Canada Student Visa Guide

Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Feb 21, 2022 8:06 PM IST

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Visa Application Process for Canada

Indian students seeking education in Canada will have to acquire the Canadian student visa, also known as Student Permit. Candidates can apply for a Canada Student Visa either online or on paper. For those of you who wish to apply on paper, you will have to submit the application and all the necessary documents at the visa application centre in India in person.

For the online visa process, candidates must visit the official website of the VFS Global and follow the step by step procedure to fill the visa application form. 

VFS Global is the service provider authorised by the Government of Canada to provide administrative support services to Indian visa applicants. The Student Visa offered by Canada is valid up to the duration of the course and an additional 90 days. This enables the students to stay in Canada till the entire duration of the course. 

Students may need to renew their visa in case they want to stay after the duration of the course. For this, students will have to apply for a different visa from the immigration office After the course is completed, in case they are not planning for further stay in the country. 

Note: Due to COVID-19, the Canada Visa Application Centres in India will be providing limited services until further notice. Those who have already applied for a student visa will be receiving emails from VFS Global for biometric, interviews and further procedure. Applicants must carefully read the instructions mentioned in the email and act accordingly.

Also Read: Canadian Visa Application Centres (VACs) in India Resume Services

Are You Prepared to Apply for a Canadian Student Visa?

Student Direct Stream (SDS) in Canada

International students from certain countries including India will be able to get their study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream (SDS). The same is processed within 20 calendar days although some may take longer. A study permit is not a visa that could, by itself, allow an international student to travel to or enter Canada. They may also require a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA).

For faster processing of study permit, one must:

  • Give their biometric information as soon as possible

  • Meet all the eligibility criteria

Eligibility for SDS:

  • Should a legal resident of India, Pakistan, Morocco, Peru, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Phillippines, Trinidad and Tobago, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Colombia, China or Brazil. 

  • Should have an acceptance letter in hand from a post-secondary designated learning institution.

  • Should live outside of Canada when applying.

  • Should have a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration if planning to study in Quebec.

  • Should have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of C$10,000.

  • Must get a medical exam done before applying

  • Must obtain a minimum score of 6.0 on the IELTS

  • Should have recent secondary or post-secondary school transcripts. 

To get a study permit through the Student Direct Stream, one must apply for it online only. Before applying, the applicant must have all the required documents, the instruction guide to fill the form, a scanner or camera to create e-copies of their documents and a valid credit or debit card to pay for it. 

Step-by-Step Guidelines to Apply for Student Visa in Canada

In order to apply for student’s visa, you need to follow certain procedures and guidelines as defined by the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Following are the steps to get student permit of Canada:

Step 1: Select the Visa Type 

Visit the official website of  VFS Global and Identify visa type. In this case, choose Study Permit and check whether you are eligible to apply for it or not. You must also check the list of documents required to submit the application, the fees that need to be submitted and the application processing time. 

Step 2: Fill the Application Form

Fill out the online application form and complete the supporting documents as mentioned in the document checklist. In case you are unable to provide all the supporting documents as mentioned in the document checklist, you will have to fill out the waiver form, sign it and attach it with the application form.

For offline student visa application submission, you can download the visa application form, fill it and carry it at the Visa Application Centre. 

3. Book an Appointment

 International students are required to provide biometric details which will include fingerprints and photos as identification for security purposes.  This is known as ‘biometric information’. For this, you will need to book an appointment once you have applied for a visa.

4. Pay the Visa Application Fees

Once the application process is complete, you will have to pay the visa application fee. The fee includes the Government of Canada Fee and biometric fee (if required) as per instructions on the  Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. The fee of Study permit (including extensions) is C$150

5. Visit the Visa Application Centre

Once the application is submitted successfully, you will receive an email and SMS regarding the scheduled appointment. You must visit the Visa Application Centre at your scheduled appointment. Ensure to carry to application and required items at the centre. 

6. Track your Application

All updates related to application and decision will be sent to you via email and SMS. You must ensure to stay informed about the progress of the application for further processing of the visa. 

You can also track your application online, the link of which is available on the VFS Global website. To track your application online, you will have to enter the Tracking ID number mentioned on the receipt received from the Visa Application Centre and Date of Birth.

