Any foreign individual who intends to pursue an educational course in Canada is required to avail a student visa. In Canada, the authorities unlike other countries do not issue anything called Student Visa. They issue something called ‘Canada Study Permit’ which is equivalent to a Canada Student Visa.
The permit enables the foreign individual to study at the designated learning institutes (DLI) located in the country. While many think that the study permit is the same as the student visa, it is not the case. The study permit issued to the foreign individual by the authorities is not enough for the individual to enter Canada. He/she would also need to have availed a temporary resident visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA), which will be issued as part of the study permit application.
It needs to be mentioned that the study permit is not needed to be availed by the individual in case of the following situations:
- The educational course lasts less than 6 months.
- He/she is a member of foreign armed forces in Canada on official duties.
- He/she belongs to a different country but has registered Indian status in Canada.
- He/she is a family or staff member of a foreign representative in Canada, accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
- He/she is a minor studying in kindergarten, refugee, or refugee claimants, have parents who are refugees, or refugee claimants, or they want to go to pre-school, primary or secondary school and is in the country with a parent who is allowed to work or study there.
Validity of Canada Student Visa
The study permit is valid for the entire length of the study program that the individual enrols for plus an extra 90 days. The additional 90 days can be used by the individual to leave the country or file an application to extend their stay.
Note: If the individual is asked to take some courses before the colleges accept them into the main program, the study permit will be issued for the length of the course. If enrolled in the main program, the individual can apply to extend the stay in the country as a student.
Canada Student Visa Fees
The fees which need to be paid for availing a Canada Student Visa is US$150. In case the applicant is required to provide biometrics, the fees required to be paid starts from US$85.
Indian students who apply for a Study Permit are not required to provide biometrics as of now but starting 31 December 2018, biometrics would be needed to be provided when a new application for a visitor visa, study or work permit or for permanent residence is filed.
Eligibility Criteria for Canada Student Visa
To apply for a Canada Student Visa, the individual needs fulfil certain eligibility criteria. They are mentioned below:
- He/she needs to be enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI).
- Must obey the law and not have any criminal record. The individual must not be a risk to the security of the country. (Note: He/she may need to submit a police certificate).
- Must be in good health, may need to complete a medical exam
- Provide proof that he/she possesses enough money to pay the tuition fees, cover the living expenses for himself/herself, and return transportation from the country.
- Convince the immigration officer that he/she will leave the country as and when the studies end.
Canada Student Visa Requirements
When applying for a Canada Student Visa, the documents which need to be submitted are mentioned below:
- Proof of acceptance - As proof of acceptance, the individual is required to submit the acceptance letter that the school had sent him/her. The letter should be included with the study permit application.
- Proof of financial support - When it comes to proving funds, the individual must submit the documents mentioned below:
- Proof of a student/education loan from a bank.
- A bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars.
- Bank statement for the last four months.
- Proof of having tuition and housing fees.
- Proof of funding paid from within Canada, if the individual is availing a scholarship or is in a Canadian-funded educational program.
- Letter from the person or school, if they are providing money.
- Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution.
- Proof of having a Canadian bank account in his/her name, if funds are being transferred to Canada.
- Proof of Identity: To prove identity, the individual must submit:
- Two recent passports sized photographs with the name and date of birth written on the back of each photo.
- Valid passport or the travel document.
Apart from submitting the proof of acceptance, identity and financial support, the individual might be needed to submit additional documents such as:
- Letter of explanation - The letter of explanation helps the visa officer to understand the individual and his/her goals. The letter should explain why the individual wants to study in Canada and prove that he/she understands the responsibilities as a student.
- Custodian declaration (for minors only) - The custodian declaration is required to be submitted only when the minor requires a custodian in Canada. The custodian declaration form which has two pages must be certified by a notary after the first page is signed by the custodian and the second page is signed by the parents or legal guardians of the minor child in the child’s home country.
- Certificat d’acceptation du Quebec (CAQ) - Certificat d’acceptation du Quebec (CAQ) issued by the Quebec government needs to be submitted if the individual will study in Quebec. If the individual is waiting to get the CAQ he/she can use the approval letter from the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion (MIDI) to apply for the study permit.
- Other documents - The other documents which the individual may need to submit varies depending on the visa office instructions of the country or region from where the individual belongs. However, one document which need to be submitted irrespective of the country or region is the proof of immigration status in the country from where the application for the study permit is filed.
