Study Permit – Canada | Complete Process Guide, Eligibility and Requirements
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With over 642,000 foreign students in Canada, the country ranks the third most popular destination for international students all over the world. It supports students with innovative ideas and concepts and offers various facilities like affordable education, best immigration possibilities, exciting campus infrastructure, healthy and safe communities and work possibilities. Due to these factors, Canada had attracted 16.2% of offshore student enrolment over the last few years.
Now, you might be wondering about the various ways in which you can be part of this growing global community.
Well, then, you must prepare yourself to apply for a study permit and strive to fulfil your dreams. In the sections below, we will provide you with various kinds of basic information which you will need on this journey.
About Study Permit
The first thing to know is – What is a Study Permit?
Study Permit is a mandatory immigration document that is issued to allow international students to study in different educational institutions in Canada. These institutions are mainly among the designated learning institutions (DLIs), a school in Canada that a student must be accepted at before they can qualify for a study permit as directed on June 1, 2014.
The applicant should apply for the Student Permit before he/she travels to Canada. But you have to keep in mind that the study permit is not a visa. It will not let you enter Canada until you have a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). If you want to get your study permit faster by using the legal citizenship of your country, you can apply online through the Student Direct Stream.
Validity of the Study Permit
Normally, the validity of the student permit depends on the length of your course of study. It is automatically extended upto additional 90 days so that you can either prepare to leave or extend your stay through other programs available. It will be the same even if you finish your studies before the expiry date of the student permit.
There are certain conditions related to the validity that you must be aware of. They are:
- The school may ask you to take up some courses before you enter into the main course of study to judge your capabilities. It is called conditional acceptance. Under this condition, your study permit will become valid throughout the period of your study, along with an extended period of one year when you apply to extend your stay after you join the main study.
- If you do not finish your study within the designated time period, you have to apply to extend your stay. It will not be extended automatically, and if you do not extend the permit, in the end, you might have to face being deported.
- After you finish your studies, you have to notify the authorities of the date of completion that your school informs you through the completion letter. Otherwise, the date you get your degree will be considered by the authorities as the completion date.
In whichever country you live, you have some responsibilities, just like you have towards your parents. Similarly, while studying in Canada, you have the following responsibilities:
- Make progress towards completing your program.
- Respect the conditions listed on your study permit and
- Do not waste resources of your own or those of the country if you feel you do not want to pursue your studies any longer.
Now you may ask yourself – Can I apply for a study permit in Canada?
Instead of getting confused and worried, check out the eligibility criteria..
As an applicant, you should always check your eligibility before applying for any course. The requirements or eligibility criteria for applying for a Study Permit in Canada are:
- You should be accepted by one of the designated learning institutes that are on the approved DLIs list. All primary and secondary schools in Canada are automatically designated under the list of DLIs, and so they do not appear on the list. Applicants for primary and secondary schools do not need a DLI number on their application form.
- You should have evidence to declare your financial strength. It will show that you are capable of paying your tuition fees, living expenses, basic requirements for you and any family member who has accompanied you and the return ticket for you and your family.
- You should substantiate your lack of criminal record and get a police certificate if needed.
- To ensure that you will not become a liability for the healthcare system in Canada, you need to demonstrate that you are physically fit by submitting a medical certificate.
- You need to fulfill the language requirements of the institution that you’re applying for.
The last important condition is that you have to prove to the officer offering you your Study Permit at arrival in the country that you will leave the country once your study permit expires.
People who do not need the Study Permit
As popularly known, most students from other countries require a study Permit to stay in Canada and pursue their study. But, there are groups of people who do not need the Study Permit. The list is mentioned below.
Registered Indian Status
Indians, also known as the First Nations people, are one of the third groups of aboriginals of Canada. So, if you belong to the Indian community or are registered as one, then you do not need a study permit even if you are a citizen of a foreign country.
Family or staff of foreign representatives
Accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), a foreign representative to Canada, any staff or a family of the representative do not need a study permit. Even if you need one, it is the duty of the embassy to contact the GAC and find out if it is needed.
Minor Children in Canada
Minor children who are in kindergarten, refugees or refugee claimants (or their parents are), or if they are in preschool, primary or secondary school and their parents already in Canada with a work or study permit do not need a study permit. But when they become adults (18 years or more), they have to apply for a study permit if they want to continue studying.
