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How to apply for a Canada student visa

A Study Permit is the student visa needed for international students wanting to enroll on a program in Canada. It needs to be for a designated learning institution (DLI) and there’s a fee of C$150 for the application.

Your study permit alone won’t enable you to enter Canada, and you may be issued with Electronic Travel Authorization alongside your permit.

You may be eligible to work part-time with a Canadian Study Permit, usually up to 20 hours a week.

Find your perfect programs in Canada

Canadian study permit process

  1. Get an admission letter from a designated learning institution (DLI)
  2. Pay the fee for you application and keep the receipt
  3. Have a medical check up from a panel physician registered in your country
  4. Receive a decision on your application

Student Direct Stream

Residents of some countries may apply through the Student Direct Stream to get their permit faster.

You can apply via the Student Direct Stream if you are a legal resident in one of these countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • the Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam

Canadian visas for student dependents

If you have a spouse or child under 18 that needs to come to Canada with you during your studies they are also able to apply for a visa.

Your spouse would have the ability to apply for an Open Work Permit, which would be valid for the same amount of time as the duration of your study program. This type of permit doesn’t require them to have a job before arriving in Canada, it simply gives them the option of working during their time in the country.

If you have a child joining you during your studies in Canada then the child may enter as a visitor as long as there is proof of your study program and study permit.

Canada student visa requirements

You’ll need to get certain documents ready for your visa application. An important factor in deciding if your study permit is granted, is your finances. The Canadian government must be able to see you can financially support yourself throughout your studies, whether with savings or through a sponsor such as a parent.

Generally, you’ll need the following to apply for a Canadian Study Permit:

  • Admission letter from a DLI
  • Results from a medical exam and police check
  • Two passport-sized photos of yourself
  • Proof you can financially support yourself throughout your studies

You may also need to provide your biometrics. You would need to do this at an approved Visa Application Center in your country.

How long does the visa process take?

It can take up to 90 days to process your visa application, so it’s wise to get it submitted as soon as you have a valid letter of acceptance from your college or university.

If you’re from one of the countries listed above, you may be able to use the Student Direct Stream (SDS) to get your study permit faster (usually within 20 days). Fees begin from 150 CAD.

What if your Canada study permit is declined?

Canadian study permits are in high demand so, unfortunately, it’s common for applications to be rejected.

Getting your application right in the first place can save you lots of stress and money. Here are some of the most common reasons behind rejections, and how to fix them.

  • Inadequate financial funds: Meeting the minimum financial threshold isn’t always enough. Your application will be more convincing if it proves you have sufficient funds for more than just a year.
  • Unsuitable letter of acceptance: You need a watertight acceptance letter from a registered Canadian DLI.
  • Missing documents: If you fail to attach your language test scores and travel documents, your application will be rejected.
  • Plans to return home: Study permits are only temporary visas, so you need to prove that you intend to go back to your home country after your studies.

If your study permit is still rejected by the IRCC, you will be told why in the refusal letter. You can reapply for your study permit at any time, but make sure you’ve addressed the issues in your previous submission.

If you think your first application was wrongly rejected, you can always launch an appeal.

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