Complete Guide on Canadian Study Visa Application

A Canadian study visa allows you to be able to get into Canada for the purpose of studying. This visa for students is basically the same as a Canada Visitor Visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTa). However, to be able to stay in Canada as a student after gaining entrance, you will need a study permit. But this goes alongside your Canadian study visa application.

You get your study visa after the approval of your study permit. The visa is stamped on your passport to confirm that you have been granted entry into Canada. For this reason, the process of applying for a study visa and study permit are basically the same. Nonetheless, the requirements might differ a bit depending on the location and nature of the study. This piece discusses the general documents and step-by-step process you are most likely to go through to get a visa regardless of your location.

Who is Eligible For a Canadian Study Visa Application?

People who intend to pursue their academic goals in Canada are eligible for study visa. Hence, to be eligible for this visa type, you need to apply to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada and receive an acceptance letter from them. You will need the letter of admission from this institution among other documents for your Canadian study visa application.

Canadian Study Visa Requirements

Below are the detailed Canadian study visa requirements set by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

1. Acceptance into a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)

Before applying for a study permit, you must have an official acceptance letter from a recognized DLI in Canada. The letter should include details such as the institution’s name, your program of study, start date, and expected duration.

2. Proof of Sufficient Funds

You must demonstrate that you have enough money to cover the following expenses:

  • Tuition fees: Provide proof of payment for the first year of your program.
  • Living expenses: Show you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses, which vary depending on the location of your DLI. You can use the IRCC’s “Cost of Living in Canada” tool to calculate the estimated expenses.
  • Return transportation: You should have enough money to buy a return ticket to your home country or demonstrate a solid plan for returning home.

There are various ways to prove your financial capacity. Here are some common proof of fund options

Bank Statements

Providing bank statements in your name or your sponsor’s name is a common way to demonstrate financial capacity when processing your Canadian study visa application. These statements should show that you have access to sufficient funds to cover your expenses.

Scholarships and Financial Awards

If you have received scholarships, grants, or financial awards, you can provide documentation as proof of funds. Include award letters or certificates from the awarding institutions.

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

Some students opt for a GIC, which is a financial product offered by Canadian financial institutions. It shows that you’ve invested a certain amount of money in Canada, and it can be used to cover living expenses.

Proof of Income or Assets

If you or your sponsor have substantial income or assets, you can provide documents such as tax returns, property deeds, or other financial assets as evidence of your financial capacity.

Government Scholarships or Funding

If you have been awarded scholarships or grants from your home country’s government, you can provide official documents from the government confirming the award.

Combination of Funds

You can use a combination of the above options to meet the financial requirements. Ensure that the total amount of funds from various sources meets or exceeds the required amount.

3. Valid Passport

Ensure that your passport is valid for the entire duration of your intended stay in Canada.

4. Passport-Sized Photographs

Provide photographs that meet the IRCC’s specifications. You will use these photographs for your study permit and other immigration documents.

5. Proof of Ties to Your Home Country

To demonstrate your intention to return to your home country after completing your studies, you can provide evidence such as:

  • Family ties or responsibilities.
  • Employment opportunities or a job offer in your home country.
  • Property or assets in your home country.
  • Strong connections to your community or country.

6. Letter of Explanation (Statement of Purpose)

This is a vital document for your Canadian study visa application. You need to write a letter explaining why you want to study in Canada, your study plans, and your intentions to return to your home country after completing your studies. Highlight your connections to your home country, such as family, job prospects, or future plans.

7. Medical Examination and Police Clearance

In some cases, you may need to undergo an Immigration Medical Examination (IME). The IRCC will provide instructions if this is necessary. Also, you may be required to provide a police clearance certificate to demonstrate that you have a clean criminal record.

8. Biometrics

Some applicants are required to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photograph) as part of the application process. You will receive instructions on how and where to provide biometrics.

9. Application Fees

You need to pay the required application fee, which can vary depending on your country of residence. Payment options and amounts are typically specified on the official IRCC website.

Canadian Study Visa Application Process

1. Ensure Your Eligibility

Before you start your Canadian study visa application, apply and get accepted by a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). You will need the official acceptance letter from the DLI for your application.

