Study Permit for Canada – All You Need To Know

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Canada is one of the best study destinations that continue to attract students across the globe. Although gaining admission to the top Canadian Universities require outstanding academic performance, the authorization to study in the country is legalized through a study permit. If you wish to study in Canada, then you need a study permit before you are allowed to enter Canada.

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The study permit is mostly issued to potential students when they first arrive in Canada. In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the study permit for Canada. 

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What is a Canadian study permit?

The Canadian study permit is a legal document issued to foreign and international students that permits them to study at various Universities and learning institutions in Canada. Most international students, especially Africans, must have a study permit to study in Canada. You need to apply for your study permit before traveling to Canada. The study permit is not the same as a visa. You will also need an electronic travel authorization or visitor visa before you can enter Canada. 

How long does a study permit last?

The length of your study permit depends on the duration of your course of study. You also enjoy an extra 90 days window period. This allows you to prepare to leave Canada or apply for an extension. If you don’t finish your studies before the expiry date of your study permit, you must apply for an extension. If you fail to do that, you’ll have to quit your studies and leave Canada.

Consequently, if you finish your studies before the expiry date on your study permit, your study permit becomes invalid 90 days after completing your studies regardless of the date on the permit. 

How to get a Canadian Student Visa

If you want to study in Canada, you must obtain a Canadian study permit, which will also serve as your student visa for the period of your stay as a student in Canada. You don’t need a study permit if your program or course lasts for less than six months. However, it is advisable for you to always apply for a study permit regardless of your course duration.

With your study permit at hand, you can always renew it within Canada if you decide to extend your stay. As a full-time student, having a study permit allows you to take up part-time jobs on campus. You’ll also be able to work off-campus or work as an intern or stay in Canada as a permanent resident and secure a job after your graduation. 

How to Apply for a Canadian Study Permit

You can apply for a Canadian study permit through a paper application or online via the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) website. It is advisable to apply online because the paper application takes a longer time to process. If you want to apply online, you need a debit/credit card and other required documents. The visa office in your home country will give you more details about the documents you need to provide; however, this varies depending on your location.

To get your Canadian study permit, follow the steps below:

  • Obtain an acceptance letter from an accredited higher institution in Canada

Before applying for a Canadian study permit, you must first apply for a letter of acceptance from the university you wish to study. You can get this online or consult with the university directly to know how to go about the whole process.

  • Canadian student visa application

The next step after obtaining the letter of acceptance is to apply for a Canadian student visa. You can get a student visa through the CIC website or by contacting the Canadian embassy or local visa office in your home country. To qualify for getting a visa, you’ll need to answer some vital questions on the CIC website. Your answers to these questions will determine whether you’re eligible for a Canadian student permit or not.

You’ll receive a personal checklist code if you’re found eligible. This code is very important because you’ll be needing it to continue your online visa application. Some applicants, especially Africans, will be required to attend an interview at their local visa office.

Other additional requirements for a Canadian student permit

  • All applicants from Africa, the Middle East, and Europe may need to provide fingerprints and photograph passport (biometrics)
  • Some applicants will be required to get a police check or medical exam before completing their application. If you have any criminal record, you may be denied a study permit.
  • If you’re from Africa, you need to show roofs that you have a valid passport that will allow you to return back to your home country after you complete your studies. You also need to provide two passports sized pictures with your name and date of birth boldly written on the back.
  • You must provide proof of funds to support yourself before your visa is processed. Currently, this amount pegs at CA$10,000 (~US$7,550) annually throughout your stay in Canada. To prove that you have the said amount, you may be required to provide any of the following documents.
  • Letter from an institution or person providing you with the money
  • Bank statement
  • A bank draft in convertible currency
  • Proof of a Canadian account in your name with the said amount transferred in it.
  • Proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees
  • Proof of funding paid if you’re on scholarship or undertaking a Canadian-funded program.

Documents Required for a Canadian Study Permit

You can only start applying for a study permit after you’ve obtained the college acceptance letter. If you’re aiming for the September intake, then you must begin your visa and study permit process around June. The documents you need for application include

  • A valid passport

To apply for a study permit in Canada, you need a valid passport. The Canadian High Commission expects that you have a valid passport whose validity covers the intended period of your stay in Canada. For example, if you intend to travel to Canada in September 2020 for a three-year program, and you should have a valid passport whose expiry date is at least September 2023.

  • Proof of acceptance by a designated Learning institution

You need a letter of acceptance from the university you’re planning to attend in Canada. A designated learning institute (DLI) refers to all accredited institutions/ universities that are recognized by the Canadian Immigration Department.

  • Passport photographs

If you’re applying offline, you will be required to provide two passport-sized photographs that meet the minimum standards. For online applications, you need a digital photograph with a size of less than 4 MB. You should present a recent photo of you (not older than six months), and the photo should be taken on a plain background with a size of at least 35 mm x 45 mm.

  • Immigration Medical Examination (IME)

Canadian Immigration requires all international students to carry out an immigration Medical Examination. You’re expected to undergo this medical examination at least one week before you start your visa application. A complete medical exam will be conducted on you. After the exam, the panel of physicians will send the result directly to CIC. 

  • English language proficiency exam score

Although it is not compulsory to have the English language proficiency exam score at the time of your application, we strongly suggest that you set for it before you even start the Visa Application process. Moreover, you would need to submit your English Language proficiency score to confirm your admission status at any of the Canadian Designated Learning Institutes. Some of the accepted English language Proficiency exam acceptable in Canada include IELTS, TOEFL, etc. 

  • Declaration of purpose

Part of the requirements for applying for a Canadian study permit is that you’ll be expected to write an essay stating the purpose of your journey to Canada and why you chose the particular designated learning institution. Although this is sometimes considered an optional document, we strongly advise that you submit it all the same because it hastens the approval process. 

  • Credit Card

If you’re making an online application, you’ll need a credit card to make payment for the application fee. The visa application fee costs about CAD 160. You must note that the system does not accept debit cards; therefore, you must use a credit card to make the payment. You can also use your parent’s credit card to make the payment as long as you have permission to do so. 

In addition to the aforementioned documents, when applying online, you need to have access to a digital scanner. This is because you’ll be expected to download a few documents, print them, fill them, sign them, scan them, and upload them.

Note that during the personal interview, the interviewer may request some additional documents. These documents are necessary to prove the evidence of your financial and academic status. They include:

  • Certificates (diplomas, degrees, Transcripts) from all the schools you attended
  • Scores from tests like GMAT, GRE, SAT, or TOEFL
  • Declaration to leave Canada after you complete your studies
  • How you will pay for all your expenses (travel costs, living and educational expenses)

A study permit is one of the most important documents you need as an international student before you arrive in Canada. If you’re traveling to Canada solely for educational purposes (elementary, secondary, language, college/university studies) that will last for more than six months, then you must apply for a Canadian study permit. It is considered as the legal document that grants you permission to study in Canadian designated learning institutions.

We hope that the information we shared in this post will help you in your study permit application process. Leave a comment below and let us know how helpful this post was to you.