The basics
Canada: Visa Guides

Nigerian students applying for a Canadian student visa

Practical advice for Nigerian students travelling to Canada


Canadian Universities are ranked in top 100 worldwide and over 100,000 international students enrolled last year. Canada offers a high quality, research oriented education which is recognised worldwide. The country has is frequently acknowledged as one of the safest, most secure and multicultural environments for international students. Most schools are less expensive than in the US and the UK, which makes them even more attractive for students.


Canadian Student Permit


In order to study in Canada, all Nigerian students need a visa. It is called a Student Permit and can be obtained in your home country provided all documents and the application satisfy requirements at the Canadian Visa Application Centre. With the Government’s International Education Strategy set to double the number of full-time international students to 450,000 by 2022, it is one of the most welcoming study abroad destinations at present.


Student Permit Procedures


CVAC - Canadian Visa Application Centre is an exclusive service provider for the Government of Canada, authorised to accept applications in all temporary resident categories including study permits in Nigeria. There are four key documents which students will need to provide for their application:                             

  1. Proof of acceptance
  2. Proof of identity
  3. Proof of financial support
  4. Letter of explanation

You can simply apply online or in person at a visa application centre with paperwork in either English or French, including any certified translations.



Canadian Visa Application Centre in Nigeria

There are two application centres operating in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria. The Canadian government requires Nigerian citizens, among a number of other countries to give their biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) within 30 days of submitting an application. The procedure takes only five minutes and costs $85 Canadian dollars.


Tip:   Watch a step-by-step tutorial on how to fill in an application to answer any questions along the way.


Supporting Documents


The document checklist for a study permit is a one page guide which can help Nigerian students avoid any delays in Canadian visa application, in brief these are:

  • Application for a study permit
  • Valid passport and two recent passport photographs
  • Letter of acceptance from a college or university in Canada
  • Scholarships or any financial assistance from the school or award from a government
  • Academic certificates, diplomas and transcripts for all previous schools you attended
  • Proof that you have enough funds to support yourself for your entire stay in Canada
  • Payment of tuition fees (not required at time of application submission - after positive processing proof of tuition payment may be required prior to the issuance of a visa)
  • Medical clearance
  • Letter from your employer or sponsoring organization if you are being sponsored
  • Application processing fee payment (currently $150 CAN)

Tip: English language test results are normally required as part of your school application and some universities may ask for a GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) test, so it is a good idea to check with the admissions office in advance.




You may have heard how important it is to prove that your funds are sufficient to cover all tuition and living expenses for at least one year in Canada. This is to ensure a student won’t run out of money, or become a burden on the foreign government.

  • In addition to the cost of tuition, you should have at least CAD $10,000 available to cover your living expenses ($11,000 for Quebec)
  • An additional minimum requirement of CAD $4,000 must be added if a spouse or partner is accompanying the student, as well as CAD $3,000 per accompanying child or other accompanying dependent (these are higher for Quebec, and it is recommended to check with the visa centre first)

Evidence includes:

  • Original plus one copy of certified bank statements or financial investments with past six months history including your submission month or ending one month prior
  • A reliable source of funds for the duration of your academic programme
  • You may also submit financial documents related to proof of income from rental properties or stocks and bonds.


Preparation Notes


The Canadian permit application is fairly short and simple with only 13 pages to fill in and has a complete checklist to set you up. It takes about one and half to three  months on average to receive a student permit for Canada for Nigerian applicants. It is always smart to leave sufficient time if you wish to be in Toronto, not Abuja at the start of your semester! Once your permit is granted, you will be allowed to work part-time on campus at the college or university at which you are registered as a full-time student and apply to renew your study permit from within Canada, if you decide to continue your studies there. Just make sure you take your warmest coat - Canadian winters get pretty chilly!

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About Author

Elena Sikorsky is an entrepreneur in e-commerce and digital marketing. She has degrees in Entrepreneurial Management and PR and Broadcast Journalism. Elena is a contributing writer on culture, art, education, fashion, business and travel in British and international media.