Canada introduces program to fast-track study permit processing from Nigeria

The number of Nigerian international students studying in Canada is increasing every year, and now Canada is introducing a new pilot program intended to help expedite the study permit application process.

The Nigeria Student Express (NSE) pilot is for Nigerians who have been accepted to a Canadian post-secondary institution, according to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Eligible candidates need to have been accepted to a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree program, or a post-graduate diploma course.

Canada is aiming to shorten study permit processing for Nigerians from an average of eight weeks to 20 days through the NSE.

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“Nigeria Student Express is a pilot initiative at our Visa Office (VO) in Lagos aimed at improving processing times for study permit applicants in Nigeria who are planning to study at the university level in Canada,” IRCC said in a tweet, “It was introduced to prospective students and their parents at EduCanada fairs in Abuja and Lagos in January 2020.”

NSE has some similar features to the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which also has a 20-day processing standard for study permit applicants.

One key difference is that the NSE only applies to Nigerian applicants who have been accepted to degree programs or post-graduate studies at a Canadian designated learning institution. On the other hand, SDS is available to all post-secondary study permit applicants residing in the following seven countries: China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam.

“With NSE, prospective students who have a letter of admission for a Bachelor, Master’s or PhD degree program, or other graduate-level studies, at a Canadian designated learning institution may apply using a secure financial verification system, MyBank, to show that they have sufficient funds for their studies in Canada. MyBank is available from the principal commercial banks in Nigeria. Prospective students in Nigeria can apply online as soon as they have the required documents,” IRCC wrote in an email to CIC News.

Nigerian immigration to Canada has been booming in recent years. In 2019, Nigerians were the fourth most represented nationality among new permanent residents.

A considerable number of Nigerians choose Canada as a place of study. Last year a total of 11,985 study permit holders were from Nigeria, making it the ninth most popular source country for international students.

The IRCC Twitter page encourages those interested to contact the Visa Office in Lagos for more information on the NSE program.

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