If you want to join one of the learning institutions in Canada and study there, you will need a student visa or a Canadian study permit. This document is necessary for all students who come to Canada (or plan to come) for a study period longer than six months. If you are one of them, let’s see how to get a student visa in Canada.

To get one, you will first need a letter of acceptance for a study program issued by a Canadian college or a University. You will also need travel documents, such as a valid passport and proof of payment of tuition fees. Once you have the basic documents ready, let’s have a look at what the application process is like and how international students can come to Canada and possibly even stay there to continue their studies.

Once you have this document (which is issued by a visa office in your domestic country), you can do many things in Canada: study, travel, and even work part-time. You can also continue your studies on a higher educational level (MSc or PhD, for example), and you can even apply for an internship. After your visa is over, you can also apply for an extension or even for a permanent residence if all the requirements are fulfilled.

Visa Requirements for A Canadian Student

So, why study in Canada? Canada has some of the best education systems in the world, but to study there, you need a valid visa. When applying for a visa, you should know that the standard documents and the student visa application fee may not be enough to grant you entrance to the country. Some students may also be asked to pass a medical exam, present a Police Clearance from their native country, and even submit proof of funds.

Proof of Identity, in the form of a valid travel document, will also be needed for all students coming from countries other than the US or St. Pierre and Miquelon. You will also need to have documents that are valid for long enough to secure your coming back home. Make sure to also bring or submit passport photos with your application, and two of them, as this is a necessity for the application process.

Canadian student visa requirements will also need Proof of Funds. This proof is used to ensure that you can support yourself during your studies. Beware that this is not a small sum – you will need CAD10,000 for every year of your study or CAD11,000 for every year of study in Quebec. Always start preparation early enough so you know you have plenty of time before the Canadian school starts to secure all the documents found on the list of documents (the Canada student visa checklist, explained later on).

Step-by-Step Guide On How To Apply For A Study Permit in Canada

When applying for a student visa, you will first need to find a university or an institution of higher education that you may want to study at. This is very important, as, without a letter of acceptance from a higher education institution in Canada, you cannot even begin the application process. You will need to have this letter in a standardized form.

If you want to study in Quebec and work on your French while studying, you will also need a Certificate of Acceptance or a CAQ. You can get this document from the government of Quebec. You cannot apply for your study permit without this.

The next step is the Canadian student visa application package. You can get this through your local Canadian Visa Application Centre or through the CIC website. For some countries, you may also need a temporary residence visa. In this case, the two applications will be considered at the same time, and this will not slow down the process. Before you start this process, you will need to apply through the CIC website to see if you are eligible for a Canadian student visa.

Once this is done, you have your application package, and you are found eligible to get a valid study permit (and a temporary residence permit, depending on where you come from), you will also need to download your personal checklist and the code that comes with it. This list and the code are valid for 60 days, and you will need this to continue your online application. Here, you will find all the documents you need.

When you have printed out the checklist and have managed to gather all the documents you need, you can put them together with your confirmation letter or acceptance letter, and you will also need to create the MyCIC account. This is where you will enter the checklist code from the previous step. You will need a scanner or an electronic copy of all your documents to do this. Beware that Google Photo Scan may provide electronic copies of dubious quality, so it is better to rely on a scanner.

Once you have uploaded your documents, it is time to pay the study permit processing fee. Once this is done, it is time to submit the completed application to CIC. Depending on where you come from, the next step may be showing up in an embassy for an interview.

Step-by-step study permit application for Canada:

  1. Find the college or University where you want to study and apply. Get a standardized letter of acceptance.
  2. Get the student visa application package through the CIC website or the visa application centre in your country.
  3. Get the document checklist and your personal application code
  4. Start gathering the documents from the checklist and see if you fulfill all the permit requirements
  5. Create the MyCIC account and upload all the documents there, including the Canadian Student Permit Application Code
  6. Pay the fees and wait for the reply. You may be called into an interview once your permit application process has been finished.

After this process is finished, you will receive a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction. If your mother country demands an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation), this will be issued to you. The same goes for temporary residence visas. Once crossing the border, you will need to show all these documents alongside your passport, which should be the passport you used during the application process.

Here is a checklist of the standard documents you will need to present when applying for the Canadian student visa process:

  1. Proof of acceptance
  2. Proof of Identity
  3. Proof of funds (there is a minimum bank balance for a Canada student visa)
  4. Letter of Explanation (where you explain why you chose Canada to study in)
  5. Medical Examination Results

You will also need proof of payment (generally, visa costs are CAD150, with biometrics being CAD85 per primary student visa applicant). A medical examination may cost more, but this depends on your country of origin. All these documents and letters will be reviewed by visa officers.

Application Process

When you want to apply to study in Canada, you should know that a Student Visa in Canada is different from, let’s say, a visitor visa application process. You will need to show up for a biometrics appointment as well for a medical exam. Student Visa interviews generally do not take a long time, but it is advisable to always check online on the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) website to make sure you are applying well in advance.

