Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot - 2021 Updated Guidelines - - Canada Immigration Newsletter
Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot

Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot – 2021 Updated Guidelines

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CANADA NIGERIA STUDENT EXPRESS PILOT – June 2021 UPDATE: This is to remind Nigerian students that Canada shortened study permit processing for Nigerians from an average of eight weeks to 20 days through the Nigeria Student Express pilot program.

The Nigerian Student Express (NSE) is for prospective international students from Nigeria seeking to study in Canada’s colleges and universities. This initiative is aimed at facilitating the study permit application process at a quicker pace. Before the Nigerian Student Express, the average processing times for study permit application for Nigerian students was around eight weeks. But with the NSE, Nigerian students can now process their study permit in 20 days or even less.

According to the official Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) tweet:

Nigeria Student Express is a pilot initiative at our Visa Office (VO) in Lagos aimed at improving processing times for study permit applicants in Nigeria who are planning to study at the university level in Canada. It was introduced to prospective students and their parents at EduCanada fairs in Abuja and Lagos in January 2020.

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.


The Nigeria Student Express pilot was launched by Canada’s Acting High Commissioner, Paul Gibbard during the 2020 EduCanada Fair in January 2020, in Abuja, Nigeria.

Unfortunately throughout 2020 and early 2021 the coronavirus pandemic diverted news attention from this important development. Moreover, because it was a regional announcement made at a fair to prospective students and their parents (not by IRCC official NR in Ottawa, Canada), the news was taken with skepticism by Nigerians who have become too wary of immigration scams and fraud.

See also ★ Immigrate to Canada from Nigeria – 2021 Guidelines

Nigeria Student Express Program v. Regular Study Permit Program

Eligibility requirements for the Nigeria Student Express Program are described later in this article but it is important to note that Nigerian students cant still apply under the regular study permit process if they choose to. The NSE program is a second option for Nigerian students who wish to have their applications processed more quickly than they would otherwise be processed under the regular program.


In fact if you choose to apply under the regular study permit program, after making your application, you may receive communication from the IRCC advising you about your eligibility to have your application processed under the Nigeria Student Express Program. The advice usually lists the additional documents that you would need to include in your application in order for it to be processed under the Nigeria Student Express Program.

If you are unable to provide the additional information required, the Canadian immigration authorities simply revert to processing your application under the regular study permit application process.

There are a number of similarities and differences between the NSE program and the regular study permit program. 

Processing Time 

Under the regular study permit program, the standard processing time is about 4 weeks but in reality it is likely going to take up to four months for a decision to be made on your application. 


Unlike the regular study permit program, the standard processing time for NSE program is approximately 20 calendar days.

While the NSE program processing time is significantly shorter, the processing of an application under both programs are the same. The application is made online using the same immigration system that the general applications are submitted.

Medical Reports

Under the Nigeria Student Express Program, you are required to undertake an upfront medical examination and include the results in your application. This is not required if you are applying under the regular study permit program.

Language Requirement 

The Nigeria Student Express Program’s language proficiency requirement is different from the regular study permit program in that NSE requires that you must write IELTS and obtain a minimum score of 6.

The English language test is not a requirement if you are applying under the regular study permit program. This is a significant difference to take note of when choosing which path to make your application.  The IELTS raises a lot of concerns for international students. Those from English-speaking countries like Nigeria think it’s unfair and many think it’s too expensive.

Bank Statements

One of the key requirements for Canada study permit is evidence that you have sufficient funding for your tuition fees, accommodation, and living expenses while in Canada for at least one year. The evidence of funds is provided using bank statements.

Under the regular study permit program, applicants or their agents would include copies of paper-based bank statements in the application.  


In contrast, the Nigeria Student Express Program uses the mybankStatement® electronic system which enables you to access your banking details directly since the service platform is affiliated with most of the established banks.  mybankStatement® is a one page ticket generated by your bank to replace traditional paper based bank statements that are normally submitted in visa applications. It contains a unique ticket number and passcode that can be used by Embassies to efficiently verify your account holdings are genuine.

Which Nigerian banks are issuing myBankstatement for Nigerian Student Express?

The list of banks is:
Access Bank Plc
Access Bank Plc (Diamond Bank Plc)
Fidelity Bank Plc
First City Monument Bank Plc
Guaranty Trust Bank Plc
Union Bank of Nigeria Plc
United Bank for Africa Plc
Zenith Bank Plc
Heritage Banking Company Limited
Ecobank Nigeria Plc
Polaris Bank Limited
Sterling Bank Plc
Wema Bank Plc
Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc

Nigeria is a top-ranked source country of Canada international students

Canada’s international student population was on an upward surge before the pandemic. It grew by 13 per cent in 2019 compared to the previous year, marking yet another year of double-digit growth. Some 404,000 international study permits took effect in 2019.

This is the perfect time for Nigerian students to take advantage of the Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot. Nigerian immigration to Canada has been booming in recent years. In 2019, Nigeria was ranked the fourth highest source of Canadian new permanent residents. in the same year, 11,985 study permit holders were from Nigeria, making it the ninth most popular source country for international students.

Canada is unique in its openness to international students and more so for its many programs that provide international students pathways to permanent residence after graduation. These and our world-class educational system, friendly and welcoming culture, French and English learning options, and favourable living costs are the reasons why Canada is ranked as the world’s third-leading destination of foreign students.

Canada is home to 21 of the world’s top 500 universities and 32 in the top 1,000. In 2020 Canada had over 650,000 international students.

Evidence of Official Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot

Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot

The Canadian High Commission also released the following statement and photos on its Facebook page about the NSE:

Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot

Prospective students also took to twitter to inquire of the legitimacy of the program.

Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot
Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot

Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot will booster the success of Nigerians applying for Canada study permits and improve Nigeria’s ranking among source countries of international students in Canada. At the time of the announcement Nigeria already ranked 9th as a source country of Canada international students, with 11,985 study permit holders at the end of 2019.

Eligibility for Canada Nigeria Student Express Pilot

The Nigeria Student Express resembles the Student Direct Stream (SDS), a pathway introduced for expedited study permit processing for residents of China, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan, Senegal, and Morocco. According to IRCC, prospective students must:

  • have a letter of admission for a Bachelor, Master’s or PhD degree program, or other graduate-level studies
  • from a Canadian designated learning institution
  • apply using the secure financial verification system, MyBank, to show that they have sufficient funds for their studies in Canada (MyBank is available from the principal commercial banks in Nigeria)

In addition, to be fully eligible:

  1. You must have scored 6 each in IELTs Academic
  2. You must have the equivalent of 30,000 Canadian dollars in your bank account for at least 6 months. You must attached your ticket number from MyBankStatement (A special type of bank statement).
  3. You must undergo a medical exam.
  4. You must get a police clearance letter.

Nigerians are eligible to work while you are studying in Canada. In addition, your spouse or common law partner is eligible to come with you and work in Canada during your study period. All they have to do is apply for a spousal open work permit.

Applying for Canada study permit – General information

Foreign students who have applied for and been accepted into a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) may apply for a Canadian student visa to come to Canada for the program to which they have been accepted. To be eligible you must meet the following requirements:

See also Applying for Canada Study Permit – Step-byStep Guidelines

  • You must have been accepted by a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) 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.

You must have received an acceptance letter from the designated institution before you submit your application for a Canada study permit.

For detailed eligibility and step-by-step application instructions, read Applying for Canada study permit – Guidelines for International Students

See also  Find Colleges & Universities in Canada and Find Canada Scholarships.

Working while studying in Canada

Working eligibly while studying supports international students pathways to permanent residence. There is tremendous value to studying in Canada because international students can work while studying, and international graduates are eligible for open work permits and immigration programs that lead to permanent residence.

Full time international students with valid study permit can work up to 20 hours per week during the school year, and full-time on scheduled breaks.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

After graduation international students can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). These permits, which are valid for at least eight months and may last for up to three years, allow international graduates to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

Skilled Canadian work experience through the PGWPP helps strengthens international students pathways to permanent residence by through the Canadian experience class within Canada Express Entry System.

Pathways to Canadian permanent residence

International students have a number of options to stay in Canada after graduation. Having a Canadian degree plus Canadian work experience makes international graduates prime candidates for several immigration programs.

The Canadian government has in place several pathways for international graduates to become Canadian permanent residents through the Canada Express Entry System.  In addition, many of Canada’s provincial immigration programs are also specifically targeted at international graduates.   Each of Canada’s ten provinces has at least one immigration program offering a pathway to permanent residence for international graduates of Canadian learning institutions. Some programs are designed for specific levels of education like a Master’s or Ph.D.

Federal Express Entry System

Express Entry is the application system that Canada uses to manage skilled worker applications. It is the most popular way to immigrate to Canada.

In order to enter the federal Express Entry pool, candidates must first create an Express Entry profile. You must meet the eligibility requirements for one of the three federal government economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Class; the Federal Skilled Trades Class; and the Canadian Experience Class.

A job offer is not required to enter or be selected from the Express Entry pool although additional CRS points are awarded to those who already have a job.

Based on the information you entered in your federal Express Entry profile you will be given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and placed into a pool of other candidates ranked. 

International graduates can be eligible for multiple programs once they have a profile in the Express Entry pool.

international students pathways to permanent residence

Accelerated PR process for International Graduates

On Thursday May 6, 2021, Canada began to accept applications for six new immigration streams for permanent residence. The new program is aimed at landing 90,000 international graduates, health care workers and other essential workers in 2021.

The English-speaking International Graduates stream targets to land 40,000 international graduates in 2021. The quota of 40,000 was filled by applicants within 25 hours of opening on May 6. It is expected that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will re-open the stream as it processes and rejects hundreds if not thousands of the applications in the initial review. Given the popularity of the English-speaking International Graduate stream, it is also likely that the quota will be increased in order for IRCC to meet its overall 2021 immigration target level.

Provincial Immigration Programs

Canadian provinces do not have the ability to give out permanent residency status, but they can help an application along by issuing provincial nominations to candidates who have registered a profile in the federal Express Entry immigration system.

The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) enable Canadian provinces to offer international students pathways to permanent residence where such candidates’ qualifications meet their labour market needs.

Provincial nominations involve a two-step process. First, candidates apply for a provincial nomination from the province. Then, if you get the nomination you use it to support your application to the federal government for Canadian permanent residence.

Applying for a provincial nomination is not the same as applying for Canadian permanent residence. Rather a nomination effectively means the province is guaranteeing that the federal government will issue you an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence in one of its Express Entry draws.

A provincial nomination gives the candidate an additional 600 points toward their federal Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. The additional 600 CRS points virtually guarantee that the candidate will receive an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence in an Express Entry draw.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was launched in 2017 by the federal government to address labour shortages in the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. It was initially billed for three years but is now slated to become a permanent program in 2022.

International graduates from eligible institutions in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick may be able to apply for the Atlantic International Graduate Program. This program allows graduates to apply for permanent residence without having any previous work experience.

Quebec Immigration Programs

The province of Quebec has its own economic immigration program. International students who graduated from a Quebec learning institution may be eligible for the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ).

In general, PEQ requires that candidates have work experience, a job offer, and demonstrate a strong proficiency in French language.


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You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.