Study Abroad in Canada as an International Student

Selecting Canada as your study abroad destination is one of the best lifetime decision you can make as an international student. Canada has some of the best and recognized universities and other educational institutions in the world, providing both local and international students with good and quality education. As an international student in Canada, you will also get to enjoy opportunities like experiencing a different culture of diversity in Canada, having the privilege to work part-time during school hours and full-time during scheduled breaks, internship/co-op programs to help you acquire relevant work experience, gain Canadian work experience after completing your education and so much more. Fondly called by its nickname “The Great North”, Canada is widely acknowledged as the second largest country in the world with lots of tourist attractions and natural exhibitions. You can explore your time to visit these places when you are in Canada as this will help you overcome the stress that comes with studying. Here is an article on interesting places to visit when you are in Canada.

In this article, I’ll be listing out the process of applying for a student visa to study abroad in Canada as an international student.


1. Decide on a program you want to study, then apply to a post-secondary institution in Canada. It could be a college or a university. The school has to be a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), accredited by a provincial and territory government in Canada to host international students. Check out the list of DLI’s in Canada here.

2. After you apply to a DLI, the school will send you an acceptance letter if they decide to admits you as a student. This letter will be needed to apply for a study permit.

3. Now that you’ve been accepted by a designated learning institution in Canada, next step is downloading the application package if you are applying on paper, or sign upfor a IRCC secure account if you are applying online. You will have to complete and submit your application at a VAC (Visa application centre) in your country if you are applying on paper or if you wish to apply online, you must make sure you have access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents to upload, and a valid credit card to pay your visa application fee.

4. Start gathering supporting documents that will be submitted along with your study permit application. This documents must show your proof of acceptance, identity and financial support. In some cases, you might be asked to provide a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC), and in most cases a medical report may be requested.


Proof of Acceptance

Your prove of acceptance is the acceptance letter from your school. You can use either the original copy or electronic copy. Usually, you get an electronic copy in your email before the original copy gets to you.



Proof of Identity

To prove your identity, you and your family members (if any of them are accompanying you to Canada) must have

  • an international passport or a traveling document from your country of citizenship.
  • two recent passport-size photos.
  • Your name and date of birth should be written on the back of your passport photograph. The same applies to the family member(s) accompanying you to Canada (if applicable).


Proof of Financial Support

Lastly, you must prove that you are financially capable of sponsoring your education for the first year of your studies if the duration of your study in Canada will be more than a year or the full duration if your studies will be less than a year. You can prove your financial capability with any of the following

  • proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if you’ve transferred money to Canada
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution
  • proof of a student or education loan from a bank
  • your bank statements for the past 4 months
  • a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
  • proof you paid tuition and housing fees
  • a letter from the person or school giving you money or
  • proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program

The finances you will need while studying in Canada doesn’t necessarily have to be from you. It can be from your parents, a family member, and an employer.


Proof of Ties to your Home Country

Usually this type of documents are not mandatory, but submitting extra documents to prove that you have ties to your home country can also increases your chances of approval. I’ve met few international students in Canada whose previous applications got refused based on the reason that “they couldn’t convince the visa officer (immigration officers that processes student permits) they will be leaving Canada after they are done with their studies”. In situations like this, proving that you have ties to your home country will be very important. You can add any of the following documents with your application

  • your personal assets like landed property documents, or vehicles that you own
  • Job/career letter from your employer in your home country. If they are sponsoring you to Canada, it should be stated in the letter and that your job in their company/organization is still active.
  • bank statements for the past 4 months of the business that you own, articles of incorporation and documents to prove that it’s registered
  • birth certificates, marriage certificate or photos of your spouse, kids or other dependents not accompanying you to Canada.


5. After submitting your study permit application, you should find some free time to learn more about the country and read our article on traveling tips for international students while anticipating for the decision on your application. You can also check how long your application will be completed by checking the processing times.

Wish you all the best as you set out to begin your adventure of traveling to Canada as an international student.