Studying in Canada Simplified for International Students
Are you considering studying in Canada for your undergraduate or postgraduate degree? There are few things you need to note about the country.
Canada is the home of some of the world’s top research facilities and academic institutions. Canada is made up of ten provinces and three territories and each one runs its own education system.
- It is important to complete the study permit application carefully as there are differences not only between universities but provinces.
- UK A-levels are recognised.
- An application for international study can take up to seven weeks to be processed, assuming all the correct information is provided.
Visa regulations (study permit)
- A study permit (student visa) is required, after acceptance on to a programme of study.
- Entry to Canada is dependent on sufficient funds to pay for tuition fees, living expenses and a return ticket home.
- Character and health checks are also made and may involve a police check or a medical examination, or both.
- A study permit is issued on arrival against a written notification of acceptance on a course.
Funding your study in Canada as An International student
Tuition fees for international students are higher than for domestic students.
- The cost of study will depend on the course but most international fees start at about CA$15,000 (£9,300) per year.
- The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) has a useful website illustrating the costs at different universities across the country.
- Scholarships are available for international students at undergraduate level and there are also specific scholarships for sporting and academic achievements. Find out more from the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Programme.
- The Canadian government and other organisations also offer scholarships for postgraduate and doctoral study.
For part-time jobs
- International students with a valid study permit who find a job on campus do not need an extra work permit.
- However, these jobs are in short supply and part-time work off campus requires a permit allowing the holder to work up to 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during vacations.
Some typical prices in Canada (GBP, March 2015):
- Apartment rent, 1 bedroom: £436 – £539 per month
- Meal, inexpensive restaurant: £7.15
- Meal at McDonalds: £4.50
- Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught): £2.65
- Imported beer (0.33 litre bottle): £3.18
- Cappuccino: £1.98
- Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle): £1.01
- Water (0.33 litre bottle): £0.89
- Loaf of bread: £1.44
- Cigarettes: £5.83
- One-way ticket local transport: £1.59
- Cinema ticket: £6.36
Staying on after study: The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows graduates who have been studying in Canada for more than eight months to stay on to work after graduation.
Health and safety: Medical insurance is essential while studying in Canada. Canada is a generally very safe country where people treat each other with respect – cars will stop to allow pedestrians to cross the road (just don’t count on that in Montreal however).
Four Major Documents You Need to Apply for a Canadian Study Permit
If you want to apply for a Canadian study permit, you need to present four major documents alongside other information for your application. You need the following documents:
- Proof of acceptance
- Proof of identity
- Proof of financial support
- Letter of explanation
If you are not a citizen of the country where you submit your application, you may have to provide proof of your present immigration status in the country where you apply.
If the government that issued your passport or travel document requires a re-entry permit, you must get one before you apply for a Canadian visa. Other documents may also be required.
- Proof of acceptance: If you plan to attend any school (primary or secondary), college, university or other educational institution in Canada, the school must complete and send you a letter of acceptance. You must include the original letter with your study permit application.
- Proof of identity: You must provide:
- A valid passport or travel document for you and each accompanying family member. The passport or travel document must allow you to return to the country that issued it. Citizens of the United States do not need a passport. However, you must carry proper identification that proves your citizenship or permanent residence.
- Two recent passport-size photos of you and each accompanying family member. The name and date of birth of the person should be written on the back of each photo.
- Proof of financial support: You must prove that you can support yourself and the family members who accompany you while you are in Canada. You can prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in Canada by showing some of the following:
- proof of a Canadian bank account in your name if money has been transferred to Canada;
- proof of a student/education loan from a financial institution;
- your bank statements for the past four months;
- a bank draft in convertible currency;
- proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees;
- a letter from the person or institution providing you with money; and
- proof of funding paid from within Canada if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program.
If there are foreign-exchange control measures in your country, you must provide proof that the exchange control authorities will allow you to export funds for all of your expenses.
- Letter of explanation: In some cases, you may wish to apply for a study permit even if you do not need one right away. There are benefits to having a study permit, even if you do not require one. If you have a valid study permit, you can:
- work part-time on campus at the college or university at which you are registered as a full-time student; and
- apply to renew your study permit from within Canada, if you decide to continue studying in Canada.
If you decide that you want to continue your studies in another program after you complete your short-term course or program, you must apply through a Canadian visa office outside Canada for a study permit if you do not already have one.
If you are applying for a study permit even though you do not need one, you should include a letter that explains why you are applying. The letter will inform the visa officer that you understand your options
How to Apply for a Canadian Study Permit for Students
If you wish to study in Canada, you will need a study permit which authorizes you to stay in Canada for the duration of your study. A study permit is a written authorization issued by an officer allowing foreign nationals to study in Canada.
A study permit becomes invalid 90 days after your study program has been completed. Your program is considered complete when you receive a notification of program completion from your school.
Before you can apply for a study permit, you must have been accepted at a designated learning institution in Canada. You also need to have the right documents.
To be eligible to study in Canada,
- You must have been accepted by a designated learning institution in Canada.
