If you want to come study in Canada, you first need to be accepted by a school, college or university that is included on the list of so-called ‘designated learning institutions’. All primary and secondary schools in Canada are automatically designated learning institutions. As such, they are not included on this list. However, if you plan to attend a post-secondary institution, make sure that it is on this list.
After you have been accepted into a program, the institution will issue you a Letter of Acceptance. This Letter will have all sorts of information you need when preparing your application for a study permit, including whether your acceptance is conditional or not. If there are conditions still to be met, do not submit your application for the study permit yet; otherwise, it will be refused. First, make sure that you have met all the outstanding conditions, after which the institution will issue a new Letter of Acceptance.
Once you have completed all of these steps, you can make an account with IRCC and start preparations for an online application for your study permit. You can do this on paper as well, but it will take much longer. On that note, processing times for a study-permit application depend on the country where you are from or are currently residing in and can vary from 2 to 25 weeks. Needless to say, it is vital that you start this process far in advance.
Some students will need to go for a medical exam, depending on the country where they have lived during the last year. If this applies to you, then you will need to take the medical exam before you submit your application for your study permit. All students (except US citizens or lawful U.S. permanent residents with a valid green card) will have to give their biometrics. This means that you will have to go to a special Biometrics Collection Point (BCP) and give your fingerprints and digital photograph. Giving your biometrics will cost $85 and will need to be paid at the same time that you submit your application for your study permit.
After you have submitted your application for a study permit, you will receive a letter with instructions from IRCC. You will need to take this letter and your passport with you when you go to your appointment. You can choose to go to any BCP, but it is possible that you will need to travel quite a bit to reach one of these Points. For instance, there is no BCP in the Netherlands, Afghanistan or Cuba.
IRCC will also want to see all sorts of documents from you, like a copy of your passport (often including all pages with stamps, visas and other markings), copies of your current diplomas, your official English or French language test results, proof of funds and (sometimes) a police certificate (also called ‘criminal record check’).
It is very important that you can show evidence that you have the funds to study in Canada. If you come for just one year, you will need to show that you have money to pay for the full tuition fees of your program, your cost of living, your travel costs to Canada and back home again. IRCC has set the cost of living in Canada for one student at $10,000 per year. So, if your tuition fees are $15,000, then you will need to show at least $25,000. This can be in your own bank account, but also in your parents’ or anybody else’s, as long as they have signed a statement that they will be responsible for your study costs. However, some visa offices will require that you have already paid the full tuition fees and/or have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate in Canada. Even if your study program is longer than one year, you will still only need to show the funds for the first year.
Lastly, when you arrive in Canada, you may be asked to show that you have health insurance. Lots of schools offer that as part of their program, so make sure to check that before you purchase your own insurance.
A certified immigration consultant at Red Moose Immigration Services Inc., Nicole M-L. Kleemaier-Raaijen, LLM, RCIC, can assist you professionally and competently throughout the entire application process. To set up an appointment, call her by phone at 250.215.9473 or visit the website of Red Moose.