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How to Apply for a Student Visa to Canada

How to Apply for a Student Visa to Canada

A study permit is an authorization document  issued to foreign nationals that grants the eligibility to study in Canada. Generally, study permits are required for programs of study that are more than six months in duration. 

The study permit allows you to study while in Canada, however, it does not allow you to enter Canada. As a result, you will be issued with either a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). The TRV or eTA is an official document stamped in your passport, or a paperless document linked electronically to your passport, respectively, that confirms you have met the requirements for entering Canada as a Temporary resident.

Note that you do not need to complete a separate application or pay additional fees for the TRV or eTA as this (whichever is required to travel from your country to Canada) will be issued by the Visa officer when you applied for your study permit. Also, note that it is a normal procedure to receive only the TRV or eTA from your home country and the study permit document issued upon arrival at the port of entry in Canada.

How to Apply for a Student Visa to Canada 

Facts About the Canadian Study Permit: 

  • The letter of acceptance must be from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) to be eligible for a study permit. 
  • There are application fees of $CAN 150.00 and  $CAN 85.00 (per person) biometric fees. You may need to pay the fees in your local currency.
  • It can take between 8 weeks to 11 weeks for the application to be processed, however, this could be affected by other factors at the time of application. Check the processing times for applications for your application.
  • The study permit allows you to work part-time in Canada for up to 20 hours a week during school period, and full-time during vacations
  • Your dependents – spouse or child under 18 years – can also apply for a visa to come to Canada with you. Your spouse will be eligible for an Open Work Permit that is valid for the duration of your study permit.

Study Permit Application Process

  1. Download or request for your admission letter from a designated learning institution (DLI). The admission letter must detail the length of your program (the start, finish and enrollment dates); the tuition fees for the defined length of the program; and total amount of funding available for your study. 
  2. Make a decision whether to apply for your study permit online by creating an account or download the application package and apply at a Visa Application Centre. If you are applying through the Student Direct Stream (that allows faster processing times for some specific nationals), you must apply online.
  3. Gather and complete the required documents from the application package by following the instructions in the Application Guide for a study permit outside Canada. 
  4. Schedule and complete a medical examination from a registered panel physician in your country. A medical exam is required if you intend to study for more than six months in Canada, otherwise, you do not need a medical exam if you plan to study for less than six months.

You have a choice to get the medical examination upfront –that is, before you submit your application, by contacting a panel physician directly from your country or territory. Otherwise, you will be contacted by the visa application office with instructions on how to complete your medical exam. Note that you will have 30 days to complete your medical exam from the day you received the instruction.

5. Wait for a decision about your application. While this period can be a little edgy, it is important to remain calm and optimistic.

How to Apply for a Student Visa to Canada

Put in the efforts to make this process work, but do not give up if your application is rejected by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) because you can reapply for a student visa or appeal the decision if you feel your application was wrongly rejected. See the Canadian Student Visa Requirements 

Why a Student Visa Application could be Rejected

  1. Limited financial support– the Canadian government needs enough justification that you can support yourself throughout your studies; so, make sure you have sufficient funds for the defined length of your program. 
  2. Incomplete application – a missing application document can adversely impact the decision about your study permit application; ensure that you have the document checklist and all required and supporting documents are completed and submitted in time. 
  3. Inconclusive reasons to return after studies – it is important to provide tangible reasons why you intend to return to your country or territory after your studies; note that the student visa is a temporary residence permit.


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