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Study in Canada: 6 Tips for Student Visa Applications

Over 130,000 international students opt to study in Canada. With a high-quality system of teaching, Canada is a country rich in possibilities in terms of educational pursuits.

With its successful immigration history, Canada welcomes millions of students who are looking for better opportunities. In three years, you can get the benefits of free education, medical care, and eligibility for citizenship. But before anything else, you need a Canada student visa.

However, applying for a student visa is not as easy as it sounds. It can be the most nerve-racking part of the planning process of studying abroad. But as long as you’re able to submit the requirements, your application will surely be successful.

Here are six tips to help you start your student visa application for Canada.

1. Choose a university to apply for and get an acceptance letter.

Before you begin your visa application, decide which university you want to study. Once you’re accepted in a university, you will receive an acceptance letter. This is one of the major requirements for a student visa application.

2. Check if you need a visa.

There are different requirements for each country. Your country of origin may not require you to have a student visa. For example, European students may not need a visa to study in another European country.

Do a double check on the particular visa and immigration requirements for Canada. There are companies which offer free immigration consultation that you can avail of.

But if you’re in one of the following situations, you don’t need a visa for Canada:

  • You’re a staff or family member of a foreign representative in Canada. Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) in Canada should accredit this.
  • Although you’re a citizen of another country, you have a registered Indian status in Canada.
  • You’re a member of foreign armed forces (Visiting Forces Act).
  • You have enrolled in a program that will last for less than six months.

Take note, even if you don’t need a visa, you may need a student pass, accreditation or Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to study in Canada.

3. Prepare your passport photos and documents.

You have to ensure that you have read the documentation requirements thoroughly. Make sure you have everything in order before you submit your papers.

If your documents don’t meet the requirements, they won't grant you a visa. You will have to go through the entire process again and you may pay a new set of application fees. Always do a double check so that you won’t have to go through the cumbersome visa process again.

Make sure your passport has at least four to six blank pages. The visa will only take one page but other embassies may need you to have at least two blank pages. If your passport does not have enough pages, they may require you to renew it.

4. Get an English language proficiency test.

You may need to go through an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. This is one of the major requirements for visa application. Every case is different on what score you will need in order to pass.

A visa consultant will be able to advise you on the things you need for the exam. Make sure that your test scores are still be valid during your visa application. If your IELTS scores are set to expire during your study program, prepare to retake the exam whenever necessary.

5. Be prepared to pay an amount.

Visa application will require you to pay a certain processing fee. This fee is payable the moment you submit your application. Some countries allow online applications and payment through debit or credit cards.

Always check if there are some extra fees that you will have to pay in person. If this is the case, you should have enough cash on hand to avoid delays in your application.

6. Be informed.

There are some cases wherein you will be required to undergo an interview for a student visa. In this case, you have to ensure that you have enough knowledge about your study program. Prepare to justify why you want to complete your chosen course of study in Canada.

Your student visa application may take a long time to process. Since the processing is beyond your control, you can apply early to avoid delays. This way, you have some leeway if ever your visa isn’t ready in time.

Remember to stay calm. Appearing agitated will give immigration officials a reason to pore over your application. Applying for a student visa will seem stressful at first. But if you have all your documents ready, and you have paid all the necessary fees, then there’s no reason for your application to fail.


Bevan Berning is an Immigration professional and owner of Pathway Visas, an Immigration Agency dealing mostly with skilled immigration to Canada and Australia. Bevan’s enthusiasm for the industry has kept in the Immigration field for the past seven years. Bevan is South African by birth and has been residing in Dubai for the past eight years.

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