A student visa or a Study Permit is a mandatory document foreign citizens must obtain to study in Canada. A student visa allows you to study in Canada or complete a preparatory study program for a period of six months. This document is required to be eligible to reside in Canada for your study period.

A study permit is an official document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This document gives the right to reside in Canada for up to 4 years.

If you have not yet decided which program to apply for – contact our experts! Our educational services will help you choose the best program and academic institution!

To obtain a study permit, prospective applicants must wait 60 to 120 days, depending on many circumstances. Considering this is a rather lengthy process, it is not worth delaying collecting all the necessary documents.

What do you need to get a study permit in Canada?

It is no secret that to become a student of one of the Canadian colleges or universities, you must meet specific criteria and, among other things, prepare the necessary documents.

First, you must receive a Letter of Acceptance or a Letter of Admission from an educational institution accredited by the Government of Canada (Designated learning institution, DLI). The college or university that issues the letter must have a Designated Institution Number on a government-approved registry.

Next, you need to apply for a study permit. When filling out the application for a Study Permit in Canada, it is necessary to supplement it with documents that confirm the identity of the future applicant and his/her financial situation. Do not forget about a police clearance certificate and a letter of motivation.

After reviewing the documents, applicants for a study permit will receive a referral for a medical examination (IME) since a satisfactory health condition is a prerequisite for studying and staying in Canada.

Do not forget the documents that can convince the officer that you intend to return to your country at the end of your stay in Canada, that is, to provide facts of close ties with your homeland.

It is also worth emphasizing that a student visa is not required if the study program lasts less than six calendar months.

This completes the first stage on the path to education in Canada. After a favourable decision by the IRCC to issue a study permit, you will receive a letter of confirmation of the application – a Letter of Introduction. This letter must be printed and shown to the border officer to be able to cross the border.

Pros of studying in Canada

While studying in Canada, international students have a vast range of opportunities. The study permit allows full-time students studying at one of the colleges or universities in the country to work up to 20 hours a week during their studies and full-time during the holidays without a work permit. Moreover, if a student gets a job from their DLI, those work hours are not included in the 20 off-campus hour limit!

In addition, spouses and common-law partners of international students can apply for an Open Work Permit, and their children can be eligible to study in Canadian schools for free! Thus, you do not need to sacrifice your family and leave your loved ones while studying abroad. It should be noted that such a loyal attitude towards international students and their families is possible only in Canada.

And that is not all. After graduation, international students can stay in the country, live here, and work, receiving a Post-Graduated Work Permit (PGWP). Canadian work experience will undoubtedly help graduates to obtain permanent residence in Canada!

The main reasons for study permit refusals

Not everyone who wants to study in Canada receives a student visa. The decision to issue a study permit is entirely up to the Canadian government. The fact of enrollment does not guarantee approval of a student visa. Therefore, it is so essential to submit the documents correctly.

Based on personal experience, our team has collected the main reasons for refusing a student visa:

  • Insufficient finances;
  • Unsatisfied results of the medical exam;
  • Incorrectly formulated purpose of the visit;
  • Lack of evidence that you intend to leave Canada after completing your studies.

Who has increased risk and may be refused a student visa?

According to our long-term observation, there are several categories of international students whose risks of being refused are higher:

  • Applicants over 27 years old who are applying to study for undergraduate programs
  • Applicants over 35 who are applying for postgraduate studies
  • Applicants whose gap in study is more than eight years
  • Applicants who have been refused a visa to Canada, USA, UK, New Zealand or Australia in the past (these countries share information about all visa applicants)
  • Applicants who are applying for a program of study lower than their previous education (for example, applying for a one-year college program with a bachelor’s degree)
  • Applicants who choose a field of study that is radically different from the candidate’s professional career or previous education.

In addition, citizens of some countries are more likely to be refused than others.

Our goal is to identify all the possible risks of your application and, if any, provide the Department of Immigration with a reasoned explanation in advance, explaining your motivation for obtaining a Study Permit in Canada.

Fundamental Overhauls for International Students Commencing 2024

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has revamped prerequisites and regulations for international students.

Effective January 1, 2024, the cost-of-living criterion for applicants seeking study permits will escalate to CAN 20,635, a significant increase from the prevailing CAN 10,000 for individual applicants. IRCC asserts that since the early 2000s, the unaltered cost-of-living standard no longer reflects contemporary living expenses, leading to students arriving in Canada with inadequate funds. The updated threshold will also apply to the Student Direct Stream, a specialized study permit application process accessible to residents of specific countries. 

Study permit applicants must demonstrate possession of the mandated minimum cost-of-living funds at the time of application, substantiated by bank statements, proof of student loans, or evidence of funding (for scholarships), among other supporting documents. Notably, tuition and travel costs are excluded from the cost-of-living funds. The heightened requirement may reduce the number of individuals meeting the criteria for a study permit in Canada.

IRCC emphasizes that the cost-of-living threshold will undergo annual adjustments, aligning with Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off, ensuring that an individual’s income is adequate to prevent an excessively high proportion spent on necessities.

IRCC has extended temporary guidelines for international students, which are initially set to expire by the end of 2023. These include:

  1. Prolongation of the policy permitting eligible international students to engage in off-campus employment in Canada for more than 20 hours. Until April 30, 2024, international students with a study permit permitting off-campus work authorization will not be constrained by the 20-hour-per-week rule during academic sessions. The policy remains in force, initially slated to conclude on December 31, 2023. It’s important to note that foreign nationals who discontinue their studies or reduce their course load to part-time generally forfeit eligibility for off-campus work.
  2. Prolongation of the policy allowing international students to exclude time spent studying outside of Canada from the deduction of their Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) duration until September 1, 2024. International students commencing their study programs at Canadian colleges or universities before September 1, 2024, will not have the time spent studying outside Canada deducted from their PGWP duration, provided they complete at least 50% of the program within Canada. This policy, initially set to conclude on December 31, 2023, has been extended. International students initiating their study programs on or after September 1, 2024, will again face deductions for time spent studying outside Canada from their PGWP duration.

Additionally, IRCC has announced plans to introduce targeted pilot programs in 2024 to facilitate international students in pursuing their studies in Canada.

Book a consultation about Study in Canada and how to obtain a study permit with Oleg Schindler, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and Educational Advisor!

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