- You must prove that you have enough money to pay for your:
- tuition fees
- living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and
- return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
- You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
- You must be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
- You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.
- If you wish to study in a short-term course or program
You do not need a study permit if you plan to take a course or program in Canada that lasts six months or less. You must complete the course or program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada.
- Foreign representatives to Canada
If you are a family member or staff member of a foreign representative to Canada accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), you may not need a permit to study in Canada. You should contact your embassy in Canada. Your embassy can contact the Office of Protocol at GAC to find out whether you need a study permit.
- Members of foreign armed forces
If you are a member of a foreign armed force under the Visiting Forces Act, you do not need a permit to study in Canada. If your family members, including minor children, want to study in Canada, they must meet the requirements.
- Foreign nationals who are Registered Indians in Canada
If you are a citizen of another country who has Registered Indian status in Canada, you do not need a permit to study in Canada.
You can apply for a study permit in two ways: Online and on paper.
Get the right documents: There are certain documents you need to apply for a study permit, such as proof of acceptance, proof of identity, proof of financial support and a letter of explanation.
To apply online you must have access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents for uploading and have a valid credit card for payment.
- If you provide an email address on your application, please ensure you check it regularly for automated emails from CIC regarding your case. Some spam filters block these emails, and clients are requested to ensure emails from CIC are not blocked. If you are unsure whether emails from CIC are being sent, please check your myCIC account on a regular basis.
To Apply on Paper: You can get help with your paper application at your nearest visa application centre (VAC).
- The package includes the application guide and all the forms you need to fill out.
- Depending on your citizenship, you may need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa, as well as a study permit. If you need an eTA or visa, it will automatically be issued at the same time as your study permit. You do not need to make a separate application or pay an additional fee.
- Citizens from 29 countries and 1 territory need to give biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) when they apply for a visa.
- To apply for a study permit, consult the list of the documents you will need. Make sure you include these with your application.
If you want to study in the province of Quebec, check the provincial guidelines. To apply, you need a certificate of acceptance or a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ). Your school can also provide you with information. You must have received the certificate of acceptance before applying for a study permit.
Fill in the forms carefully and completely.
- Answer all questions carefully, completely and truthfully. Incomplete application packages will not be processed. They will be returned to you.
- Add appropriate characters for languages that do not use the Latin alphabet, such as Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic, Japanese, Hebrew, etc.
- Type or print clearly, using black ink.
- There is a fee to apply for a study permit. In many countries, the processing fee can be paid in the local currency.
- More information about this and the payment methods available to you can be found by visiting the pay your fees tool.
- If you decide to submit your application at a visa application centre (VAC), you will have to pay the VAC services fees. These fees are not included in your CIC application fees.
- Families should send their applications in one package to the location where the principal applicant will be processed (based on their type of application).
- To find out where to submit your application, please select the country/territory you will be applying from (you can choose your country of nationality or the country/territory where you have been legally admitted)
Additional information or documents
After the visa office receives your application, the visa office might request more information or documents. These may include the following:
- Medical information
In most cases, you will need a medical examination. A visa officer will send you instructions if you need one. This may add more than three months to the processing time of your application. Find more information about medical examinations.
- Security information
If you want to study in Canada, you and any family members who come to Canada with you, and who are 18 years of age and over, may have to provide police certificates. Find more information about the security checks.
Processing time: The length of time to process your application varies depending on the visa office where you applied.
The status of your application: Processing times vary depending on the Canadian visa office where you submitted your application.
- The visa office will review your application to make sure you have completed it correctly and have included all the required documents. If your application is incomplete, it will not be processed—it will be returned to you.
- If your application is complete, the visa office will review it and decide if an interview is necessary. If so, the officer will inform you of the time and place.
Change of address
If you move or change your address, telephone number or any other contact information after you submit your application, you must notify the visa office where you submitted your application.
If your application is approved
If your application is approved:
- A letter of introduction will be sent to you confirming the approval. This letter is not your study permit. Bring the letter of introduction with you to show to immigration officials at the point of entry when you arrive in Canada.
- An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will be issued if you are from a country whose citizens need an eTA. If one is issued for you, it will be indicated in the letter of introduction you receive.
- The eTA will be linked to your passport. It is important that you travel with the passport you used when you applied for your study permit.
- The eTA will be valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
- A visitor visa (temporary resident visa) will be issued if you are from a country whose citizens need a visa
- The visa will be in your passport. The expiry date on this visa indicates the date by which you must enter Canada. You must enter Canada before your visa expires.
- The visa will also indicate if you can enter Canada only once (a single-entry visa) or if you can enter Canada multiple times (a multiple-entry visa).
If your application is not approved
If your application is not approved, the visa office will send you a letter explaining why your application has been refused. An application might be refused for several reasons:
- You have not shown proof that you have enough money to support yourself while studying in Canada.
- You have not passed the medical examination if one was required.
- You have not satisfied the visa officer that your primary intention in Canada is to study.
- You have not satisfied the visa officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your period of study.
If you have questions about your refusal, contact the visa office that issued the refusal letter.
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