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Canadian Student Visa: A step-by-step guide to Applying

Canada is one of the most popular study destinations for international students around the world. The country’s high-quality education system, diverse and welcoming culture, and impressive post-study work opportunities attract students from all corners of the globe. If you’re planning to study in Canada, you’ll need to apply for a student visa, also known as a study permit. In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about applying for a student visa in Canada.

What is a Student Visa?

10 Common Student Visa Questions - StudyLink

A student visa, also known as a study permit, is a document that allows international students to study in Canada. It is issued by the Government of Canada and permits the student to stay in Canada for the duration of their studies. A student visa also allows the student to work part-time on-campus during their studies and full-time during scheduled breaks.

Who Needs a Student Visa?

International students who plan to study in Canada for more than six months need a student visa. If the duration of the course is less than six months, then the student does not require a student visa, but they will need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Students from certain countries are exempt from obtaining a student visa, but they still need to obtain an electronic travel authorization (eTA) before they travel to Canada. A student visa is a temporary document, which means that it has an expiration date. You must renew your student visa before it expires if you plan to continue studying in Canada.

You can check the list of countries whose citizens require a student visa or an eTA on the Canadian government’s official website

How to Apply for a Student Visa?

To apply for a student visa in Canada, students need to follow the below-mentioned steps:

Step 1: Choose Your Program and Institution

The first step in applying for a student visa in Canada is to choose your program and institution. Canada has a wide range of universities, colleges, and vocational schools to choose from, each with its own requirements and admission criteria. You’ll need to research different programs and institutions to find the one that best suits your needs.

Step 2: Get an Acceptance Letter

Once you’ve chosen your program and institution, you’ll need to apply for admission to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. A DLI is a school, college, or university that is approved by the Canadian government to host international students. You need to ensure that the DLI you plan to attend is on the list of approved institutions.
Most Canadian institutions have online application processes that require you to submit your academic transcripts, language test scores, and other supporting documents. If your application is successful, you’ll receive an acceptance letter from the institution.

Step 3: Determine Your Eligibility

Before applying for a student visa, you must determine your eligibility. To be eligible for a Canadian study permit, you must:

1. Have been accepted by a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.
2. Have proof of sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation.
3. Be in good health and willing to undergo a medical examination if required.
4. Have no criminal record and be willing to provide a police certificate if required.
5. Meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations and also be able to convince the immigration/visa officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires.

Step 3: Gather the Required Documents

The next step is to gather all the necessary documents required for your student visa application. These documents include the following:

A valid passport: You will need a valid passport to apply for a student visa.

A letter of acceptance from a Canadian institution: You will need to provide proof of acceptance from a DLI in Canada.

Proof of financial support: You must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation. You may need to provide bank statements, scholarship letters, or a letter of financial support from a sponsor.

A completed application form

Two passport-sized photographs: You will need to provide two passport-sized photographs.

A language proficiency test score: You may need to provide proof of your language proficiency in English or French.

A police certificate

Medical examination certificate: Depending on your country of origin, you may need to undergo a medical examination.

It is essential to note that the required documents may vary depending on your country of origin and the DLI you will be attending. Therefore, it is advisable to check the requirements with the Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country before applying.

Step 4: Apply for the Student Visa

Once you have gathered all the required documents, you can now apply for a study permit. You can apply online or by mail. The application fee is CAD 150. If you’re applying online, you’ll need to create an account on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, fill out the application form, and upload your supporting documents. If you’re applying by mail, you’ll need to download the application form from the IRCC website, fill it out, and mail it along with your supporting documents to the appropriate visa office.

When filling out your application, endeavour to provide accurate and complete information. Incomplete or incorrect information can lead to delays or even rejection of your application.

Step 5: Wait for the Visa

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to wait for the visa to be processed. Processing times vary depending on the country you’re applying from, and the time of year, so it’s important to apply well in advance of your planned arrival in Canada. During the processing time, you may be asked to provide additional documents or to undergo an interview. Make sure to respond to any requests promptly. You can check the status of your application online or by contacting the Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country.

Step 6: Arrive in Canada

Once you’ve received your student visa, you’re ready to travel to Canada. Ensure to bring all your supporting documents along, including your acceptance letter, financial documents, and language test scores. When you arrive in Canada, you will need to present your passport, visa, and other documents to a border services officer.


Applying for a student visa in Canada can be a lengthy process, but with careful planning and preparation, you can increase your chances of success. Start by choosing the right program and institution, gather all the required documents, and submit your application well in advance of your planned arrival in Canada. With a student visa in hand, you can start your journey to achieving your academic and career goals in one of the most welcoming and exciting countries in the world.

SEE ALSO: Study Permit: Moving to Canada as an international student (2022 – 2023 Updated)

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