Relocating to a new country to study can be exciting and stressful! While you have carried out most of your plans ahead of time, not all circumstances are predictable.
Annually, Canada welcomes thousands of international students pursuing their post-secondary studies at a Canadian university, college, language school, or other learning institution that accepts students from all over the globe.
The process of getting a Canadian study permit, also known as a student visa, can be smoother and faster if you consider the following:
Submit your application online or through a Visa Application Center (VAC)
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) suggests that you consult a local VAC when preparing your application for a study permit. VACs can ensure that your application is complete and meets all IRCC requirements.
Here are ways VACs can help you in your permit request:
- Address your questions and concerns in your local language.
- Offer a tracking service for your application.
- Help transfer your documents and personal data safely.
- Collect biometrics if necessary.
Consult this list for available VACs by country.
Submit your application early
IRCC recommends that you submit your application for a study permit as quickly as you can, at least four months before the start of your lessons.
A handy tool you can use to find out the average study permit processing time based on where you apply is the Canada Immigration Processing Tool.
Get your medical examination and police approval as soon as possible
Canada requires several prospective students from abroad to undergo a medical exam. This requirement depends on the duration of stay and your current country of residence.
For example, if you plan to stay in Canada for more than six months, you will need to provide the results of a medical examination. If you lived or stayed in one of the other specified countries for six or more months before moving to Canada, you are required to take a medical exam.
It is vital to note that it is not compulsory to have your exam results when submitting your study permit application. However, you can avoid delays by having your medical exam done and providing the results along with your application.
IRCC can expect a police certificate from potential international students. If you know you need a police certificate, it is best to get it as early as possible.
Make sure that you have submitted all necessary documents and that all pages are accurately and legibly complete.
If the information provided is unclear, your request will be returned, which may lead to further delays in the process. The document checklist provided by the IRCC and the study permit application set are great recommendations to use.
Receive certified translations in official languages, English or French, of all documents supplied with the application, such as transcripts, police certificates, and other official documents.
Pay all required fees on time
IRCC warns that failure to pay the required payments within the expected time may result in delays in processing the application or affect the approval of your study permit application.
Renewing study permit
After getting a study permit, students may have to renew or change the study permit while studying in Canada. If a student at a post-secondary institution decides to change institutions, education, or level of education, he or she does not have to request for a new study permit.
Nonetheless, he or she is required to update IRCC when changing institutions. For example, a student can transfer from bachelor’s to master’s level, or from geography to philosophy, or from college to university, without applying for a new study permit. He does not need to apply for a change in the state of the study permit. A student is allowed to study in Canada as long as the study permit is valid.
However, an international student attending primary school to secondary school, or from secondary school to a post-secondary institution, must request an amendment to the terms of the study permit. The application must be made to the IRCC Case Processing Center in Vegreville, Alberta.
After graduation, many students choose to continue living and working in Canada
A study permit expires 90 days after graduation, regardless of the date stated on the study permit itself. International graduates must update their IRCC status within 90 days of graduation, or they stand the risk of losing their status in Canada.
Many graduates are eligible to apply for a postgraduate work permit (PGWP). This allows the holder to work for any employer anywhere in Canada for up to three years after graduation.
Work experience gained with a PGWP can help facilitate your application for Canadian Permanent Residency, primarily through platforms such as the Canadian Experience Class and specific Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
If an international graduate does not apply for PGWP, he or she can do the following to maintain legal status in Canada:
- Apply to change a visitor’s status;
- Apply for a different study permit to continue another study program. For example, a graduate with a bachelor’s degree can proceed to a master’s degree; or,
- Leave Canada.
When you find your way to Canada, you can visit these amazing places and have a good time.