How to apply for a Canadian Student Visa

Canada is a popular education destination for over 130,000 international students every year. But the path to studying in Canada is not that easy. One of the most important steps in the process is figuring out how to apply for a Canadian Student Visa.

International students prefer Canadian universities for a variety of reasons. For starters, they offer a high-quality education system, incredible job opportunities, exposure to other cultures, and much more! Canadian universities are renowned for their focus on research, international collaboration, and scientific publications – three features that many international students want to take advantage of. But how do you get there? What are the important steps for studying in Canada? How important is the Visa application process? And how to apply for a Canadian student visa?

In this blog, we’ve described the importance of getting a Visa. It will also take you through a step-by-step guide for applying for the Canadian student visa.

What is the Canadian Student Visa or Student Permit?

The Canadian student permit is a document that is issued to foreign nationals who want to study at Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) in Canada. Without this, you won’t be able to enter the country. The student permit is valid for the duration of your study program plus another 90 days. Post course completion, a  work permit request can be submitted if you wish to stay in Canada. Now let’s have a look at the Canadian student visa requirements and what it takes to apply. The process is actually quite straightforward!

Step 1: Get your university acceptance letter

Girl celebrating her acceptance into her dream university
Before you apply to a university, make sure it is a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

The first step of the Canadian visa application process is to shortlist the top universities that suit your profile. Shortlist at least 3 different universities you’d be interested in attending. It’s always a good idea to have back-up options. Yes, it’s difficult to categorize universities into the Dream, Reach, and Safe categories. But once you know what your profile is and what universities are looking for, it becomes easy.
After you’ve applied to the shortlisted universities, you will need to acquire an acceptance letter from one of them. This acceptance letter is a primary requirement for the visa process, after all.

Step 2: Start Your Application

A visa application form being filled
A student visa lets you study in Canada for 6 months. If you wish to study in Canada for a longer duration, you need a study permit.

As soon as you get your acceptance letter from the university of your choice, you need to start your application for a Canadian Student Visa, or a Student Permit (as it’s locally known). Here’s what you need to do:

Go to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website and apply for your Canadian student visa online. Doing so will save you courier fees and you won’t have to wait for the physical mail. Things will be quicker this way, and you will receive updates on the status of your application directly. If you live in a country where internet access is limited, you can apply for your Canadian student visa on paper. After you do this, it’s time to start filling in everything on the Canada Student Visa checklist.

Here are the Student Visa Canada requirements:

  • The student permit application form
  • Original acceptance letter from the selected university
  • A valid passport
  • Two recent passport-size photographs, with name and date of birth written at the hind side
  • Proof of financial support – it should represent your tuition fee plus 833 CAD a month (this is for all provinces except Quebec which is 917 CAD a month)
  • A letter of explanation
  • If you’re studying in Quebec, you’ll also need a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec, English and French translations of the document, a statement from the translator and a certified copy of the original documents
  • Proof that you paid the Canadian Student Visa fees, which is 150 CAD

Step 3: Canadian Student Visa Conditions

Two family members meeting at the airport
If you have family members abroad, you can renew or extend your Canadian Student Visa without a lot of hassle.

Visa regulations state that if you have a family member who’s working in Canada or is applying for a work permit, your student visa application will be processed in two weeks. If this is not the case for you, you’ll have to wait for the standard Canadian Student Visa processing time of 90 days. However, this duration also depends on the situation in your country.
Canadian student visas can be renewed or extended to allow you to continue your studies or if you wish to change universities. Once you’ve completed your studies and you receive a notification that states that you’ve completed the program, your student permit will expire in 90 days. You can use this time to explore the country or to apply for a work permit, which will allow you to either get a part-time or full-time job or be self-employed.

Step 4: Language Requirements

Boy giving his IELTS exam
It is advisable to have a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each category

If you live in an English-speaking country, you don’t have to worry about language requirements, but if you don’t, Canadian universities require you to prove that you’re proficient in the English language. The language tests they accept are IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge English: Advanced. If you go through the requirements for a Canadian student visa, you’ll notice that they don’t ask you for this proof, but you still need it to apply to the university.

Step 5: Biometrics Appointment and Interview

Man conducting Canadian student visa interview
During the Canadian student visa interview, the consulate officers ask questions to verify the details/documents provided by the applicants

The process requires some nationalities to provide biometrics. Have your biometrics taken if your nationality is on this list. The fee is 85 CAD, which is an additional expense. If your country is exempt from this requirement, then you don’t need to do any of this. Depending on the requirement, the applicant might have to go in for an interview at a local Visa Application Center, for which a small fee will be charged.

Who does not need a Canadian Student Visa?

If you’re related to or are a staff member of a foreign representative in Canada, accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, you won’t need the Canadian Student Visa. You also don’t need the Visa if-

  • You enroll in a study program that lasts less than 6 months
  • You’re a member of the foreign Armed Forces
  • You’re a citizen of another country, but you have an Indian Status registered in Canada. You will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly in, but that’s it

What to do after getting my Visa?

Once you’ve followed these steps and acquired your Visa, all you have to do is pack your bags! This is not as easy as it sounds. So, we suggest you maintain a study abroad checklist to keep track of all the things you have to do before flying.



Make sure you book your tickets well in advance and reach Canada at least one to two weeks before your college starts. Once you get there, you’ll have to sort out your accommodation, get settled into a new routine, and start looking for a part-time job.

iSchoolConnect not only helps you find the perfect program for you but also, helps you get into the best universities at your choice of country. We do this on the basis of your profile, scores, and preferences. If you have any questions about studying abroad, contact us now!

Akanksha Vora

Bright, bold, and bubbly, Akanksha Vora is a writer at iSchoolConnect. She writes creative and curious blogs that help students with their life and studies abroad.

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5 thoughts on “How to apply for a Canadian Student Visa”

  1. All the steps are explained well mannered and due to pandemic corona virus some rules has been changed for safety purpose one need to understand that and follow those .

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