Canada Student Visa Requirements Explained

Canada Student Visa Requirements Explained

  • Post category:Study Visa

Choosing Canada as your study destination can be more than just earning a qualification in one of the most educated countries in the world, it can also mean choosing your next permanent home. That’s right, not only do you receive top-tier education as an international student, but you also have the opportunity to become a permanent resident in Canada.

Three in 10 international students who arrived in Canada after the year 2000 transitioned to permanent residency within 10 years since receiving their first study permit. Check if you meet the Canada student visa requirements and push your education and life to the next level!

How Can I Study in Canada?

Regardless of your study program or the length of the program, all foreign nationals who want to study in Canada will need to get a study permit. To apply for the permit, you’ll have to meet the following requirements:

  • You need to be enrolled in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and the DLI needs to be on the list of DLIs with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan;
  • You need to prove that you have enough funds for tuition and living expenses for both yourself and family members who come to Canada with you. Your return transport will need to be covered in the funds as well;
  • You should have no criminal record and obey the law. You may need to get a police certificate if requested;
  • You need to be in good health, you may also be required to get a medical exam; and
  • Lastly, you’ll need to prove to an officer that you will leave Canada once your study visa expires.

A DLI is a school that has been approved by the provincial or territorial government for international students.

The following documents will be required from you in order to apply for the visa:

  • Proof of acceptance;
  • Proof of identity; and
  • Proof of financial support.

Additional documents that you may also need include:

  • A letter of explanation – this will help the officer understand why you want to study in Canada;
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec – this certificate is needed if you want to study longer than 6 months in Quebec;
  • A custodian declaration (for minors only) – A custodian is a responsible adult, who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, who will take care of and support the minor child; and
  • Other documents – this may depend on your country or region.


The Canadian study permit is valid until the completion of your study program plus an extra 90 days. Your completion date is on the day your school sends you a completion letter, transcript, degree or diploma.

On average the Canadian study visa processing time can be up to three months long, from the time the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) receives your application. However, if you’re a resident in certain countries you may be eligible to apply to get your student visa much faster through the Student Direct Stream.

What is the Student Direct Stream?

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a way of obtaining a study permit quicker. The processing time can be as short as 20 calendar days. To apply through the SDS you need to be a resident of one of the following countries:

Student Direct Stream
Eligible Countries
Antigua and Barbuda
Costa Rica
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago

What are the minimum funds needed to support myself as a student?

Funds Needed for a Student Visa
Person Coming to CanadaAmount Needed per YearAmount Needed per Month
You (the student)$10,000$833
First family member$4,000$333
Every additional family member$3,000$255

Did You Know

International students who are studying full-time and have a valid study permit may bring their spouse or common-law partners along with them. Not only that, but your partner will arrive in Canada on an open work visa, this allows them to work anywhere in Canada while you study.

When should I apply for the spring 2022 intake in Canada?

Start applying to universities or colleges in the months from October 2021 to December 2021. Most spring intake schools in Canada 2021 will have the deadline set in the month from October to February. It’s important to keep an eye on the school’s website for updated May 2022 intake as well and make sure that you apply before the due date.

Why do Canada study permits get rejected?


It’s very important to have a detailed study plan that is logical and convincing enough to show the officer that the main purpose of you coming to Canada is to study. The program you choose needs to make sense to the immigration officer and you’ll need to give an explanation as to how the qualification you’re earning in Canada will help you when you return to your country of origin.

The failure of doing the above is one of the most common reasons for the refusal of a study visa. Beyond the reason mentioned, proof of finance and lack of authentic documents are also on the list of reasons why your visa can be denied.

David Allon, one of the Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) we work with, answers a frequently asked question below.

Question: What are some typical issues that I can prevent in order to increase my chances of getting the study permit?

Answer: You need to create as many ties to the country of residence or country of birth to convince the visa officer you will leave Canada after studying.

Top Courses to Study in Canada for International Students

Applying for a course in which you’ll have a higher success rate of getting a job after graduation is always a great idea. Many of the curriculums in Canada are very industry-oriented, making it much easier to get employed after graduation.

Below are the four most popular fields of study for international students:

  1. Business and Finance;
  2. Computer Science and IT;
  3. Health and Medicine; and
  4. Engineering

The career fields mentioned above all have occupations that feature on one or more of the 11 provinces’ in-demand occupations lists. This means that your chances of finding a job after your studies are good.

International students who want to work in Canada after graduation can do so via the Post-Graduation Work Permit program.

Post-Graduation Work Permit


The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) allows international students to live and work in Canada with an open work visa. This visa will allow you to work in any location and for any Canadian employer. The PGWP is only for international students who have completed their studies and obtained a qualification from a DLI.

Your PGWP validity will be according to the length of your study program. Take a closer look at the table below to better understand the validity of your visa.

Determine the Length of Your PGWP
Length of Study ProgramLength of Work Permit
8 months – 2 yearsYou may receive a PGWP that’s valid for up to the same length as your study program.
2 years or moreYou may receive a 3-year PGWP.
If you completed more than 1 programYou may receive a PGWP that’s valid for the length of the programs combined. Each program must be PGWP eligible and at least 8 months in length.

Did You Know?

International student graduates who worked during their time of study or after graduation were more likely to become Canadian permanent residents.

Many students use studying as a pathway to work in or immigrate to Canada. Join over 530,000 international students by ensuring you meet the Canada student visa requirements.

How Studying in Canada Leads to Immigration

Having Canadian work experience is extremely valuable if you want to immigrate to Canada, as it makes you eligible for programs such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The CEC is designed for foreign nationals seeking permanent residency in Canada who have gained Canadian work experience through a temporary work permit

The CEC falls under the Express Entry system making it easy to apply from anywhere in the world, as the Express Entry is an online system. You also won’t need proof of settlement funds which reduces the processing time to three or four months.

Find out if you meet the Canada student visa requirements with our online eligibility evaluation and start your Canadian journey today!