Canada boasts some of the best universities in the world. Canada’s immigration policy for international students is very welcoming, with over 350,000 foreign students arriving in Canada to study every year. If you intend to complete a program which lasts six months or less, you do not need a Canadian study permit. However, if you intend to study for a longer duration, or even if you are unsure about the length of your course of study, it is a good idea to obtain a Canadian student visa so you won’t have to leave the country if you decide to enroll in a longer program.
Eligibility Criteria for Canada Student Visas
Before applying to study as an international student in Canada, you must meet the eligibility criteria for a Canadian student visa:
- You must have been accepted by a Canadian educational institution
- You must demonstrate you have enough money to pay for tuition, fees, and living expenses for yourself and family members
- You must prove you have enough money to pay for return transportation
- You must not have a criminal record, or be a security risk
- You must be in good general health and willing to take a medical exam
- You must be able to convince an immigration officer that you intend to leave Canada and will leave after your studies are complete
How to Apply for a Canada Student Visa
You can apply for a Canadian study permit online or by filing a paper application. Applying online is faster. If you submit an application by paper, be sure to allow twice as much time to complete the process. The visa office in your home country can assist you with the documents needed from your country. Additionally, the nearest Canadian visa application center (VAC), is also willing to help guide you through the process.
To begin the process, you must have a letter of acceptance from a recognized higher education provider. Students who will study in Québec must also apply for a certificate of acceptance (CAQ), which is acquired from the government of Québec. This document must be received before you apply for the student visa.
Next, you should obtain the application from the Canadian embassy or consulate, or your local visa office. In some cases, you will also need to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). This is required when you are a citizen of certain countries for which TRVs are required for entry into Canada. Citizens of visa-exempt countries do not need a TRV. Temporary permits can be processed with your study permit application package, so you do not need to do it ahead of time.
You will need to answer a few question on the Canadian Immigration website. This helps determine if you can apply online, and the questions prepare a checklist of documents you will need to submit.
When you are notified that your Canadian student visa application is approved, the CIC will send you an introductory letter. Students who are from countries requiring an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and/or a temporary residence visa will also be issued these authorizations. The eTA will immediately be linked to your passport or travel documents. The eTA will be valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever date arrives first.
When you arrive at the Canada Border Services Agency (CSBA), present these documents, with your passport, financial proofs and letter of acceptance, and the agency will officially issue your Canadian study permit. Once you receive your permit, you are officially permitted entry into Canada, where you may pursue your studies.