Canada is one of the first destinations that comes to mind when you think of education. This is both because of the excellent reputation the country has for accommodating foreigners, and because the nation runs one of the best educational system in the world.
According to BBC, when it comes to education, Canada ranks among the top countries in the world.
Some of the reasons why Canada is a very popular destination for immigrants, especially for schooling, are as follows:
- Canada is immigrant-friendly. This means that the people don’t display the same hostility that some other countries who are not welcoming to immigrants
- Acquiring a Canadian visa is relatively easier than securing one for many other countries.
- Canada has one of the best educational systems in the world.
- The cost of living in Canada can be affordable depending on where you live. Though cities like Toronto can be expensive to live in, it’s relatively cheaper when compared to living in other major cities of the world like New York. And both the government and the universities offer loans and scholarships to deserving international students.
Although these are very valid reasons for wanting to relocate to Canada, you still have to complete the visa process. You need to know what kind of visa you need, how to get it, and the documents you need to show. All this information has been included in this article.
Applying for a Student Visa in Canada
If you decide that you want to study in Canada, you’ll need to apply for a visa. First you need to know what type of visa you need. Since this article is for those who wish to further their education in Canada, we’re considering the student visa.
What is a Study Permit?
Also called a study permit, a student visa is a document that allows visitors to stay and study within Canada.
International students aren’t allowed to stay in the country without a valid study permit. This visa usually takes 38 days to process and is valid for 90 days after your last session of study. You can apply via the Canadian visa application center in your country.
Once you know the kind of visa you want, the next step is to actually apply. The process of applying for a Canadian visa is quite rigorous. This is because the Canadian authorities want to be sure that you deserve to get a permit before they grant you access to their country. If you can, it’s best to apply for the visa through an agency.
Eligibility Requirements for a Permit
Studying in Canada is not something that just anyone with any profile can do, some of the eligibility requirements include:
- You should be enrolled at a designated distance learning institute
- There should be enough funds to cover your tuition fee, living expenses and living expenses during your time as a student.
- Return cost for yourself and anyone accompanying you to Canada.
- You must also have no criminal record or case pending with the police
- The embassy would require you to provide a medical certificate showing that you are in good health.
- And finally, you should be able to prove to the Visa Officer that you would leave Canada immediately your Canadian visa expires.
Find a RCIC Who Knows About the Student Visa
It’s not compulsory to hire an agent if you want to get a student visa. One reason you may want to hire one is the fact that an experienced agent knows the best way to go about getting the visa.
An outstanding agent will help you make sure all of your documents are complete and well-arranged and will even gather the paperwork for you. Some of the things you can do to confirm the validity of the agency you want to work with are:
- Ask if the agency is RCIC (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant).
- Ask if they have an in-house consultant. This is necessary because there are specific Canada immigration laws which a RCIC will help you understand.
- Ask about their success rate, and where you can check their testimonials.
- Don’t be in a hurry to sign up with anyone immediately. If they mention cutting corners in any way, you should suspect illegitimacy.
- Ask them if they have handled cases similar to yours and learn the details.
You should definitely select more than one school, because there is a chance that the first university you choose won’t accept your application. There could be many reasons for this but making more than one choice gives you a better chance of getting into a school. Lastly, all applications should be made 8 months before the deadline.
All these points increase the likelihood of success. Another step that you may want to take is going to the school’s website directly to apply for admission and filling out the application form. This would require, among other things, an essay as to why you picked this particular school. The documents required to be submitted with the application include:
- Completed application form
- A document that confirms your secondary school completion
- Transcripts from your secondary school
- A test of English proficiency certificate. Most schools require TOEFL or IELTS. Some universities may use your SAT score. However, you’ll still have to write TOEFL and/or SAT before continuing the process.
- A resume that shows volunteer work, community involvement, and other achievements
- Check out these preparation courses.
These are the basic requirements, and all of them can be submitted to the agency you decide to work with. You also have to keep in mind that the requirements vary from one Canadian school to another. Make sure you do your research and check exactly what you need for admission. Better still, consult the agency.
The cost of education in Canada is moderate compared to similar countries. However, it’s still a bit high compared to the cost in some countries. You have to be prepared to pay some initial costs in order to start university. These may include:
- Cost of application
- Cost of the flight ticket (This is one of the documents to be submitted when applying for the visa)
- Cost of the immigration agency’s services
- Visa application fees, which are usually in the range of CAD $150 and CAD $45
- Cost of passport application or renewal
- Miscellaneous costs, like the fees for obtaining notarized documents, etc.
You will pay your tuition once you arrive in the country, and you have a small window to apply for a scholarship. There are numerous sites online where you can get details about Canadian scholarships and the specific ones that apply to your school.
Applying for a Scholarship
There are lots of scholarships available for Canadian schools, and you may be able to get one if you go about it the right way. If you are using an agency, they’ll run through the scholarship process with you. However, if you are doing it yourself, you’ll have to do a lot of research. In order to be considered, you’ll be required to have an SAT score in the 1400 range, or a TOEFL score in the 75 range.
To apply for a Canadian visa, you need to get all your documents and submit them to the Canadian embassy nearest to you. Here are the materials you need:
- Completed visa forms obtained from the Canadian government’s official website
- An original copy as well as a photocopy of your passport, with six months’ validity after the return date and more than one blank page. You can get a passport from your local government office.
