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 a study 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, from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), you must apply for a study permit from outside Canada.
You are not required to get a new study visa if your V-1 visa is valid for a longer period than your study permit. However, most single entry visitor visas are valid for 6 months, so it is important to have a Study Visa (S-1) alongside your passport and 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 DLI 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 fails, 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?
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.