Members of foreign armed forces
Members of foreign armed forces who are on duty in Canada don’t need a study permit. But the family members, including minor children, might need a permit if they want to study.
Documents needed to apply for Study Permit
The documents you need to apply for a study permit are
- Proof of Acceptance – Every school sends a letter of acceptance to the student. This letter of acceptance is one of the most important documents when you are applying for the study permit. You have to include the original or the electronic copy of your letter with the application.
- If you have been accepted on certain conditions, like completing another course before beginning the main study, you will have to apply for the total length of the courses plus one year. As you join the main course you have to apply to extend your stay.
- On one condition, you do not need the letter of acceptance. It is when one of your family members already has an approved study permit in writing before your arrival in Canada.
- Proof of Identity – You must have a valid passport or travel document and two recent passport size photographs as proof of identity when you apply for a study permit. Each of the photographs should bear the name and date of birth of the owner at the back. If any family member is accompanying you, then he/she should also carry the same identity proof.
- If you are applying for the study permit online, you have to upload a scanned copy of your information page. But if you are going for the paper based application, once your application is approved, you will have to submit the original passport.
- Proof of Financial Support – To prove that you can support yourself (and your accompanying family member financially), you have to present :
- Proof of a Canadian bank account in your name where you have transferred money to Canada
- Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution
- Proof of a student or education loan from a bank, if you have taken one
- You our bank statements for the past 4 months
- A bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
- Proof that you have paid tuition and housing fees
- A letter from the person or school loaning you money
- Proof of funding paid from within Canada (if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program)
Funds needed to support yourself as a student (and your accompanying family member/s):
With you and two more family members for a year (except Quebec) , you will need
- Living Expenses for yourself: $10,000
- Living Expenses for the family member: $4,000
- Living Expenses for the second family member: $3,000
The amount totals to $17,000.
- Letter of Explanation – The Letter of Explanation will help the Visa officer to understand your purpose and goals as it explains the reason you want to study in Canada and states that you understand your responsibilities as a student. You should include this letter if you decide to apply for a study permit.
- A Custodian Declaration (for minors only) – This document is mainly needed for a minor when he/she requires a custodian. The document has 2 pages that have to be notarized (certified by a notary) and included with your study permit application. The Canadian custodian must sign the first page, and the parents/ legal guardians of the minor child in the child’s home country must sign the second page.
- Others – There might be some other documents needed for local requirements. So, you should check the visa office instructions for your country or region before applying for the study permit. Some are listed below:
- You have to submit documents to prove your immigration status in the country you apply from, if you are not in your home country at the time of application.
- If the government that issued your passport or travel document needs you to have a re-entry permit, you must get one before you apply for a Canadian visa.
Process of Application: Online and Offline
There are two main ways to apply for a study permit – through an Online form or by filling a form and submitting it to a visa application centre in your country with the required documents.
If you choose to do it offline (paper-based), you should follow these instructions.
- Read the Instruction Guide carefully and choose the country/ territory that you will be applying from so that you can get further instructions from the local visa office.
- You must complete the “Application for a Study Permit Made Outside of Canada” form provided. You should validate the details once you have completed the form. You must print the form once validated and sign the form with the date.
- Go through the “Document Checklist” and the “Visa Office Instructions” carefully to find out what documents you are required to provide to support your study permit application. You should include documents from both lists.
- The processing fee for the study permit application is $150 CAD. You have to use a credit card to pay these fees online. Then, you have to print an “Official Receipt” that you have to attach to your application package.
- Once you have completed your study permit application, you have to send it by post, or you can send it to the Visa Officer at the local Visa Application Centre (VAC). The officer will send your application to the Embassy or High Commission, and you will have to pay a fee for this service.
- You should wait until you receive your Letter of Introduction for the Study Permit (a document you will receive from IRCC once your application has been approved) either by email attachment or with your passport when it’s returned to you through the VAC.
- You will have to carry all the documents including your Letter of Introduction when you arrive in Canada where you will receive your study permit.
The Online Process is almost similar – you have to collect your documents, follow the instructions from the guide, know your fees and create an online account where you can sign in, pay your fees, submit your application and check your status. Two additional things are required for the online application process – a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents and a valid credit or debit card.
After knowing all the important details given above, it is strongly recommended that you should apply for a study permit as soon as you have a letter of acceptance from a Canadian college or university as it can take up to 3 months to get a study permit, depending on the country where you are applying.