How to Apply for a Canadian Study Permit

How to Apply for a Canadian Study Permit

If you are planning to study abroad, Canada is a great place to consider. It is an amazing country with great higher institutions and valuable degrees.

There are several things involved in studying in Canada but one of the most important ones is getting a Study Permit. Without a  Canadian study visa and study permit, you cannot go to school in Canada.

This article explains the details of applying for and obtaining a student visa and study permits.

What is a Canada Student Visa?

A Canada student visa is a combination of a visitor visa and a study permit or an eTA and a study permit.

A Canada Student Visa is an official document that allows an individual to enter Canada. For such an individual to commence studies in Canada, a Study Permit is required. The visa for students is the same as a Canada Visitor Visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization. Intending students must have a study permit alongside the visa to be able to study.

A Canadian study permit allows you to stay in Canada until the end of your program. In some cases the study permit allows you to work while you are in school or work after you graduate.

To maintain your Canada study visa, you need to fulfill some conditions. Some of the conditions include:

  • You have to meet all the requirements of the student visa.
  • You have to be working to complete your study program.
  • Leave Canada immediately your study permit expires.
  • You have to always be enrolled in a designated learning institution.

Note that the study permit will not allow you to get Canadian government benefits such as health benefits. A study permit makes it easier for you to apply for a Canadian citizenship.

What is a Designated Learning Institution?

As mentioned above, you can only get a Canada student visa if you are enrolled in a DLI.

A DLI is a school or university which is approved by the provincial government to host international students.

See Also: How To Apply For Work Permit In Canada

Note that not all universities or educational institutions are certified DLIs. It is important to confirm if the school you are applying to is an approved list of Designation Learning Institutions. 

If you do not apply to a DLI, you will not be allowed to school even if they accept you.

Canada Student Visa Requirements

The first thing you need to do is complete the application forms. After that, you will have to submit the following documents:

All your documents should be in English or French language. Note that you must have certifications and proof that the translation is correct.

Who Does not need a Canadian Study Permit?

A Canadian study permit is necessary for all international students who want to study in Canada.

Remember, the permit alone does not allow you into Canada. This means you have to combine it with a visitor visa or eTA to start your studies.

There are certain situations or groups of people that might not need a study permit to study in Canada. Such include;

How To Apply for a Candian Study Permit

To study in Canada, there are three situations that you can be in, so you can apply from:

  • Outside of Canada;
  • Inside of Canada;
  • At the Canadian Port of Entry (POE)

Outside of Canada

If you are applying from outside of Canada, you will have to apply for a visitor visa and a study permit. There are some countries that do not need a visa to enter Canada. If you are from such countries, then you will apply for an eTA and a study permit.

The application for both is done through one process, so you do not need to have them separately. If you get approval for the visa, then you will also get a study permit.

Within Canada

As an international student, you can apply for a permit to study from within Canada only if:

  • You are an exchange or visiting student in Canada.
  • You have completed a short-term study program in Canada.
  • You or your family have a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) for 6 months or more.
  • You are being sponsored to immigrate to Canada or has applied for permanent residence.
  • You have a study permit from outside of Canada and you want to extend it.
  • You are the family member of: a Canadian based sports team member, a media representative, a member of the clergy, a military personnel assigned to Canada, You are a family member of a foreign representative in Canada

To apply from within Canada, you will have to go to the Embassy of your country in Canada. You can also contact the Canadian Embassy to submit the documents in person.

See Also: How To Immigrate To Canada From Nigeria

At Port of Entry

To apply at the POE, you first have to get an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). When you get this, prepare and present all the necessary documents at the Canadian Port of Entry.

The officials will review your documents and decide on whether to grant you the permit or not. Note that you can only apply at the POE if you fulfill these conditions:

  • You are a citizen of the United States of America (USA).
  • You are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the US.
  • You are a resident of Greenland or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

For each situation, you can apply in paper form or through the online system. The application process for each case is usually the same.

