Canada is one of the world’s most attractive destinations for international students. Here’s how to get a study permit.
Last year, Canada welcomed 450,000 new international students, an all-time record.
Among the reasons Canada is so attractive to international students include the country’s high-quality of education, safety, security, and multiculturalism. Canada allows international students to work during their studies and be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after completing their program.
The PGWP provides international students with an opportunity to gain additional Canadian work experience, which can improve their odds of eventually gaining Canadian permanent residence. Indeed, many of Canada’s over 100 economic class immigration programs cater to international students. Canadian government research shows former international students tend to perform well in the labour market once they gain permanent residence. This is because they are young, well-educated, speak English and/or French fluently, and have Canadian work experience.
So, how can you study in Canada?
Step 1: Conduct research on where you want to study
Canada offers many high-quality colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions to international students.
Conduct research on educational programs that align with your interests and career goals.
You should also conduct research on the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) first before applying to a program. You want to ensure the post-secondary institution of your choice is on IRCC’s list of designated learning institutions (DLI). A DLI is an institution authorized by the government to welcome international students.
If you want to get a PGWP after your studies, you should also ensure you apply to a program and DLI that can allow you to be eligible for a PGWP. This information is also available on IRCC’s website.
Once you have identified a short list, go ahead and apply to the educational institutions.
Step 2: Get a Letter of Acceptance (LOA)
You will receive a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) once you are approved by a Canadian DLI. You need the LOA to submit your study permit application to IRCC.
The LOA contains details such as:
- The name of the DLI, and contact information of the DLI
- Your name, date of birth, and mailing address
- The study program, level of the program, duration of the program, its start date, and estimated date of completion
- Expiry date of the LOA
Step 3: Apply for a Study Permit
You can submit your study permit application directly to IRCC. It is also beneficial to hire an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer to submit the study permit application on your behalf since they will be able to use their significant knowledge to ensure you submit the strongest and most accurate application possible.
IRCC will require a list of documents when reviewing your study permit application such as:
- Your LOA
- Proof of financial support to cover your tuition and living expenses in Canada
- Police certificates
- Medical exams, if applicable
- Letter of explanation detailing your career objectives and ties to your home country
Note that if you wish to study in the province of Quebec you will need to apply for and obtain a Certificat d’Acceptation du Quebec (CAQ) from the Quebec government before you submit your study permit application to IRCC.
Student Direct Stream
Canada also offers a fast-track study permit option called the Student Direct Stream (SDS). The SDS is available to those who live in any of these countries:
- The Philippines
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
IRCC’s processing standard for most SDS applications is 20 days and you need to submit your SDS application online.
The eligibility criteria for the SDS is similar to a normal study permit application, but it also includes key additional requirements. Among them include needing to obtain a minimum of 6.0 on each skill on the IELTS or if you are taking a French test, you need the equivalent of a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 in each skill on the TEF.
You also need to get a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) with a participating Canadian bank of $10,000 CAD.
Enjoy your studies in Canada
Canada is home to a world of opportunities for international students. It provides great education, living standards, and job opportunities during and after your studies. It also has more than 100 different economic class immigration pathways, including those that encourage international graduates to apply. Canada has lifted much of its COVID-19 restrictions so now is a great time to pursue your education here.