Applying for a Canadian Study Permit: A Step-by-Step Overview

CIC News
Published: August 14, 2013

After searching for and applying to schools, you have finally received an acceptance letter to a Canadian educational institution. Congratulations! But before you start packing your bags, there is one important step still ahead of you: obtaining your Canadian Study Permit. A study permit is generally required before a student can come to Canada.

Here is a quick breakdown of the study permit application process:

1. Gather your documents

In order to submit a study permit application, you will need the following documents:

  • Proof of identity (passport, two passport sized photographs)
  • Acceptance letter from your school
  • Proof of funds for your stay in Canada

To prove funds, you must provide evidence that you can support yourself and any accompanying dependents during your time in Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) states that this can be proved by one of the following:

  • Proof of a Canadian bank account in your name if money has been transferred to Canada;
  • Proof of a student/education loan from a financial institution;
  • Your bank statements for the past four months;
  • A bank draft in convertible currency;
  • Proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees;
  • A letter from the person or institution providing you with money; and/or
  • Proof of funding paid from within Canada if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program.

Keep in mind that certified translations will be needed for all documents not written in English or French.

2. If studying in Quebec, prepare materials for Certificat d’Acceptation du Quebec (CAQ)

In addition to a Study Permit, students in Quebec must receive a CAQ. The CAQ should be obtained before applying for a study permit. For more information on this document, please click here.

3. Determine where to submit your application

It is important to submit your application to the correct visa office. To search for visa offices around the world, please click here.

4. Find out if you need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

Citizens of certain countries require a TRV to come to travel to Canada. This includes students. If citizens of your country require a TRV, you must obtain a TRV in addition to your Study Permit.

5. Prepare and submit Study Permit application

Once your application is ready, you should submit it to the appropriate visa office. If applying for a TRV, both the study permit and TRV applications may be submitted concurrently.

Be aware that, though not common, a visa officer may request an interview with you.

6. Pay processing fees

The Government of Canada requires $125 CAD to process a Study Permit application. This may be paid in Canadian dollars or local currency, depending on the visa office.

7. Complete medical exam, if needed

If your duration of study is less than six months, you will not be required to undergo a medical exam. If your duration of study will be longer than six months, you may need to undergo a medical exam if you have lived in one of the countries CIC has designated as requiring medical clearance. You may also need an exam if, as part of your studies, you will be working in a field related to public health.

CIC recommends submitting your medical exam results along with your Study Permit application in order to ensure faster processing.

8. Receive documents and arrive in Canada

You should not travel to Canada until you have received all necessary documentation. If your application is approved, you will receive a letter of approval for your study permit. Upon arrival at a Canadian port of entry (airport, land border, etc), you should present the following documents:

  • your letter of introduction from the visa office;
  • your passport or other valid travel documents;
  • the letter of acceptance from the school you will be attending;
  • proof of funds documents; and
  • your temporary resident visa, if required.

If you applied for a TRV, you will receive the TRV stamped into your passport when it is returned from the visa office.

Once you have arrived in Canada, you may begin your studies! This is likely not the end of your dealings with the government, however. Many students in Canada seek to work while studying, extend or change their study permits, or transition from a study permit to another form of residency in Canada. Stay tuned to CIC News as we explore these subjects in the future.

To find out if you are eligible for a Canadian Study Permit, please complete a free online assessment

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