More than 150,000 international students go to Canada each year to study. You need to apply for a Canadian student visa, if you’re planning on becoming one of them for six months or more. Also known as a Canadian study permit, this type of visa allows you to study at any Designated Learning Institution in the country and, in some cases, even work on and off campus.
Canadian student visa application process
The first step to getting your student visa is to request the application form online. You can fill everything out digitally on the website or have the paperwork sent to you in the post and fill it out in pen, whichever you prefer. When you’ve got your application form, it’s time to round up all the other documents you need.
Collect all necessary documents
To apply for a Canadian student visa you need:
- Standardised letter of acceptance from a Canadian education institution
- Proof of sufficient funds for tuition fees, living expenses and return transportation costs (around C$10,000 for every year/C$11,000 in Quebec)
- Completed application form
- Valid passport
- Two recent passport-sized photographs with your name and date of birth on the back
- Proof that you’ve paid the application fee
Some people are required to provide additional documents. For example, if you’re planning to study in Quebec, you need a certificate of acceptance (CAQ) from the government of Quebec and if you’re travelling to Canada from selected countries, you’ll need an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA).
If this sounds too much for you and the stakes are too high to risk getting it wrong, we recommend letting a visa agency such as Visa First take care of everything for you. They can assess your Canadian student visa eligibility online or over the phone and help you look at other options, such as work permits and working holiday visas.
Present your documents
You can present your documents online to the official Canadian government website. But keep in mind, applicants from certain countries are required to provide biometrics (photograph and fingerprints), undergo health checks and attend character interviews, so be prepared.
How long it takes for your Canadian student visa to be processed largely depends on where you’re applying from. After you’ve submitted your documents, it can take anywhere between two to seven weeks for your visa to be prepared. So make sure you apply in plenty of time.
The standard Canadian student visa fee is C$150. But if you’re required to provide extra documentation, such as an eTA, you’ll have to pay for this separately.