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How to Apply for a Canada Student Visa

Do you want to know how to study in Canada as an international student? Read on for important information on how to apply for a student permit or visa.

Jennifer Aranda

How to Apply for a Canada Student Visa

There are many reasons for you to study in Canada if you have the financial resources to do so.

  • First off, the education system is excellent, and Canadian colleges and universities offer a wide range of programs for a variety of technical and professional disciplines. Many countries recognize that degrees earned from Canadian colleges and universities are the equivalent in quality to academic credentials gotten from the United States and the United Kingdom. 
  • If you intend to study abroad anyway, why would you pass up the opportunity to study in a politically stable country with a low violent crime rate, with an abundance of fresh water, and model health care system?
  • Finally, if you have no plans of immediately returning to your country of residence, you might qualify to remain in Canada after graduation. You may also be eligible to work part-time during regular school breaks and full-time during regular term breaks.

A word of caution, though. It is your responsibility to continue attending classes to maintain your legal status if Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada grants you a study permit. Discontinuing your enrollment violates your visa conditions and might cause severe repercussions for you.

Check out IVC's international partner colleges and universities

How to study in Canada

If you are applying at the post-secondary level (after high school), you must first choose a province or territory then find a Designated Learning Institute or DLI.

Study at Red River College through IVC!

Once you have chosen a program of study, and a DLI accepts your application, the next step is submitting a visa application at the Canadian visa office closest to you. After this, you must prepare the required documents for a successful visa application. These requirements include:

  • A Letter of Acceptance
  • Proof of identity
  • Evidence of your eligibility to enroll in the program
  • The existence of genuine funds
  • Results of a medical examination attesting to your good health

You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will return to your country of residence at the end of your studies. If you are eligible to apply for a postgraduate work permit, you must do so within 180 days after completing your Canada study program.

Once you have all the documents, you may submit your packet two ways:

  • Paper application
  • E-application

If you are using the paper application procedure, arrange for an appointment at a Visa Application Centre.

Study Direct Stream

Canada’s Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a special study permit processing program of IRCC. Available to legal residents of India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam who are living in any of these countries, the SDS is an expedited program where processing time is one month or less. 

Not anyone can apply for a study permit under the SDS, though. You must meet specific requirements and provide upfront documentation, such as:

  • Results of either of the following language tests. You must have taken the test within two years of the SDS application date.
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0 or higher in each language skill.
    • Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) score equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 for each ability. This means at least 310 for speaking, 249 for listening, 207 for reading, and 310 for writing.
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN $10,000 or more from any bank insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) or any bank listed on the IRCC SDS Web page. Check the maintenance funds you’ll be needing for a student visa application.
  • Proof of full payment of the tuition fee for your first year of study.

If you are applying under the SDS, you must use the E-application procedure. 

Do you need additional information? Or would you like to have a preliminary program and school match?

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Applying for Permanent Residence

As an international student in Canada, your stay is considered temporary by the Canadian government. You will, therefore, be expected to return to your country of residency after you graduate. 

Are you interested in applying as a permanent resident after graduation? If you don't have an eligible family member who can sponsor you for permanent residence, how about exploring several economic immigration programs? Check if you qualify first! Click on any of the following links to other parts of our website:

>>>  Federal Skilled Worker Program

>>>  Federal Skilled Trades Program

>>>  Canadian Experience Class

>>>  Provincial Nominee Programs

Most of these economic migration programs use the Express Entry system, which ranks its applicants. You must be eligible for the program to which you are applying and meet the cut-off score for selection.

Authors & Contributors

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer S. Aranda is the COO of IVC Immigrant Visa Center, Inc.

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