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STUDENT VISA PROCESS FOR  CANADA 

Canada is a North American country that shares its largest border with the United States of America. It is a popular destination for higher studies due to a large number of top-ranked universities throughout the country. A very large number of students from all across the world choose Canada as their first priority each year when it comes to undergraduate studies, postgraduate studies, doctoral research, and/or executive programs.

There are several choices that fuel a student’s decision to choose Canada. The first reason is definitely the fact that Canada has a world-class educational infrastructure. The second reason is that obtaining a Canadian VISA and study permit is fairly easy once you get accepted to a university there. A few other countries including its neighbor, the United States, have much stricter VISA and immigration rules and policies in place.

Also, Canada is an extremely diverse country with various groups of people with different ethnicities residing within the domestic boundaries in perfect peace and country. It also has a large student community that is welcoming to foreign students and does not create any form of bias.

Other reasons that make Canada a popular country among the students are the facts that it is also easier to gain citizenship within the country should you decide to settle here in the long term and the weather and climate scenario are extremely favorable for people, it is never too hot here. The rates of crime within the country are not very high and it is usually very safe for people, regardless of their age, ethnicity, or political beliefs and affiliations.  

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Few of the top-ranking universities in Canada include-

  • University of Toronto 

The University of Toronto, since its inception in 1827 has developed into Canada’s leading institution of learning, it represents a historic building of over 100 years old discovery and knowledge creation. The university proudly boasts to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate. Toronto, as it is famously called is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It is a global leader in research and teaching and has a significant footprint, both in Canada and around the world. With some of the most celebrated architecture and beautiful green space in the Greater Toronto Area and Mississauga, UToronto offers an extraordinary environment in which to learn and work. Its campuses are situated in one of the world’s most dynamic urban environments.

  • University of British Columbia

Established in 1908, the University of British Columbia is an open research university. Based on the founder of the university, Henry Marshall Tory, a medal of his name was brought into existence in 1941. Recently, the university is recognized as the most international university in North America. By the 20th century, the university began to offer a degree in the field of nursing, agriculture, and engineering. Also, it introduced the American model of specialization and a research thesis.

  • University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo is a public research Institution that came into existence in the year 1957. In the early 1960s, Waterloo became one of the first universities in the world to give undergraduate students access to state-of-the-art computers. Waterloo offers more than 100 undergraduate degrees along with 190 graduate programs. In addition, the University has 6 faculties and 12 faculty-based schools to administer its academic programs. Located in the heart of Canada’s technology hub, the University offers a great platform for graduates to deepen their work-based learning. This university was also one of the first to introduce the ‘co-op’ or the co-operative programme outside of engineering. Co-op programmes combine classroom teaching with practical training methodologies.

  • University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university; a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude in Canada’s most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction to become one of Canada’s top five research universities by 2016, grounded in innovative learning and teaching, and fully integrated with the community of Calgary. Supporting industry and businesses locally, nationally and internationally, the University of Calgary strives to serve the community and reflect its values, while working to find solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing society today. As a major Canadian research-intensive institution, the University of Calgary has 14 faculties, 53 departments and more than 200 academic programs. The University of Calgary also has 77 Canada Research Chairs, generated $325 million of sponsored research income in 2013-14 and is home to 85 research centres building. 

  • McMaster University

McMaster University was founded in the year 1887 by Senator William McMaster in Toronto. It was later shifted to Hamilton in the year 1930. It is a research-oriented, medical-doctoral university that initiated the problem-based approach to learning which later came to be known as “The McMaster model”. McMaster is home to international students coming from 120 countries across the world. The total population of students in the university is around 33,147 out of which 28,290 are undergraduate students and 4,857 are graduate students. As of fall 2018, international students represent 27 % more than the graduate students in the university. Further, there are 1,011 faculty members out of which 97% of members hold doctoral degrees. In addition, various cabinet ministers, scientists, Hollywood actors, Nobel Laureates comprises over 195,000 alumni from 162 countries excluding Canada.

  • McGill University

Established in 1821, McGill University is an open research university that received the Royal Charter in the same year of establishment. The university was named after James McGill. It was the decision of the University’s Board of Governors to name the university after James McGill as he contributed to the development of the university. Notably, faculty members at the university also include some Nobel Prize winners.

  • The University of Ottawa

Established in the year 1848, the University of Ottawa is known as the world’s biggest bilingual university in Ottawa, Canada. It offers both French and English learning. It features more than 400 programs both graduate and undergraduate with an opportunity to work in one of Canada’s five big universities along with a boost in placement and work experience, practical experience, and develop professional terms for a career in the future. The university offers subjects like Social Science, Law, Education, Arts as well as Health Sciences. Few different courses offered by the university are Bio-Medical Science, Commerce, Globalization, and International Queer Cinema. Ottawa University is listed among the top 10 research universities and the main areas of research are Molecular and Environmental Sciences, E-society and Health as well. 

