By obtaining a student visa (Study Permit) to enter Canada, a foreigner can tap into the many opportunities that the country has to offer with respecting to schooling. A person in the possession of that study permit can even apply for permanent residency after the course is over.
Foreign students who want to attend schools in Canada can choose between 83 of the colleges and universities available. The regulation of the education system is done by the provincial government. This implies that the requirements to enter a school in a particular province might differ from another province. But in general the rules are quite similar. Here is an article to give you a clear idea of how to prepare and get a student visa to go to Canada.
Before you apply
There are certain documents you will need before even applying for the study permit. One of those documents is the letter of acceptance from the school where you are going to take the course. That is why you need to first find the school offering the course that you are interested in and contact them in advance. The letter of acceptance can only be obtained after you pay for your tuition fee. Keep that in mind before starting the visa application process.
Who is eligible to apply for a Canada student visa?
There are 5 key elements that the Canadian immigration service is going to look at before granting your the visa. The only way to be eligible for a visa is to provide:
- a letter that proves that you have been accepted by the school
- proof that you have enough funds to take care of yourself once in Canada. You should be able to take care of the tuition fees, living expenses and after the course is over you should be able to finance the return to the country of origin.
- proof that you are a law abiding citizen with no criminal record. A police certificate might be requested.
- A document proving that you are in good health must be provided
- You will have to prove to an immigration officer that you indeed intend to return to your country of origin after you are done taking the course.
Talking of proof of financial support, your should preferably have more than $11,000 in addition to tuition fee left inside your bank account.
Applying for the student visa
If you are eligible for the visa, you can go ahead and apply for it. The application can be done online or through printed papers. It is better to do it online because the processing of the application will go faster.
Before applying online, make sure to have a scanned version of the documents you are supposed to provide for the application. A credit card will also be required to pay for the fees involved. When you have all the necessary scanned documents at hand, you can to to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index-int.asp and start the process.
It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to fill the online form. The questions asked will be related to your nationality, age, language spoken, education, work experience, level of income, family members and details of any job offer. All questions will have to be answered before you can move to the next page. If you don’t have the answer for a particular question you can exit the page and continue later on when you know the answer.
There is a personal checklist code given to those applying online. So that in case you are not able to finish the registration process you can still come back later on to continue where you stopped. So save that checklist code somewhere. The code is only valid for 60 days so make sure to return and finish the application process within that time frame
Additional information required
During the registration process itself you might not be required to submit certain documents like medical and security information. But the visa office may later request that you provide those documents if they deem that is necessary.
In case you are requested those documents this may add 3 more months to the processing time because you will have to go through a medical examination and also initiate the processing of a police certificate.
The time necessary to process your visa application will depend on the office where you submitted the application documents. That said online application usually go faster than paper application. Those applying for student visa can hope to get it processed within 32 days. You can always check it on the cic website to have a fair idea as to when to expect a response.
What to expected after submitting the documents
After your application is submitted, the visa office will review it. If there is any document lacking in the folder you submitted, it will be returned to you without getting processed so make sure to cross check everything before sending the document.
If the folder submitted is complete, the visa office will review it. Based on the information provided, an officer may request that you come and sit for an interview. The time and place of the interview will be communicated to you.
In case your application is approved you will receive:
- A letter of introduction which you are supposed to present to the immigration officials at the point of entry when you get to Canada.
- A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) will be issued if you own a passport from a country for which Canada requires a visa. The TRV will be stamped onto your passport. On it, the date on which you are allowed to enter Canada will be specified. There is an expiry date attached too and you must enter Canada before TRV expires. It is on the TRV that you will know if you can enter Canada only once or a number of times.
In case the application is not approved
It happens that somebody’s application doesn’t get approved. In that case the person will be sent a letter containing the explanation as to why he has been denied the visa. Here are some of the reasons you might be refused a visa.
- No sufficient information proving you do have the financial resources to support yourself
- Absence of the medical examination report
- The visa officer might not be convinced that your real intention is to study in the country
- The visa officer may suspect that you intend to stay in the country when you are done with the course.
Preparing to arrive in Canada
If you are lucky to have the study permit granted, you need to make sure you have some few documents ready right from the moment you take the airplane to arrive in Canada because there, you are going to come across the officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) who will request for them. You should have these documents at hand once you get off the airplane:
- A valid passport with the TRV on it
- A copy of the letter of acceptance that you produce when applying for the visa
- documents proving that you have the financial support required to take care of the expenses involved while living in Canada
- The letter of introduction you were giving from the visa office in your country. Your permit reference number is in that letter so make sure to keep in well. It is based on that reference number that the CBSA officer will issue the study permit.
- If there are any other document recommended by the visa office where you applied from, you should present that as well.
Benefits of studying in Canada
One key reason why you would want to study in Canada has to do with the high quality of education. You can open more doors with a degree earned from Canada and benefit from a long term career. A Canadian degree is recognized everywhere you go, it doesn’t matter the country you find yourself in. On top of that the cost of the tuition fees and accommodation are usually lower for international students when compared to that of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Aside that there are countless research opportunities for those interested in science and technology. In Canada the government and the different industries work hand in hand to support research in medicine, agriculture, environmental science, computer technology and telecommunications.
As you are in the country you can take advantage of it to visit beautiful cities like Montreal. Its offers different looks mixing old and the new architecture. If you happen to attend a school in the city of Victoria, you will enjoy the beautiful ocean view and the variety of plant lives growing all over the place.
Some of the university to consider are