2022 Update – Canada’s Nigerian Student Express Program. Canada launched the Nigerian Student Express Program (NSE) in 2020. The goal is to process Nigerian students’ applications for Canadian study permits within 20 days.
In comparison, standard processing times for study permit applications from Nigerian students is around 8 weeks.
According to the official 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.
Canada’s Acting High Commissioner, Paul Gibbard, launched Canada’s Nigerian Student Express Program during the 2020 EduCanada Fair in January 2020, in Abuja, Nigeria.
Unfortunately, throughout 2020 and 2021 the coronavirus pandemic diverted news attention from this important development. Moreover, it was a regional announcement at a fair to prospective students and their parents (not by IRCC official NR in Ottawa, Canada). Therefore, the news arrived to skepticism by Nigerians who are already too wary of immigration scams and fraud.
You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.
IRCC has posted a web form to quickly answer a few questions for your application for a study permit. See Get specific instructions on how to apply.
Nigeria Student Express Pilot v. Regular Study Permit Program
It is important to note that you can still apply under the regular study permit process if you choose to. NSE is only a second option to have their applications processed more quickly.
If you apply under the regular program, IRCC may also advise you of your NSE option. Usually, the advice will include additional documents to submit with your NSE application. If you are unable to provide the additional information IRCC will follow the regular study permit application process.
There are a number of similarities and differences between NSE regular study permit program.
Processing Time for Nigeria Student Express
Under the regular study permit program, the standard processing time is about 4 weeks. But in reality it could take as long as four months.
Unlike the regular program, the standard processing time for NSE program is approximately 20 calendar days.
The processing of applications under both programs is the same. You file the application online using the same IRCC system.
Under NSE you need to undertake an upfront medical examination and include the results in your application. This is not a requirement under the regular study permit program.
Language Requirement for Nigeria Student Express
NSE’s language proficiency requirement is different from the regular program. NSE requires that you must write IELTS and obtain a minimum score of 6 while regular program does not. This is a significant difference to note when choosing the path to make your application. 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.
A key requirements for Canada study permit is evidence of sufficient funds for tuition, accommodation, and living expenses. 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, NSE uses the mybankStatement® electronic system. The system is affiliated with most of the established banks.
mybankStatement® is a one page ticket from your bank to replace traditional paper bank statements. It contains a unique ticket number and passcode that Embassies can use to verify that 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 Nigerian Student Express Program is already boosting the success of Nigerians applying for Canada study permits. It will also improve Nigeria’s ranking among source countries of international students in Canada. Nigeria already ranked 9th as a source country of Canada international students, with 11,985 study permit holders at the end of 2019.
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 Nigeria Student Express Pilot. Nigerian immigration to Canada has been booming in recent years. In 2019, Nigeria 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 programs that provide international students pathways to permanent residence. These are some the reasons why Canada is the world’s third-leading destination of foreign students:
- world-class educational system
- friendly and welcoming culture
- French and English learning options, and favourable living costs
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 Canada’s Nigerian Student Express Program
The Canadian High Commission also released the following statement and photos on its Facebook page about the NSE:
Prospective students also took to twitter to inquire of the legitimacy of the program.
Eligibility for Canada’s Nigeria Student Express Program
Canada’s Nigerian Student Express Program 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, you must:
- Score 6 each in IELTs Academic
- Have the equivalent of 30,000 Canadian dollars in your bank account for at least 6 months. Attach your ticket number from MyBankStatement (A special type of bank statement).
- Undergo a medical exam.
- 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
Canada is home to 21 of the world’s top 500 universities and 32 in the top 1,000.
Canada remains a top pick for international students. In 2020 Canada ranked as the world’s third-leading destination of foreign students. In 2021 IRCC issued 621,565 study permits, up almost 17.7 per cent from the 528,190 in 2020. That is impressively as high as the pre-pandemic levels. And it is only 2.6 per cent lower than the record of 638,280 study permits set in 2019.
Generally, you must apply for a study permit before you come to Canada. Some people can apply for a study permit from within Canada. In some cases, you can apply when you arrive in Canada at the port of entry.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has posted a web form that you can use to quickly answer a few questions to get the steps for your application. See Get specific instructions on how to apply. Most importantly, make sure you understand which option is available to you.
Canada is also introducing new pathways for international students to transition from study permit to permanent residence. IRCC spokespersons continue to emphasize that international students are key to Canada labour growth and economic recovery.
“Our message to international students and graduates is simple. We don’t just want you to study here. We’re hoping to create pathways that allow you to stay here and make a lasting contribution beyond your academic career.” Hon. Sean Fraser keynote address at ApplyBoard’s annual Educate the World Conference on March 10.
Who can apply for a Canada study permit?
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:
- have been accepted by a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.
- 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.
- 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.
- also be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
- and satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.
Ensure to receive 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, also read Applying for Canada study permit – Guidelines for International Students
Watch IRCC’s Official Video about How to Get Canadian Study Permit
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.
You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.