Canada Student VISA – How To Apply

After a Canadian university offers or accepts you for a scholarship or study program, you will need to apply for a student visa process before attaining international student status.
The student visa is otherwise known as “study permits” in Canada.

If you possess a Canadian Study Permit, you could qualify for part-time employment, generally limited to 20 hours per week.

The following information will provide you with a comprehensive guide to the application process.

Canadian Student VISA – Requirements

Your study permit grants you the ability to remain in Canada; however, you require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa.
Upon approving your study permit, the authorities will automatically issue you the eTA for entry into the country.

The first thing you should do is to check with the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate whether or not you fulfil the requirements for a student visa.
You can also consult Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration website for more information about these requirements;

  • Two passport-sized photos of yourself
  • You should have a college degree or have completed specific academic requirements for your country’s university system.
  • You must attend an eligible educational institution and have an admission letter from the institution.
  • Demonstrate your ability to sustain yourself financially during your academic pursuits.
  • You must show proof of financial support from your family and sources outside yourself.
  • The travel documents required you will use to travel to Canada must be valid for at least six months after entering the country. If your passport is approaching expiration within six months of entering Canada, demonstrate proof of renewal or replacement before arriving.
  • Results of medical examination and a background check by the police for a clean criminal record.
  • You must fill and sign a Visa Application Center (VAC) Consent Form.

Note: You might also need to offer your biometrics at an approved Visa Application Center in your country.

Check out the: List Of Canada Scholarships For International Students In 2023/2024

How to apply student visa in Canada step by step?

If you have met the above requirements, then you can  proceed with the visa application process. The steps to follow involves:

Step 1: Get an acceptance letter

You need to apply and be accepted into a Canadian university before you start your application for a Canadian student visa.

A Designated Learning Institution (DLI), approved by the territorial government to host international students, must be your chosen university.
This letter will contain the name of your institution and the courses you will be studying, as well as the information about your living arrangement

Step 2: Apply for a Study Permit

Once you get the acceptance letter from the University, you can proceed to apply for the study permit using the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website or you visit the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate.

This process will require your admission letter and proof of financial support.
Not everyone needs a student visa. There are agreements between Canada and some countries, exempting international students from obtaining the permit.

Step 3: Student Visa Documentation

Carry along your passport with you when visiting the embassy or consulate. You will also need to provide the requirements mentioned earlier with a letter of intent, proof of payment for the study permit (150 CAD), and two recent passport photographs.

Prepare all the documents required for your permit before starting your online application. According to the Canadian government, you will need the following.

  • Either the original or an electronic copy of your letter of acceptance from a DLI;
  • Provide proof of identity, such as a valid passport or travel document plus two recent passport-sized photos);
  • Proof of funds guaranteeing you will be able to financially support yourself during your studies (enough to cover your tuition fees and living costs, or a minimum of $10,000 CAD per year of study);
  • Compose a letter of explanation that outlines your motivations for pursuing studies in Canada. 
  • The receipt for your payment of the $150 CAD study permit fee.

Step 4: Proof of English Skills proficiency

If you come from a non-English-speaking country, you must submit a certificate from an accepted language proficiency test -IELTS or TOEFL.
Each University and programme requires different minimum IELTS scores depending on the test, so check your programme page before deciding which test to take.

Step 5: Provide Biometrics and Pass a Medical Exam

Depending on your country, you might be required to provide your fingerprints at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) with another $85 CAD.

After this, you might have to also do a short interview depending on your application situation

Frequently Asked Questions


How much does it cost to apply for student visa in Canada?


$150 CAD for study permit and an additional $85 CAD for mandatory biometrics, totaling $235 CAD if needed.

How Long Does the Process Take?


The Canadian government says it may take up to 13 weeks for your study permit application to be processed. So, make sure to account for the waiting time and start your application process four to six months before your departure!

The processing time for your visa depends on many things. Factors include application type (online or paper), submitted documents, verification ease, response time to their requests.

Specific Country Requirements


Requirements and processing times differ based on your country of origin. For instance, if you’re from the UK or USA, all previously mentioned instructions apply except for the medical exam submission.

UK applicants must pay an additional $7 CAD ETA fee and wait up to 21 days post final approval for their permit. US applicants won’t incur extra fees but will wait up to 35 days for their permit.

Nigerian applicants need $85 CAD for biometrics and London travel expenses for the medical exam.After approval, the permit may take up to 112 days to arrive.

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