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
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In order to study in Canada as an international student you will need to apply for a 'study permit'. In addition, you may also need to obtain a temporary resident visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) that will go alongside your passport and study permit. This will grant you access into the country as a student. If you need a visa or eTA, you will be notified by the relevant authorities once you have applied for your study permit.

 

To apply for a study permit in Canada, visit the official Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) website. You can either apply offline on paper, or submit an online application which tends to be much quicker.

 

Eligibility

To qualify for a Canadian study permit, you need to:

  • Be enrolled at a designated learning institution
  • Show proof of funds to cover your tuition fees, living costs, return travel
  • Have no criminal record
  • Be in good health (you might need to complete a medical exam)
  • Prove that you will be leaving Canada after your studies

 

Are you from China, India, the Philippines or Vietnam? Your application could be processed faster using the Student Direct Stream.

 

What documents will I need?

This will depend on a case by case basis, but all applicants will need to show a letter of acceptance from a DSI in Canada. Most applicants will need to provide evidence of a passport and proof of sufficient funds. You could also be asked to submit biometric information such as a photograph and fingerprints, depending on where you are from. Find out if you need to supply biometric information here.

 

You cannot obtain a student permit if you have a criminal record so you may have to show a certificate to prove that you haven’t got one to be considered. Similar to applying for a student visa in any other country, you will need to provide documentation to show that you can fund your studies. You need to be able to demonstrate that you can support yourself while living in Canada, through bank statements, payment of accommodation or tuition fees, and scholarship or bursary notifications. You must show that you have access to $10,000 (CAD) for each year of your stay.

 

Applying

In most cases, you will need to apply for a study permit before entering Canada. If you choose to complete your application online via the Citizenship and Immigration website, you will need to create an online account. Initially, all you will need is a debit/credit card and a device such as a camera or scanner to upload images of your documents as part of the application.

 

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. If you are required to provide biometrics, there is an additional charge of $85.

The price of your permit will be confirmed to you before you pay and submit your application.

 

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. If you are asked to obtain a visitor visa, proof of this will be in your passport. Once the border agents are satisfied, they will give you your student permit and you can enter the country!

 

How long can I stay in Canada?

You are allowed to stay in Canada for the duration of your course plus an additional 90 days. This extra time allows you to plan your journey home or apply for a post-graduation work permit.  

 

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.

 

Can I work while I study?

You are allowed work on campus while studying at a recognised institution in Canada. In order to work, you will need to have a Social Insurance Number, which will depend on the terms of your study permit. Find out more about working on campus in Canada.

 

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.