2. Gather Required Documents

Ensure you have all the documents we mentioned earlier ready:

  • A valid passport.
  • The letter of acceptance from your DLI.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation.
  • Passport-sized photographs that meet the IRCC’s specifications.
  • A letter of explanation (statement of purpose)
  • Any additional documents, such as a police clearance certificate or medical examination results, if they are required based on your nationality and circumstances.

3. Complete the Online Application

Create an online account on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, and then complete the study permit application form and any other required forms. Then pay the visa fee which includes fees like the process and biometric fees. These fees vary depending on your country of residence and are also subject to change. You can check the current fee on the IRCC website. Also, keep in mind that the fees are not refundable.

When making the payment, make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Also, remember to print out the receipt and attach a copy to other documents for your Canadian study visa application while you keep a second copy for record’s sake.

4. Comply with Biometrics Appointment

Depending on your nationality, you may need to provide biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) at a local Visa Application Centre (VAC). The IRCC will notify you if this is necessary.

5. Attend an Interview

In some cases, you may be asked to attend an interview at a Canadian embassy, consulate, or Visa Application Centre (VAC). Prepare for the interview by reviewing your application and supporting documents.

6. Wait for Processing

The processing time for study permit applications varies depending on your location and the time of year. Check the IRCC website for current processing times. While you wait, prepare to provide additional documents or information if the IRCC requests for it during the processing period.

7. Final Approval

If the immigration authority approves your study permit application, you will receive a Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction, which you will need when you arrive in Canada. Also, you will receive a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) depending on your nationality. These documents along with your study permit are what you need to enter and stay in Canada as a student.

What Can Cause My Canadian Study Visa Application To Be Rejected?

The immigration authorities may reject your Canadian study visa application for many reasons. It’s important to be aware of these potential factors and take steps to address them when applying for a study permit.

Insufficient Funds

If you fail to provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation, your application may be rejected.

Incomplete Application

Missing documents, incomplete forms, or errors in your application can lead to rejection. It’s crucial to carefully follow the application instructions and submit a well-prepared application.


You may be deemed ineligible if you do not meet the basic requirements for a study permit. For example, if you have a criminal record or pose a security risk, you may not be eligible.

Lack of Genuine Intent

Immigration authorities assess whether applicants have a genuine intent to study in Canada and return to their home country afterwards. If they suspect that your intentions are not genuine, your application may be denied.

Inadequate Academic Credentials

If you do not meet the academic requirements for the program you applied for or if your educational credentials are not genuine, your application may be rejected.

Language Proficiency

If your program is in English or French, and you cannot demonstrate adequate language proficiency, your application may be denied. Ensure you meet the language requirements of your program.

Medical Inadmissibility

If you have a medical condition that could pose a danger to public health or safety or result in excessive demand on Canadian health or social services, your application may be refused.

Criminal Record

A criminal record, especially for serious offences, can lead to a rejection. It’s important to disclose any criminal history and follow the necessary steps for rehabilitation or obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit if applicable.


Providing false information or fraudulent documents in your application can result in a rejection and may lead to future inadmissibility to Canada.

Immigration History

If you have a history of immigration violations or previous visa refusals in Canada or other countries, it may negatively impact your study permit application.

Lack of Ties to Home Country

If you cannot demonstrate strong ties to your home country, such as family, employment, or property, immigration authorities may question your intent to return home after your studies.

Failure to Attend an Interview

If it happens that you are to attend an interview but you fail to do so, the authority may reject your application.

Final Words

It is important to start your Canadian study visa application early because it takes months to receive approval. So, once you have received your admission letter, begin the process a few months (perhaps 6 or 4 months) before your resumption date to ensure that you are ready for departure in time.

While the process may seem complex, it’s crucial to remember that careful preparation, attention to detail, and adherence to official guidelines can greatly increase your chances of a successful application. Whether you’re pursuing higher education, language training, or a vocational program, Canada offers a welcoming environment for international students to thrive both academically and culturally.


Greetings, I'm Obijekwu Oscar, an alumnus of LaSalle College Vancouver and a former interior home decorator at MySmallSpace LTD Canada. Through my own journey, I've recognized the hurdles of acquiring a study visa amidst online misinformation. This motivation led me to create content that simplifies the process for those eager to engage in Canada's interior decoration realm. While I'm not an immigration expert, I strive to utilize my background to aid individuals seeking roles as interior home decorators in Canada.

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