- Two coloured photographs. (420×540 pixels, JPEG files and between 60 kilobytes to 240 kilobytes)
- Flight reservation showing the airline, date, and time of arrival in Canada
- Visa application fee proof of payment
- Proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself through your period of stay in Canada (bank statements of the sponsor, or proof of scholarship award). Canadian authorities generally expect you to have $CAD 11,000 for living expenses, outside of your tuition fee.
- Letter from a certified hospital showing that you are in good health
- Letter of authorization for minors under 18, signed by both parents or a legal guardian
- A police report, showing a clear criminal record
- Acceptance letter from the institution where you’re going to study
- Academic certificate from secondary school
- A self-addressed return courier envelope
Lastly, Canada recently introduced a biometric system (A fingerprint capture system) that you have to go through before you complete your application. This biometric system hastens the application process.
If you want to go through the process of applying for the visa without using an agency, then first visit the Canadian government website and check your eligibility status for getting a visa. You can do that at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp. Then submit your documents to the Canadian embassy located in your country. It’s also advisable to look for an immigration lawyer if you are not going to be using an agency.
The Visa Interview
The last step before you can get your visa is the interview. The agency cannot help you with this directly, but they can make sure you’re ready. The attorney should ensure that all documents are prepared properly. Simple rules to follow for the interview include:
- Dress well. The first impression the interviewer will have of you is your appearance.
- Smile and have an air of confidence, not arrogance. Greet the interviewer in a friendly manner when you sit down.
The visa officer is the person in charge of interviewing you and determining whether you’re eligible for the visa. Some of the questions you’re likely to get from the visa officer include:
- Why do you want to study in Canada?
- Which secondary school did you attend?
- How do you intend to cope with the weather?
- How will you deal with the stress of studying in school?
- Why are some documents missing? This might be a trick question to get you off your game. Simply answer, “It’s there.”
- Other question that relate to your studies and your ability to understand social cues
If your performance on the interview is satisfactory, you’ll be handed your passport with a stamp and a document showing that the Canadian government has approved your request to study in Canada.
Study and Work
Getting to Canada is not the final step, since you’ll still need money for your living expenses. The school you attend might provide options for making some income, which would generally include:
- Student loans – the loans available in most tertiary institution available in Canada are for indigene students or permanent residents. Therefore, international students might need to look to banks or private finance institute for loans.
- Partial scholarships – some scholarships do not cover all your tuitions. There are 50% scholarships which only covers half of your tuition, 80% – covers most but not all the tuition and many more like this. In cases like this, students would be expected to pay the balance.
- Work-study programs – if students can’t get a scholarship they can apply for the work-study programs of their institution. What this means is that they would be able to work between classes and save enough money to cover the cost of their tuition and take care of their upkeep. Students who are on partial scholarship are usually found in this category.
Canada permits you to bring your spouse along if you are married. But the condition to be able to do this, is that you have to be above the age of 18, else you are considered a minority.
If you bring your spouse, then you would be able to apply for open work permit which allows your spouse to work while you school full-time. The spouse can either apply for visa alongside the student or wait till the student gets their own visa to apply. Also the student would have to mention everyone that would go along with him in his visa submission. This would make it possible to apply for open work permit once they get there.
Getting Your eTA and TRV
Certain countries don’t require a visa to get into Canada, but you do need an eTA (electronic travel authorization). You have to check the list of countries that can get into Canada without a visa to see if your residence is on it – Learn about Visitor Visa Canada.
You also have the option of getting a Temporary Resident Visa, if you are about to leave the country. This document allows you to re-enter Canada after the completion of your tertiary education. Your TRV, if granted, will be linked to your passport. You should apply for the temporary resident visa 3 months before your visa expires. The application costs $100, and you can apply either online or in person by filling out a form.
From Student Visa to Permanent Residency
As a student, there are 4 programs available which can lead to permanent residency. They include:
this visa type works electronically and involves the provincial governments, Canadian employers and federal government. The visa is amazing because it saves you all the headache of doing countless paperwork. The steps involve going to the Canadian website and filling out an application form that lets the electronic system to rank you. if you get a high ranking, you could have your permanent residency granted in 6 months. One of the way to get a high score in your ranking is to have gone through one of the higher educational institutes in Canada. You should also speak to an RCIC about that, to understand more.
This program is for people who are able to work, and who the Canadian government deems able to contribute to the economy. Each province has its own separate set of requirements, so you are advised to check the stipulations for the province you’re interested in before applying.
This program is generally for students who have completed their post-secondary education at an accredited Canadian institution. They can then apply for permanent residency after at least 12-months of full time skilled work experience.
If you are proficient in French and have either worked or completed your studies in Quebec, then you can apply for permanent residency without having any work experience.
Immigration can be quite tough especially seeing all the requirements that you have to meet up with. But it’s not all bad and love can lighten all the burden. You can find the perfect one in Canada, that one that would drive the edges of your hearts into the moon and back. With students like you wishing to study in the university environment, you would find like minds and singles all over the place.
So, just close your eyes and imagine it, forget all the stress and release the tense muscles. As you glide through the campus, you run into someone and when you looked down books were flying everywhere. You look up and beheld the most beautiful thing your mind could conjure (add the hair blowing effects and slow motion). That is the first time you saw her and from then your journey to eternal love only blossom. She was from Canada, which makes it perfect and you a foreigner meet in the best of two worlds. Love is everywhere and Canada isn’t an exemption. Just open up your heart to the possibility.Olu, immigrated to Canada in 2017. Read more about his Personal Story here.