If you apply in paper form, you will have to print all the documents and send them to the Canadian Consulate.

If you apply online, you have to submit by scanning the documents and completed forms. You will do this by attaching them through your application account.

Application Process for a Study Permit

There are four stages involved in applying a Canadian study permit:

Check Eligibility

It is important to confirm the requirements for a study permit and ensure you meet all of them. To be eligible, you need to have:

  • an acceptance letter from a DLI
  • proof of financial support
  • other documents depending on your country of citizenship and residence

Prepare your Application

When confirm that you are eligible, you can start the application process. Ensure that you have all your documents and those related to your country.

Remember, the immigration officers have the right to refuse study permits if they feel you have not met all requirements. This is why you should  hire a professional immigration representative to review your application prior to submission.

Submit your Application

As mentioned above, you can apply online or paper forms.

If you are submitting your application online, you need to create an account on the IRCC website. You can then scan and attach your documents.

If you are submitting a paper form, you need to mail hard copies of your document to the Visa Application Centre. Find out VAC assigned to your country and submit your application there.

Receive your Canadian Study Permit

If your permit is approved, the Canadian government will give you a Port of Entry Introduction Letter. You must show this letter to the immigration official when you arrive in Canada. If you don’t, you will not obtain your study permit.

Cost of the Canadian Study Permit

To complete the application process, you need to pay all the application fees per person. This means if you have a family, you have to pay for each member applying.

Note that you cannot submit an application without paying your fees if you are applying online. You can submit paper applications without the fee but they will not be processed until you pay.

Study permit (including applications for extensions) usually costs about $150. There are other fees you will pay in the process of the application. It is important to confirm during the process and they may change over time.

Why a Canadian Study Permit may not be Approved

Everyday, people send in a lot of applications for the study permit but not all are approved. It is important to get the process right so you can save your money and time. Some of the reasons your application may be declined include:

Lack of Funds

Most times, a proof of funds that can last you for only one year may not be enough. If you do not have a better financial backing, they may reject your application.

Your chances are higher if you have proof of funds for more than a year.

Unacceptable Acceptance Letter

You need an impervious letter of acceptance from a certified DLI. This letter must be gotten through the right process to avoid any problems.

If the officers are not confident that your acceptance letter is legit, they will not approve.

See Also: How To Get A Job In Canada From Outside

Incomplete Documents

The officers may not overlook one or two missing documents. For instance, if you fail to attach your language test scores, your application may be rejected.

It is important to make every requirement available for the process to be successful.

Plans to Return Home

The study permit is only a temporary visa. This means you cannot enjoy some full benefits such as returning home. You must prove that you will not go back to your country until after your studies.

Inability to convince the immigration officers may lead to a rejection of your application.

If the IRCC rejects your application, you will be told why in the refusal letter. This does not mean all hope is lost as you can reapply at any time.

Make sure you rectify the issues in your previous submission before applying again.

Duration of Canadian Student Visa and Study Permit

A Canadian student visa is valid only for the duration of the study program. However, students usually have an additional 90 days. These 90 days allow you to prepare for leaving Canada or to apply for extending your study visa.

Note that you may be unable to complete your program within the time your study permit is valid.  This means that you will need to apply for extending it.

If you complete the program earlier than expected, then you will only have an additional 90 days. After these 90 days you must leave Canada.

Working with a Student Visa and Study Permit

In some cases, your visa and study permit may allow you work. Some of these instances include:

  •  On-campus work if you are in a full-time program
  • Co-ops or internships if your program curriculum requires you do so.
  • Off-campus work if your study permit allows it. The permit usually allows you work for only less than 20 hours per week.

If you wish to continue working in Canada after  your program you have to get a PGWP. A  Post Graduate Work Permit is usually given based on the length of your program.


Getting a study permit and student visa is very important if you want to study in Canada. It is important to get it right to avoid delay and spending extra expenses. As you follow the steps above, you can seek assistance from a professional to increase your chances.

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