There’s so much more to Canada than maple leafs and… well, Prime Minister Trudeau #IYKWIM. That is, a haven of education opportunities for international students.
Being tagged as the most educated country in the world, the country welcomes more than 350,000 students from all over the globe with a promise of quality education and work opportunity after graduation.
If you’re interested in studying in Canada or already convinced to do so, then you should apply to a school and secure a student visa ASAP. A student visa is an international students’ permit to study in the country. And just like school guards say “No ID, No entry,” the Canadian government also say “No student visa, No school.”
Here’s a quick overview of what to expect when applying for a Canadian student visa:
The Check-in: Checking Your Eligibility
Before getting a student visa, make sure you qualify for the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) standards. With exceptions to students taking short-term programs (six months or less), family or staff of foreign representatives, members of foreign armed forces, registered Indians and minor children in Canada, an applicant should meet the following criteria:
- School Acceptance
Your acceptance to a school, college or university in Canada is the starting point of your application. Without a copy of your Certificate of Acceptance (CAQ), your request can’t be finalized. So to be sure, apply for a permit at least 4-6 months before your school’s start date. You don’t want to be late in school, do you?
- Proven financial capacity
One of the most crucial parts of your application is proving to the Board that you’ve enough money to cover your expenses for the entire study duration. This includes, but is not limited to, the tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation.
- Clean Criminal Record
As if it needs any more explanation, you must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record. To ensure that you wouldn’t pose threat to the country, you may have to provide supporting documents such as a police clearance/ certificate.
- Good Health
Studying abroad entails more than just your academic record. IRCC also looks at the medical record to prove that approved applicants are physically fit to pursue their studies. For some, this would mean going through a complete medical examination.
- Approved Immigration Clearance
While the country welcomes immigrants to live and work there, your application is mainly intended for study purposes only. That’s why you must convince an immigration officer that you’ll exit the country once your permit ends. This can be done either through an interview or a written letter of intent. Prepare your lines!
The Boarding: Ensuring Financial Capacity
Being financially secure is an important deciding factor whether your student visa will be accepted or denied. For this reason, you’ll need “show money” to prove your financial capacity to support yourself throughout the study period. Here’s a quick look at the financial resources you need to prepare:
|Number of people||All provinces except Quebec|
|Single student||Tuition plus $10,000 (Php 521,505)|
|For one accompanying family member, add:||$4,000 (Php 208,602)|
|For each additional family member, add:||$3,000 (Php 156,451.50)|
Source: Government of Canada website
Before you panic your way out from these figures, know that you don’t necessarily have to spend all this money. The IRCC just needs tangible proof, that’s all. As such, you can combine different financial sources such as bank account statements, student/educational loans, and scholarship grants to come up with the amount.
PS. Include in your budget a student visa application fee of 150 CAD (around Php 6,000), and 16 CAD (Php 629) if you applied through a visa application center.
The Take-Off: Proceeding with Visa Application
Once you’re all good with the criteria and have prepared the necessary documents (eg. academic record, travel documents), you can now ~finally~ apply! For this, you can choose to either apply online or on paper.
- Applying on Paper
If you like the whole application process happening right before your eyes, applying on paper is the way to go. Just prepare the necessary documents, download the application package from Canada’s official website, and submit all the accomplished forms to a visa application center.
- Applying Online
If you don’t have much time to spare, you can thank technology and skip the paper trail by filing your application online. Just prepare electronic copies of your documents for attachment and a valid credit or debit card for payment. Once you have these ready, go ahead and answer the forms in the link on their website.
The study permit processing time depends per country. For the Philippines, it’ll take about six (6) weeks to process a visa request. To avoid the ~hassle~ of waiting too long, be mindful of these factors that affect processing time:
- Type of application submitted
- Application comprehensiveness
- Application verifiability
- Applicant’s responsiveness to any requests or concerns
- Speed of IRCC processing
The Entry: Getting Your Study Permit
So let’s say your student visa got approved, what’s next (read: aside from celebrating!)? In the following days, expect to receive the following:
- Letter of Confirmation
Think of it as a congratulatory letter to confirm your approval. However, take note that this is NOT the student visa itself, but the one you’ll present to an immigration officer when you arrive in Canada. Only then will you get your student visa. Don’t lose it!
- Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
As part of your study visa, an eTA will be linked to your passport. So be sure to travel with the passport you used in the application!
- Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
Like the eTA, this will also be linked to your passport. Basically, the TRV indicates the allowed entries of applicants, whether single-entry or multiple-entry visa. Good news though, all applicants are already considered for the latter since 2014! #yassss
The Departure: Graduating and Leaving the Country
As futuristic as it may seem, it’s important that you have foresight on what’s next after completing your study program a.k.a when your student visa expires. When that time comes, here are your options:
- Renew or extend your student visa to continue your studies;
- Change your student visa to a working permit and work in the country; or
- Say bye-bye to Canada and go home to apply what you learned abroad
Whether you choose to stay or go home is all up to you! We trust that you’ll make the right choice when you cross that bridge. The student visa application process may take a long time (and a whole LOT of effort), but we’re pretty sure it all will be worth it when the decision’s finally out—approved, what else?