Visa Options for Studying in Canada – Study Permit

Canada is one of the best countries to study. With a whopping number of about 300,000 international students studying in the country, Canada can easily be called the home to the best education centers in the world. Many enthusiastic students aspire to travel to this beautiful country and give wings to their educational career.

In this article, you will be able to clarify your doubts on how to travel to Canada and start your educational career. You will be introduced to a number of pathways to choose a flexible path to travel to and study in Canada.

You will also be seeing how each pathway is different and how it can benefit you. You will also learn the different visa options for studying in Canada.

Firstly, as a student, you will need to attain a study permit. A study permit allows you to take academic, professional and vocational training at a university, college or any other educational institution in Canada.

You may not need a study permit if you have taken up a short-term course, which lasts for six months or less. However, if you think that you would be staying for more than six months, it would be a good idea to take up the study permit.

How to Apply for Study Permit

In order to obtain the study permit visa, you will need to be accepted by a Canadian school, college, university or any other Canadian educational institution. In addition, you should know every Canadian province has its own educational system. Different territories have different options and services for students.

Once you choose a place to study, you must apply for an admission in that educational body. After accepting your admission, the educational body will send you a letter of acceptance. You will need to take this letter with you to apply for a study permit.

You will be applying for a study permit outside Canada, at the visa office that handles the country or region you live in. Visa offices may have certain documents requirements to file your visa case. Generally, the details for required documents can be found on the Visa office’s website.

Here is a documents checklist that you can use as a reference while collecting documents for your application submission:

  • The letter of acceptance from the college you applied in
  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of fund that ensures that you have enough funds to stay in Canada

Letter of Acceptance

The letter of acceptance you had received from the educational body states that you have been accepted to study. This is an important document that you must submit while obtaining your study permit from the visa office.

Proof of Funds

You may have to present your bank statement that proves that you have enough funds to sustain in Canada while pursuing your studies. This fund should cover:

  • Tuition Fees;
  • Living expenses for you and any family member that comes with you to Canada;
  • Return transportation expenses for you and your family.

How to Obtain Your Study Permit from Canada Border Services Agency

You will only receive your study permit upon reaching Canada and presenting your letter of introduction. A letter of introduction is given to you by your country’s visa agency.

You will need to present the following documents to the officer:

  • Your letter of introduction
  • Your passport or other valid travel documents
  • Letter of acceptance from the school you will be attending
  • Proof of funds documents
  • Your temporary resident visa, if required

The Canadian Border Services Agency will take the final decision whether you will receive a study permit or not.

Working with Study Permit

If you are enrolled full-time in a professional, academic or vocational training program, you can work off campus. In addition, you cannot work more than 20 hours per week.

Fees Payable While on Study Permit

Universities in Canada have their own fee structure. This depends on the course, its length and some other factors. It also depends whether you are studying an undergraduate or postgraduate level.

  • Average tuition fees for international students in 2017/18 is CA$25,180 for undergraduates.
  • Average tuition fees for domestic students in 2017/18 are CA$6,571 for undergraduates.
  • Average tuition fees for domestic students in 2017/18 is CA$6,907 for postgraduates.
  • Average tuition fees for domestic students in 2017/18 is CA$16,252 for postgraduates.

A professional MBA course for an international student will cost up to CA$51,891 while regular MBA course will cost up to CA$29,293.

Limitations of Study Permit

  • Students can work in Canada while on study permit for only 20 hours per week
  • There are no medical and social benefits available
  • After completing the course, the government offers work permit but only for one or two years according to the pursued course
  • Individuals on the study permit or work permit cannot apply directly for the citizenship
  • Pay scale is not as high as that of permanent residence status holders.
  • Some educational programs especially run for Canadian citizens and permanent residence status holders only
  • Cannot avail any loan from the Canadian government
  • Individuals are to pay international student tuition fee which is very high as compared to Canadian citizens or permanent residence status holders
  • Individuals on study permit can bring their dependent with them but the dependent cannot work initially, they can work after completing 6 months. Although, if the individual is pursuing Bachelors program then their dependent cannot work there.
  • Individuals will have to secure an IELTS overall band score of 5.5

Other Options for Individuals to Study in Canada

If you are an experienced worker, who pursued an occupation for one or two years that is relevant to your education, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence. Permanent residence is the most sought entry to Canada by many skilled professionals and eligible students alike.

You are required to meet permanent residence criteria in order to be eligible for a permanent residence status holder. After attaining the permanent residency status holder, you are given all the rights that a normal Canadian citizen enjoys.

This includes exemption of international students’ fee from your tuition fee.

Benefits of Permanent Residency

  • As a permanent residence status holder, you can study in Canada without limitation as that of in a study permit visa.
  • You are entitled to all medical and social benefits except for voting rights until you choose to apply for Canadian citizenship.
  • After completing your course, you can choose where you want to work. You can search jobs for yourself and work and live for an indefinite period in Canada.
  • After completing 3 years of stay in Canada, you can easily apply for Canadian citizenship.
  • Since you are already skilled and hold experience in your profession, you will be earning anywhere between CA$8,000-CA$12,000 as your monthly income.
  • As a permanent resident, you can participate or take up any educational programs run by the Canadian government.
  • You can request a loan from a Canadian bank at 0% interest.
  • You do not have to pay for any international student fee for the course you pursue. You will be paying the regular tuition fee as that of a Canadian citizen.
  • As a permanent resident, you can bring your spouse and children along with you. Moreover, if your spouse meets the eligibility criteria, she or he can also work in Canada on a full-time basis.
  • You must secure a CLB 7 in each of the four segments of the IELTS test. However, scoring higher in IELTS can also boost your eligibility score.