How to Apply for a Canadian Study Permit

Canadian Study Permit

To study in Canada, you must first obtain a Canadian study permit, which also functions as a Canadian student visa for the duration of your stay.

For people who wish to study abroad, Canada is a country to think of. Canada is famous for its well-known universities and colleges and offers different courses. There are processes you need to follow to achieve your dream of studying in Canada. But, the primary step is getting a study permit.

Without this study permit, you can’t get admission to study in Canada. Read through this article to understand what a study permit is. How to get it. The essential processes and the cost.
Additionally, it may interest you to know that one of the easiest ways to immigrate to Canada is through the Study route

What is a Study Permit?

A study permit is a document given by Canadian immigration. This document permits students from other countries to come and study at Designated Learning Institutions (DLI). Note that a study permit is not a visa.

A study permit does not allow you to enter Canada. You will also need an electronic travel authorization (ETA) or a visitor Visa. When immigration approves your study permit, you get either of them with your study permit.

A study permit allows you to stay in Canada until you have completed your study. There are some cases where the study permit allows you to work while you study or after you complete your studies. To maintain your study permit, you need to comply with some rules to be eligible for a student permit.

They are:

  1. You must have all the necessary documents to obtain your study permit.
  2. You need to have a health check-up and produce a certificate of good health.
  3. You have to leave Canada once you complete your schooling.
  4. You must prove that you don’t have a criminal record. You can do that by producing a police verification certificate.
  5. You must have enough money to pay your school fees and living costs.
  6. You must have an admission to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

What is a Designated Learning Institution?

As mentioned above, a study permit is a document that allows international students to study at any designated learning institution.

A designated learning institution is a school, university, or college with official approval by a province or a territorial government for international students.

Not all institutions are under the DLI list, so you must ensure the one you want to apply to is on the list. Note that if a student does not apply to a designated learning institution, that student will not get access to enter Canada and school even if you have her permit.

There are over One Thousand (1000) designated learning institutions in the different provinces and territories in Canada. The best thing to do is to locate the best one for you and enroll there.

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Canadian Study Permit Requirements

Before you apply for your study permit, there are many things you need to have in order. You range from documents to money. The best time to apply for your permit is when you get your acceptance letter from the institution. Make sure you have everything in order before you begin the process.

First, you must complete all the application forms, after which you’ll submit your form with the following documents:

1. Valid Passport

To apply for a study permit, this is one of the most critical documents you need.  Your passport must cover the duration of time you will stay in Canada. For example, if you are traveling to Canada on December 22 for a five-year course. Your passport’s validity should be till at least December of 2027, however, if it is below your study duration, you can obtain Visa with it and renew it while in Canada.

2. Proof of Funds

When you apply for your study permit, you must have proof of funds. This means that you will bring proof that you have enough funds to pay your school fees and living costs. According to Canadian immigration, a student must have a minimum of 10,000 CAD every year they stay in Canada. Apart from this, you must prove that you have enough funds when it is time for you to return.

3. An Acceptance Letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)

An acceptance letter from the University or college you plan to attend is necessary. The university or college must be a DLI (as discussed above), and proof of your admission in the form of an acceptance letter is a must when compiling your documents.

4. Passport Size Photographs

For those who prefer to apply offline, they would need passport photographs, at least two of them. The passport photograph must conform to the official criteria. For an online application, you must have a digital passport.

This should not be too large in memory size. Other requirements for passport photographs are plain background and neutral facial expression, a current picture. Do not wear hats or headgear unless for religious purposes.

5. Statement of Purpose

You must submit an essay stating the purpose of your visit to Canada. And your reason for choosing the particular university. Even though this is an optional document,  submit it with your other documents.

6. English Language Proficiency Test Score

Even though you must not have it at the time of the application. You should take your English proficiency test and have the results before you begin the application process. This is because you will submit your English language proficiency score to the Canadian University to confirm your admission. The TOEFL and the IELTS, and others are examples of acceptable examinations.

Kindly note that not all schools require an English Language Proficiency Test, hence you may not be needing it for such schools.

7. Credit Card

If you are applying online, you need a credit card to pay the fee for the application. Note that the system will accept only credit cards, not debit cards. Also, it is not compulsory that you must use your credit card. You can use your parent’s or guardian’s credit card as well, with permission, of course.

If you are applying online, you have to use a digital scanner. But if you are applying offline, you will need original copies of all your documents, fill them, print them, sign and then upload them. You will also need a scanner even when you use this process. During the interview, the interviewer might require additional documents.

