A complete guideline to the Canadian Student Visa Process

12 min read

Applying for a Canadian Student Visa is a step forward towards your dream. Sometimes, the Canadian student visa process can be confusing and cumbersome for students. Researching early and planning carefully before your study permit application can benefit you. 

Sometimes, failure to submit the right documents or having the slightest of errors can lead to Visa rejection. Study permit processing time may take up to 90 days. You might be able to get your study permit within 20 days using the Student Direct Stream.

Before you start your application, check if you are required to obtain a study permit. Please use the Official Canadian Study permit tool to check your eligibility before you apply for the Canadian student visa.

Canadian student visa

In most cases, an international student planning to enroll at any Canadian Institution is required to have a valid study permit. However, in the Canadian student visa process, you won't need a student visa if

  • Your study program lasts less than six months.

  • You are a member of foreign armed forces from the Visiting Forces Act.

  • You are a family or staff member of a foreign representative in Canada, accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development Canada.

  • You are a citizen of another country, but you have native status in Canada.

Required Documents for the Canadian Student Visa Process

Before you can apply, you need to have certain documents. Canadian student visa requirements include:

  • You have to have a valid acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (DLI) (an educational institution recognized by the Canadian government);

  • Have sufficient funds to pay for your living and accommodation expenses;

  • Proof you don't have a criminal record;

  • Have a valid passport.

Note: All schools listed in this platform are designated learning institutes (DLI)

Canadian student visa checklist

Here is your Canadian student visa checklist.

  1. Cover Letter (See Document Section)

  2. Original, valid passport or travel document(s) (Your passport must be valid for the complete duration of your studies and contain at least two blank pages) (Be valid at least six months) (You must also include all expired passport or travel documents)

  3. Copy of Birth Certificate

  4. Copy of Marriage Certificate (Only if you are married)

  5. Proof of Immigration Status in the country where you are currently residing. (If you are living in a foreign country, you need to submit a legal document that verifies your legal status there (example: Study/work/Tourist visa or permit)

  6. Notarized academic documents of any university/college degree you've earned (All your transcripts)

  7. Study Plan (One page): (see Document section)

  8. Your Study plan must address

    • Why you wish to study in Canada, in the program for which you have been accepted?

    • What is your overall educational goal?

    • Why are you not pursuing a similar program in your country of residence or citizenship?

    • How will this program enhance your employment opportunities in your country of residence or citizenship?

    • What ties you have to your country of residence or citizenship?

    • If it has been more than two years since you have left full-time education, provide a CV.

  9. Original Police Clearance (Police records check)

  10. Biometrics appointment and interview: You might need to provide your biometrics at the nearest Canadian Visa Application Center. The biometric application fee is around $85. 

  11. Proof of Sufficient funds:

    1. If your parent(s) are employed:

      1. A copy of their bank book or bank statement that shows their financial history and account balance over the past six months.

      2. You may also consider adding documents that show financial assets such as stock market/investment accounts, bonds, real estate or property, income from rental properties, proof of pension, business transactions. If there is no clear documentary evidence or bank statement for the study permit, you may provide a written explanation. FDR for around four months to be safe. Without original documents, it is more likely you will be refused.

      3. Evidence of your parents’ income or an employment statement. If your parents are employed by any organization, you have to provide an original letter of employment. You have to collect it from the current employer with the employer’s name, address, contact details, parent’s hire date, position, current salary, any bonuses, and additional income. Or you may provide your parent's Notice of Assessment for Income Tax Purposes, for the past two years.

12. If your parent(s) own a business or part of a business:

  1. A notarized copy of the business registration and a legal document indicating their shares in the business
  2. Business tax assessment for the past two years.
  3. Audited financial statements and capital verification reports for the most recent fiscal year.

13. Suppose you are being supported by someone other than your parents. In that case, all of the above documents are required regarding their financial status and you need to provide a written explanation as to why they are providing financial assistance. (Also provide proof of the relationship with your sponsor, if applicable)  

  1. If you are employed, submit an original letter of employment including the employer’s name, address as well as the telephone number, email address, date of hire, your position, current salary, any bonuses or details and a Notice of Assessment for Income Tax Purposes, for the past two years.

  2. If you are receiving funding from any school or organization in Canada, including its full details (Length of scholarship, grant or bursary, amount of same, contact information...)

  3. IELTS or Other English Language Proficiency examination details

  4. Family Information Form.

Showing sufficient funds for your studies is one of the most essential steps towards obtaining your study permit. Try to provide as much information as possible before you apply for a study permit in Canada.

The Canadian Student Visa Process: How to show funds

These are the ways you can show proof of funds:

  • Bank statement that has a deposit of 1-year tuition fees + 1-year of living expenses + $10,000 extra (in case of emergency) + $6,000 to $9,000 (depends on the city and depends on their age(s) for each dependent (e.g., spouse, child)

  • Asset Evaluation

    • CA evaluation

    • Asset Affidavit

Suggestions to keep in mind:

  • CA evaluates your need, takes your bank and asset information to any certified accounting firm.

  • Asset Affidavit is done with a stamp by a Notary Public or lawyer.

  • If you have multiple sponsors, then you have to provide multiple asset evaluations.

  • N.B: Have all photocopies notarized or provide only certified copies for submission.

The Canadian Student Visa Process: Rejection

The Canadian Student Visa Process: Rejection

Canadian Study Permit (student visa) rejection reasons can vary from person to person. In most cases, Canadian study permits are rejected due to at least one of the following reasons:

  • Mismatch in previous educational qualifications and future study plans;

  • Having no accepted, valid English language proficiency examination results (French for French-language universities and colleges);

  • Lack of a legitimate and/or documented source of funds;

  • Not being able to show valid reasons for study gaps;

  • Not providing the correct information about previous travel history, visa rejection(s), employment, funding sources, etc.

We will be adding more information on tackling study permit rejection(s) and improving your chances of obtaining a study permit soon. Please visit this page later. Thank you!

Note: Though these documents are for Canadian Study permit application, you can get a gist of possible documents required for your student visa application. Customize these documents based on your own need.
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Cover Letter
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Forwarding Letter
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Student Financial Planning
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Explanation Letter of Source of Fund
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Explanation on previous Visa Rejection
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Source of Fund (For Businessperson as a sponsor)
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