The basics
Canada: Visa Guides - Must read

Applying for a student visa in Canada

Read our step-by-step guide to obtaining a Canadian student visa...

Applying for a Canadian student visa

In order to study in Canada as an international student, you will need to apply for a ‘study permit’ - this is what they call a student visa.


You must apply for a student permit online at the official Citizen and Immigration Canada. (CIC) website. While you can apply offline on paper, it will be quicker to do so online.


Once you have been offered a place by an accredited Canadian education institution, you can apply for your student permit.



Checking eligibility

You will be prompted to take a short questionnaire to verify that you are eligible for a student permit. You will be asked about your reasons for studying in Canada, where you are applying from and a few personal details. You will then be told whether you are eligible to apply for a student permit.



Once you’ve been verified as eligible for a student permit…

You will be asked to answer a few more simple questions. These include questions about whether you have ever been sentenced for a criminal charge, whether you will be bringing a family member to Canada with you, and whether you have received any particular funding for your studies. You can revise your answers at the end and make any changes.


At the end of these questions you will be given a personal reference code, a checklist of documents you will need to gather as part of your application (these must be in English or French, Canada’s two main languages), helpful links to application guides and further instructions. Your personal reference code is important so make a note of it (or print that page).



What documents will I need?

This will depend on a case by case basis. All applicants will need to show a letter of acceptance from an accredited higher education institution in Canada. Some applicants will need to submit biometric information such as photographs and fingerprints depending on the country they are from. You may also need to have a medical test. You cannot obtain a student permit if you have a criminal record so a certificate to show that you haven’t got one might be required. Like when applying for a student visa in any other country, you will need to provide documentation to show that you can fund your studies as well as having the funds to support yourself while living in Canada through bank statements, proof of payment of accommodation or tuition fees, and scholarship or bursary notifications. Currently you must show that you have access to $10,000 (CAD) for each year of your stay, to show you can support yourself.




You must register for an ‘electronic credential’ (also known as a ‘key’) to give you security access to the CIC’s online service MyCIC where you can submit your application.

You must then upload the necessary documents, review your application, pay the fee online with a credit card and submit your application. You will see a message that says your application has been submitted successfully and you will receive a confirmation in your MyCIC account.



Once your application has been approved…

You’ll receive a letter of introduction (and sometimes a temporary residence visa). At border control in Canada when you land, you must show these along with your valid passport. You should also have with you originals (or where not possible, copies) of the essential documents you submitted as part of your application. Once the border agents are satisfied, they will give you your student permit and you can enter the country.



How much is a Canadian student permit?

Approximately, a Canadian student permit is $150 (CAD). However this is a base price and will likely be a little more once you have actually uploaded and reviewed your application. The price of your permit will be confirmed to you before you pay and submit your application.



Will I need to attend an interview?

In some cases you may be required to attend an interview in person at your local Canadian visa office in your country. If you need to, you will be given more information about this.



Read more:

'Post study visa options in Canada'

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About Author

Applying for a Canadian student visa

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.