Documents that prove evidence of academic achievement or financial status. Examples of those documents are:

  • Certificates, diplomas, or transcripts from any school attended.
  • How will you pay for your living and other costs?
  • You intend to vacate Canada as soon as possible after studying.
  • Scores from tests or exams taken. For example, IELTS, SATs, etc.

8. Immigration Medical Examination (IME)

This medical exam ensures that the student meets Canada’s Health-related standards. It is not a complete physical test. Make sure you have a certificate of fitness from your doctor and include it in your documents.

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How to Apply for a Canadian Study Permit?

Follow the steps below to apply for a Canadian study permit.

 1. Check the Application Process Duration

A student permit application can be as long as three to four weeks. It is advisable to check a reliable Canadian immigration website to know the estimated time it takes to process a permit for study. Note that the duration is not an estimate and is not always the exact time.

2. Decide How You Want to Apply

There are two primary ways to apply:

Online Application:

If you wish to use this method, you should have a  scanner or camera to create digital copies of your documents to upload. You must also have a valid credit card for payment. You must provide a fingerprint scan at the visa application center (VAC). In the case of online applications, you still need to submit your passports at the VFS office. You will submit a confirmation of the form and fee payment as well.

Apply in person:

For this step, you should download the application kit and read the guidelines. The kit contains essential information about the study permit and instructions on completing your application. After you read the guide, use the document checklist.

3. Complete your VFS Form

After you fill out this form, attach it to your application as this form aims to get the VFS services for your filing process.

4. Pay the Processing Fee

In addition to other fees you will pay, you will need to pay a VFS global services charge as well. This processing fee is non-refundable.

5. Pay the Appropriate Processing fee if you have Family Members accompanying you

In cases like this, your spouse and children are going with you. And are applying for temporary resident visas and work or study permits. Then pay the appropriate processing fee for them.

6. Submit your Application and Important Documents

Once you complete your application and have your complete document, visit the nearest VFS office. Once you are there, pay the service charge and submit your application and documents. After which you will get your receipt. There is a unique tracking number on the receipt that you can use to track the progress of your application.

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When your application moves to the next stage and gets approved, the Canadian government will notify you.  They will request your passport. You can submit the passport request letter through the VFS office or in person. After which, you will get a letter of introduction and a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

Where can you Apply for a Study Permit From?

To study in Canada, there are three places you can apply to study. And they are:

  • Outside of Canada
  • Inside of Canada
  • At the port of entry (POE)

Outside of Canada

If you are applying from outside Canada, you must apply for a study permit and a visitor Visa. Though, some countries do not require a visa to enter Canada. So, if you are from any of those countries, you can apply for your permit and ETA.

The application for a visitor Visa and permit or permit and ETA is in one process. If you get your study permit, you get your visitor Visa or ETA.

Inside of Canada

There are conditions for an international student to apply for a study permit. They are:

  1. You or your family members have a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) for 6 months or more.
  2. You have completed a short study program in Canada.
  3. Sponsorship to immigrate to Canada or you have applied for permanent residence.
  4. You are a visiting or exchange student in Canada.
  5. Your family is:a militarypersonnel assigned to Canada or a foreign politician in Canada

Also, to apply from inside Canada, you have to go to the embassy of the country you are from. You can submit the documents in person after you contact the Canadian embassy.

At Port of Entry (POE)

Before you apply at the POE,  you need to get an ETA. When you get that, prepare all the essential documents and present them at the Canadian port of entry.

The immigration officials will check your documents and decide whether to grant you a permit or not. You can only apply at the port of entry if you:

  • Are a citizen of the USA.
  • Are an LPR of the USA
  • Are a resident of Miquelon or Greenland and saint-Pierre.

Note that you can only apply in paper form for all the processes listed above. Most times, the application procedure is the same. If you apply on paper, you must print all your documents and send them to the Canadian Consulate.

How much does it Cost to get a Study Permit?

For your application procedure to be complete, you must pay the application fee for you and each of your family applying, that is if you are going with your family.  Especially if you submit online, you must pay the application fee. You can submit a paper application, but it won’t get processed until you pay.

Study permits cost around $150. Please note that there are other fees you will pay in the application process. It is essential to confirm during the process and be ready with extra money if it increases.


To get a study permit, it is essential to follow every instruction and guideline well. This will help avoid delay and having to spend more than needed. Even as you follow the steps above, you can seek help from a professional to help you achieve your dream of studying in Canada.

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