7. Collect your Passport

Once the visa application decision has been made, you will have to collect your documents for the Visa Application Centre (VAC). It includes the following documents:

  • Stamped Passport

  • Original Visa Application Centre Services Receipt

  • A Form of Government Identification

Also Read: Stay Back Period and Post Study Work Permit in Canada

Check Your Eligibility for a Canadian Student Visa Here!

Documents Required for Canadian Student Visa

Appearing in the eligibility test and gathering documents to apply for a student's visa takes time. Thus, one seeking the Canada student visa must start the procedure 3 to 4 months before the commencement of the programme.  Here is the list of documents that will be needed to apply for Canada student permit:

Transcript: It includes mark sheets and certificates of ClassX, Class XII and recent qualification. The document uploaded along with the application form must be clear and in coloured form.

English Proficiency: Indian students also have to give proof for proficiency in English either through IELTS, TOEFL or other exams designated by the authorities. This test is to ensure that students can excel academically in their chosen fields.

Letter of Acceptance: One of the most important documents for the visa is the acceptance letter from your target university saying that they have accepted you for their programme.

Fees: A proof must also be submitted that the candidates have paid the study permit fee of 150 CAD.

Financial Documents: 

The financial documents are required to prove that you or your guardian can support the study and living expenses while staying in Canada. The list of financial documents are as follows:

  • Proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if you have already created a bank account in Canada.

  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) issued by a participating Canadian financial institution.

  • Education Loan documents, if any. 

  • Bank statements of the past 4 months. 

  • Bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars

  • Receipt of payment of fees in the College

  • Scholarship funds, if any 

  • If you are applying for universities in the Quebec province you will have to show that you can afford 917 CAD per month. 

  • For any other province in Canada, you will have to show financial backing of 833 CAD per month either in your bank account or from an external source.

Medical Certificate: Students need a medical certificate stating that they are medically fit to pursue an education in Canada.

Passport: All candidates seeking Canada student visa must have a valid passport. 

Photographs: Two passport size photographs are also required in the process with the student’s name and date of birth mentioned on the back.

Also Read: List of Documents Indian Students Need for Canada Visa Application

Procedure Followed at the Visa Application Centre

Once your appointment is confirmed with the authorities at the Visa Application Centre, one must attend it in person. No other person on the behalf of the candidate will be allowed to visit the centre. However, a child below 18 years is permitted to visit the centre along with one guardian. 

Initially, random checking of the visitors and his personal belongings is done by the authorities for safety and security purposes. Any misbehaviour or dubious activity will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Documents to be Carried at the Visa Application Centre:

You must carry the following items at the Visa Application Centre:

  • Printed copy of Visa Application

  • 2D barcoded sheets

  • Passport

  • Biometric Instruction Letter (BIL)

  • Consent form

  • All supporting documentation (originals and copies)

Biometric Enrollment Process

The fingerprint scan and facial scan will be captured as a part of the Biometric Enrollment Process. Also, a digital photo will be captured. One must avoid wearing sunglasses, spectacles, head covering etc at the time of biometric entry. Also, the fingers must be free from injuries cut or colour marks. 

Also Read: COVID-19 Screening Pilot Project for Int'l Travellers Now Available at Canada’s Largest Airport

How to Extend Your Canadian Study Permit?

Every Canadian study permit will have an expiration date which tells you when to leave Canada and is usually valid for the total length of your study program plus 90 days. These 90 days are given for the student to prepare for their departure from Canada or to extend their stay in Canada.You can extend your visa to either continue studying or stay in Canada without studying.

Extend Your Canadian Study Permit to Keep Studying

When to Apply: If you want to continue studying, you must apply for extension of your study permit at least 30 days before it expires. For the same, ensure the following:

  • That your passport does not expire at the same time or else your study permit cannot be extended after your passport has expired.

  • Apply before your permit expires and you will be allowed to keep studying under the same conditions as your current study permit. However, this applies only until you stay in Canada.

How to Apply:

You can apply for your Canadian study permit extension online or on paper. However, you may be allowed to apply on paper only if you have a disability to not be able to apply online or if there is a problem with online application.

