Step-By-Step Guide to Apply for Study Visa in Canada


Canada is one of the best places in the world to study abroad. The number of international students in the country grows every year. In 2023, there will be over 300,000 of them, thanks to the country’s prestigious universities, diverse culture, and friendly people. There are thousands of Master’s and Bachelor’s programs in Canada for international students on our website. After the United States and the United Kingdom, Canada came in third place. 

Even though Canada is a friendly place, there are rules that every student must follow when they go there to study. People who want to stay longer than six months need a study permit from the local government. Knowing what to expect from the application process is the best way to ensure everything goes smoothly before leaving home.

In Canada, student visas are known as “study permits.” You can stay in Canada with your study permit, but you need an Electronic Travel Authorization or a visitor visa to get in. Once your study permit is approved, you will automatically get an eTA.

Here are the steps you need to take to get a Canadian student visa and some tips on how to prove your language skills and meet some country-specific requirements.

Get a Canadian university letter telling you you’ve been accepted

Before applying for a Canadian student visa, you must apply to a Canadian university and be accepted. For you to be able to get a student visa, the university you want to go to must be a Designated Learning Institution. The territorial government has permitted the school to accept international students.

You can choose the program from the study portal search tool to find a program and school that meets your criteria. Select the type of degree you are looking for, such as a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. in your field of study, followed by Canada, and hit search. 

The amount of time your student visa covers may change according to the conditions detailed in your acceptance letter. If you’ve been given a conditional offer, which means you have to take extra classes before starting your main program, your visa will be good for the length of these classes plus one year. You’ll need to apply for a new visa once this one runs out.

2. Check to see if a student visa is needed

Only some people need a student visa. Some countries have agreements with Canada that say students don’t need to get a permit. You can find out if you need a study permit for your stay in Canada by filling out a short questionnaire about your situation.

In short, you don’t need a Canadian study permit if:

  • Your study program lasts six months or less; you are a family member or staff member of a foreign representative accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • You are a member of a foreign armed force on official duties in Canada; you are a Registered Indian in Canada; 
  • You are a temporary resident and asylum seeker taking French language and culture courses in Quebec.
  • If none of the above exceptions applies, you can continue your study permit application. Check the Student Visa tab on our Canada country page and choose your home country to find out if you need a study permit (student visa).
Visa Application Approved written

3. Get together all of the following documents

Before applying for your permit online, ensure you have all the documents you need. The Canadian government says that you need the following:

  • The original letter of acceptance from a DLI or a copy of it in electronic form;
  • Proof of identity, such as a valid passport or travel document, and two recent photos that are the same size as a passport;
  • Proof that you have enough money to pay for your living expenses while you study.
  • A letter explaining why you want to study in Canada and making sure you know what your responsibilities are as an international student;
  • If you want to study in Québec, you need a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ).
  • If you are under 17 years old, a Custodian Declaration;
  • If none of the above exceptions applies, you can continue your study permit application.
  • Check the Student Visa tab on our Canada country page and choose your home country to find out if you need a study permit (student visa).

4. Get your application started

Once you have everything you need, like a letter of acceptance from a DLI, you can start your online study permit application. During the application process, you must:

  • Read the instructions to make sure you understand how to do it;
  • Create an online account and sign in (you’ll use this account to pay your fees, send in your application, and check your status);
  • Fill out the online forms with your full name, address, background, and education information;
  • Upload the necessary documents, such as a letter of acceptance, proof of identity, proof of funds, letter of explanation, etc.;
  • Pay your application fees at the end;
  • Check the status of your application often to see if there are any changes or new requests.
  • Interviews are only sometimes part of getting a Canadian student visa. Depending on how the officer sees your application, you may be asked to come in for an interview. In this case, you will get a letter with the interview date, time, and place.
  • Your student visa will be good for the length of your studies plus 90 days if your application is approved. You can use this extra time to prepare to leave Canada or ask for an extension on your visa if you want to stay.

5. Give your fingerprints and a medical exam

Suppose you are applying from outside Canada and have never given your fingerprints or photo. You must go to an official Visa Application Centre to get your fingerprints and photo taken.

In certain situations, you may not have to do this. By answering a short questionnaire, you can find out if you need to give biometrics when you apply.

Residents of some countries will also need proof that they have had a medical exam done by a doctor on the approved panel. Check here to see if you have to send in a medical exam.

6. Get going early. Your study permit takes months to come.

The Canadian government says that your application for a study permit could take up to 13 weeks to be processed. So, be sure to plan for the time you will have to wait and start the application process four to six months before you leave.

How long it takes to get your visa depends on many things. Some of these factors include how you submitted your application (online or on paper), whether you sent all the required documents, how easy it is for them to verify your information, and how long it takes you to respond to any questions they have.

If you want to start immediately, you can use the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which gets your application processed in 20 calendar days. If you are from one of the following countries, you can use this stream:

Country Specific Requirements

The criteria and processing time may differ depending on your nation of origin. For example, if you are from the United Kingdom or the United States, you must follow all of the preceding procedures, but you will not be required to submit a medical exam.

Applicants from the United Kingdom must pay an additional $7 CAN eTA cost and wait up to 21 days after final approval before receiving their permission. Applicants from the United States will not be charged additional costs but will have to wait up to 35 days to acquire their permission.

If you apply from Nigeria, you must pay the $85 CAN charge for collecting your biometrics and travel expenses to London for your medical check. You may have to wait up to 112 days after your application has been processed and authorized to obtain your permission.

What do you think?

Written by Shivam Pal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Closeup of Women taking class

Online Learning: Top Benefits And Challenges To Ponder In 2023

Multitasking Person

Moonlighting: What it is, Pros and Cons