How to study in Canada as an Indian student

Edana Robitaille
Published: August 28, 2022

According to a recent study by the Canadian Bureau of International Education, Canada is a top choice for international students due to its reputation as a safe, stable, and tolerant country in addition to the quality of its educational institutions.

This is especially true for Indian students who often choose Canada as a destination to study abroad. In fact, Indian students accounted for 30% of the total international students in Canada, at just over 217,000 as of December 31, 2021.

For Indian students, Canada is particularly attractive due to our shared language, English, as well as large and well-established Indian communities throughout the country. Additionally, international students in Canada are permitted to hold a job and work a specified number of hours per week.

Discover your options to study in Canada

How do I study in Canada?

Canada has many reputable colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions that welcome international students. To be eligible to attend, and find the right program, there are a few steps you should follow.

Research on where you would like to study

Spend time finding programs that align with your career goals, where the school is located and researching what your day-to-day life will be like. You should also make sure the program you select is at a designated learning institution (DLI). You can check this on the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

A designated learning institution is a school approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. If a school does not have DLI status, you will not be able to get a study permit, or later, a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)

Once you have decided which institution, or institutions, you would like to attend, go ahead and apply.

Letter of acceptance

If your application to a DLI is approved, you will receive a Letter of Acceptance (LOA). You need this letter to apply for a study permit. Make sure the letter contains details such as:

  • The name and contact information of the DLI
  • Your name, date of birth, and mailing address
  • The study program, level of the program, duration of the program, its start date, and estimated date of completion

Apply for a study permit

Once you have your LOA, you can apply for a study permit by applying directly to IRCC. In addition to your LOA, you will need some additional documents such as:

  • Proof of financial support to cover your tuition and living expenses in Canada
  • Police certificates
  • Medical exams, if applicable
  • Letter of explanation detailing your career objectives and ties to your home country

Note that if you are applying to a DLI in the province of Quebec, you will also need to also have a Certificat d’Acceptation du Quebec (CAQ) before submitting your application to IRCC.

Apply for a study permit under the Student Direct Stream

Students from India are eligible to apply for their study permits through the Student Direct Stream (SDS).Under this stream, residents from a list of countries will have their study permit applications expediated. SDS has a service standard of 20 days.

There are more eligibility requirements for the SDS. In addition to all the requirements for a permit through the normal study stream, students who apply through SDS must also have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) with a participating Canadian bank of $10,000 CAD. Also, there is a language requirement of a minimum of 6.0 in each skill on the IELTS (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).

Arriving in Canada

Once you arrive in Canada to start your program, under a student permit you are allowed to work off campus for up to 20 hours a week during your regular semester and full-time during study breaks such as summer or over winter holidays. There is no limit to the number of jobs you can hold to make up the hours.

When your program of study ends, you are no longer allowed to work in Canada as a student and must apply for a work permit if you wish to continue living and working in Canada

Post-Graduate Work Permit

Most graduates who wish to remain in Canada apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). This permit allows recent graduates of Canadian learning institutions to live and work in Canada after graduation. Work experience gained while on a PGWP makes it more likely you will be able to become a permanent resident through the likes of Express Entry, the PNP, and other immigration pathways.

The length of your PGWP coincides with the length of your educational program, up to a maximum duration of three years.

Discover your options to study in Canada

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