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Study in Canada – Step-by-Step Guides

Study in Canada – Step-by-Step Guides

The Canadian government has developed a strategy not only to attract foreign students, but to allow them to stay and build careers in Canada. Canada offers the world’s best study programs and is home to some of the world’s leading research facilities and academic institutions. Originally the government goal was to attract 450,000 international students by 2022, but Canada beat that target at the end of 2017, when there were 494,525 study permit holders across all levels of study.

Canada Study Permit Holders On December 31 Each Year

Step-by-step guide to applying for a Canada Study Permit

Step 1: Understand the Requirements

Students wishing to study in Canada should start planning for Canadian study permit at least a year in advance. You must read and understand admission requirements for various Canadian institutions and the rules for obtaining a study permit.  Common requirements for all universities and institutions include an updated passport, proficiency in either English or French along with proof of passing prescribed language tests with minimum grades/bands, and proof that you can finance your study as well as the cost of living in the country.

Step 2: Choose your Course and Institution

Only admission to a Designated Learning Institute  (DLIs) qualify an international student for Canadian study visa.  Therefore be sure that the institution your are applying to is listed on the government’s DLIs.  As well, it is advisable to have chosen a specific major course when applying for study visa, although you may switch courses later.

Step 3: Take the Language Proficiency Test

Every international student is required to prove proficiency in English or French.  IELTS is the preferred test for proficiency in English, with some institutions also accepting the Cambridge English: Advanced or TOEFL exam score.  For French,  the TEF exam is the most common although you can choose to write DALF, DELF, or TCF.

Step 4: Apply to Universities

It is possible to take this step during Step 3 or even earlier.  But this is the point when you contact your chosen institution (from the  Designated Learning Institute  list), obtain their application packs, and submit them well in advance.  As application fees range between $100 to $250 per institution you may want to apply to only the top 5 on your list.

To avoid delay which may in turn impact your visa processing, make sure you provide complete and accurate information with all necessary documents. If satisfied with your application the institution will send you a letter of admission which you will need to process your study permit application.

Step 5: Apply for a Study Permit   

Once you have an admission letter on hand from one of the DLIs you can now apply for your Canada Study Permit or student visa. You can apply online or visit your local visa application centre. Your application must be accompanied by the admission letter, your passport, and documentary proof that you have adequate finances to study in Canada.

If you have applied to an institution in the province of Quebec, then you will also receive, along with the acceptance letter, a “Certificat d’acceptation du Québec” (CAQ). Make sure you include this document in your study permit application.

Step 6: Travel Time

Once the application has been processed and an interview, if required, has been conducted, the immigration officer will decide upon your study permit application. If accepted, you will be issued a visa with a specified date from which the permit comes into force. This is the date you are allowed to enter Canada.

Step 7: Entering Canada

The immigration officer will verify your permit and other documents at the port of entry before allowing you to enter Canada. Once stamped you are ready to commence your studies in Canada.

What happens after your studies are completed?

Canada has made it much easier for International students to work during and after their studies.  In addition the federal government has implemented a path for them to become Canadian permanent residents.  See International Students – Work and Permanent Resident Eligibility


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