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How to get a Canadian study permit

Learn everything you need to know about Canada’s study permit.

In this article:

What is a Canadian study permit?

The Canadian immigration authorities issue study permits to eligible international students, which allows them to study in Canada. A study permit is not a visa, so you will need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorisation to enter the country. The visa authorities will give you either one of them once the study permit is authorised. 

While holding a study permit, you can stay for the duration of your course plus an additional 90 days. You can prepare to leave the country or extend your stay during these extra days.

When to apply for a Canadian study permit

It is advised that you apply for your study permit as soon as you receive your university's confirmation letter. Sometimes there can be delays, and it can even take up to 3 months to obtain your study permit.

What is the eligibility criteria to apply for a Canadian study permit?

  • You should be enrolled in a university recognised as a designated learning institution (DLI) by the Canadian government. 
  • You need to have a good command of English
  • You should not have a criminal record.
  • You need to have all the required documents.

Checklist of required documents to apply for a Canadian study permit

You need to submit the following documents as proof while applying for your study permit.

  • Proof of acceptance – confirmation letter from the university.
  • Proof of identity – Valid passport, two passport size photos with your name and DOB written behind the photograph.
  • Proof of funds – You need to show that you can support yourself financially throughout the period of your education. You can do this by providing your bank statements, education loan documents or a letter from the university if you are going to study on a scholarship. 
  • Letter of explanation – In this letter, you should try to explain best why you want to study in Canada and your understanding of the responsibilities you will have as an international student. This will help the reviewing officer assess your mindset.
  • Immigration Medical Examination - You might need to submit a Medical examination report depending on your home country. If required, you will have to get tested by a listed doctor. After completing the detailed test, the doctor will forward the results to Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC).

What is the cost of a Canadian study permit?

The average study permit processing fee is CAD 150. The fee for the biometric and any additional third-party tests like medical tests are added in addition to the primary processing fee.

Where to apply for a Canadian study permit

You can either apply online by registering in the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website or apply through the nearest Canadian Visa Application Centre (VAC). Both methods are explained in the next section.

How to apply for a Canadian study permit?

To apply online

Step 1

Create an account and register yourself in the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.

Step 2

Login and fill out the study permit form. The form will also have some personal questions for you to fill out. This helps the visa department to create a personalised profile for you. Scan and submit the required documents

Step 3

Check the processing fee on the website (can vary based on your home country and situation). Pay the fee online and submit your application. 

Step 4

You will have to give your biometrics (fingerprints and photo). As the application process progresses, you can choose from one of the official locations near you to do so.

You can log in to your account to check the status of your study permit.

Note: Given the current situation online applications are recommended and are processed faster than on paper applications

To apply on paper

Step 1

Read the study permit application package available in the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website. Fill out the forms listed in the package. After completing the application, click on validate and a barcode specific to your application will be generated. You need to attach this barcode and print out your application. You also need to sign the application with the date in the indicated space.

Step 2

Check your fees and pay by clicking on the 'Online payment' option in the study permit application package. After completing the payment, take a print out of the confirmation receipt

Step 3

Attach the required document and the payment receipt along with your application and send it to the nearest Canadian Visa Application Centre (VAC). You can locate your nearest VAC in the study permit application package.

Step 4

The biometric submission process is similar to online applications.

The review officer will assess your application. Based on this, you might be called in for a personal interview. Once the review is done, you will be intimated if your application has been accepted or rejected. If your application is rejected, your documents will be sent back to you along with the reason for your rejection.

What is asked in a Canadian study permit interview

The purpose of a visa interview is to verify certain details you mentioned in your application. So, the questions are generally around your background, qualifications and intentions behind your decision to study.

How to handle a Canadian study permit interview

Practice and be prepared. Go through your application to recollect the information you entered. Ask your family members to give you a mock test or try talking in front of the mirror. 

Be calm and confident. On the day of the interview, dress professionally, be early and answer all the questions clearly. 

For more tips read, How to clear your Canadian study permit interview

When can you come to Canada after getting your permit

You can enter the country after you receive your permit, but you need to make sure that you have enough funds to take care of yourself and you also need to make necessary arrangements like accommodation.

How to shorten the permit processing time for a Canadian study permit

Canada does not offer a pathway where you can pay an extra fee to shorten the study permit processing time.