  • To apply online, you will need a valid credit or debit card and a scanner or camera to make electronic copies of required documents.

  • Read the instruction guide to applying successfully for a visa extension. 

  • Answer the required questions before uploading your forms.

  • Pay the fees which might include processing fees at the end of your application.

  • Create your account or sign in to pay your fees, submit your application and check your status.

  • Give your biometric information after the Government of Canada sends you the biometrics instruction letter. 

  • Carry your biometrics instruction letter and a valid passport or travel document to your biometrics appointment.

What to do if your permit expired

In case your Canadian study permit has already expired, you can do either of the following:

  • Apply for a new study permit or

  • Restore your status as a temporary resident in Canada.

How to Stay in Canada When You are No Longer Studying

If you wish to stay in Canada or extend your stay in the country but are no longer studying, you can do one of the following options:

  • Apply for a work permit - This includes options such as post-graduation work permit (PGWP) or other types of work permits such as open work permits or employer-specific work permits.

  • Apply to change your status and stay in Canada as a visitor

  • Leave Canada

Get Your Canadian Student Visa Applications Reviewed Here!

FAQs on Canada Student Visa Guide in 2023

Do you need a lot of money to apply for a student visa in Canada?

As part of the Canadian student visa application process, you must also provide proof of funds to support yourself. On top of your tuition fees, you will have to pay CAD 10,000 (USD 7,650) a year for living expenses.

Are Canadian student visas subject to an interview?

An interview with the Canadian Embassy/Consulate is being scheduled once the visa fee has been paid. Visa interviews determine whether a visa is approved/rejected at the end of the application process.

Can someone sponsor a student visa in Canada?

As a sponsor, you can only choose one of your legal guardians from 1st grade. Sponsors can also be first-degree relatives, including mothers, fathers, wives, children, and grandchildren. You can present your legal guardian as an applicant's sponsor in the case where there is no first-degree relative.

Is it easy to obtain a student visa in Canada?

It is often thought that getting a letter of acceptance is the hardest part of the pre-study abroad process, but obtaining a student visa can be even more difficult. In spite of Canada's popularity, its high applicant volume makes getting a visa significantly more challenging.

What are the requirements for obtaining a student visa in Canada?

To apply for a Canada Student Visa, you will need the following documents. - Photographs sized for a passport - Immigration Medical Examination (IME) - Proof of Funds - An official acceptance letter from a designated learning institution - Test score for English Language Proficiency - Credit Card - Valid Passport - Statement of Purpose

How much does a student visa cost for Canada?

Obtaining a Canadian study permit, which serves as a temporary student visa, is necessary to study in Canada. The Canadian study permit is not required for courses or programs lasting less than six months. The application fee for a study permit is CA$150 (~US$114).

How to know if I am eligible to apply for a study permit in Canada or not?

To apply for a study permit in Canada you must be enrolled in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. The other criteria that you must meet are as follows • You must have enough funds to pay your tuition fee, manage living expenses and transportation costs. • You must obey the laws of Canada and must not have a criminal record and get a police certificate (if required) • You must be in good health and also get the medical examination done before visiting Canada. • You must also have proof that you will leave Canada once your study permit expires.

How long is the study visa valid after the completion of the course in Canada?

A study visa in Canada is valid for the length of the course and additional 90 days are given for students to either get their study permit extended, find a job, or leave the country. Even if you do not complete your course within the period, you will have to get your visa extended to stay in Canada.

Can I get my study visa extended in case I wish to continue my higher studies in Canada?

You can apply for a study permit extension at least 30 days before the study permit expires if you wish to continue your study in Canada. In most cases, you can apply online to extend the study permit in Canada. However, if you wish to continue your study in Canada after your visa expires you will have to apply for a new study permit to restore your status as a temporary resident in Canada.

How long will I have to wait to get a student visa for Canada?

Once you apply for a Canadian student visa, it usually takes 90 days for visa processing. Students from India can also choose to apply for Student Direct Stream to get the study permit faster. The visa application received through Student Direct Stream is processed within 20 working days. However, due to COVID- 19 pandemic, the visa application process is taking a longer time than before due to several restrictions.

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