A Step-By-Step Guide to Canadian Study Permit & Student Visa

Get your Canadian Study Permit, work as a student and apply for permanent residence. A step-by-step guide to the Canadian student visa application process, requirements, processing times, fees and more.

Canada is a leading destination for numerous international students. The country is home to many of the world’s top educational institutions. A Canadian Study Permit is an essential document international students must have to study in Canada. This comprehensive step-by-step guide will discuss everything you need to know about Canadian student visa and their requirements. Start Your Study Permit Assessment Now

What is a Canadian Study Permit?

A Canada study permit is a unique document issued to foreign students who wish to study at any designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. You can apply for a Study Permit in Canada at any age, provided that you can prove your intentions to return to your home country after completing your studies. You may apply for a Study Permit after a Long Gap, with the help of a solid case file and adequate documentation and avoid study permit refusal.

Canadian Student Visa Requirements

Apply for Canada Study Permit for 2023 Intake

Study in Canada, Obtain Canadian Work Experience and Permanent Residency.

Book a consultation

Canada Student Visa Requirements

You must generally meet the following requirements to be eligible for a Canadian student visa:


Be Fully Vaccinated

To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you must meet Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) requirements. This includes receiving a minimum of two vaccine doses accepted for travel, a mix of travel-accepted vaccines, or a minimum of one Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

You must also follow pre-entry requirements and testing. This includes uploading proof of your vaccination status online at ArriveCAN.


Enrolment at a Designated Learning Institution

You must possess a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution, such as a Canadian College or University, to be eligible for a Canadian student visa. This letter is typically provided after enrollment at one of the aforementioned educational institutions.

Check the List of Designated Learning Institutions Here


Proof of Financial Support for Studies and Expenses

Prospective students must demonstrate they possess enough funds to manage their education and living expenses in Canada. This includes funds to cover the following:

  • First-year full-course tuition fees
  • Their living expenses, as well as living expenses for any family members accompanying them to Canada.
  • Their return ticket to their home country.
  • The living expenses alone amount to approximately $10,000 per year.
  • Living expenses for each family member are between $3,000 and $4,000.
  • Tuition fees could be anywhere from $11,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on your program and chosen educational institution.
  • The Proof of Financial Support can be demonstrated using bank statements, a GIC, or a letter from the individual funding your stay and education in Canada.


Follow the Law and Possess No Criminal Record

International students must be prepared to follow Canadian laws as they apply to them. They must also not possess a criminal record. Applicants are required to include a police clearance certificate with their application as proof.


Prove You are in Good Health

Applicants must be in good health when applying for their Canadian student visa. They may be required to undergo a medical exam approved by IRCC as proof.


Demonstrate That You Intend to Leave Canada After Completing Your Studies

Applicants must also demonstrate to a Canadian visa officer that they intend to leave Canada once they complete their studies.

3 Steps to Apply for a Canadian Student Visa

Prospective students can apply for a Canadian Student Visa by following the steps below:


Select a Study Program and Apply to a University or College

Students must first determine the type of study program they wish to pursue. They can then research the various colleges and universities in Canada. Consider applying to various programs and/or designated learning institutions to improve your chances of receiving admission.


Receive Your Letter of Acceptance

If you receive admission into one of these designated learning institutions, you will receive a letter of acceptance. This letter is vital for the student visa application process.

After receiving your acceptance letter, you must gather additional documents and submit a student visa application.


Gather the Required Documents and Complete the Application Process

After receiving your acceptance letter, you must gather additional documents and submit a student visa application. On approval, you can fly to Canada and start your studies.

Canada Student Visa Application Process

Here is a step-by-step process for the Canadian student visa application process:

STEP 1: Determine Your Eligibility

Prospective students must determine if they are eligible for a Canadian study permit or student visa. This involves checking if they can meet the abovementioned requirements, with obtaining a Letter of Acceptance being the top priority. Check if you are eligible for Canada’s student visa online: FREE Evaluation Tool.

STEP 2: Prepare Your Study Permit Application

Students can then begin gathering the necessary documents for their application. You can find them in the Document Checklist for a Study Permit Outside Canada. Feel free to contact us if need help with your Canadian student visa application process.

STEP 3: Submit Your Canada Student Visa Application

Students can then fill out and submit a Study Permit application online or using a paper-based process. The online process can be completed at the IRCC website. Applications submitted via the paper-based process must be submitted to a Visa Application Center (VAC) in their country.

STEP 4: Wait for a Decision

After that, you wait for the Canadian student visa approval. Approving a typical Canadian study visa takes 90 days (13 weeks), depending on which country you are applying from.

STEP 5: Move to Canada

If your study permit application is approved, you can fly to Canada. You will receive your Canadian study permit at your port of entry into the country.

Document Checklist for a Canadian Study Permit Outside Canada

Here is a list of primary documents required for a Canadian study permit outside Canada.


Proof of Acceptance

Also known as Letter of Acceptance, is a mandatory document that you’ll get from an institution (DLI). To obtain a Letter of Acceptance you have to submit an application to your desired DLI.


Proof of Identity

  • A valid passport
  • Two passport sized photos (name and D.O.B of the person written on the back of each photo)


A Letter of Explaination (LoE) / SOP / Cover Letter

A simple letter helps the visa officer understand your study goals in Canada and your responsibilities as an international student.

Cover Letter Sample for Canadian Student Visa Application


Proof of Financial Support

  • Proof of a Canadian bank account in your name
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)
  • Proof of a education/ student loan from a bank
  • Recent bank statements (last 4 months)
  • Bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
  • Proof of tuition and housing fees
  • Letter from the person or school giving you money, or
  • proof of money paid from within Canada (if you have a scholarship/ are in a Canadian-funded educational program)


A Custodian Declaration (For Minors)

A two-page document to be signed by both parents and the custodian (a responsible adult who will take care of the minor child in Canada). 


A Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (for Quebec)

A mandatory document for the applicants studying in Quebec, Canada. It is required if you want to study for more than 6 months in Quebec. 

Canada Study Permit After a Long Gap

There is no age limit to apply for Canadian Study Permit. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for a Canada study visa after 5 years, 10 years, or even 25 years. The rejection rates for the Canadian Study Permit are already high for typical applications. Many mature students get rejected due to their age gap and education gap.

Although, students with the help of a strong case file and genuine reasoning your study permit can get approved. Take a look at the story of Deepanjali Sachdewa, who almost gave up on studying in Canada.

Speak with a Study Visa Expert
Canada Study Visa 5 years Gap

Apply for Canada Study Permit with a Long Gap

We specialize in Canadian Student Visa for Mature Students with Education Gap.

Book a consultation

Study Permit vs Canadian Student Visa

A Canadian study permit doesn’t allow students to enter Canada. International students must apply for a Canadian Student Visa to enter Canada as a visitor. The fundamental differences between a Canada Study Permit and Student Visa are mentioned below:

  • A Canadian study permit is a mandatory document that allows you to “study in Canada.”
  • A Canadian student visa is like a temporary visitor visa that allows you to stay in Canada.
  • You don’t need to apply separately or pay additional fees for a Canadian student visa.
  • A study visa will be issued to you simultaneously with your Canadian study permit.
  • A Canadian student visa duration is the same as your Canadian study permit.

Canada Study Permit Refusal Reasons

The most common reasons for Canadian Study Permit Refusal are mentioned below:

  • Failed to prove that the purpose of coming to Canada is not studying
  • No intention to leave Canada
  • Low IELTS and other Language Skills
  • Fake documents submitted for approval
  • Limited Employment Prospects in the Home Country
  • Insufficient Personal Assets and Financial Status
  • Lack of Strong Family Ties

Learn More: Canadian Study Permit Refusal Reasons with Solutions

The Total Cost of Study in Canada in 2023

The living expenses in Canada are approximately 10,000 CAD per year. Tuition fees may range from CAD 25-40K for Bachelor’s Degree Programs and CAD 25-75K for Master’s Degree Programs, depending on your program and chosen educational institution.

The Best Universities to Study in Canada

Most Affordable Universities to Study in Canada

Canada Study Permit Visa

Apply for Canadian Study Permit with Licensed Experts

Avoid Study Permit Refusals with the assistance of Licensed Study Visa Experts.

Book a consultation

A Simple Guide to Schooling Visa in Canada with Parents

“Schooling Visa” is not the official term consultants, and local immigration agents use to promote Study Permits for Minors. It is also known as K-1 Visa in some places, but it is a study permit for underage students.

The fact is that there is no special student visa for Canada that allows for the inclusion of parents in the application. But you might be able to put together a series of arrangements that let you stay in Canada while your child attends school there.

Learn more: A Guide to Schooling Visa in Canada with Parents

FAQs: Canadian Study Permit & Student Visa

Frequently asked questions about the Canadian student visa and the study permit are mentioned below.

How to study in Canada without a Student Visa?

Students who are already inside Canada can start a course of educational programs lasting less than 6 months without a study permit

How long will it take to process the Canadian study permit?

Study permit applications submitted from outside Canada are usually processed within 12 weeks. Note that obtaining and submitting biometrics may lengthen the application completion and processing times.

Minimum requirements for a Canadian Study Permit

International students must be enrolled at a qualifying designated learning institution and possess a minimum amount of money to cover their tuition and living expenses while studying in Canada.

Exactly how much money is needed to Study in Canada?

You will generally need enough funds to cover your living expenses and tuition for the duration of your study in Canada. This amounts to approximately CAN$10,000 per year for living expenses, and anywhere from CAN$11,000 to CAN$50,000 per year for tuition.

Can I study in Canada for free?

You cannot study for free as an international student in Canada.

What are Canadian Post-Secondary Schools?

Post-secondary schools include College and University.

Is IELTS compulsory to Study in Canada?

You may be able to study in Canada without completing an IELTS. Such situations include:

  • If you have given a different type of English proficiency exam such as TOEFL.
  • If you belong to an English-speaking country
  • If you have studied at an English-speaking school for 4 years.
  • If you have attended a language school for a full semester or one year.

Can I stay in Canada after graduation?

You must leave Canada after graduating. However, you can apply for a post-graduate work permit and work in the country until the permit expires. Many international students use the work experience gained during this period to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry’s Canadian Experience Class.

Do I need the letter of intent for a Canada student visa?

A letter of intent also know as Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Letter of explanation (LOE), is usually required for a Canada Student Visa.

Can I change my college after Getting Study Visa?

You can switch to a different college after getting your study visa. However, you will need to inform IRCC regarding this change as soon as possible.

Can I Work While Studying in Canada?

You are legally permitted to work while studying in Canada only if it is stated on your study permit. Some study permits may state you can work only on-campus. Other study permits may allow you to work off-campus in addition to on-campus.

How we can help you choose an ideal Canadian University

Canada is home to dozens of world-class educational institutions. At Elaar Immigration, we can help you choose the perfect College or University for your higher education. Please contact us to learn more about pursuing higher education in Canada.

Do international students get free healthcare in Canada?

International students are usually automatically enrolled in a Foreign Health Insurance plan. These students are eligible for basic health coverage for free via the Medical Care Plan run by the province. This applies only for students who are enrolled in full-time studies for programs lasting 12 months or longer.

Apply for Canada Study Permit Visa with ELAAR

Complete Assistance from Getting a Canadian Study Permit Visa to Obtaining Permanent Residency.