Study Permit and Visa requirements to Study in Canada

There is a requirement for foreign students, who wish to study in Canada, to follow certain steps that would ease their problems in finding the right procedure of getting the required study permit and the visa, if applicable. It is important to know that to study in Canada a foreign student will need a study permit and/or a visitor visa.

A study permit is a document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada(CIC)that allows someone who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada to study in Canada. The study permit is required for those who are pursuing a program of study that is longer than 180 days, or six months. Those studying for less than 180 days are not required to obtain a study permit. However, if there is a possibility that the stay because of studies may extend then it is advisable to apply for the study permit prior to departing for Canada.

A temporary resident visa (TRV) or visa, as it is commonly known, is a document issued by CIC that allows someone who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada to enter the country.

Having known the requirement of a study permit and/or visa the foreign student will have to prepare to study in Canada. Now this would mean:

• Before the student would have applied for the study permit s/he must have been accepted in a school, university or college in Canada. There are different types of schools and institutions. Primary and secondary, post secondary institutions, language schools, private and vocational schools.

• After having chosen the province and the institution the student will have to apply. Every institution will have separate rules on procedures to apply. Therefore, the institutions will have to be contacted and they will provide the correct documents to apply on.

• The institution concerned will then provide the letter of acceptance which then becomes the proof of acceptance that has to be in original with letterhead, full mailing address with telephone numbers, e-mail and website.

Proof of identity is a must. This is a valid passport or travel document that allows the student to go back to the country of origin. Two recent passport sized photographs as per specifications with the name and date of birth written on the back off each photo.

Proof of financial capability is necessary. Some of the proofs connected with financial ability are an account in a Canadian bank in the name of the student where money can be transferred, bank statements of the last four months, bank draft in convertible currency or letter from the person or an institution in the case of scholarship providing the money. Not all the documents are required but some of them that can substantiate the claim.

To be eligible to study in Canada the student must be in good health and willing to undergo a complete medical examination from one of the empanelled doctors. Medical insurance will be insisted as an essential requirement . If applicable, the statutory declaration of common law union (IMM 5409), custodian declaration – custodian for minors studying in Canada (IMM 5646), application for study permit made outside of Canada ( IMM 1294), use of a representative (IMM 5476) and completed family information (IMM 5645) have to be completed before applying for a study permit.

It may become beneficial if a student is applying for a study permit even when there is no requirement. A letter of explanation will be required. This helps the visa officer to understand the options that are being considered in the near future and processing the study permit may become that much easier.

If after obtaining the study permit it is expiring before the academic program, then it has to be renewed at least 30 days before the current permit expires. Preferable to apply 90 days before it expires.

Changing the status of study permit is different than renewing it. “Renewing” refers to studying in the same program for a longer period of time. “Changing the status” refers to changing institutions, level of study, or type of program. Changing status must be done immediately upon receiving confirmation of the admission to the new program regardless of how much time remains for expiry of current study permit.

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