You can apply on paper and online. It is our recommendation to apply online, as the process will last about half the processing time for paper submissions. To do so, you will need a computer, Internet access, as well as electronic copies of all your important documents. You will also need a credit or debit card to pay the Canadian student visa fees.

You should also check the CIC website in your domestic country. As Canada Visa Authorities have different levels of cooperation with different countries around the world, the documents you may need will be different from one country to another. Always check in advance, and feel free to call the nearest visa application center (generally the consular offices or the embassy) and check over the phone.

Biometrics Appointment

During the application process, you may be called for a biometrics appointment. This is true for all students in Europe, the Middle East, as well as Africa. Biometrics means that you will need to give your photograph and fingerprints, usually at a designated place in the consular office or embassy.

Medical Exam

Some applicants may also need to pass a medical exam to make sure that they can continue with their application process. This has nothing to do with the educational institution of study but is rather a part of the normal Canadian Student Visa Requirements. Some prospective students may also be asked to submit a Police Clearance or a Ministry of Internal Affairs Clearance, as people with criminal records will not be accepted to Canada to study there.

Processing Time for Canadian Student Visa

The processing time depends partially on how long it takes you to gather all the documents. With this in mind, you will need a Canada study permit checklist and a good sense of organization. Make sure that you only start the application process after you have gotten the official letters from your desired university.

Average Waiting Period

The average waiting period to get a valid visa is around 12 weeks or 90 days. Please beware that the country you come from can influence how long it takes to process your study visa. Students coming from some countries, such as the US, Greenland, or St. Pierre and Miquelon, may be able to ask for a visa on arrival at the point of entry. Beware that not every point of entry can issue a visa and that it is much better to start the application process from your home country than travel to Canada for it.

Factors Affecting Processing Duration

It is important to note that there are many factors that can influence and prolong the visa application processing time. Here, it is important to note that any incomplete documentation may up the processing time, especially as you will be contacted to deliver more documents. You will also need more time to gather them. It is best to do the application process in a single go, as any delays may cause tardiness in arrival to Canada.

How To Track Your Application Status

Once you have filled out the Canada student visa application form, you can always track the application status and process through the MyCIC account or through another platform if you’ve used something else to apply. In general, the standard processing time will be shown during the application itself but will not include the times you may need to present more documents or the times needed for offices to receive them.

Check Out How to Track Your Visa Application Online (Very Easy) For Canada in 2 min:

Working While Studying in Canada

If you have your student visa or a study permit, you can work part-time but no more than 20 hours a week. This limit is imposed during the University or college semester. During breaks, you can work full 40-hour work weeks. You do not need a work permit for this. To qualify for this, you will need:

  • Have a study permit
  • Be a full-time student
  • Be enrolled in an accredited or approved post-secondary level learning institution or (in Quebec) a vocational program at the secondary level
  • Be involved in any study program that is at least six months long and leads to a degree or a diploma
  • You will also need a SIN – Social Insurance Number
  • You have started studying already – you cannot work before the official start of your study program

Work Permit (On and Off Campus)

If you can work, your student visa will say so. It is important to finish the Canadian University application or a college application and get the visa in the first place to be able to work at all. You will be able to work both on and off campus only if you have a valid Canadian student visa and you have met ALL of the requirements above.

Post-graduation Work Permit

If you wish to keep working even after your study permit has expired, you will need to apply for a work permit. Your study permit expiration date is set to 90 days after the end of your last school year. Additionally, you can acquire a post-graduation work permit for a period after these 90 days.

The post-graduation work permit is one of the rare types of documents that we advise you to apply on paper. The reason is that the online application takes 140+ days, and the paper application barely 19 days to be processed. In any case, you will be paying a processing fee of CAD255.


There are certain restrictions when it comes to working on a student permit in Canada as well. Namely, you cannot work more than 20 hours a week during your school year (only during the breaks), and you cannot work during the break before your first semester in Canada. Additionally, you cannot work unless your study permit specifically says so, and if it does not, you will have to ask for an amendment to the study permit or the study visa before you start looking for a job.

Also, you cannot work off campus if the courses you are taking that school semester are general interest courses or if you are taking them as differential exams to be accepted into an actual study program. The same goes for all students whose study permit says they cannot work off campus.

Renewing Your Student Visa in Canada

Renewing or extending your student visa is a necessity, especially for all who are starting a new school year or want to go to another level of study. If you decide to apply for an extension or a renewal, you need to do that at least 30 days before your old visa expires. This is to give enough processing time: Canada is a fantastic country, but it takes so much time to process your application among applications from students from countries other than your own.

