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Canada Student Visa Guide

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Canada is the world’s second-largest country, situated in North America, with a population of about 40 million residents. Canada is also home to the world’s eight-largest economy, and is a major global hub for multiple industries including trade, energy, financial services, mining and manufacturing. These things combined make Canada a great choice for international students.

Canada operates economic and political partnerships with the United States of America, its neighbour in the south, and Canadian residents enjoy visa-free access to most of the USA. Canada is well-known as one of the world’s most advanced countries, with as many as 3 Canadian cities – Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver – featuring in the top 10 of The Economist’s 2022 Global Liveability Index.

Canadian cities offer world-class urban infrastructure, low crime and high public safety levels, well-connected public transport networks and friendly immigrant communities. For instance, Canada welcomes over 150,000 Indian immigrants every year!

In recent years, Canada has also become well-known as a top-ranked study destination with as many as 27 Canadian universities featuring in the latest QS Global University Rankings. Canadian universities offer world-class research and academic facilities, top-quality faculty, excellent campus life and multiple support systems designed to help international students settle into life in Canada.

Just as important is the fact that Canada offers you long-term post-graduation employment visas, a big attraction for many international students who would like to settle in the North American country and secure jobs at world-leadings firms. As a result of these factors, Canada welcomes nearly 450,000 international students each year, with nearly half of this number being Indian students.

The Canadian Student Visa

Canada provides international students with a visitor visa or electronic travel authorisation (eTA) alongside a document named the Canadian study permit. While the study permit itself is not a travel visa, international students must get the permit in order to receive an eTA or visitor visa.

The study permit is only given if you can provide proof of enrolment at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), an educational institution which has approval from a provincial or territorial government to host international students.

You should check the official list of DLIs on the Canadian government website to make sure that the universities you are applying to are on the list. Additionally, you need to provide certificates of covid vaccination, health check-ups and no criminal records from the relevant authorities for each in your home country.

Below is a full list of the documents you must carry with you when you head to your nearest Canadian embassy or consulate to apply for a study permit:

  • Valid Passport: Must be valid for the entire duration of your university degree
  • Proof of Enrolment or Acceptance at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • Proof of Funds: You must provide proof of the fact that you have at least 10,000 CAD for every year of your intended stay, as well as enough funds for a return ticket to your home country. Below are a few examples of documents accepted as proof of funds:
    • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution
    • Student loan
    • Proof of paid tuition and housing fee
    • 4 Months’ Bank Statements
    • Canadian bank account details
  • Passport-Size Photographs
  • English Language Proficiency Exam Score: TOEFL, IELTS and multiple other scores are accepted
  • Statement of Purpose: A brief essay explaining why you chose a particular Canadian university, your post-graduation plans and any other plans during your stay in Canada. This document is optional, but submitting it will give you a better chance of approval as an international student

Later on in the student visa application process, Canadian officials may ask you for high school or college transcripts, SAT scores and other such additional documents. We recommend that you begin the Canadian student visa application process as soon as you receive a letter of acceptance from a DLI. While the average processing time is 12 weeks for a Canadian student visa, the wait time for a student visa can be up to a year.

Canadian Student Visa Fees for International Students

The basic cost for a student visa application at Canadian embassies and consulates worldwide is about 150 CAD. You should check with your nearest Canadian embassy or consulate to find out if there are any additional visa processing fees or service fees charged by the institution.

In a few countries, international students can apply for a Canadian student permit via the Student Direct Stream (SDS), a system which speeds up your visa application to process it in under 20 working days at an extra charge. You should check to see if this service is provided at Canadian embassies and consulates in your home country. The above fees must be paid in full alongside your visa application at the time of submission.

Canadian Student Visa Work Rules

Canadian study permits currently enable international students to work up to 20 hours a week during the academic semester and full-time during vacation periods.

Many international students utilise online platforms to secure high-quality internships and part-time employment in business hubs such as Toronto’s downtown financial district.

Canada offers you the chance to live in a well-developed, immigrant-friendly and world-leading employment hub with easy access to nearby USA as well as western Europe. With great connectivity options between major airports such as Vancouver & Toronto and major airports all over the world, you will also be able to travel comfortably from your home country to your Canadian university.

For further information about student visas, see our International Student Visas article.

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