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How to Move to Canada to Attend University | Canada Study Permit Applications

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Study Permits and Student Visas

How to Move to Canada to Attend University | Canada Study Permit Applications

A record number of international students chose Canada last year for their post-secondary studies - 414,285 in 2016, double the volume in 2009. Maclean's reports that Canada is viewed as safe and immigrant-friendly and is attracting international students due to the U.S.'s anti-immigrant policies under President Trump and England's decision to leave the European Union.

Canadian universities are actively recruiting international students with good results; according to the article:

  • McGill University has 30% of its students from broad, and increased out-of-country registrations 10%
  • University of British Columbia officials report continued steady growth in international applications, up 14% this year
  • University of Toronto acceptances of American students jumped 66% from a year ago, with a 47% spike from India, a doubling of students from Turkey and a 40% rise in those from the UAE
  • University of Alberta saw a greater-than-average spike in applications this year and, by September, enrolled 1,449 new international undergraduates: up 19$ from a year earlier

Maclean's reports that Canadian universities expect further upward growth in international students, says Universities Canada’s president Paul Davidson. “How much of it Canada wants to have is really a matter of public policy choices.”

In order to study in Canada, international students usually require a study permit. This is a document available only after a college, university, or other accredited educational institution has accepted you. Study permits are only available for those accepted to schools designated to accept international students. Not all students technically require a study permit, if the program is less than 6 months, you will not require a study permit.

The most basic document list required by the visa office for a study permit includes:

  • Proof of acceptance into designated institution
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of financial support
  • Letter of explanation (a letter explaining why you are requesting a study permit)

How to Get a Canada Study Permit Application

Generally, a foreign national who intends to study in Canada for 6 months or less, does not require a study permit. If the period of study is for more than 6 months, you will require a Canadian study permit from the IRCC. If you are studying for 6 months or less, you will require a study permit if you decide to extend your studies beyond 6 months or start another program after the initial studies have ended. If a study permit is issued to you as a full-time international student and you meet specific criteria, you may be allowed to work on or off campus for up to 20 hours per week without having to apply for an additional work permit.

To complete an application to study in Canada, you must first be accepted by a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

Once you have been accepted to a DLI, you should submit your application as soon as possible because the times needed to process your application may vary among visa offices, ranging between 3 and 14 weeks. Ensure you have prepared the basic documents, as well as any documents required by the visa office for your country of citizenship. Missing documents and information can slow down your application processing or even result in a refusal. For your best chance at a timely and positive process, check that you have provided all of the information requested by IRCC.

It is important to note that the submission of your application will not guarantee the approval of your study permit application. To get an approval, the reviewing officer must be satisfied that you will be a genuine temporary resident to Canada, that you can afford to support yourself (and family members) and that you will leave Canada at the end of the period authorized for your stay.

Depending on your country of citizenship or your recent travel history, you may be required to undergo a medical examination. Students accepted into DLIs that focus on health (nursing, medical school) or the elderly and young will also need to undergo a medical. Only medicals performed by an IRCC approved Panel Physician are accepted.


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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