Scenarios That Require Renewal or Student Visa Extension

Your student visa should be renewed before the old one expires. If you intend to travel, please wait until you have submitted your renewal application. You may not be admitted back into the country if you do not fulfill this prerequisite. You may also need to renew your student visa if you change your schools or study programs, as different programs may not bring the same conditions on the visa, and you may need to renew the visa or at least amend it to ensure you remain in the legal brackets with all your activities in Canada.

Documents for Extension

There are several documents you will need to extend or renew your student visa in Canada:

  • IMM 5709 – Application to Change Conditions, extend your stay or remain a student in Canada
  • IMM 5409 – only if you have a common-law partner whose stay in Canada you would like to extend
  • IMM 5646 – only if you have a foreign representative or a representative, in general, to do the reapplication process for you
  • All other required documents, which can be the same as for the initial application for the student visa

The processing fee is CAD150, while the biometrics fee may not have to be paid again (if it does, the fee is the same CAD85)

Student Visa Refusal: Common Reasons and Remedies

Needless to say, some visa applications do get declined, although the permit cost has been covered and all other documents submitted. Here are some common reasons for student visa refusal and some remedies that you can apply:

  • Life and Study Plan – The main reason these programs exist is to help foreign students in their later life. You can decide to stay and work in Canada after your University life is over, but it is best to have a solid plan ready for when you go back to your country – working in a large international company or starting your own business are just some of the things to consider
  • Strong Family Ties – If you have a lot of relatives or family members in Canada, this can lead to a refusal of your student visa, the reason being that you may decide to stay simply because of your family. There is no good remedy for this
  • Illegal Status in Your Current Country – If you have no legal status in your current country of residence, you will be rejected during your application. You need to make your stay legal in your current country before reapplying
  • Overstaying in Canada – When a visa is issued, it is issued for a specific time period. Overstaying this can compromise your future visa applications, so make sure this does not happen
  • Criminal history – Canada is a beautiful country and one of the safest in the world. This should say that criminals are not welcome, so try to stay within legal means during your stay in your home country.
  • Security concerns – this is especially true of terrorist groups and those associated with them. You should always stay within legal means and never join or be associated with a terrorist group
  • Unauthentic documents – all your documents should be valid, with enough time until their expiration (this is especially true of your passport expiration date)
  • Lack of Documents – All the documents you provide must be legal and easily verifiable. You also need to submit all of them at once
  • Lacking proof of finances – you will need a lot of money to move to Canada and a lot of funds both to support yourself and pay for the application process. Think about this before making an application.

Differences Between Study Permits and Student Visas

There is a difference between a study permit and a study visa. While a study permit allows you to stay in Canada and study there, a study visa is a document allowing you to enter Canada for the reasons of joining a study program but is not a guarantee that you can enter. A border police, an agent, or any border authority can deny you entry into a country.

Top Tips for a Successful Student Visa Application

There is no way to guarantee entry into Canada or even getting a visa. However, there are some good practices that can help. Here are some tips for a successful Canadian visa application:

  • Be sure that you know what you want to achieve by studying in Canada
  • Be sure to find a reputable institution that you would like to study in
  • Be sure to have shown good success in your previous course of studies at your previous school
  • Make sure you are not involved in any illegal activities in your home country before application
  • When reapplying, make sure you did not overwork both your time on campus and time during breaks
  • Make sure you have all the required documents
  • Make sure you have all the necessary proof to present ties to your home country
  • Understand the financial requirements and make sure you save enough money to present proof of funds


Is It Simple to Get a Student Visa in Canada?

Getting a student visa in Canada is not difficult as long as you can stay organized and follow our application guide. You will need a letter of acceptance, visa application documents, and financial funds to apply and stay in Canada. You will also need to start with the application process early enough.

How Much Is a Canadian Student Visa?

A Canadian student visa does not cost much. At only CAD150, it is one of the cheapest visas there are. In addition to this, you will also need to pay the biometrics fee of CAD85, as well as have proof of funds for every year you plan to spend in Canada.

Is IELTS Required for A Canada Student Visa?

IELTS may be required for a Canada student visa. This will generally be asked of any student coming from a country that speaks a language other than English (or French if you plan to study in Quebec). You will not need any language test if you come from a country that speaks English or French.

How Much Money Does It Require to Study in Canada?

You will need significant funds to study in Canada. Although the application fee for the visa is only CAD150, you will need more to show that you can support yourself (up to CAD11,000 per year) and even more for the study program. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from CAD10,000 to CAD30,000 per year of studies. Some scholarships or grants can help you offset a portion of these costs.

Does Canada Have an Age Limit for A Student Visa?

No, Canada does not have an age limit for a student visa. The most important things to have are the letter of acceptance, the documents on the personal document checklist, as well as the proof of funds. Besides this, proof of finished secondary school is also necessary.

Final Consideration

When applying for a Canadian student visa, you will need to arm yourself with good organization and patience. The documents are many (but easy to gather in a few days), and the processing time is shorter than for many other visa types, around 12 weeks. Once you have all the documents, the application can be done online, and all you need to do is wait for the reply.