Canada Student Visa Processing Time
As mentioned earlier, even though an individual avails a study permit, they are required to avail a temporary resident visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). The time taken to process a study permit which is issued under the Temporary Residence visa varies depending on the country from where the individual is applying. For Indian nationals, the processing time taken by the authorities is 5 weeks. (Note: This processing time does not include the time that is taken to send the application to the authorities and for the biometrics.)
How to apply for Canada Student Visa?
Though it is recommended that an individual applies for a study permit before he/she comes to Canada, the authorities provide three options to the applicants. They are:
- Applying from outside Canada.
- Applying from within Canada.
- Applying at the port of entry.
All the three options allow individuals to apply for the study permit online as well as on paper. To apply for the Canada Student Visa online, the applicant needs a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of the documents and a valid credit or debit card. To apply on paper, the individual is required to follow the steps mentioned below:
- Gather the relevant documents.
- Fill in the application form completely.
- Pay the fees for availing the Canada Student Visa.
- Submit the application.
Process after applying for Canada Student Visa
After the application is submitted, the individual is required to complete additional verification. This involves giving the biometrics to the authorities. The applicant is required to provide his/her biometrics within 30 days of receiving a letter from the authorities. It needs to be mentioned that the letter is sent via mail within 24 hours of applying if the application was filed online. In case the application was filed on paper, the letter is sent to the address mentioned in the application form within two weeks.
Once the biometrics are submitted, the processing of the application takes place. If the application is approved, the authorities will send a letter of introduction and an electronic travel Authorization (eTA) or a temporary resident visa to enter Canada, which needs to be shown to the immigration official when you arrive in the country. If the application is rejected, a letter explaining the reasons for rejection will be sent.
Process and Documentation check after arriving in Canada
Once the Canada Study Check is issued to the individual, it doesn’t mean that checking of the documents is not carried out by the officials when the individual lands in the country. When an individual arrives in the country, an officer from the Government of Canada will meet the individual and check whether he/she meets the requirements to enter the country and ask them to present their passport or travel documents.
Canada Student Visa through Student Direct Stream
Individuals from India, Philippines, Vietnam, and China can apply for a Study Permit also through Student Direct Stream. The application can be filed online or on paper. To apply for the permit, the applicant needs to fill up the application form and submit it along with the documents mentioned below:
- Proof that the individual has a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of 10,000 dollars.
- A copy of the upfront medical exam confirmation document.
- Proof that the applicant has paid tuition fees for the first year of study.
- A copy of the acceptance letter from a designated learning institution.
- Proof that the applicant has graduated from a Canadian curriculum high school or a language test form securing a score of at least 6 in English or Niveaux de competence linguistic canadians score of at least 7 for French.
Canada Student Visa Status
The process of checking the status of the Canada Student Visa is different in case of online application and paper application. Listed below are the processes through which the status of the application can be checked for both online application and paper application.
- Sign in to the account using the valid credentials.
- Click on ‘View my submitted applications or profiles’
- Next, select ‘Check status and messages’ tab.
- In doing so, the status of the application is displayed in the corresponding screen.
- If the application for the study permit is filed on paper, the application needs to be linked to an online account.
- In doing so, the applicant would be able to view the status of the application as well as receive messages about the application that was filed.
Extension of Canada Student Visa
Even though, the study permit issued by the Canadian authorities is valid for the entire duration of the educational program, there are instance the validity of the study permit needs to be extended. To extend the validity of the permit, the applicant is required to file a new application and make the necessary payments. The fee for the study permit including extensions is $150, while to restore the status of the application, the applicant is needed to pay $350. The processing time taken by the authorities is 32 days when an online application is filed while if a paper application is filed by the applicant the number of days taken is 110 days.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Canada Student Visa
- Do the Canadian authorities issue a student visa?
No, the Canadian authorities do not issue a Student visa.
- Do I need to avail a study permit if I opt for short-term studies in Canada?
No, if you are opting for short-term studies that last for six months or less, the study permit is not necessary.
- Is it beneficial to avail a study permit even when I don’t need it?
Yes, it is beneficial to avail a study permit even when you don’t need it. This is because you can continue to keep studying in Canada while you renew the study permit as well as take up work on-campus on a part-time basis.
- How long can an individual stay in Canada with a study permit?
With a Canada Student Visa, an individual can stay in the country for the entire duration of the educational course plus 90 days after the studies are completed.
- What are the documents that need to be submitted when applying for a study permit?
The documents which need to be submitted by the applicant when a study permit is applied for are as follows:
- Proof of Identity.
- Proof of financial support.
- Proof of acceptance.
- Custodian declaration.
- Letter of explanation.
- Certificat d’acceptation du Quebec (CAQ).
- Other documents (as may be necessary).
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