How to apply for a study permit to Canada

Canada is a popular destination for international students. With a study permit in hand the students come here for better education and future immigration opportunities. Applying for a study permit is a relatively straight forward process and you can complete it on your own.

Who needs a study permit to Canada

  • Anyone who applied and was accepted into a university or college (it has to be accredited!!!) in Canada
  • Anyone who is planning to complete a course of studies in Canada that lasts longer than 6 months

How to submit the application

When to submit the application

You want to give yourself enough time to prepare a complete application, submit the documents and receive your visa to come to Canada. Submitting too early or too late could affect your chances of your application being approved. Consider the following when preparing to apply for a study permit:

  • How long it will take your school to give you a Letter of Acceptance
  • If you need to obtain documents from a third party (ex your ex-employer) and how long it might take
  • Whether your school allows late admission (most schools allow you to join their studies late, but check with your school beforehand)
  • If you can defer your studies in case of a refusal, and you will have enough time to file a new application
  • Check processing times on the Canadian Immigration website that are kept up to date

Remember, in cases of the study permits time is in fact money, so act accordingly!

Am I eligible to receive the permit

  • The eligibility will depend on various factors, including:
    • You have been accepted into a recognized school in Canada
    • Your course of study is longer than 6 months (for a study period of 6 months or less you can attend with a visitor visa)
    • You are not inadmissible to Canada
    • You have enough money to pay for your school and life in Canada
  • Assuming all of the above are in order, you should be able to apply for this study visa to Canada

Is there an application guide

Yes, IRCC has put together a detailed guide on what goes into the study permit application and how an immigration officer makes their decision on your application

  • In short, the officer will be looking to determine if you are really coming to Canada to study, whether you have reasons to return to your home country, and whether you will respect our immigration laws while here. The officer also would want to make sure you are not using this visa as a pretence of coming to Canada for other purposes, including permanent residence.
  • While you can still apply for immigration while on a study permit in Canada (aka “dual intent”), the officer has to be firstly convinced that your current interest in study in Canada is a genuine one.

Can I do it myself

  • The short answer is yes. You can complete the application on your own. 
  • Here’s when you would want to have a lawyer help you:
    • If you have a big gap between studies
    • If you are currently unemployed or have been unemployed for a long time
    • If you are planning to change careers and this education is different from what you did before
    • Your finances are limited and your school fees are high
    • You do not have extensive travel history
    • You already have a high paying job and have been progressing in your profession without this Canadian education
    • You have been a homemaker for a number of years
    • You have family members in Canada
    • You are coming from a country with weak economy, problematic security situation, or in an international conflict.

How can a lawyer help

Usually, a good lawyer will help you to assess whether your chosen study program would make sense for the application. Lawyers could also assist you with:

  • Working with you on your Motivational letter to explain to the reviewing Immigration Officer why you are applying for this visa and this program.
  • Helping you to collect evidence strengthening your study plan
  • Helping you to present a convincing case about your plans of returning home (aka ties to your home country) after completing your studies
  • A good application should be always “appeal proof”. This way, if the application is refused you will have a stronger case for the Court

(The above should not be treated as legal advice)

Still unsure? We can help you make sense of your situation and suggest what you might need to do next.