Canada is an increasingly popular destination for international students and boasts some of the world’s best universities. It’s diverse culture and the fact that it offers study in both English and French strengthens its reputation as one of the world’s most welcoming countries.

To study in Canada, you will need to apply for a Canadian Study Permit (CSP). This guide will help you with this process.

Here is a checklist of what you will need to successfully obtain a CSP:

  • A letter of acceptance from a Canadian university. If studying in Quebec, you will need a certificate of acceptance from the government of Quebec (called a CAQ).
  • Proof that you can afford to pay for tuition fees, living expenses and a return trip to your home country.
  • A police certificate that can testify that you have no criminal record.
  • A medical test, depending on which country you are coming from. You can check the Canadian government website to see if this is a requirement for you when you get started with your CSP process.

Additionally you may need to showcase your intention to return home when your studies come to an end.

Filling Out The Form

In order to obtain a student visa application package you will need to fill out the Study Permit Form on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website. You can simply choose to complete the form online by following the given instructions.

The CIC website will ask if you’re from a ‘Designated Country of Origin’; you can look up your country’s status on the website. If you are from a DCO, you may need to obtain a temporary residence permit. Temporary residence and study permits are processed simultaneously, so this won’t cause a delay in your study plans. 

Answer all of the questions in the application truthfully and find out if you are eligible, then while on the ‘your document checklist’ page, it is wise to make a note of the personal reference code that is provided to you. This code will be valid for 60 days. You will then be asked to pay the fee, which is CAD 150.

The Canadian Visa Application Package

Next, you will need to get a Canadian visa application package. Simply create a MyCIC account using the personal checklist code that you saved earlier.

You will receive a personal document checklist which will require you to upload and submit your documents to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Once submitted, you will get a response between three and 30 days, but generally within two weeks.

Electronic Travel Authorisation

Students whose permits are issued on or after August 1, will automatically be assigned an Electronic Travel Authorisation with their permit.

The Medical Test

If you are required to undergo a medical examination, instructions will be sent to you after your application has been submitted. This is a standard physical examination which seek conditions that could affect the health of the Canadian public. The test can be taken by a panel physician who can be found in your country by checking the list of doctors who have been approved by CIC.

The Interview

A visa officer will decide whether it’s necessary to interview you. If so you will be contacted by an officer who will give you an appointment at a local visa office in your country.

Here are some useful tips for the interview.

  • Have all your documents carefully organised so you can easily access them.
  • Be prepared to give answers that focus on your skills and achievements, to show that you intentions are to study hard.
  • When showing financial documents underline how you have sufficient funding and won’t run out of money. Be sure to bring detailed bank statements and if possible a Chartered Accountant report.
  • Do lots of research on your university before the interview, such as its exact location. This will show that studying in this particular university is important to you.
  • Be sure to highlight the benefits of studying your course in Canada. If a similar course is available in your country, mention the higher quality of education in your particular field in Canada and discuss recent research being conducted there.
  • Be clear about what you plan to do in the future after this course.

Approval or Refusal

The Canadian government is renowned for being very efficient, so within two weeks you will receive your approval or refusal. Don’t worry if you are rejected, often the reason will be because you have not applied to the right course. There’s no limit to how many times you can apply, so reconsider what you want to study and be prepared for your next attempt.

Canada is a positive place, so your tenacity will be respected when you finally get there, ready to study and kick start a great career.

If you are interested in studying in Canada, you may want to read our blogs on: The Application Requirements for Canadian Universities; How to Find SPP Colleges in Canada; Breathtaking Campuses in Canada and Scholarships in Canada

And you are still undecided as to which college you would like to study at; two great options to consider for completely different reasons are Canadian University Dubai and Carleton University; find out more about these colleges in our blogs: Destination Canada Via Dubai and Carleton, Canada's Capital University.