Student Visa

If you’re looking to be an international student, choose Canada! For one, Canada is the most educated country in the world with more than half of the students completing their education. If that’s not enough reason to choose Canada as a study destination, it’s also affordable compared to that of the U.S., and U.K.

With an estimate of over 130,000 international students every year, you can be one too. Learn how to get a Canada study permit and be well on your way to a brighter future.

How Do I Get a Study Visa?

If you’re planning to study in Canada as an international student, then you must have a study permit. Below are the steps to obtain a study visa.

1. Get accepted to a Canadian university

Before applying for the permit, the first thing you’ll need to do is be enrolled at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Since the pandemic, there has been a slight change and the university you apply to needs to be on the list of DLI with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. But not to worry as there are many affordable tertiary institutions in Canada to choose from.

2. Apply for the Canadian study permit

The following documents are needed to apply:

  • an acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI);
  • a valid passport or travel document and;
  • proof you can finance yourself and any family members who go with you, while in Canada.

Depending on your country of origin, you may need additional documents such as:

  • a letter of explanation;
  • a certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ);
  • a custodian declaration, if you’re a minor; and
  • any other documents you may need.

You have two choices when applying, you can either apply online or via a paper application. However, it is advised to apply online and it’s much quicker and easier. It’ll also ensure that your application is completed correctly before submitting and your application result will be sent directly to your online account.

3. Pay processing and biometric fees

Be mindful of the processing fees you’ll need to pay, this includes for yourself and anyone else on your application. You’ll also have to pay the biometrics fee. All fees are paid at the end of your application.

 Canadian Study Permit Fees 
 Fee Amount in CAD
 Study permit (including extensions) – per person $150
 Restore status ($200) + new study permit ($150) $350
 Biometrics – per person $85
 Biometrics – Maximum fee for a family of 2 or more people applying at the same time and place $170
 Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) $7

Please note that the study permit is not a visa. If needed, you’ll get an eTA issued along with your study permit.

4. Do your medical exams and police clearance if needed

Any foreign national planning to stay in Canada for longer than six months needs to have a medical examination done to enter Canada. This is to make sure you’re not prohibited for medical reasons. For this medical exam you can’t go to your general doctor, it needs to be an approved panel physician in your country.

You can either do the medical exam before submitting your application or after. In the case it’s the latter, the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will send you instructions on how to get your medicals done. You must go for your medical exam within 30 days of receiving these instructions. Your application may be refused if you don’t follow the instructions.

5. Wait for your application results

The processing times can vary depending on the country you’re applying from. Applicants will generally have a waiting time of 16 weeks to get a Canada study permit, however, applicants from countries participating in the Student Direct Stream can expect shorter waiting times of approximately 20 calendar days.

What is the Student Direct Stream?

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is designed to improve the economic, cultural and social benefits international students bring to Canada, by expediting the processing time of study permits.

To be eligible for the Student Direct Stream, you must be a legal resident living in one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Brazil;
  • China;
  • Colombia;
  • Costa Rica;
  • India;
  • Morocco;
  • Pakistan;
  • Peru;
  • Philippines;
  • Senegal;
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines;
  • Trinidad and Tobago;
  • Vietnam.

Most SDS applications take 20 calendar days to be processed, however, certain applications may take slightly longer, depending on the applicant.

Who can apply for a Canadian study visa?

You can apply for a study visa for Canada if:

  • are enrolled at a DLI;
  • prove you have enough money to pay for your tuition, living expenses and return transportation for yourself and your family;
  • obey the law, have no criminal record and get a police certificate, if required;
  • are in good health and get a medical exam, if required; and
  • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires.


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