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Canadian Student Visa Requirements, Process, Fees & Application

Applying for a Canadian student visa? Here’s everything you need to know.

Determined about studying in Canada? Canada has a high standard of living and elite educational institutions, which is why many international students from all over the world flock to study in Canada each year.

In Canada, a student visa is often referred to as a “study permit”. It is important that you make sure you have the correct study permit for your international studies before you leave for Canada.

As Canadian study permit conditions can change quickly, you will need to make sure you follow up-to-date advice. The best place to find this advice is the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Table of contents

Canada Student Visa Requirements

The most important document you'll need as an international student before you arrive in Canada is a study permit.

  • Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, international students wishing to travel to Canada should regularly consult Canada’s Travel requirements and restrictions for international students. This website is maintained by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in coordination with provincial, territorial and other federal partners, and is updated frequently.
  • Before you can apply for a study permit, you need to have a letter of acceptance from a school, university or college in Canada.
  • This means you need to find a school or program, apply to your program(s) of choice and receive an acceptance letter from a school, college or university in Canada.

Canada Study Permit Application

You can apply for a study permit in Canada in two ways: Online or by going to a visa application centre in your country.

As soon as you receive an acceptance letter from a Canadian institution or university, we advise you to apply for a study permit. Depending on the country where you are applying, it may take up to three months to obtain a study permit.

Typically, a study permit must be requested before travelling to Canada. A study permit application can sometimes be made from within Canada. In some circumstances, you may be able to apply at the port of entry to Canada. Make sure you understand which option is available to you.

How to get a Study Permit in Canada?

Before you apply for a study permit, you need:

A designated learning institution is a school approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. All primary and secondary schools in Canada are designated learning institutions.

Make sure the post-secondary institution you intend to attend—such as a college or university—is included on the list.

You will be given a study permit for the period of courses you need to take in order to be officially admitted into your programme. You must submit an application to extend your study permit when the college or university accepts you into your desired programme.

If you plan to attend a college or university in Quebec, current provincial rules state that international students can only attend a designated learning institution chosen by the Quebec government. You’ll also need a study permit from the Government of Canada to study in Quebec.

How much is the Canadian Student Visa Fee?

  • Study permit (including extensions) – per person: $CAN 150
  • Restoring your status as a student: $CAN 350, divided as follows:

Restoring your status ($CAN 200)

Getting a new study permit ($CAN 150)

Statement of Purpose (SOP) for Canada Study Permit

A candidate must write an SOP to the university as well as during the immigration process in order to study in Canada. The SOP for a Canada Study Visa is an essay in which the applicant outlines his/her academic goals, post-study plans and the reasons why they chose the particular course and university. Candidates can use the same Statement of Purpose for their visa applications and university admissions.

Documents required for Canada Student Visa

Documents needed for applying for a study permit:

  • Proof of acceptance

  • Proof of identity

  • Proof of financial support

You may also need:

  • A letter of explanation

This letter should declare two things: why you want to study in Canada and that you understand your responsibilities as a student.

  • A Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ)

You need a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) issued by the Gouvernement du Québec if you want to study in Quebec for longer than 6 months. All the details on how to apply for the CAQ can be provided by your school.

If your application for a CAQ got approved by the ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), but you’re still waiting to get the CAQ, you can apply for your study permit with the approval letter from the MIFI. You don’t need to wait for the CAQ to apply.

  • A medical exam
  • A custodian declaration (minors only), or

You must include the Custodianship Declaration form (PDF, 1.02 MB) with your application if the minor needs a custodian. It has two papers, both of which must be notarized before being submitted with your study permit application.

The first page must be signed by the custodian in Canada, and the second page must be signed by the minor's parents or legal guardians in the child's home country.

  • Other documents (May be requested from you for an application in progress)

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