want to extend your stay in Canada to complete your studies.
But, is it possible to get your “Visitor Visa” or V-1 Visa converted into “Student Visa” or S-1 Visa in Canada?
Transforming your Canadian “Visitor Visa” to a “Study Visa”, As of now, you can’t just request your “Visitor Visa” to be converted into a “Study Visa” within Canada.
As per the official site of the Government of Canada, to study in the country:
1. The applicant should have a legal status.
2. The applicant should have a study permit (if applicable)
Tourists wanting to pursue a short-term course of study for six months or less do not require a study visa or permit. They can complete the course on their visitor visa before its expiration. However, no visa extensions will be granted for completing a short-term program.
If you wish to enroll in a long-term educational program, which has a duration of more than 6 months or will exceed the permitted time limit of your stay, you must apply for a study permit.
Why a “Visitor Visa” can’t be changed to “Study Visa” from within Canada?
Many tourists enter Canada using a “Visitor Visa” with an intent to study. A misconception is that they can simply file a change to update their “Visitor” status to “Student” status from within the country’s premises once they get accepted into a institute. This mindset is quite common among foreign nationals and is referred to as “preconceived intent” – this might result in denial of your study permit.
Moreover, the officials at CPC find it difficult to perform background checks on foreign visitors from within Canada. This may delay the processing of your study permit, which will ultimately delay your visa.
Hence, to avoid the intent conflict and background check failures, it is advisable for visitors to apply for the study permit and S-1 visa before entering Canada, and, from their home country.
How to apply for a Study Permit as a Visitor in Canada in 2023?
As per the current laws in 2023, you can not change your visitor visa to a student visa. However, you can choose to apply for a study permit. Here is the step-by-step procedure to do so:
Step 1: As soon as you enter Canada as a visitor, you must contact the Canadian Admis sion Hub and apply for a study permit.
Step 2: Collect all the documents required for the process, and after preparing all the paperwork, follow the instructions to apply for a DLI. A DLI is a Designated Learning Institution which includes a list of schools approved by the territorial or provincial government for international students.
Step 3: Apply to any Canadian Public or Private College of your choice from the approved list of DLI.
Step 4: Receive your Letter of Acceptance from the institution and apply for a study permit after submitting the below-mentioned paperwork.
Step 5: Get your Study Permit from the Canada Admission Hub and study in a Canadian College.
To apply for a Canadian study permit and study visa, one would need
● An enrollment letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
● Proof of funds to show that you can afford your tuition fees, living costs and return travel
● No criminal records
● A medical examination to prove good health
● Proof that you will leave Canada once you complete your studies
Once you have submitted your application, you would need to wait until it is approved.
On approval, a letter of introduction, and an S-1 visa will be issued, which must be shown at border control in Canada along with a valid passport. Once you are given the clearance, you’ll be granted the student permit and will be allowed to stay in Canada for the duration of your course plus 90 days.
Here are the steps to turn your tourist visa into a student visa in Canada:
If you are currently in Canada on a tourist visa and wish to switch to a student visa, you may be able to do so by following these steps:
- Apply for a study permit: The first step is to apply for a study permit from within Canada. You will need to provide proof of acceptance to a designated learning institution (DLI), proof of financial support, and other documents required for the study permit application.
- Meet the eligibility criteria: To be eligible for a study permit, you must meet certain requirements, such as being enrolled in a DLI, having enough money to support yourself and any family members accompanying you, and proving that you will leave Canada when your permit expires.
- Apply for a visitor record extension: While your study permit application is being processed, you may need to extend your visitor record to ensure that you remain in Canada legally. You can apply for a visitor record extension online or by mail.
- Continue to follow the conditions of your visitor visa: While your study permit application is being processed, you must continue to follow the conditions of your visitor visa, such as not working without authorization and leaving Canada before your visa expires.
- Await the decision on your study permit application: Once you have submitted your study permit application, you will need to wait for a decision. Processing times vary depending on the volume of applications and other factors.
- Begin your studies: If your study permit application is approved, you can begin your studies in Canada. Be sure to keep your study permit valid by following the conditions, such as maintaining full-time enrollment and updating your contact information if it changes.
It is important to note that switching from a tourist visa to a student visa can be a complex process, and there may be additional steps or requirements depending on your individual situation. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with an immigration lawyer or a registered immigration consultant to ensure that you are following the correct procedures and meeting all eligibility criteria.