Apart from these top Canadian universities, there are many others as well. If you have gotten yourself accepted and admitted to a Canadian university and are confused regarding the VISA and Immigration process, this is the right place. Read on to find out more. 

What is a Canadian Study Visa? 

A Canadian Study Permit is a document that is issued to foreign nationals and other international students allowing them to pursue a course or degree at certain designated institutes of higher education only. Though every foreign student does not require a study permit, most of them do. You need to incur a one time $150 fee to apply for a study permit. One thing that must be kept in mind at all times is that a study permit is not a VISA and does not guarantee your entry into the country. You must obtain a VISA separately in order to be able to enter Canada. There are various steps that you need to follow in order to get this study permit. The steps are listed in the following section.  

How to get a Canadian Study Permit?

The validity of a Canadian Study Permit is as long as the duration of your program plus an additional 90 days so that you can prepare yourself to either leave Canada or file an application to extend your stay. The documents that one needs to apply for a study permit include the letter of acceptance, proof of identity, and a declaration of finances to meet the tuition and living expenditures in Canada. Other documents that may be asked to provide include a letter of explanation and a custodian declaration for minors only.  \

After gathering all the requisite documents, you must submit an online application. The first step is to create an online account that can be used to pay your fees, submit your online application, and check your status. There are certain questions that need to be answered in the online application in order to be able to submit it finally. After answering your questions, you are required to pay the application fees and provide your biometric information. 

What is the Eligibility Criteria for a Canadian Visa?

Now that you know all about a study permit, you need to prepare yourself for the VISA application.

Listed below are the various criteria that you need to fulfill :

  • are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • proof that you have enough money to pay for your tuition fees as well as living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and for the return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
  • Proof that you are a law-abiding citizen and have no criminal record. . You might have to also provide a police certificate (if required)
  • You are in good health and may have to get a medical exam (if required) and certificate in order to prove so. 
  • You must prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires.

What Documents Are Required To Apply For A Canadian Visa?

Now that you know the eligibility criteria, below are the documents you must have in order to make the VISA application and immigration process smooth:

  • Proof of Acceptance: It is the letter of acceptance sent to you by the University that you have been accepted into. You may also be required to include the original or electronic copy of your letter with your study permit application. 
  • Proof of Identity: You must have a valid passport as proof of identity. In case you’re applying online you need to upload a copy of the information page of your passport. Once accepted, you will be required to send in your original passport.
  • Proof of Financial Support: The following documents can be provided to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and the family members who come with you while you are in Canada:
  1. Proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if you’ve transferred money to Canada
  2. Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution
  3. Proof of a student or education loan from a bank
  4. Your bank statements for the past 4 months
  5. A bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
  6. Proof that you have paid your tuition and housing fees
  7. A letter from the person or school giving you money or
  8. Proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program

If you and 2 family members want to come to a province outside Quebec for a year, you will need a total of CAD 17,000 [living expenses: $10,000 (for the student); living expenses: $4,000 (for the first family member); living expenses: $3,000 (for the second family member) ]

But if you and 2 family members (over the age of 18) want to come to Quebec for a year, you will need a total of CAD 21,225  [ living expenses: $11,000 (for the student); living expenses: $5,100 (for the first family member); living expenses: $5,125 (for the second family member) ]

  • Letter of Explanation: This letter helps the visa officer to understand you and your goals. It explains why you want to study in Canada and that you understand your responsibilities as a student. 
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec: If you are going to study in Quebec, then you will also need to submit a Certificat d’acceptation du Quebec (CAQ) which is issued by the Quebec government. You will get the instructions from your school on how to apply for a CAQ.
  • Custodian Declaration: If you’re a minor and require a Custodian, you must submit a Custodian Declaration form with your application. It has 2 pages that must be notarized (certified by a notary) and then included with your study permit application. The custodian in Canada must sign the first page, and the parents or legal guardians of the minor child in the child’s home country must sign the second page. 
  • Statement of Purpose: You would be required to submit an essay stating the purpose of your trip to Canada and why you have chosen the particular institution. This would be prompted as an optional document in the checklist but it is strongly recommended that you submit the same.

How to apply for a Canadian Visa?

