How to Apply for a Student Visa

With some of the highest standards of education and some of the top ranked educational institutions in the world, it's no wonder why hundreds of thousands of student flock to Canada every year to study. If you're looking to study in Canada, you must apply for a Canadian student visa. This blog will guide the Canadian student visa application process, including requirements, documents, costs, and tips.

What is a Canadian Student Visa?

What is a Canadian Student Visa?

A Canadian student visa, also known as a study permit, is an official document issued by the Canadian government that allows an international student to study in Canada.

A study permit is required for any student studying in Canada for more than six months. The Canadian student visa allows international students to work in Canada while studying and travelling in and out of the country.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Check Your Eligibility

Before applying for a Canadian student visa, you must meet the eligibility requirements.

First and foremost, you must be accepted into a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.

DLIs are educational institutions approved by the Canadian government to accept international students. Learn more about which Canadian institutions are DLIs here. You must submit your acceptance letter from a Canadian DLI with your study permit application.

You will also need to ensure sufficient settlement funds for your tuition fees, living expenses, and transportation home once you finish your studies.

This video breaks down the nature of settlement funds and how much money you need to study in Canada.

You must also ensure you obey Canadian laws and have no criminal record when you arrive in Canada. You can prove this by getting a police certificate.

The last eligibility criteria you must fulfil to get a Canadian study permit is your health. You must prove you're in good health, as shown by a medical certificate. If you aren't sure if your medical issues will halt your application process, here's a handy breakdown of some of the medical issues that may cause you to be denied entry to Canada.

There is also a separate set of eligibility requirements for international students once they get their Canadian study permit. They are as follows.

While studying in Canada, you must:

  • Work towards completing your program
  • Be aware of your study permit's conditions and adhere to them
  • Halt your studies if you can no longer meet the requirements

Your study permit may also have conditions, such as:

  • If you’re able to work in Canada
  • If you can travel within Canada
  • Your departure date from Canada
  • Your study location (a specific DLI listed on your permit) and
    • You can only study at the DLI listed on your permit.
  • Whether you need a medical examination

If you're unsure as to whether or not you fulfil these criteria or if you want to learn more about how your situation affects your eligibility for a Canadian study permit, you should contact an immigration expert who can give you the advice you need for your exact situation.

At CanadianVisa, we utilize the services of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) to help applicants get into their chosen visa or immigration plan. RCICs are certified by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants to help international applicants find their place in Canada. RCICs can ensure you can get to Canada how you want it.

Step 2: Create Your Application

Once you've ensured you're eligible, the next step is to set up your application. All applicants must apply online unless they have a disability preventing them from doing so or if they're a refugee, non-national resident or stateless person.

If you're applying from outside Canada, you must apply via the Canadian government website. You must have a scanner or camera to accurately create electronic copies of your documents and a valid debit or credit card.

As part of your application, you must submit the following documents:

  • Proof of Acceptance
    • This will be the acceptance letter from your DLI
  • Proof of Identity
    • A verified copy of your valid passport or travel document
    • Two recent passport-sized photographs
  • Proof of Financial support
    • You can prove this in numerous ways, but some include:
      • A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a Canadian financial institution
      • Proof of a bank loan for education or student loans
      • At least four months' recent bank statements
      • Proof of payment for your tuition and housing
      • A letter from your benefactor
      • If you're on a scholarship or Canadian education program, provide proof of funding from inside Canada.
  • Letter of Explanation
    • A letter explaining your motivation for studying in Canada and that you understand and will fulfil your responsibilities as a study permit holder.
  • Custodian declaration (if you’re a minor)

The Canadian government may require you to provide further documentation based on your situation and will contact you as early as possible to let you know what more you need to add.

If you need clarification on which documents are relevant to you and how to gather them and verify them, you should talk to an RCIC, as they have in-depth knowledge of what documents are or are not accepted by Canadian border authorities.

Read the student visa application instruction guide before uploading your documents. This guide explains how to complete your application forms and the questions the Canadian government asks when you create your online account.

After that, you need to answer the questions above and upload your documents.

Step 3: Pay Your Fees and Submit Your Application

Pay Your Fees and Submit Your Application

Once you've uploaded your documents, it's time to pay the application fees. The cost of a Canadian student visa will vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for and the length of time you plan to stay in the country.

However, the primary costs you will have to pay are as follows:

Fees CAD
Study permit (including extensions) – per person 150
Biometrics – per person 85

Tips for Applying for a Canadian Student Visa

Applying for a Canadian student visa can be daunting, but there are a few tips to make the process easier:

  • Ensure you have all the required documents and information before starting the application process.
  • Double-check your application form to ensure all the information is correct.
  • Apply for your visa as early as possible to ensure you have enough time to receive your visa before leaving for Canada.
  • Speak to an immigration expert like an RCIC before you begin your application process, so you know exactly what to do.

An RCIC can give you the guidance you need to get through your immigration process and start your next step in Canada the right way.

Fast Track Your Application

If you're from one of the 14 eligible countries, you could get your Canadian study permit in as little as 20 calendar days via the Student Direct Stream (SDS).

Learn how to fast-track your application in our full breakdown of the SDS here.


Who Doesn't Need A Study Permit To Study In Canada?

While most foreign nationals need a Canadian study permit. However, the following are granted exceptions:

  • Short-term students
  • Family or staff of foreign representatives
  • Members of foreign armed forces
  • Registered Indians in Canada
  • Minor children in Canada
  • Temporary residents taking settlement and integration courses

How Long Does It Take To Get A Canadian Student Visa?

The processing time for a Canadian student visa varies depending on the type of visa and the length of time you plan to stay in the country. Generally, it can take up to 10 weeks to receive a student visa.

Here's a full breakdown of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) processing times to give you a clear idea of what to expect.

Can I Extend My Student Visa?

Yes, it is possible to extend your student visa. However, you must apply for an extension before your visa expires.

This handy guide explains how to extend your student visa and what to look out for.

Are International Students Allowed To Work In Canada?

Yes, international students are allowed to work in Canada while they are studying. However, you must apply for a work permit in Canada.

The Canadian government has recently announced that international students can work up to 40 hours a week to help subsidize their income.

If you want to find ways to work in Canada as a student, here are some of the highest-earning part-time jobs in Canada.

Take Charge of Your Future in Canada

How to Apply for a Student Visa

With some of the highest quality education in the world, an extremely high quality of life and a whole world of life-changing experiences to explore, studying in Canada can bring you the fantastic opportunities you've been searching for. However, applying for a Canadian student visa can be complicated but manageable with the correct information and preparation.

If you're looking for more information on how to apply for a Canadian student visa, feel free to contact one of our RCICs. They're here to help you with every step, from understanding the requirements to submitting your application. An RCIC can help you fill out your application forms, source your documentation, submit your application and provide the support and guidance you need to build the future of your dreams in Canada.