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Before you apply

Before you apply for student visa to Canada, also called study permit, you need an acceptance letter from a school approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students, also called Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

This is especially helpful for an international student like you to ensure that you get into an accredited institution and not some phony school that sells worthless college diplomas and transcripts. While we are on this topic, check out this CBS News article about the billion dollar fake diploma industry.

Getting back to the topic, you will be required to mention the DLI number of the school in your study permit application form. Check http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-institutions-list.asp to find out if your school is listed as a DLI.

You must also:

  • have a valid passport
  • provide proof that you have enough money to pay for your tuition and living expenses and that you can afford return tickets to your home country
  • have a report of good health – read below about medical examination, and
  • convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your studies
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How to apply Online

The process to acquire a student visa for Canada can be simple and hassle-free. Here is a list of steps to help you apply for a visa on your own through the Government of Canada Immigration website.

  1. Create an account or Sign in if you already have an account at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/account.asp. With this account you can apply for visa online, pay the visa fee and check the status of your visa application.
  2. You would be asked a few questions. Go ahead and answer about what you would like to study, for how long and other details about your background. After submitting these answers you will get an email with your login and password.
  3. Login to your account at the secure Government of Canada’s online service, called GCKey with the login and password that you receive in an email.
  4. Upload all the documents that have been requested.
  5. Pay the visa fee from your account. For Indian students, this fee amount is CAN$150 (~Rs 7,400).
  6. You can track the status of your visa application from your account.
  7. Your visa will take around 6-8 weeks.

How to apply offline through VAC

You can apply for Canada student visa offline through Visa Application Centers (VAC) of VFS Global.

VFS Global is the exclusive service provider for the Government of Canada, authorized to provide administrative support services to visa applicants in India. VFS Global charges for its services. You can learn more about their services at their website: https://www.vfsglobal.ca/canada/india/

Application for a Canada study permit: Generic checklist

The checklist below should be used in conjunction with the IMM 5483 Document Checklist for a Study Permit.

Failure to submit all required documentation, or the provision of any false statement or submission of fraudulent documents may result in the refusal of your visa or delay the processing time.

A medical exam is required for a study program that exceeds 6 months.

When submitting your completed and signed application form, be sure to include the barcode page.

The following documents are required to apply for your visa for general university programs (i.e. non-SPP):

  • Original passport that is valid for the duration of proposed study
  • 2 passport sized photographs (size 35mm width and 45mm height with a white background and be taken in the past six months)
  • Study permit questionnaire
  • Letter of acceptance from your school stating that you’ve got unconditional admission along with program, degree, duration and start date of study
  • Application Forms
  • IELTS Test Results from within last 24 months with overall band not less than 6.0 bands with no bands less than 5.5
  • Photocopies of the most recent education qualifications along with all the individual mark sheets
  • Copy of payment receipts issued by Canadian Educational Institution. Pre-payment of first semester fees or amount as mentioned in the offer letter is mandatory.
  • Copy of Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAD $ 10,000 (Recommended)
  • Copy of proof of completion of Medical Examination
  • For proof of availability of funds to cover living expenses of first year in Canada, apart from GIC, a student may show an Education Loan from an Approved Bank
  • If your sponsor has personal funds or savings then the bank statements with the transaction history of at least 3 months should be included when filing for visa
  • Form 16, in case you have been working, or Income Tax Return documents of the Sponsor should be included as well
  • Do not provide any additional documents unless these are requested by a Visa Officer.

Application for a Canada study permit: SPP checklist

SPP or the Student Partners Program is a program introduced by the Canadian government to specifically aide Indian students, who wish to study and eventually work in Canada. Learn more – Canada’s SPP: All You Need to Know

If you are applying under SPP, you must undergo a medical examination before submitting your Study Permit application by visiting one of the designated panel physicians in India. After completion of your medical examination, the panel physician will provide you with a copy of your medical examination form. This form must be submitted together with your Study Permit application one week after your medical examination.

The checklist below should be used in conjunction with the IMM 5483 Document Checklist for a Study Permit.

Failure to submit all required documentation or providing false statement or the submission of fraudulent documents may result in refusal of your visa or delay the processing time.

When submitting your completed and signed application form, be sure to include the barcode page.

Following are the documents you would need to apply for visa for SPP programs:

  • Original passport that is valid for the duration of proposed study
  • 2 passport sized photographs (size 35mm width and 45mm height with a white background and be taken in the past six months)
  • Application Forms
  • Letter of acceptance from your SPP school stating that you’ve got unconditional admission along with program, degree, duration and start date of study
  • IELTS Test Results from within last 24 months with overall band not less than 6.0 bands with no bands less than 5.5
  • Photocopies of the most recent education qualifications along with all the individual mark sheets
  • Copy of payment receipts issued by your school. Pre-payment of first semester fees or amount as mentioned in the offer letter is mandatory
  • Copy of Guaranteed Investment Certificate of CAD $ 10,000 (Compulsory)
  • Copy of proof of completion of Medical Examination.
  • Do not provide any additional documents unless these are requested by a Visa Officer
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How to get a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

You will require approximately $10,000 CAD per year, not including tuition fees, to cover your living expenses. This requirement is fulfilled through the purchase of a participating GIC, and evidence that you have paid your tuition fee.

If you are going to pursue the SPP program, you are required to open a GIC.

Even in the case of a general university degree, we highly recommend opening a GIC account. Although in this case, you also have the option to submit a copy of the receipt of the advance tuition fee that you’ve paid to your school and either,

  • a copy of the sanction letter of an educational loan from an Indian Chartered Bank for an amount equivalent of CAD$ 10,000, or
  • show an amount equivalent of CAD$ 10,000 from your savings like PPF, FD or liquid cash (preferably 3 months old)

At present, Scotiabank and ICICI Bank Canada are the only participating Canadian financial institutions.

You open a GIC account with either of the above banks. Your GIC account is an investment account that offers a guaranteed interest rate over a fixed period of time:

  • $2,000 CAD plus any accrued interest will be deposited into your personal bank account when you arrive in Canada.
  • Each month, for 12 months, you’ll receive a portion of the balance of your investment back, plus interest.
  • You can use these funds to help pay for living expenses while you’re studying in Canada.
  • After 12 months, you’ll have received your $10,000 CAD investment back
  • The fee for this program is $200 CAD.

Visit Scotiabank’s website at https://apps.scotiabank.com/cgi-bin/intl/mcbg/mcbg.cgi to apply online for your GIC account. The application process is straight forward and simple to understand. You will have to remit $10,200 CAD to Scotiabank, which includes $200CAD for administrative fees.

ICICI bank has a similar process, detailed at http://www.icicibank.ca/personal/newcomers/overview.page. Advantage is ICICI bank charges only $150 CAD towards administrative fee. So you save $50 CAD!

Medical Examination

You will need to get a medical examination done by visiting one of the Designated Medical Practitioners in India. The medical examination cannot be performed by the personal family physician of the student.

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