The applicants for a student visa for Canada can apply online as well as offline (paper application). The general application process in both cases are as follows:

  • Application Fee: 150 CAD
  • Biometric Fee: 85 CAD
  • Check the processing times – The visa application cycle might take anywhere from 3-4 weeks. It is advisable to go through the Canadian consulate website to know the approximate time taken to process the student visa. Please note that the time shown is not a guarantee and is just an estimate.
  • In Case you’re applying onlineTo apply online you must have access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents for uploading and have a valid credit card for payment. You will still be required to provide a finger scan at the regional Visa Application Centre (VAC). Remember, in the case of Online Application you need to visit the VFS offices to hand your passports and would have to provide the confirmation of form and fee payment as well. the steps would only vary in terms of documents you need to carry to the VAC. Download the application kit and read the instruction guide. The instruction guide contains important information about study permits and instructions to help you complete your application. Read the guide carefully and use the document checklist.
  • In case you’re applying offline: Fill out the VFS Consent Form and attach it with your application form.  You need this form to get the assistance of VFS services for your visa filing process.

  • Pay the processing fee – Note that when submitting an application via the VFS, in person or by mail, visa fees must be paid in addition to VFS Global service charges. The processing fee is non-refundable in all cases.

  • If your spouse/common-law partner and/or children are accompanying you and you are applying for temporary resident visas, work permits, or study permits for them, then you will need to pay the appropriate processing fees for them.

  • Submit your application and supporting documents – You have to visit the nearest VFS office. Once you are there, pay the service charges and hand them your complete application to obtain a receipt. This receipt contains your unique tracking number which you will need to track the progress of your application online.

  • In case your application is approved you will receive notification from the Government of Canada requesting your passport. You can submit the passport and passport request letter in person or through VFS. You would be provided with a Temporary Resident Visa and a Letter of Introduction.

Processing time for Visa

It is the time taken in order to review and process your visa. As of now there is no specific time required but it may take around 3 to 4 weeks for your application to get processed. 

Study permit renewal

If the study permit of an applicant expires before program completion, they are required to apply for the renewal of the visa.

The basic process for the same is briefed below:

  • Apply for a new student visa at least 30 days before the expiration date 
  • Applications can be made online or via mail
  • Apply for the extension of TRV.

Students must note that their study permit applications will undergo a detailed review by an immigration officer who will check the authenticity of the information and documentation provided. After this, eligible applicants will receive a letter specifying the date, time, and place for the interview.

If an application is rejected, all the documents will be returned to the applicant along with an explanation of why the application was refused. The study permit for an applicant expires in 90 days of the completion of the program. Applicants who wish to work while studying are required to have a work-study visa for the same.

How Should You Write An SOP for Your Visa?

An SOP or Statement of Purpose is an essay stating the purpose of your trip to Canada and why you have chosen the particular institution. Remember to be honest in your SOP as your application is viewed by officers who read hundreds of such applications and can detect insincerity and formulaic writing easily. The following questions can be included in your SOP ; 

  • Why have you selected a program at this university or Canada?
  • What are your educational goals?
  • Why is homeland education not good for you?
  • How will your country benefit from the education you get?
  • Do you intend to get back to your state?
  • If you have been out of class for more than two years, briefly explain the reasons; also you can add any relevant experience if you have gaps in your education.
  • What made you choose this course?
  • If you are a minor, why did you prefer Canada for your study?
  • How will this program enhance your employment opportunities in your country of residence or citizenship?

Fees You May Require in order to Complete Your Application

You will be requiring an Application Fee of 150 CAD and Biometric Fee of 85 CAD. If required in order to restore your status as a student you may be required to pay a restoration fee of 200 CAD plus a new student permit of 150 CAD.

 

Remember, a Canadian student visa is valid only for the length of the study program and an additional 90 days. These 90 days allow you to prepare for leaving Canada or to apply for extending your Canada study visa. So if you do not complete your program within the time that your study permit is valid, then you will need to extend it. If you complete the program earlier than the study permit expiration date, then you will only have an additional 90 days and must leave Canada.

You must provide proof that you have completed your program by submitting the notification of graduation from your schools such as an email, a letter, or another document, or submit a copy of your degree, diploma, or certificate. The date when one of these was issued will be used as the date you completed your program and then your additional 90 days for preparation to leave Canada will begin. 

The Canadian school system has many breaks in between the school years during the summer and winter. In case you want to travel back to your home during these breaks, the student visa for Canada allows international students to travel abroad during their holidays. However, when you return to Canada you must provide proof of your status. You must show a valid visa or eTA and your study permit. Even if the study permit is valid, the visa or eTA must be valid, otherwise, you will not be allowed to enter Canada. So before you travel out of Canada, make sure that your documents are in order and that they are valid. If they are not, apply for extensions before you travel.

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