canada study visa

How to apply for Canada Study Visa – Info, Eligibility, and Steps

Great so you’ve decided to go to study in Canada. It’s a big, beautiful country with a rich history that intrigues many people.  You’re anxiously waiting for your acceptance letter and wondering to yourself, “Do I need anything to get into Canada?” The answer is “Yes, I do!”

Firstly, you need to make sure you have a valid passport.  If you are a non-Canadian citizen and do not meet visa exemption criteria, then you need to apply for something called a visa.

A visa does not guarantee your entry to the country. The visa provides you with the possibility and eligibility to enter and stay in the country for a specific period. Ultimately, the Immigration Officer at the border control determines your entry. The magical question becomes – how to go about getting a visa?

First, check if you meet the Visa Exemption Criteria:

If you meet one of the following criteria, then you do not need a visa:

  1. You are a family or staff member of a foreign representative in Canada, who is accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
  2. You enrol in a programme that lasts less than six months
  3. You are a member of foreign armed forces from the Visiting Forces Act
  4. You are a citizen of another country, but you have an Indian status registered in Canada

If you do not meet one of those criterion, then you need to prepare for a visa application. An important first step is to firstly check how long it takes. You can do this by visiting the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Website.  You also need to check what the required documents are.

Let’s check what the required documents are:

  1. Standard acceptance letter from a recognised university. You can find information about recognised universities here.
  2. Visa application package from the CIC Website.
  3. Depending on your country, you may need to provide biometric data.
  4. Proof of funds – C$ 10,000 for every year of study or C$11,000 for every year of study if studying Quebec.
  5. Criminal record and/or medical check depending upon your country
  6. Health Insurance proof – the University can assist you with that information

Once you have these documents, then you can apply for the study visa. You can do this through the CIC website or you can do a paper version at the Consulate General of Canada or Canadian Embassy in your local country. You can find further information about the paper version and the required steps here.

Important items to include with your application:

  1. Two passport sized photographs
  2. 150 CAD fee
  3. Valid passport
  4. Certificat d’acceptation if you are planning to study in Quebec along with a French & English translation
  5. English test results if you are coming from a non-English speaking country – IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge English – advanced are accepted.

Note: an application via Consulate or Embassy takes longer than the online application.

Make further preparation in case there will be a request for an interview. Whether you are selected for an interview or not really depends on individual circumstances. The visa officer taking care of your application will make this decision. Unfortunately, it cannot be determined in advance.

After you have submitted your application, then it is time to wait. Government officials will decide the outcome of your visa application. If the visa application is approved, then either :

  1. You will receive an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) if you are from an eTA country


  1. You will receive a travel visa printed in your passport

Now it’s time to get packing and find a place to stay!


Adam E. Badenhorst studied a MBA, and has professional experience in marketing and managing teams. Currently, he focuses most of his work on personal branding and small business topics. Recently, he has diversified his portfolio to include education topics. In his free time, he enjoys studying a new language, playing sports, and spending time with his family.

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