Canada Student Visa Guide
Canada continues to thrive as a major market for higher studies. Getting admitted into a university in Canada, undoubtedly, requires fantastic academic scores. However, good scores can only take you so far, as without a study permit it is impossible to reside in the country for your future studies. The study permit is officially granted to students on their arrival to Canada. Nonetheless, in order for that to happen, you must first apply for a Temporary Resident Visa, which can be attained from the Canadian High Commission, by applying through Visa Application Centers. VFS Global Services are Canada’s official Visa Application Center.
There are certain factors Canadian Immigration takes into account when looking into a student’s acceptability. In order to prove your eligibility, you need to:
- Be admitted into a Canadian university or college
- Prove that you’re entitled to finances that will cover your tuition fee, living expenses and airfare
- Have no criminal record
- Prove that you’re in good health (you may have to undergo a medical exam)
- Verify that you’ll leaving Canada once your studies are over
A Canadian study permit costs CAD $150 and since the application can be made both online and offline, there is choice to pay using a credit card (when applying online) or by cash (if applying in person). Be sure to always check the current exchange rate beforehand, since it keeps changing. Also, the aforementioned visa fee does not cover the Visa Application Center service charges. You will have to pay the service charges in accordance to your region. It goes without saying, but you should always keep the receipt given to you at the time of the transactions as proof of payment.
It is important to keep in mind that you can only begin the visa application process once you receive the acceptance letter from a Canadian university or college. And it is advised that you begin applying at least three months before your intake date. For instance, if your aim is to start during the September intake, you should begin applying in June.
- Valid Passport: The validity of your passport must cover the entirety of your intended stay in Canada. For example, if your course is two years long and you plan on starting your studies in September 2019, must not expire, at the very least, before September 2021.
- Letter of Acceptance: It is imperative that the letter of acceptance be from a Designated Learning Institute – a university or college that is recognized by the Immigration Department.
- Proof of Funds: This is usually a bank statement evidencing that you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees as well as your living expenses. According to the Canadian Immigration Department a student would need at least CAD $ 10,000 per year towards living expenses, unless stated otherwise. Aside from those, the student would also have to show financial backing for the return flight on completion of studies.
- Passport-sized Photographs: In the case of offline applications, two passport-sized photographs are required. The given standards dictate that the photos be 35mm x 45mm and that the images are no older than 6 months. The background must be plain and the facial expression should be neutral; there is a rule against headgears with exceptions made if they are for religious purposes. In the case of online applications, a digital copy of the photograph, as described above, need to be provided with a size of no more than 4 MB.
- Immigration Medical Examination: It is a requirement of the Canadian Immigration Department that international students go through a mandatory Immigration Medical Examination. Note that only Panel Physicians with approval from Canadian Immigration are allowed to perform this exam. It advisable that you book an appointment with an enlisted doctor at least a week in advance, and ensure that the exams are done on time. That way, the doctor gets ample time to validate and upload the results of the medical exams directly to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
- English Language Test Score: Whether it was IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or any other test that you appeared for and submitted scores to during the admission applications to your chosen university or college, make sure to keep that scoresheet handy during your Visa Application Process.
- Statement of Purpose: While this one may be listed as optional in the documents checklist, we strongly advise that you include it in your application for the visa. Your Statement of Purpose should clearly highlight the purpose of your visit to Canada and the reason for choosing the specific university or college.
- Police Certificate: You may have to produce evidence verifying that you have no criminal records and that is why it is advisable that you procure a police certificate in advance.
If and when completing the application online, we recommend that you arrange a digital scanner beforehand. A lot of students tend to settle for phone cameras and high-end scanning apps, and yes although it may complete the tasks, nothing shows sincerity more than the highest possible quality when delivering the required documents. It is also important to keep in mind that you will have to download certain forms, then fill them up, then print and physically sign them, and finally upload the completed forms. And when applying in person, you must have the original copies of all the documents.
As a part of the personal interview, the interviewer may ask to see some of the documents, as well as some additional ones. These are mostly documents corroborating academic and/or financial status.
Canadian Student Visa Application in 4 Easy Steps
To sum it all up, we have highlighted the absolute necessary steps that will simplify the application process for you:
- Inquire about the processing times
The visa application may take 3-4 weeks to get processed. It is recommended that you go through the CIC website for a clearer idea.
- Choose the ideal method for you to apply
If your choice is to apply online, you will still have to visit the Visa Application Center to provide biometric scans as well as submit your passport. During this time you will also pay any and all outstanding expenses include application fee, service charges, etc.
But if you’d rather apply in person, download and read the official application guide thoroughly. Use the checklist provided to compile all the required documents. Fill in the VFS Consent Form and be sure to attach it to the application. This consent form is needed for you to get assistance at VFS during the visa filing process.
- Payment of fees
Note that when applying through VFS Global Services, visa fees need to be paid along with additional service charges. These payments are non-refundable.
- Submission of application, supporting documents and passport
This final step is the most obvious one, however, once the submissions are complete at VFS Global Services, they will provide you with a receipt. The importance of this receipt lies in the fact that it contains a unique tracking number, which helps you follow the progress of your application online. On the event of approval of your application by the Government of Canada, VFS will return your passport along with a Temporary Resident Visa and a Letter of Introduction.
Once you receive your Student Visa
First things first, take the time and make all the necessary preparation before you depart for the airport (here’s a checklist we made to help you out). On arrival to the Canadian airport you must have the following things ready for the Immigration Officer:
- Your valid passport
- Letter of Introduction (the one provided along with your Temporary Resident Visa)
- ALL the original documents submitted during application (copies, in case it’s not possible to produce the original ones at the time)
As soon as the border control agency officer is satisfied and has validated your documents, you are free to enter Canada!