If you are planning on studying abroad then you may need a visa to enter the country in which you are going to be a student. Here are the most frequently asked questions and few suggestions :
What is a visa?
A visa is a document that gives you permission to enter a foreign country. A student visa is only given out to people who have a confirmed place of study at a registered institution for a set period of time. Different countries have different visa requirements, so your first port of call should be the embassy website of the country you want to study in.
When should I apply for a student visa?
You should always apply for a visa before you travel to your study destination. You will normally have to wait until you have a confirmed offer from a university before you can submit your visa application and you may have to apply in person at an embassy.
Allow enough time for any complications or supplementary exchange of information to take place before you intend to travel. You’re university should be able to provide you with more information.
What type of visa do I need?
The exact name and type of visa you require will vary from country to country but it is likely you will need a non-immigrant student/study visa.
This basically means that you do not intend to take up permanent residence in that country and that your stay is for temporary study.
However, to find out the exact type of visa you need and therefore, the appropriate application form, go to the embassy or consulate of your intended study destination in your home country (this must be where you legally live or where you are a national).
How To Apply For Visa
Before you apply for your visa, you may need proof of your place on your graduate programme from the university or college that you are going to attend.
The first thing you should do is contact the university or college to clarify which visa you need to apply for and/or to ask them to send you the necessary documentation for your application. Once your university or college has informed you of the appropriate visa you need to apply for and any supplementary documentation that they and you need to submit, you should be ready to apply.
In some countries, applications can be done in a number of ways, by post, courier, in person or online for example. If you are unsure, visit the embassy or consulate of your host country and ask how you can apply for a visa or search their website.
A visa is not valid if false information has been given or important facts were omitted at the time of application.
How long will it take to get my visa?
Visa processing can take as little as a couple of days to several months depending on the country and your nationality. Make sure you leave enough time to get your visa sorted as trying to rush an application is not advised – and can even mean you miss out on your place.
Can I extend my visa while I’m there?
This completely depends on where you study. In some countries extending your visa is very simple, while in others it is challenging and you may even have to leave the country to extend/renew your visa.
The universities from Canada are preferred by more than 130,000 international students yearly.
Now, let’s see what are the steps to go through to get the Canadian student visa:
1. Decide on a university to apply to and get your acceptance letter
If you’re still not sure where you want to study in Canada, you will have to decide before you can start your student visa application process. After being accepted at a Canadian university, you’ll get an acceptance letter required for visa application.
Find the right universities depending on the discipline you want to study:
Consider some of the best universities in Canada:
- University of Toronto
- Athabasca University
- York University
- University Winnipeg
2. Check if you need a student visa for Canada
You don’t need a study visa (or study permit) for Canada if you are in one of the following situations:
- You are a family or staff member of a foreign representative in Canada, who is accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
- You enroll in a programme that lasts less than six months
- You are a member of foreign armed forces from the Visiting Forces Act
- You are a citizen of another country, but you have an Indian status registered in Canada
However, you will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to Canada.
3. Apply for the Canadian student visa
As soon as you got the acceptance letter from the university, it is time to proceed to the next step: applying for a student visa, which is locally known as a student permit.
The first steps to obtain your student visa:
- Apply online for your Canadian student visa, on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website before you arrive in Canada;
- In countries with limited internet access it’s also possible to apply for visa on paper;
- Provide an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (a university recognized by the Canadian government);
- Deliver proof of sufficient financial resources to support your studies in Canada (tuition fees and living expenses);
- Have no criminal record;
- Submit clinical records that state you are in good health and complete medical examinations if required.
According to recent visa regulations, if you have a family member working or applying for a work permit in Canada, the application for your study permit will be processed in two weeks.You may renew or extend your study permit, if you wish to continue your studies or if your programme has an extension or if you change your school. The study permit expires ninety days after your studies are finished when you receive a notification of the programme completion.Useful tip: check out if your country is on the list of biometrics requests for the study permit.
4. Prepare all required documents for the student visa in Canada
- Completed application form;
- The original letter of acceptance from the university;
- A valid passport/travel document, which also allows you to return to your home country. If you live in the U.S.A., this is not necessary;
- Two recent passport-size photographs, with specifications of name and date of birth on the back;
- Proof of financial support during your studies that represent: tuition fee + 833 CAD/month (for all provinces, except Quebec) or tuition fee + 917 CAD/month (Quebec);
- A letter of explanation;
- If you intend to study in Quebec, you will also need a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec, English and French translations for your document, a statement from the translator and a certified copy of the original documents;
- Proof that you paid the study permit fee (150 CAD).
5. Language requirements for my study in Canada
Unless you come from an English-speaking country, Canadian universities will require you to submit proof of English language proficiency. Accepted language tests are:
- Cambridge English: Advanced
Proof of your language skills is not included on the list of required documents for a Canadian student visa. But it is a good idea to have some proof of English ability, just in case.
6. Biometrics appointment and interview
Depending on the requirements for your country, you might have to show up at a Visa Application Centre in your country to have your biometrics taken.